Once upon a Signing. .

Once upon a Signing. . .
We’ve all been in strange houses where the residents (our beloved signers) have not kept up with their chores. You know what I mean, dirty dishes in the sink, carpets in need of vacuuming, unwashed clothes piled up in a laundry room.

Well, that’s nuthin’!

When I was just a newbie, I picked up a signing not too far from my home/office for what I wrongly assumed was a nice young couple in a kind of family-friendly neighborhood. Little did I know I was headed straight for the gates of hell.

Mr. & Mrs. Hoarder.

I found my way into this lovely gate-guarded community of one-story condominiums where visitor parking was at a premium. Having found an unoccupied slot about two blocks away, I parked, grabbed my briefcase and walked calmly toward this rather unkempt, ruddy condo that did not lack for untrimmed shrubbery or droopy trees and vegetation. Outside the front door was a phalange of macramé ornaments that resembled the hands of a wicked witch. The wooden entry door was badly weathered and scarred from too many years of neglect and aggravated slamming, I presumed. When I knocked on it, it was already open and it creaked eerily as it swung open to reveal the darkened hallway beyond.

The voice of an elderly woman beckoned me to step inside and I did so with great trepidation. I couldn’t see a thing! The floor crackled beneath my feet as though I was stepping on corn flakes (which, perhaps, I was!). To my right was an unlit living room where I could make out an untold number of boxes, misshapenly stacked in a way that blocked the windows. It would be impossible to enter that room without a flashlight and a 5-iron.

To my front left was the beaming light from what I will generously call the “kitchen”, where we would eventually do the signing. The woman who called me into this pit was so thin and wiry, she would have to run around in the shower to get wet. When she stood sideways and spoke, she resembled a human zipper. With her boney finger she pointed to the signing table where her husband was awaiting my arrival.

He was dressed in a pair of shorts far too small for his girth and modesty. His tee-shirt was on it’s fifth day undoubtedly and his slippers. . . well. . . I’ll say that they were “well-worn” and bore the scent of. . . Oh , never mind. No sense in all of us being sick.

Each eye was pointed in different directions and his welcoming smile revealed all three of his teeth. Why even bother combing his hair. . . after all, it’s just the notary.

The signing table was about 3 feet across and fully laden with anything and everything that they had purchased, consumed and not yet thrown away for weeks on end, stacked at least two feet high. As Mrs. unfolded a brownish-gray metal chair for me to sit in at the table, I was shocked to look at the counter where the fire had been and the scalded cooktop that was encrusted with blackened metal that had not been chipped away for cleansing.

Food was everywhere. In every stage of its life: boxed/canned/bagged; ready for cooking; some in the process of being cooked; some having been cooked for days (or longer); some partially consumed, some ready to be stored for future consumption; and, some in a condition so undiscernible as to defy the imagination. I thank the Lord that I wasn’t offered any. I also turned down the grey water I was offered. For some reason, I wasn’t thirsty.

This was the first time I ever opened my briefcase and left it on my lap whilst we did the signing. By the way, the signing was done on a 10" X 10" space on the disgustingly stained and food-embedded table in the nook area where we were seated. Mr. had suffered an injured hand moving some boxes around the house as I was told, and he would have difficulty signing the refi documents. When we got to the appraisal acknowledgement, I noticed the appraiser’s notes said “Good with me” about the condition of the house. Who am I to judge?

We spent the next hour in the signing with Mrs. continually asking me if I’d like some water. I think my choking was the tip-off. I politely declined and hurried the signing along as best I could. When we concluded, I handed over their copies of the documents which were quickly dispatched to the food counter where they immediately began absorbing some sort of alien fluid that had coagulated there for the past several days.

I arose and thanked Mr. and Mrs. for their cooperation and told them I have to hurry along and post their completed documents with FedEx. At which point, Mr. laughed and told me he takes FedEx for constipation. I rambled to the door and off to my car which thankfully, was still there, and off I went. The 40 minute shower I took when I returned home was wonderful. I was even able to eat a meal again that weekend.

And, to think I bid this job for $75 as a newbie.


Stop signing. Start writing novels.


Signings pay better. But I do like to write.


Thank you. This made my day! Isn’t :upside_down_face:life grand?


Great read, Bobby!! Thank you. :slight_smile:


Fantastic reading!! You should at least write as a hobby. I couldn’t stop laughing, still laughing as I write this response.


I think I signed her sister last year. Must be a family trait! Well done. Thank you.


Hoarders are bad.

Other examples of types that test my fortitude:

Screamers. They yell at their dogs, their cats, their kids, each other, the phone, the television, the internet…

Stinkers. Dirty cat boxes, dog urine, filthy bird or rodent cages. Diapers overflowing pails. Urine from incontinence pads left out or many old accidents trapped in a carpet. Body odor from many, many missed showers. Breath that literally makes me reel backward.

Crammers. Every surface of the house is covered with stuff. They differ from hoarders in that the stuff is usually not rotting or filthy, it’s just… stuff. Everywhere. On the chairs, the tables, the shelves. Each of them has their own small open area surrounding an armchair or recliner, usually in front of the television. There is no table or central area in which to gather. Signing involves walking back and forth between the two open areas. Trying to get a clear space to affix a stamp is a challenge.

Germophobes. Take off your shoes before you enter. Put on these gloves. Here’s another mask to wear on top of the one you already have on. Put on this shower cap and tuck all your hair under it. Use this folding table we have set up in the open, unheated garage. How many signings do you do every day? How many times are you exposed to other clients in a day? When were you last tested for COVID? Are you vaccinated? Did you get the booster? Make this fast - we don’t want to be exposed for any longer than necessary. (Good grief - why didn’t you just request a RON signing?)

Such a glamorous job we have.


I had a semi hoarder. She had Angel figurines everywhere. Not one surface without and figurine. Just as well as the dust filled in the spaces. The walls were covered better then wallpaper. Nothing had be dusted probably since Y2K. And dining table was covered also. Thank goodness I had a 14 inch clip board. I balanced the folder on my lap and attached each section of the refi to the clip board. All the while feeling 1000’s of eyes watching my every move. She asked so many questions as though she had never seen or filled out a loan app. We got through it as best we could.
As I was putting everything in my case, she handed me a file and asked me if I could drop it off at her accountants office. And before I could decline she handed me her copy of the refi docs and asked if I’d mind then dropping them off at her lawyers office. She doesn’t trust banks and wanted her lawyer to look them over. I then explained I wasn’t going that directions and had to scan her docs. Then get them sent to the title company. To my surprised she was NOT HAPPY. How dare I not do my job. I said as nice as I could. That this is not part of my signing. And to call her lawyer. He may have a messenger that will do that. But it may cost her a messenger fee. She gave me her best evil eye. And once again I swear all the angels frowned. As I got up she said were do you think your going? I replied once again, I had to scan and mail her docs so she can get her cash out money fast. Someone turned on her happy switch. She then thanked me for my time. As I walked to the door, I swear those eyes followed me as I left.


I’m dying, :laughing::sweat_smile:you’re hilarious!!! You serious need to gather our stories and write a book, The Adventures of a CSA.

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I agree with Arichter…you’re missing your calling as an author! Great read and I totally relate. While I haven’t had a hoarder that bad, I see quite a few homes that leave much to be desired (in the housekeeping sense)! I’ve seen and had all kinds of crazy things happen…one guy’s fence caught on fire in the middle of the signing, signers offering me hits from their bongs, you name it. Sure keeps things interesting! Stay safe, everyone. :slight_smile:


Loved the story. Good luck. A tip-- I don’t go into anyone’s house because of COVID. When I call I request a garage or outdoor space. I have done all my signings in garages, patios, and decks. I have only had two people object once I got there after they had said they were fine on the initial phone call. I just reminded them that they initiated the loan signing and they were free not to sign I have a family to protect. I turned around and started to leave. One lady called me all the colorful adjectives that she could think of before I turned and walked away. That worked on both of them. They both signed outside and we parted as friends.

I am in California so I do get some lovely pool patios. One gentleman was applying for a very large loan and he lives in a very wealthy city. As I pulled up to his house, his garage was open it had been completely converted into a fitness studio and his personal trainer was there. When I got out of my car he dismissed his trainer as, “Oh it’s business time now, you can go.” Then he stood there with his arms out while his trainer toweled him off!!! That took every bit of strength I had not to laugh out loud. He ushered me to his lovely patio with a gorgeous pool to do the signing. The signing was super easy because that man had done many loans before. I think he went back to working out after I left.


Great story! Been there too! Those are the times that I am grateful to be wearing a mask!

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I really don’t understand why their family don’t intervene, help these people, so many hoarders they need help, and so may notaries have horror stories about the hoarders, that we have to endure. :confused: :anguished:

During my reading of this ’ story, I thought the same thing!!

Bobby, seriously, you are a great person describing all the details and redacting everything so well, and make interesting!.

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Not only their family could help her, but also I think… how does a lender send an appraiser, take photos of this interior house, and approve the loan.

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I agree with you and I really feel bad for them. :cry:

I agree. This was amazing writing and I hated to see his story end:). However, I believe it was so spot on, that all of us can relate but he wrote his experience with such eloquence:(). Loved this one❤️

And your other job should be as a notary blogger. this was hilarious! Well written. I had a SIGNING similar to this but the old man was so sweet–he was just dirt poor–I noticed a table in the kitchen but Nixed that idea with a chagrined look on his face. I think the roof was falling in . instead we did it on a broken down TV tray but we got through it.


Omg this was hilarious and haven’t we all experienced something close to this?!
I would have turned around and said, " I’ll meet you at the closest Starbucks!" LOL
You are definitely a Great writer!