House Sitting – Rules & Contradictions

As a house sitter, I’ve mopped more floors in someone else’s home than I will EVER do in my own! I’m a much better house sitter that I am house keeper and, because of that, I’ve learned a few things that I thought I’d share with you.

If you’re a house sitter, always be a better house keeper than the owner. Not ALL the time, just when you’re in their home…or at least on the day you leave.

If you’re a house owner, realise that your home won’t really look the way you left it. If you’re lucky, they might be a better house keeper than you, but…….probably not.

Communicate. This is so important for both sides. Ask questions! Lots and lots of them.

Do you want something done, or not done, while you’re away? Write it down. Write everything down. Where is the vacuum cleaner? Where on Earth is that tiny white on white button that turns on the dishwasher? What does the dog eat? Write it down.

Uh oh. Broken something during your stay? A cup? Plate? Door knob? Write it down. Text if necessary, but at the very least leave a note and an apology.

Be honest. Before during and after the experience, be honest.

I’m bringing 4 kids under 10 and our own inside Dalmatian. We were hoping to have just one person stay with our anxious Shi Tzu.

I’ll be out every day from dusk til dawn. Our pets need someone all day, everyday.

Be realistic.

If your house owner says, “Help yourself to whatever you’d like,” they don’t actually mean that you should eat them out of house and home. Sure, have at the pantry…in moderation. Perhaps don’t eat all of their chocolate stash and drink all of their boutique beer or feed yourself for the week on everything they own. If you had to shop and replace it all before you left, would the grocery bill frighten you? Hmmmm.

If you say, “Help yourself to whatever you’d like,” don’t be surprised if you come home to no milk, bread or chocolate. Say it, mean it.

Be prepared for weird.

It doesn’t seem like much to mind someone’s house and maybe pets, does it? And most times, it’s not. But sometimes…..

Last night, the little old terrier I’m hanging out with this week had a bad night. She’s been fine for the rest of the time, but last night she couldn’t sleep for some reason. Her insomnia and dementia had her pacing her garage bedroom, yipping. Loudly. She’d been fed, watered, taken outside for the necessities, but nothing was working.

So, what to do? It’s now 10pm. Let’s try it all again. Is she too warm? Too cold? Needs to go out? Needs to come in? Water, check. Food….bit more, check.

30 minutes later, it hasn’t worked.

So, what else might work?

I’d turn on the light, but she’s blind.

I’d turn on some music or white noise, but she’s deaf, too.

What to do? What to do?

I’m a mum of 4, I’ve got this.

So now it’s a little past 1am and I’m sitting by the dog’s bed, patting her tiny little self as she circles and pads and sniffles and, finally, falls asleep.

They say there are rules for this house sitting business. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some. What do you think? Tell me what I need to know for next time.

I’m a person who…

Warning! Truth ahead!

I’m a person who:

*  has a very full life
*  loves doing lots with friends
*  is one of the worst housekeepers I know
*  is a master of the scurryfunge
* has lots of ‘doing’ energy outside of home, but not often ANY at home
*  has discovered she loves watching ‘gross’ medical and dermatological videos on YouTube
*  is learning much more about herself as she heads towards middle age
*  is generally accepting most of it
*  should not be allowed near stationery shops or ebay with $
*  used to buy to feel better
*  is a better talker than listener, but I’m learning
*  loves romance novels
*  doesn’t make the bed
*  is a mass of contradictions
*  knows productinating is a skill
*  has decided to accept depression, but not be a victim to it
*  excels at word games
*  has one of the best relationships with her mum that she knows
*  hasn’t properly cooked a meal at home for years
*  wants my kids to be happy in what they’re doing
*  is scared of missions trips, but going anyway
*  loves recognition for achievements
*  loves all children – mine or not
*  cries
*  loves organising 1 off projects or systems
*  suffers no embarrassment
*  is an advice giver
*  wears long pants because she IS too lazy to shave her legs
*  often realises later that I’m friends with someone who perhaps didn’t seem to like me to begin with. I find it a challenge I think
*  says what I mean
*  will take criticism, but doesn’t always like it
*  is generous
*  dislikes shopping of any kind, immensely
*  gets hurt if people think I’ve done the wrong thing and I haven’t
*  takes responsibility
*  asks lots of questions
*  will avoid blood tests if possible
*  would love to foster care but is afraid of losing or failing those children
*  doesn’t like pork
*  has phases and fads of things (by choice) and people (not by choice)
*  would love you to comment about yourself, or me.


Veritas, Eski

Housework? I Say No!

Mine is the sort of home where guests for lunch present – apart from menu planning – the added unspoken question as to whose job it will be to clear the dining room table of its drifts of paper, unopened letters and things that people dumped there on the way in from school.

And that’s the way I like it! (Mostly)

Thanks to Annabel Crabb for this eye opening, truthful, realistic and freeing article.

Lesson to my Daughter.

Dust bunnies everywhere – and they are – I salute you. I’m off to sprinkle glitter; sew Hulk costumes; read stories; watch tv; play Lego or any number of the thousand and four things I’d rather be doing than housework.


Veritas Serum

Shades of Harry Potter title, I know, but I can honestly say I’ve had nothing more than water and a hot lemon drink this evening to clear my nose.

However, I’m a firm believer in telling the truth, more so as I age (ever so gracefully). So here’s a few things you may or may not know about moi.

1) I am lazy. If you read the About Me page, you will already know this. Especially if the task at hand requires a broom, cloth or cleaning product, I’m NOT your girl. Give me a break – and cliched KitKat please! I can validate this in all many of engaging and entertaining ways, that’s part of the fun of procrastinating, but it comes back to the very simple fact that I just don’t want to. Take the following with the grain (or suitable measurement) of salt that is often required when dealing with children – a number of years ago, Miss 15 told Grandma that she felt a little bit like Cinderella because they were ALWAYS made to do jobs. Now clearly, that’s not true, but it was a wake up call for me. Obviously, if she felt like Cinderella, then I figure as the wicked step mother, right? Wrong. In all the stories I’ve ever read that would only be true if I were far more unattractive and considerably more wealthy! Myth busted, Kid!

2) I always wanted 6 children. Ever since a “Game of Life” one particularly interesting evening in 1992 where I filled my car with more sets of twins than would comfortably fit, 6 has seemed like a suitable number. I thought I’d finished with 3 until God’s plan surprised us with Mr 2 a little while ago. For the past 2 years I’ve had my nephew living with us and this year we are to be blessed with an exchange son from Thailand, but never the long term 6 kids in the house. Short of immaculate conception, I’m not having any more biologically, so I wonder whether there’s any chance of another on one of God’s as-yet-unknown paths in our future? I’d take them all on if I could.

3) I love writing! Words are my weapon of choice – in a good way most of the time. Give my a pen or a keyboard and I’m off. Poetry, phrases, emails (I’m especially good at wording those tricky things, I think), stories and now, hopefully, a blog. I’ve been rejected by two publishers and its a dream to someday be accepted by one. For that to happen, I need to do far more of it.

4) I have medically treated, chronic major depression. No, I don’t look sad most of the time and I have, thankfully, never tried to hurt myself. For over 20 years, I have been misdiagnosed, mistreated and misunderstood by myself, Drs and those closest to me. Until 5 years ago, I had no idea what other people thought because I didn’t tell them. I felt I must surely be some kind of freakish loser to not be able to cope when there was nothing wrong with my life. I’m not. And if you have depression or another mental illness, neither are you. 5 years ago, I started sharing my history and my present. The change and response has been phenomenal. People have been touched and I feel very grateful. I’m sure we will discuss this more later, but for now, BeyondBlue is an excellent place to start for information.

5) I’ve recently started playing a game on my iPad and I think it’s invading my life! For many years I, a geek/nerd by osmosis, have avoided games due to lack of time, interest or skill. I sometimes limber up my button-mashing fingers to take on the family at Smash Bros or Streetfighter or Mortal Kombat, but I often dazzle them with my uncanny ability to win without actually knowing how to play or even who my character is! Recently though, on a foray into Mr 17’s room to escape the heat and reality for a while, I was lured, tricked and led astray into the world of the Kingdoms and Monsters app. I grew plants and repaired houses; I created buildings and upgraded goblin huts; I whizzed together pies and bought extra virtual land at exorbitant prices. And then I downloaded it onto my own iPad. I cannot share any further at this stage as the Veritas Serum must be wearing off………