In a lot of ways, I am a model house-sitter. I am very clean. I follow instructions well. I provide animals with the appropriate exercise/food/water. I probably couldn’t throw a house party if I tried. But at the risk of losing business from anyone who might read this blog, I have to say, I think I have bad house-sitting luck.
Consider the following mishaps:
- There was the time that I left the sprinklers on all night at the neighbor’s house. Well, make that the two times. In those cases, I would run home during the 20 minutes of lawn watering and…forget to return.
- Then there was the occasion that I picked up the dog from the kennel, put her out in the backyard, and returned 20 minutes later to discover…an empty yard. This resulted in skyrocketing blood pressure, a frantic phone call, and an hour and a half search through neighborhoods with a flash light. After the unsuccessful search party was defeated, we retired to the couch to watch a movie. A movie in which a dog escapes a yard, eats poison…and dies. Thankfully, Ellie did not meet the same tragic end, and likely slept better than I did that night at her rescuer’s house.
- Most recently, the family I house-sat for called the day after I left wondering if I happened to have any trouble with the computer. Uh oh. No, that error warning was not there when I used it. Of course the computer would malfunction the day after I leave despite working perfectly every single day I was there. Because of course it would.
- Two hours after the call about the computer, I listen to my messages and hear that…the fish died. Then they went to the pet store and picked up a new fish…and that fish died. Keep in mind, this message was filled with muffled laughter, not accusation, because at that point it is kind of funny. The fish, Grace, belonged to a six-year-old little girl. I had just left a little note on her bed the day before telling her how well behaved her precious fish was during my stay. Yes, perhaps she was well behaved because she was an INCH FROM DEATH. I thought she was swimming more slowly those last two days. “Well, they’ll be home soon,” I thought, “No need to bother them about the fish.” I’ve never had a fish, so cleaning the water did not cross my mind. I said I was good at following directions, not improvising.
Did you know that they make you bring in the dead fish with the receipt when you want to exchange it for a new one? Like, how many people are trying to score extra fish by faking the death of the one they took home three hours earlier? The image of this little girl having to hold her dead fish in a little baggie on the car ride back to the pet store broke my heart a bit. “Ann, you are never going to let me watch your house again,” I told her on the phone before I went over to pick up my check, “But…at least I kept the dog alive.”