I recently finished a House-sitting job. This time there were no animals involved, just plants. When I first met the host; about two weeks before the sitting date, I had this feeling inside my gut. I chose to ignore it and convinced myself that everything was fine, when really it wasn’t. I mean, how hard can it be looking after house plants? Well, I am happy to say that no plants died during the house sitting. Everyone was happy, except for the host.
This is where I should have listened to my gut instincts when I first met the host. But at the time of viewing the place and talking with her, it went so quickly that before I knew it I had accepted the house sit. When I said goodbye and see you in a couple of weeks, my gut kept telling me to cancel the house sit, tell her that you are not able to look after her plants, but I felt that it was already too late and I didn’t want to let the old lady down.
So, during the two weeks before the date, I talked myself into believing that it will fine, she’s just an old lady and what bad thing could possibly go wrong. All I had to do was water the plants, some I had to water a couple of times during the hot days and talk to them; which I do anyway. As long as they did not die, then everything would be just fine. The host also sent me text messages with photos of each plant and how to look after them. I thought this was good as there was so much to remember. Then the messages kept coming, one after the other, this time not about the plants but other things in her home. It got to the stage where I had to reply and say to her that there was no need to send me anymore messages as it was getting too much. I started to feel that funny feeling in my gut and I was getting nervous and anxious. Again, I convinced myself that everything would be fine. This was her first time having a house sitter in her home so I understood where she might be coming from.
The night before I was due to start the house sit, the host sends me a message asking me to come over earlier than what we agreed on. I replied saying sorry, but I wasn’t able to come earlier. She got angry telling me that she wants to show me a few more things. I told her that she has sent me all the instructions already with all the previous messages and I had already been shown around with the instructions. What more could she want to show me. It was a small flat, not a mansion. My stomach started to turn on me by this point.
On the morning of the booking, I was so freaking nervous. I knocked on her door and she welcomed me with a smile. She asked me if she could give me a hug, and she apologized. Well, that was a huge relief.
During my stay, I was about to jump in the shower and above me was a rail full of old clothes hangers which were mainly the wire ones. There were also two small plastic hangers, they were the ones that you find in the store when you buy a bra. They have a funny loop on the ends. Well, when I moved them over to one side one of them snapped and fell on the floor. I did not think anything of it, it was really old and it pretty much crumbled in my hands when I picked it up. (big mistake)
This was the first time that I had to use the host’s bed. This is something that I prefer not to use. So far, I have been lucky with having my own room. Unless I feel that the home is super clean and there is no other spare room then I am okay with using the host’s bed.
Unfortunately, the bedroom was so cluttered with dusty books and furniture and she had Persian rugs all throughout the flat laid on top of the carpet. This made it so hard to walk as each time you stepped on the rugs it would move, and she had mentioned this in her messages that I would have to keep all the rugs flat.
She told me to keep the blinds closed at certain times during the day because she did not want the sun to damage her furniture and clothes, mind you this building had the sun all around it. I was also told not to open windows. So basically, I was trapped inside a box with no fresh air and no sun unless I stepped outside.
During my stay the weather was steaming hot. The host did not have air conditioning, which is fine with me but I was not given a fan to use. The first couple of nights was unbearable and I eventually had to borrow a fan from a friend.
It was finally time for me to pack my bags and load up the car. Oh, how happy was I. I could not get out of there quick enough. I said goodbye to the plants and thanked them for not dying on me.
The next day I received a message from the host demanding to know where her electrical cable was. I quickly ran to my car looked through my bags and yep, there it was. I apologized and told her that I thought it was mine and picked it up by accident. You see when I am house sitting I always set up a table with my laptops so I can work on-line. I also bring my own extension cords and power boards so I can connect all my electrical equipment.
She was not happy and told me to bring it over straight away. I told her that I wasn’t able to as I had already started a new house sit which was over an hour drive away. She then sends me another photo, this time of the plastic coat hangers. She tells me that there was three and wants to know where the other two are. I told her that one of them broke and there was only two not three. She had accused me of taking her things and wanted to know what else was missing. I thought what on earth would I want with an old clothes hanger that I had no use for, unless I wanted to hang my bra on it. I told her that I was not a thief and that I would return the electrical cord tomorrow. I could not believe that I would have to face her again.
The next day, I felt terrible about her little clothes hanger so I went to K-mart, I bought myself two bras, and I kept the clothes hangers and placed it in a bag along with her electrical cord. Thankfully, she was not home. I put the bag inside a hole in the wall, which was once used for milk bottles, back in the days. I sent her a message along with a photo letting her know that the bag was in the hole in the wall along with two small plastic clothes hangers.
She replied. “ I DON’T WANT YOUR CLOTHES HANGERS”
Since I started this House Sitting journey I have certainly learnt a lot, not only about myself and what I am capable of doing but also about being patient and not judging peoples homes and the way they live. I am not one to judge as I know exactly what if feels like as I have lived a life of constantly being judged by others. So, I know how it feels. But, in this situation I should have firstly gone with my gut instinct and secondly I should have refused this house sit.
It has certainly been a learning curve and there are always things to pick up and learn. But one thing is for sure. Next time I will listen to that feeling inside my stomach that tells me to get out of there.