Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Housesitting - current and future

Where to begin?  To paraphrase Maria, I’ll start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.  I got up at 6am – ok, to be honest the alarm went off at 6am, but I didn’t exactly hop right out of bed.  Anyway, I threw on some tennis shoes and headed out for a jog, although I definitely walked more than jogged.  I was going to Gawler for the day, but had to put out the green recycling bin at Adams.  Since I wasn’t sure what time I’d get back from Gawler and didn’t want to have to do it in the dark I decided I’d best do it before I headed out.  I had no idea how long it would take me to get there so I decided I had best start early.  A bonus to the early start was that I got to see a bit of the sunrise.  After my trip to Walkerville I got ready for the day and then realized that Easter Monday was probably considered a public holiday and the bus wouldn’t be running until later than I had planned.  So the moral of that story is that I’m still bad with the bus schedule and I could have slept in.
I caught the train to Gawler and met Dick at the station – well I walked right past him and he apparently didn’t recognize me from the photos I have on my housesitting profile.  I’d never seen a photo of him, but thanks to cell phones we found each other.  We went back to their home where I met his wife Les and the 2 dogs, Pancho and Jordan.  They’re very nice dogs, but I’d definitely prefer if they were outside only dogs.  Just the neat freak in me I guess, well that and I’ve never lived with a dog inside before.  They’re actually British, but have lived here longer than they lived in Britain they told me.  If you know any Australian immigration history, they’re 10-pound poms.  Anyway, they showed me around the house and then their daughter who lives nearby joined us for lunch.  She was very nice and if I have any issues or need anything she said I can just call and she’ll help me out.  I wanted to be back before it got dark, so we headed out around 3:30 and Dick showed me the park where they walk the dogs, the vet and other places in town I might need to know.  Thankfully I didn’t have to memorize any of the directions quite yet, as some of you know I’m not known for my sense of direction.  They’ve had plenty of house sitters over the years so they have lots of maps and print outs of what to do while they’re gone, so that’s really good for me. 

I made it back from the train station in town and decided I should feed the gold fish quickly before I headed to the garage (in case I never mentioned, I live in the apartment above the garage).  I’m usually quite careful with the keys, I’m a bit worried about locking myself out of the house since she’s gone for the weekend.  I put my keys in my purse (or so I thought) and set it on the table while I went to feed the goldfish.  I grabbed my purse off the table, turned around and locked the door as I walked out.  As I was reaching into my purse to get the keys back out to unlock the garage I got that sinking feeling and turned around to see them still sitting on the table.  Ugh.  I quickly texted Lesley to ask if she had a spare key hidden somewhere, knowing full well she rarely has her phone right on her and since she’s on vacation probably wouldn’t have it with her anyway.  I tried calling as well, but didn’t get a response.  It was starting to get dark and I had no way to find the phone number for a locksmith.  I’ve never even called a locksmith!  I knew the Rowstons were having family over for dinner so I really didn’t want to bother them, so I decided to just send a quick text asking them to send me the number of a locksmith whenever they got a chance.  As I sat at the patio trying to figure out who I could ask for a phone book it dawned on me that there should be one at the nursing home next door!  Indeed there was, so, after looking through the ads I decided to just call the one on the keychain.  I just remember thinking when I first saw it that if I locked myself, out knowing the name of a locksmith doesn’t do you any good when their phone number is with the keys.  I probably should have called around to try to find a good price, or someone who could arrive quicker, but I figured Lesley must trust these people, or know them, or has used them before, so it should be a safe bet.  I gave them a call and they said it would be about an hour, maybe an hour and a half before they could be there, but they were on their way.  As I sat waiting Rosalie called me to give me the number of a place they’d used before.  I’d already paid a deposit over the phone (which when I told her that she seemed to think I shouldn’t have done – like I said, I’ve never called a locksmith before, I’m not sure of the standard operating procedure), so I told her I was just waiting for the other people to arrive.  About a half hour later she called back asking how it was going and told me that she was sending Doug over and if the locksmith didn’t come he’d just bring me back and we’d settle everything in the morning.  Seeing as it was now dark I guess it wasn’t such a bad idea to have Doug be there when the locksmith arrived...I just hate to cause a fuss. 
Tom (the locksmith technician) arrived to open the lock and by the time I filled out the paperwork he’d picked the lock.  As we were walking back out to the car I saw Doug’s head over the gate.  I paid the rest of my fee and Doug saw me safely back inside.  Not at all how I’d planned to spend my evening.  But, I really can’t complain – all that was hurt was my pride and my wallet.  Lesley texted me this morning to say she’d just received my message and Joy had an extra key.  I honestly can’t remember if I’ve ever met Joy and I definitely don’t have her number, but oh well.  Definitely unsettling knowing I’m about to be in charge of someone’s house, two dogs and cat for 6 weeks by myself – and driving their car – but I’ve got to just let it go.  So that my newest Aussie adventure. 

On a lighter, more random note – the Sunrise morning show always gives me a laugh.  The other day, must have been a slow news day, they had a video of an American couple’s encounter with a moose while out snowmobiling. After they showed the clip, the Aussie news anchor says, “I love America, the wife was packing heat.”  And that my friends, is why I’m proud to be an American.

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