There were, of course, some lessons to note after my first week of house sitting. Big changes will inevitably produce some awkward moments that need to be managed.
Lesson 1 – The dog is clever enough to remember routine
We spent a few days building mutual rapport before taking our first walk. He is big, huge and rather strong. Finally, plucking up the courage (me, not him), out we went. It was very early in the morning, just in case it all went terribly wrong. There would be few, if any, witnesses. Allowing him to work off some of the excitement in the yard first was a good idea. The walk was manageable.
The next morning, same time. This walk was a little more boisterous but still manageable.
This morning, I decided to give my feet a break. I didn’t expect to feel it so much in the feet. It’s a faster pace than I’m used to.
The dog knows his missing out. He’s sooking by the back door. Tomorrow. I promise. If it’s not raining.
Lesson 2 – If I want to tell stories in pictures, I must remember to take the Before shot
I blame the lack of caffeine. On arrival, my caffeine intake dropped dramatically. It was nil some days, and I walked around in a fog.
There is now a large mug of the stuff beside me as I type. Regretfully, it is tinged with guilt. I need to reduce expenditure, so I’m changing some old habits. Gone, the daily diet coke and coffee-shop coffee. Instead, I’m trying those store-bought sachets that include frothy milk. The guilt comes from throwing away the sachet after its been emptied. Not the new lifestyle I want to build for myself.
Lesson 3 – You can’t do everything at once
Actually, not so much a lesson as a deliberate strategy settled upon very, very quickly.
It had been over a week since I’d seen a washing machine. Essential first thing, understand the new laundry and get all the washing done. Second, start setting up a functional wardrobe. Third, sort out all the kitchen foodstuffs that emerged from my pantry.
It’s an uncomfortable strategy. I just want to pull everything together at once, all sorted, all tidied, immediately! My stuff arrived in four separate loads, over a period of six weeks, sometimes without me, but even when I was there I was too exhausted to care. I certainly can’t blame my helpers. The problem is not so much the disorganisation as not knowing where things are in that disorganisation.
The 6×3 storage I’m renting is completely full. Chockers.
Here’s where I wish I had a Before photo on opening the roller door on Day 1, although you can probably get a sense of it … I’ve only made a small indent.
Each morning, I move things around, decide on some categories for the next stage of tidying, gather up enough to fill the car boot – things that will be useful or can be dealt with quickly.
Did I mention it was hot?
I really need to find the box/es with the documents required to update my resume!
I really need to get a digital strategy up and running so I’m less reliant on hard copies.
The process of sorting has left me with some conundrums. For example, there are two storage tubs of unwanted cleaning products sitting by the front door. How do you pass them on without being offensive? It’s like giving someone deodorant as a present! (I did that once – he was using Brut, and I thought no woman deserves Brut).
Lesson 4 – It’s hot
I forgot to account for the inevitable and over-night increase in temperature when I moved. It’s that time of year, and it’s always warmer where I am now than where I was last week. My summer wardrobe needs a revamp. I just dislike terribly wearing light-weight fabric when I’m in such a wobbly state. Too embarrassing.
Lesson 5 – Throw out junk food left behind by the owner
Trying to ignore the chocolate and biscuits is a waste of time. It will get eaten if it stays in the house. It will have to be replaced anyway on the owners’ return, so chuck it out straight away.
I didn’t, and the scales are telling the tale in dramatic fashion.
Tomorrow, I start House Sitting Week 2.
The big question, based on past experiences of not working: How long before I spend the entire day watching TV?