Everything is New –
With only one house sit under our belt, we were on the steep part of the learning curve. Our second house sit brought a few firsts: the first face-to-face interview with a homeowner, our first signed house sitting contract, first overlap (by one day) first time arriving after the owner had departed, and the first time without a home of our own!
We had completed the last clean up and inspection at our apartment and given back the keys! Now, we needed house sits big time, or we were in big trouble. Surprisingly, the feelings that arose were more of excitement than worry, a sense of freedom was kicking in, and we liked it.
Most issues that came up centered on physical belongings. What is in storage that we need? What else goes to Goodwill, what goes in the car with us? These were now pressing matters for us, and it forced a lot of decisions.
We took some items like our iron frying pan and other kitchen items back to the storage unit and took out things like the coffee maker and Nutribullet/blender. Luckily the storage unit was close, and I had another week of winter break, so we spent time there almost every day.
The Four Questions
At one point, we suddenly remembered the questions to ask when you are trying to get rid of clutter. For each item, you ask:
Do I love it?
Do I honestly need it?
Does it serve a purpose?
Does it have significance in my life?
Looking back, the questions do help make decisions, but for us, they didn’t go far enough. We owned many items that served a real purpose, or we loved, or honestly needed. It didn’t matter; we didn’t have space, and that meant letting go of many treasures, pure and simple.
The Media Capital of the World
This home was in a very different neighborhood than our first house sit; it was right smack dab in suburban Los Angeles. Having lived in the San Fernando Valley we were familiar with Burbank, but being there for two weeks allowed us to get to know the area better.
It’s a classic part of Los Angeles with charming streets, houses of all types, horses, lots of horses, neighborhood stores, and restaurants. Many entertainment companies including Disney, ABC, and Warner Brothers Studios, have major centers here; so the area is busy!
We found the oldest Bob’s Big Boy Restaurant in the US and so did many others. Wow, what a line to eat there. We didn’t eat there, but it was interesting to see.
There are certainly many places to visit in the immediate area. Our outings included walks around the neighborhood, bike rides into the hills nearby, the Equestrian Center, the library, and a few parks. Also, two trips out of the immediate area to interview homeowners for possible house sitting assignments.
There is another notable aspect of the area: horses everywhere! The area was zoned for horses, and we saw many people riding down the street or up the alleyways. It was a new thing for us and enjoyable. Of course, you might need to watch where you step!
Our abode was an old two-story white brick building with about eight apartments. It was on a busy thoroughfare which, surprisingly, wasn’t crazy busy during most of the day. Mature sycamore and oak trees lined both sides of the street; it was quite beautiful.
Elvis is in the Building
We heard one unique thing every morning – the ‘roaring beast’ – Jim’s name for the noise from the nearby highway; even at 5:00 am the sound was incredible. My commute had me in the middle of that during the second week of our stay as winter break was over, and school was back in session.
We met a few of the neighbors during our time there: Dave the guitar player next door (loud) and a couple of doors down, an Elvis impersonator who wore his Elvis wig and outfit every time we saw him, even first thing in the morning. What a hoot!
A Shy Cat
The animal in our charge was an eight-year-old black cat. The host warned us she was shy and that we might not see her for several days. Boy, was she ever. For the first few days, we saw no sign of her and worried she wasn’t eating enough.
In fact, we sometimes worried she wasn’t even in the house. But we had been very careful going in and out the front door, so where could she be?
We looked everywhere: closets, cupboards, under everything, on top of everything. It was a major mystery and a big contrast from our last cat in Goleta. That cat was always out and about. He wanted to be outside all the time, the further away, the better. That cat presented a whole different kind of worry.
This one was just the opposite. It’s kind of like people in a way: you can’t stop some folks from throwing a party, and you can’t get others to go to one.
Our Cat Plan
We worried that our presence was frightening her too much and keeping her away from her routine. She usually had the run of the place while her owner worked. We decided to leave the house for a few hours during each day; hoping she would come out and eat in peace.
Fortunately, this allowed us time to deal with the storage issues while making sure the cat got some privacy as well. We mean that sincerely, she was clearly stressed, so we tried to make it easier for her.
After the first few days, we did hear her little paws clicking on the floor at night eating and using the litterbox.
For the rest of our time there, we got to see her occasionally, but we never got to hold her or spend a lot of time with her. But we did see ‘evidence’ that she’d come out of her hiding place while we were away. We guess the experiment worked. Something to remember if this happens again!
We did find out one surprising thing about ourselves at this house sit: we both like to clean. Of course, cleaning was routine when we had a home of our own.
We had recently cleaned our apartment from top to bottom; then we cleaned a lot at our first house sit, and we just kept it up at this home. When you don’t have a daily work schedule, cleaning can also help to stay busy and kill a little time.
Also, cleaning someone else’s house is more satisfying than cleaning your own, right? The broom got a workout inside and out, and the windows sparkled!
We’ve kept this up ever since, and we do a pretty thorough cleaning at each house. We figure it’s a contribution we can make to folks who are busy with work, businesses or children. What’s not to like about coming back to a clean, tidy house?
When the owner returned, we made our jolly way over to a hotel since we didn’t have our next house sit lined up! Two house sits done, and we saw hotels on the horizon, but no house sits.
What’s Next – Doubt rears its head
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