How to Get a House Sit!
There I was in Lincoln City, and I get an email from one of our homeowners in Portland. “Did my friend contact you about house sitting for them?” Soon enough, an email arrived from her friend asking if we might be available and willing to house sit for them.
We had a phone conversation, and I told her that we were currently in Lincoln City (which is a two-hour drive from Portland) and we’d have to figure out when we could meet them.
Just by chance (we’ve long since lost count of how often something like this happens) she shared that they were headed out our way, planning to spend the weekend at their second home on Devils Lake in Lincoln City. Well, that solves the travel issue.
I went over, we talked, and all was set for house sit in Portland a couple of months out. Not too shabby, right?
Our Short Visit
Since we had agreed to stay at their home without seeing the house, yard, or the pets, Jim and I went to visit during our time in Dallas. The owner had mentioned that they lived in the Irvington neighborhood which meant nothing to us until we arrived in the area.
Wow, a neighborhood filled with large, older and historic homes – it was gorgeous! They had a boxer puppy who would be going to puppy camp during their trip so we would only need to care for their indoor cat.
We toured the house and yards, went over which plants don’t get water from the sprinklers, met the cat and learned all about him, got a key and departed. The puppy was an adorable Boxer: we were sorry we wouldn’t get to play with him.
Since they were leaving very early in the morning, we arrived for the sit after their departure. We took solo turns at this house since we were also still in Dallas.
The Kitty in Our Care
The cat was a rather portly fellow, and his food and litter box were in the laundry room. Yes, you see the hole he had to go through and the size of his body! It was a bit funny watching him squeeze through, but he managed just fine.
He was a great cat, and he loved affection. Whenever I called him, he came trotting over and would follow me down two flights of stairs for a snack. Most of the time, however, he was asleep on his owner’s bed.
A Bit About the Neighborhood
Since the area was impressive, we did tour a bit and snapped a few photos of other houses. Many of the houses were on the state registry, and I guess once a year they conduct walking tours and folks flock to the event: easy to see why.
This house had four stories! Of course, we never even went in many of the rooms, it was huge! Also, Whole Foods was six blocks away – I was in heaven.
Almost all of the homes were older and had established and stately vegetation and trees. People come to this neighborhood specifically to take in all the beauty.
Even though it was technically summer, for the first couple of days it was chilly. Thank goodness it warmed up and we had pleasant summer weather for the rest of our stay.
Some Portland Fun
Since my family was coming to visit soon, I took the opportunity to go check out the famous Portland Rose Garden. I thought it might be a place to take them during their stay with us.
For those not familiar with the area, the Rose Garden and a few other fantastic places are up on a large hill near a massive city forest park. If you take the Willamette River as the center of town, running north and south, you get two very different experiences depending on whether you go East or West.
To the East, a few ridges and hills, but the city extends for miles and is mostly flat. Go West and you head right into mountains and forests, often within a block of the river.
On the West side the parks, like this one, are up high, providing a panoramic view of the city below, Mt. Hood in the distance and everything in between.
The Forest Park is one of those rare treasures: a vast area, close to the city, set aside from development years ago and dedicated to public use.
If you like your hikes, bike rides, or trail runs on the challenging side (lots of ups and downs), then this is the place to go. We don’t! Still, we found it delightful mostly due to the trees, ferns, and the moss covering anything sitting still.
The Portland Rose Garden
Since it was summer, there were thousands of blooms, and I walked around in awe snapping photos left, right, and center. I didn’t notice how much the shade would affect them, though. Even so, they do give an impression of the place.
Jim and I had visited here almost a decade ago, and I did remember a few things. The timing was perfect for seeing the roses – all blooming, all colors.
Here we were in the middle of Portland’s two major colors: blue in the sky (believe it or not – it’s not rainy all year), and greenery all around. Of course, the garden was green, but not just there. Everywhere you look there’s something green. It just feels lush all over.
It is a beautiful place – there are many splendid spots for a picnic, thousands of roses to see and lovely enclosed areas to explore, and in summer – plenty of sunshine.
A Short Tangent
One of the strange parts of the house-sitting world is that it all happens quietly and out-of-sight. Unless you engage house sitters yourself, or they stay next door, you’re unlikely to meet any. We never have!
That finally came to an end with a couple who had preceded us house sitting in Port Townsend. We found out they were in Portland and got in touch. They invited us for dinner, and we set a time to meet while at this house.
We Are Not Alone
It was fantastic to speak with others who could relate to our new lifestyle and had experienced many of the same things. It turned out that we had all started house sitting within a week of each other in late 2014.
We had so many things in common that we joked about assuming each other’s identities and filling in for each other now and again. That maybe wasn’t the best idea we had that day, ah, the wine, but the similarities were striking. Glad to meet you. Be well. Maybe we’ll see you again down the road. (We did! That’s another story.)
What’s Next – Back to Dallas
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