Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

A Day in the Life of a House Sitter – Sebastopol, CA

Mark and I have been living in Sebastopol, California for over two months with precious Lola. As we are packing up and ready to leave the area, I figure it is about time to write a blog about a random day in our lives here as house sitters. I post this feature every time we do a long-term sit, like at the artist-inspired home with parrots and dogs in Kent, CT, the maple farm with Jenny in Heath, MA and our first stay in Northern California, with Herk in the suburbs of Rocklin, CA. And, just for fun, I also wrote about it during our short time in the biggest retirement community of the world, called The Villages, in Florida.

Cozy fire

Our days probably look pretty much the same as other forty-somethings with full-time jobs and no children, except for the fact that we don’t have to commute and we fill gaps, late afternoons, evenings and weekends with doggy love and devotion. 🙂 By now, once we are settled in a new place, our routine is pretty straightforward.

6:30am: The alarm goes off. Mark opens Lola’s crate and jumps in the shower. I get my own shower created by her licks, accompanied by soft moans and snuggles. It is a nice way to wake up. During the weekends, we leave the door to her crate open and she joins us in bed around the same time. Then, she has two faces to lick.

7:00am: Mark goes to work in the office and focuses on our business, The Wirie. I catch up on emails, house sit listings, blogs, comments and Facebook on my iPad, still in bed. Lola is fed downstairs and let outside by Mark. During the weekend, I get up for this part. She joins me again after her potty break.

8:00am: I get ready for the day, do some exercises and make breakfast for myself. Mark usually eats earlier or later, after starting a wood fire.

8:30am – 12:30pm: We sit behind our computers in our own office; Mark downstairs, I upstairs. Mark calls customers and takes care of random business chores, I write in my memoir or focus on other writing projects or translation jobs. Each time I leave my desk, I have to pet and hug Lola. I have a sneaking suspicion Mark does the same. She is such a sweet, cute dog!

Mark in his office

12:30pm – 1:30pm: Lunch time. We were hoping to sit in the spring sun on the deck for this often, but the excessive rain and cold temperatures did not agree, unfortunately. We eat, drink our tea and play with Lola indoors instead.

1:30pm – 3:30pm: Wirie work for Mark and social emails, reading, researching and other projects for me. Recently: studying for my Massachusetts driver’s exam.

3:30pm – 4:30pm: Loop walk with Lola in the area.

4:30pm – 5:30pm: Winding down and finishing up the work day. Lola has her dinner at 5pm and likes to play with her plethora of toys after it is all digested. More often than not, she chooses the tennis ball.

5:30pm – 6:30pm: We cook a healthy meal and hang out together at dinner. Lola is settled on her couch.

6:30pm – 9:30pm: Dishes, clean-up, picking up the mail if that hasn’t happened yet, maybe a soak in the hot tub, sometimes TV in the form of Netflix or a movie, sometimes reading blogs or magazines, sometimes, just hanging out on the couch, talking about the future. Lola keeps us company close by. When she gets sick of all the cuddles, she retreats to one of her favorite spots in the house: her leather seat in front of the fire, the bed, or the shelf in front of the big office window – perfect for spotting deer.

9:30pm: Bed time.

Rereading this, it looks like we lead a pretty boring life! But, we are enjoying the conveniences and the luxury of a homey lifestyle, still. The highlights are the weekends, when we explore what the area has to offer.

On Fridays, we usually take Lola for a walk at Ragle Ranch Regional Park and let her play with the hundreds of tennis balls at the dog park there.

Once in a while, we walk to our favorite beach at Pinnacle Gulch and when the weather is bad – it has been rainy and chilly often – we go to the movie theater or catch up on chores inside the house.

Every few days, we carry two wheelbarrow loads of chopped wood inside, fill the bird feeders and check the hot tub for maintenance.

Occasionally, we water the plants inside (so much rain has fallen that watering outside is not needed) and start the owners’ cars. And, that’s about it. Mark and I have been pretty happy here, but now it is onward to the East Coast for a few weeks to see friends, family and doctors. We will miss Lola heaps!

Rare sunny day on the porch


  1. I would get so attached to the dogs! And maybe even the houses if I stayed long enough. Your days don’t sound boring; they sound “normal!” You two seem like a great team! 🙂

    • I think our experience of moving from place to place by sailboat and camper for a decade and having to say “goodbye” to friends made along the way, leaving places we really loved, and friends and family we visit very infrequently, makes this part easier for us, Lexie. That being said, we did wish we could have stayed longer in this house and with Lola. Maybe, we will be back next year! And, yes, we are a great team, for as long as we have been together. When you live 24/7 together, you better get along well, right? 🙂

  2. I think Lola will miss you more! Thanks for the insight and photos.

    • You know what, Ryan? We actually think she does miss us. We heard some reports about a “moping dog” from the owners. Dogs forget easily, though, but we are curious about meeting her again in the future and whether she will remember us. We certainly will remember her. This sweet girl secured a spot in our hearts. 🙂

  3. Sounds like a really nice way to pass your days (except for the rainy and chilly bit but it really has been one of the worst falls/winters/springs).

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

    • I read somewhere a few days ago that Seattle has had 140 days of rain since October 1st. So, knowing that, I think we were still better off in Sebastopol, although Mark often joked that he thought we got the weather that Seattle usually gets. I guess Washington also got even more than “usual”. Too bad! I actually never thought it could be this chilly in California in April, but it has been proven to be through. Funny thing is that after two months, the temperature was the exactly same as when we arrived! Here’s to a warm spring and excellent summer! We might cross paths with you. 🙂

  4. Not boring at all… you are in a lovely area and you have Lola to keep you on your toes. It really sounds like you’ll miss the area and Lola… and she’ll for sure miss you. I bet she hasn’t had that much exercise for a long time! I love these re-caps.

    • I agree, it was not boring. Busy visiting at the moment in between housesits, so haven’t much time. Enjoyable post 🙂

    • Thanks, Janis. This is certainly a place and an assignment we consider returning to. If for nothing else, because we miss Lola. And, because there is still more to see and do. 🙂 We are usually ready to leave after the committed time, but here, we wished we had about a month longer.

  5. I love how Lola waits patiently on one side of the office, tennis ball in her mouth, for the moment when one of you will be able to play with her. Safe journey to the east coast and good luck!

    • Thanks! She sure is obsessed with her tennis balls. If only she would return the ball after we threw it, instead of us having to chase her to get it back, to throw again… 🙂

  6. Beautify.! Gorgeous place to stay for a while.

  7. I agree with your other readers — your life does not seem boring at all! Actually, it seems extraordinary!
    PS – Lola is one lucky dog!!

    • Well, let’s just say it is more boring than any of our other previous lifestyles. 🙂 But, we love a bit of routine and comfort these days… in preparation of the next adventure.

  8. Thank you for sharing a-day-in-the-life-of. Gorgeous sunshine, tranquil days, interesting balance of work, reflection, and play — and a big happy dog to share it all. May your trip east be as bountiful!

    • Thanks, Beth. We certainly had a good thing going there for two months. Now, life is a bit more chaotic and less private for a bit, here in Massachusetts and in a few weeks, back in Belgium… Our house sitting lifestyle will resume in California on June 21st. 🙂

  9. On the road again! 🙂 Safe journey! You don’t really spend as much time outdoors as I would expect, Liesbet. I know Mark is tied to the business but I find it very hard to stay indoors on a nice day. That wanderlust again 🙂 🙂

    • Thanks, Jo. When it is nice out (less than we thought we’d experience in Northern California), I am antsy to get out, but during the week, I try to get some work done as well, otherwise that memoir will never get finished! 🙂 I am trying to put a hold on that wanderlust now, for bigger adventures to come, and try to see and do as much as possible and get my fill during the weekends. I just know that once we get a camper again, life will be much less settled and conducive to the projects I’d like to accomplish, so I really need to focus on them now… Another year or so. 🙂

  10. Thank you for sharing your cool experiences! If life as a housesitter was exciting no one would agree to do it! 🙂 What I have noticed is that you not only have wonderful photos that tell a great tale of each of your sits, but you have collected wonderful memories of all the pooches you have cared for!

    • You are so right about all the dogs, Terri. They are all so different and interesting in their own way, each having their own personality. It is a great experience to not only discover different places in this country and live in them like a local, but also meet and connect to different breeds of dogs.

  11. I think you have a very interesting lifestyle Liesbet and I admire your courage at going for it in the first place and then succeeding. I can imagine it needs a fair bit of self-discipline, but that’s the same for any independent job isn’t it. I can also imagine it must be tough to move on. Where is your next job likely to be, do you know?

    • The lifestyle is interesting, Denzil and a great alternative to not being on the road and exploring the whole time. We save that for the weekends and can combine it beautifully with our jobs. It is the main reason, we are mostly interested in longer term sits. We are now on the East Coast to help out Mark’s elderly parents and will be in Belgium for four weeks after that, at my parents’ place, to take care of a few things and work. Our next confirmed house sit is back in the San Francisco Bay Area (Oakland) for three weeks, with two dogs and carnivorous plants, on June 21st. 🙂

  12. What a treat to have a hot tub! Lola seems like such a sweet dog. She has been in good hands!

    • Mark is not interested in hot tubs (he used to have one when he was living the American Dream, before meeting me), but I really enjoyed it, especially when it was dark and I could see the stars and listen to the frogs and crickets. It was also the perfect remedy for when I was too cold. 🙂 Lola is great and we are missing her…

  13. It looks like this was a fabulous, long stay. My guess is Lola is missing the wonderful, loving attention of the two of you. Enjoy your visits with family and friends. Looking forward to seeing where you land next. Happy travels!

    • Thanks, Sue. Based on “moping” reports, it looks like Lola and us are missing each other. Or, she is mad that either her owners left her, or that we left. She will get over it, though. 🙂 Busy times now and ahead…

  14. Goodness that Lola is a little Love Muffin. You must miss her terribly. And how lucky were you to enjoy two months in lovely Sebastopol. I hope you are enjoying time back East.

    • We do miss Lola and hope our schedules (and tolerance of the cold) allow for a repeat house sit in Sebastopol next spring!

  15. Boring? Not at all. Liesbet. I love routine and so does my partner and our dog. What matters is that you’re happy doing what you do.

    • After being on the road and the water for so long, never knowing what was in store and living day to day, this resemblance of some routine does feel good right now, Hugh. For a little while anyway. Although, at the moment, it is back to chaos for a bit. Our motto is: “As long as we are enjoying what we are doing, we will continue. From the moment happiness is at stake, we change gears and lifestyle.” 🙂 Easier said than done, of course…

  16. Wow, what a gorgeous place! The house looks very luxurious. I envy your routine. It seems so productive, sane, and healthy. Is it difficult to get into a routine when you’re moving so often?

    • The house in Sebastopol was built by the owners, and the man is a master wood worker. If you would have been able to see the interior, you would have been in awe! Everything wood, he made himself and turned into a masterpiece, from the cabinets, to the light fixtures, to the banister to the base boards, which look like puzzle pieces! Incredible.

      It always takes us a few days to settle in, unpack, organize and get settled. Usually after that, we get into a routine we like. The days of travel during the week are always a total “waste” when it comes to work, which is sometimes hard to catch up on, especially for Mark.

  17. I think you live a fascinating life! I love Sebastopol-lived in Marin County California for many many years. You get to see the world by being independent and animal lovers. I’m sure Lola will see you in her dreams for a long time.

    • Marin County is so amazing. My husband had told me all about that county, since he lived in the Bay Area when we met, but I never really hiked or explored the headlands at all. Then, we had a one week house sit in Fairfax and it rained the whole time, so still no experience seeing the beauty with my own eyes. And then, in March, we had visitors from Belgium and made a day trip from Sebastopol. I was hooked. 🙂 Being able to combine my three biggest passions, travel, writing and animals is a pretty sweet deal. 🙂

  18. I have nominated you for the Liebster Award 🙂 I have posted a blog with the rules and questions to follow, in which you will then post onto your own blog post if you except.

    • Thanks, guys. I accepted and reacted to the Liebster Award before on my previous (sailing) blog It’s Irie, years ago. Not sure whether I will oblige this time (I have a lot of topics to write and post about still, and a Versatile Blogger Award involving questions as well), but I will keep it in mind.

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