For house sit assignments to line up perfectly, house sitters have to be pretty lucky. Finding consecutive house sits in highly desirable locations is pretty rare, unless you are able to secure every sit of your choice and all the dates are flexible. Or, you are in an ideal position where home owners consult with you to see when you are available. That would be the dream of all house sitters: having different owners bombard you with invitations, so you can choose which situation and location works best for you. Unfortunately, home owners are the ones to pick from an array of sitters, since the demand for house and pet sitting jobs is higher than the supply. So, what do we do to fill the gaps between house sits?
During the year that Mark and I looked for house and pet sitting assignments on the East Coast of the US, the answer was simple: we would return to our home base, a room above the garage in my in-laws’ condo. This is our official residence and where we stay on past and present New England visits. Since mid-October 2016, we find ourselves on the West Coast, without a base. We contemplate buying another camper, so we can travel more to the regions we are interested in, but also to have a home in between sits. We are on the look-out, but for now we only have a tent, sleeping bags and an air mattress. Once winter is over, camping might be an option to fill short gaps. Working on our computers, though, will be hard in such an environment.
Renting an apartment is cost-prohibitive and difficult for short periods of time. Staying at a cheap motel for a few days is possible, but the cost would add up quickly. We are on a budget after all. That being said, if we could combine the stay with some sightseeing in an interesting place, we are certainly up for it. A better solution, however, is to visit friends we haven’t seen in a while and combine the logistic advantage with an even bigger social one. Luckily for us, we do have friends in many states and countries. 🙂
Another arrangement that usually works for both house sitting parties is showing up the night before a sit, to go over all the requirements and tasks (and meet the pets while everybody is still present), and – if the owners agree and/or come back home relatively late in the day – stay one extra night to touch base on how the sit progressed. I always send many updates and photos to the owners while they are away, but communicating in person after each sit proves helpful and brings conclusion.
Without a base on the West Coast, Mark and I faced five days of uncertainty after our three-month house sit with Herk in Rocklin, CA ended on January 9th. The owner would come home pretty late that day, so we could easily stay until the 10th, but then what? In this situation, the wife returned earlier than her husband. She preferred to have some company and thought it would be good for Herk to have us a few days extra as a transition. We took her up on the generous offer and stayed until January 12th. Being in a familiar house and environment made it easy for us to stick to our work schedule instead of moving about those weekdays.
Terri from Second Wind Leisure Perspectives, a blogger I virtually met thanks to another blogger, Janis, graciously invited us over to stay at her home for a couple of nights, when she found out we were in the Sacramento area and could use accommodation. So, late afternoon on Thursday the 12th, we met Terri and her husband Hans at their place. We moved into the guest room for two nights, had a nice time together and even fitted in a walk with her and her dog. On Saturday morning, we departed for Fairfax for our next one-week house sit.
On January 21st, we left Fairfax, CA again for a fun weekend with friends. The first night, we caught up in earnest with Mark’s friends from the years he used to live in the Bay Area. We already went out for dinner with Kathy and Steve while in Fairfax and they had invited us over for that Saturday night. There were so many adventures to share, but time flies when you are having fun!
The following day, we drove to another set of friends who live in the Bay Area. I had seen Shane and Ava in Moorea, French Polynesia, on their 10th anniversary vacation a couple of years prior, but for Mark, it had been a while. Again, it was nice to catch up with them and we stayed for one night. That Monday, we drove all the way south to Costa Mesa to meet the next home owner and her cute seven-month-old puppy Jaxx. We all shared the little apartment the first night, since she had to leave extremely early.
The next gap would be three days, between this 2.5-week house sit in Costa Mesa, Southern California and a one-week sit in Oakland, Northern California. When our time down south drew to an end, we started to make plans for the few days in between. My blogging friend Janis (yes, the Janis from above), who lives in San Diego, a city we have amazing memories of and which we looked forward to visiting again, invited us over for a two-night stay at her house. The third night, we would spend in Morro Bay, either at a friend’s house or in a motel, to break up the long drive back north. Just when we were ready to commit to the plan, Jaxx’ owner asked us whether we could stay a few days extra, so she could extend her vacation in the Philippines. Since this would make everything incredibly easy for us – we didn’t have to move all our belongings or pack up a few times, and it perfectly filled the gap – we obliged and stayed in Costa Mesa until February 14th, the evening of which we were expected in Oakland.
The arrangement was perfect, except for one thing: we were looking forward to meeting Janis – and another friend, Amy – in San Diego that weekend, and seeing some of the city’s wonderful sights. The solution? Mark, Jaxx and I drove south on Saturday to meet up for lunch with Amy and Skylos, a woman and her dog we met on our Central American camper travels and who we hadn’t seen in 11 years.
In the evening, I finally met Janis from Retirementally Challenged and her husband Paul. We had a great evening together, that flew by way too fast. Enjoying San Diego’s beauty was postponed until further notice.
Mark and I have been fortunate filling the gaps between our house sit assignments, thanks to friends and “strangers”. The day we leave Oakland, we arrive in Sebastopol, CA for a two-month sit we are really looking forward to. While we have enjoyed catching up with friends and hopping around a bit, it will be nice to remain settled for a little while again.