Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

Completed House Sits: Sebastopol, CA – February 21st to April 26th, 2017

Each time Mark and I complete a house sit (or a few weeks later :-)), I write a little overview of our experiences. Our conclusions of previous sits in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Florida and California can be read here. I am almost a month late with this one – blame the extremely busy times we have had on the East Coast visiting friends, family, doctors and dealing with a bunch of unexpected developments in combination with our usual jobs – but I think most of you will still remember sweet Lola from Sebastopol!

Ever since Mark and I introduced ourselves to the owners – who had invited us to lunch – and to Lola, and received a tour of the house a couple of months before the actual assignment, we looked forward to this particular two-month sit. When Lola greeted us, her tail almost fell off from all the wagging and as the weeks of our stay progressed, our connection grew deeper and deeper. We involved her into our lives as much as possible, especially during the weekends, and took her with us on a three-day-trip to Yosemite National Park. She enjoyed every minute of it. Why go on hikes without a dog if you can have one with you? Being located in Sonoma County does not leave any excuses to sit at home and skip days of exploration. There is so much to see and do around here.

I have written plenty about our excursions and about our daily lives in Sebastopol before, so I am going to keep this blog post short. Except for the weather, which was a bit disappointing in Northern California this winter and spring, especially since we drove across the country mid-October with high hopes of resuming life in warmer climes, we had a fabulous time in Sebastopol and would have loved to stay longer. Yes, we miss Lola. Yes, I would like to repeat sitting in the hot tub at night while listening to the owls and the frogs and watching the stars. Yes, we would love to enjoy some sunshine on the porch and watch the deer – and Lola – frolic in the yard. And yes, we do consider a return sit. Maybe even sooner than expected!

Best feature(s): The home is built by the owners themselves and one of them is a master carpenter – the interior of the house is incredible! It is roomy and comfortable and we enjoyed hanging out on the deck – weather permitting – and watching the birds attack the feeders.

Sebastopol is an open-minded and artsy town with lots of events. The beach was a 20-minute drive away and town about 10 minutes. The restaurant and bar scene is great!

Best gadget(s): Hot tub. Heavy-duty blender. International decorations – we felt right at home. 🙂

Surprise(s): The owners left us a free pass for the local movie theater and an entrance pass to the dog-friendly regional parks. Both came in very handy! They also left a coupon for a sushi meal and a two-hour spa visit (the last one I didn’t use – no time!). We discovered heaps of mint in the garden – yummy in tea and mojitos. Deer were present in the neighborhood, every day.

 

Downside(s): The location was far from a big airport (usually not a problem, but Mark needed to fly out twice and we had family visiting from Belgium during these two months). The stove was dated and unreliable to cook certain dishes – the flame was either too high or too low. We worried the dishwasher would break, so did the dishes by hand. Not a bad thing, since it is much quicker and uses way less water!

Our love is mutual

51 Comments

  1. This home sitting gig sounds quite the score! Totally agree that going on walks with a dog is SO much nicer than without. And how great you took Lola wherever you went… dogs just love to be a part of the action. Love hot tubs and this one sounds really great, as does the area.

    Like the format of your post sitting highlights and best features. While we have not done house sitting we have done quite a bit of home exchange which is similar in the sense that we wind up in unusual places staying in people’s personal homes and neighborhoods. Perhaps we might use your format when writing about our next home exchange experience.

    Love the photos. Looks great!!

    Peta

    • I have another blogging friend who does home exchanges, Peta and it sure sounds like there a lot of similarities between that and house sitting, minus the pets, probably. Having a dog, or taking care of them, encourages us to be out and about much more and to stick to an exercise schedule. When we had our own rescues, while RVing and sailing, we also noticed that it draws attention and you meet more strangers than when not having dogs. Feel free to use “my” format! I’m looking forward to reading about your next home exchange experience! I think it is interesting to list pluses and minuses of each sit, although one has to be careful with that as well. 🙂 Off to read your blog today or tomorrow. We have been quite crazily swamped the last few weeks!!

  2. Too bad the weather wasn’t more agreeable, but still looks like a sweet gig.

    • Nest time we go, the weather will be better! Summer is upon us, baby! 🙂

    • A rainy, chilly spring seemed to have followed us for a few months, but, at the moment, summer has come early in Belgium, so I am not complaining (anymore)! 🙂

  3. I can see why you’d go back. That Lola looks like a real sweetheart — who wouldn’t like to be woken up with puppy kisses every morning!

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

    • Lola is just so wonderful, Stephanie. I’m sure you would love her!! Any new pups in your future yet? Getting sweet kisses in the morning – from partners or dogs – is always a joy! I knew you’d appreciate that, but it is not for everyone… We are looking forward to a repeat the end of July! 🙂

  4. So fun how you can travel around and house sit! So many great opportunities!!

    • The house and pet sitting lifestyle has a lot to offer in terms of comfort and excitement. We are still enjoying it!

  5. I am sure Lola will also be over the moon to see you again after such a fabulous time together! It will also be really good for her to see a familiar face again when her owners are away as well as lots of fun for you :o) xxx

    • We just committed to another three week sit with Lola this summer, Xenia. We will be happy to see her, indeed. The owner said she was wagging her tail when he read our email with a confirmation to the sit out loud. 🙂

  6. I’ve never imagined doing any house and pet sitting, but you make it look like fun. I imagine it must be much easier when you’re in a home for a good long time, like the couple of months you were here. Have you done any short stays – a week or two? If so, do you notice a difference? I would think it would be much harder to relax on a shorter stay.

    Lola looks sweet… and very happy to be with you.

    • You are right, Karen, we do prefer the longer sits, but competition is getting fierce… We are currently on the look-out for a longer sit, but haven’t lined anything up that is longer than three weeks yet. Getting picky about where we want to be when and my husband being allergic to cats (excluding those sits) doesn’t make it easier. 🙂

      We have done shorter sits, but usually to fill gaps. Once, when staying with the in-laws in Massachusetts, we jumped on a week-long sit on Cape Cod, unexpectedly, because I had never been there and seeing the area this way is just more relaxing and in-depth (and cheaper) than being a tourist. Getting a bit settled on longer sits is our goal and ideal situation. The lifestyle of house and pet sitting offers us the right balance between comfort and conveniences and work opportunities (desks, unlimited electricity and internet!), and seeing different areas, adding the touch of adventure we require. 🙂

  7. You passed on the two-hour spa?! Now that’s true overload!
    Wonderful seeing Lola again!

    • I did pass on that! But, maybe the coupon is still there when we return for three weeks this summer. 🙂 Although, if I can’t make time for the spa during two winter months, how is it ever going to happen during three weeks of sunshine??

  8. One should never underestimate the awesomeness of a heavy duty blender. We’ve owned a Ninja for about a year and I don’t think it has gone more than two days unused.

    • You have your priorities right, Ryan! On a boat, with limited electricity (and space), a blender was never a part of our lives, but now, we truly enjoy those smoothies!!

  9. I remember Lola! And your wonderful time in Sebastopol. You’re making me miss that area of CA. And you’re making me miss having a dog around. Sigh. Lola would love to see you again. So would Sebastopol.

    • Thanks, Pam. The combination California + an awesome dog is hard to pass on! Especially in summer weather, so, we will do a short repeat in July. 🙂 Fancy a visit? I hope you get to go back to CA soon and have a pup around as well.

      • I’ll be in the Bay area in June – YAY! When I lived in Marin County, I took my Golden, Henry, for hour-long walks every morning along the SF Bay paths. We both rejoiced in the view/smells/birds, etc. Henry’s been gone 3 years not, and I’m still mourning…

        • Losing a dog is like losing a family member, Pam. It took us many years to “get over” the loss of ours and still think about them often. I’m glad you are returning to the Bay area this month. Maybe we will run into you! 🙂 The Marin Headlands are my big discovery this year and we will definitely go back there for a day of hiking when we return to Lola in Sebastopol later this summer.

  10. I always love your sit wrap-ups and I think you really enjoy writing them. Since you take fabulous photos, we all can live vicariously through you in your house-dog-sitting adventures!

    • Thanks, Terri. A sit is only complete for me, after the wrap-up. Weird how some minds work, right? I seem to need closure in order to move onto the next sit or adventure. But, since we are on the go so much these days, closure each time will have to wait! And, since I am making little progress on my memoir these days, the sailing adventure is still in the back of my head, even though we have been off our boat for almost two years!

  11. Overall this house sit looks like a fabulous spot. Lola definitely looks like she hit the jackpot! Wonderful to be by the ocean and so much exploring to do. No time for the spa?! You must have been very busy. 🙂

    • It is so hard to explain, Sue. How can one be so busy without a “real” job? I wonder that often, yet the days are filled to the brim with no time for book writing or reading or catching up on blog reading and comments! Blame it on family visits and flying left and right these days for several different reasons… Not complaining, though, busy is good. Being on-the-go is good. It’s just that we are exhausted (even sick right now) and nothing substantial gets done, like going to a spa. 🙂

  12. I think even your readers have fallen in love with Lola! I know I have. It must be nice to settle in for a few months, especially if the house and pet are enjoyable.

    • Ah, I see you do know Liesbet 😉

      • The big world of blogging sometimes seems small, Lisa! I think you might have been the one telling me about Lexie! 🙂

    • We do enjoy these longer sits, Lexie. We feel more at ease and settled to actually get some work done and not feel guilty exploring the area during the weekends. The longer sits resemble a “normal” life! Having to move every few weeks is tiring and unproductive. But, being in travel mode offers other advantages having to do with itchy feet being scratched! 🙂 That being said, we are currently “dying” to find a longer sit again, because our lives have been quite hectic! The toll of visiting friends and family in our home countries… 🙂 I am very happy to see the warm and sweet comments about Lola. She is a treasure and we are happy to report that we will see her again in the summer.

  13. This sounds like such a fun sitting gig! Cool house, eclectic town, and a dog! She seems incredibly sweet. It’s cool that you guys get to explore this way.

    • For any adventurous spirits, on a budget and yet wishing a healthy balance between comfort and travels (especially when working from home, like… being a writer :-)), I would highly recommend this lifestyle, Shannon. while it sure isn’t everyone’s cup of tea to not have a home or home base and to carry all your belongings with you in a car, the pros still outweigh the cons for us right now. 🙂

  14. Love the pic of Lola trying to persuade you to get up!

    • Funny, Anabel. While we initially thought her kisses were all about love, reality has taught us that Lola is hungry in the morning and wants us to go get her food! 🙂

  15. Wow – that sounds like a fabulous house-sitting experience. Not only the gorgeous house and the nice treats that the homeowners left for you, but Lola steals the show. I can see why you miss her.

    • This is actually the first house sit we considered to go back to, Ellen, and Lola plays a big part in that. We have just told the owners we will be back for three weeks in the summer. 🙂

  16. Lola seems like such an adorable dog – and what a great town! I would love a mojito, they are hard to come by!

    • Mojitos are the best, when home-made and with the right rum, amount of sugar and heaps of fresh mint! I would love to see Lola and Hastings play together, Lucy!! They are both incredibly sweet and cute.

  17. Great wrap-up of your sit. It sounded wonderful. It also sounds like you might be back? I’m sure Lola would be happy to see you again.

    • We will be back, Janis! I can’t wait to hug sweet Lola again and can already imagine her little sounds of happiness and wagging tail. 🙂 The sit is only for three weeks in July/August, but we will enjoy the peace and comfort of going back to a place we know and like. Almost like coming home…

  18. I think this was my favorite housesit to date. I absolutely fell in love with Lola and your excursions were breathtaking. Looking forward to see what is up post-Belgium. 🤗

    • Hey, it was high up there for us as well, Lisa, which is why we accepted the invitation to go back for three weeks this summer. I”m happy to read that Lola stole your heart as well. I hope you are ready for more photos the end of July! 🙂

  19. Looks like a beautiful home and community! It must be hard to leave the pets once you’re attached to them, but I’m sure the owners are happy you took such good care of their pooch.

    It was so nice of them to leave you the coupons. They seem like very thoughtful people.

    • They are great people and we are looking forward to meeting up with them again, and with Lola, the end of July. Maybe more coupons will be waiting for us as well! 🙂 But, for sure, more sweet and adventurous times are to be had with Lola. We can’t wait! We are usually pretty good at leaving pets we connect with behind, just like we do with people. Our lifestyle, unfortunately, requires this, whether they are new found friends or longtime pals and family members…

  20. Well what’s a little bit of bad weather or distance when it looked like a good time. 🙂

    • With the right company, every event is fun! Being in Belgium, all my friends ask: “Tell us what you want to do or where you want to meet!” but my answer is always that these details don’t matter, as long as we can hang out and talk, talk, talk! 🙂

  21. I always enjoy reading about your experiences! Stunning pictures, Liesbet!

    • Thanks, Agness! I love the name of your blog and will be by for a visit shortly. It will bring back memories of my time backpacking in SE Asia, many years ago, and of all those tuk tuk rides, of course. 🙂

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