House and pet sitting as a lifestyle might sound like a relatively new concept to you and me, but, within these circles, everyone is on the look-out for an appealing sit, and some people have been doing it for over a decade. Since we started this lifestyle two years ago, the demand for house sits (or the supply of house sitters) has grown substantially. Competition is fierce, and securing an attractive sit is not an easy feat. There are days that dealing with potential house sits is my main activity; another reason why we prefer long-term commitments. Not only does that fit our work schedules better, provide immersion into a specific area and give us a welcome respite from being on the road, it also offers me a little break from digging through listings and submitting application letters.
In February, I wrote a post about how we end up with certain sits. I figured it was time for another example of how our future takes shape “behind the scenes”. The basics are always the same. Mark and I are members of a few house sitting sites, where our profile is available. We explain who we are, what we prioritize, our experiences and our strengths. There are a few personal photos attached as well. Home owners sometimes find a perfect match in us by reading this profile, and send us an email to inquire about our availability and thoughts. More often, however, I click on the most promising house sit listings that arrive in my inbox, read the descriptions, check out the photos, and, when they fit our preferences (location, type of animals, duration, timing), I create a personal letter and hit the send button. If the interest is mutual, we communicate over email and set up a time for a Skype interview, ideally with video. When all that goes well, and the home owner chooses us – usually after talking to a few candidates – we confirm the sit, and have a plan. It is not uncommon that home owners, especially in desirable locations, receive between 40-100 applications. Yeah…
Hanging out in the yard with “our” current Italian Greyhounds Frida and Elvis
With all the commotion and craziness of the last two weeks, I haven’t had time yet to report on our three-week house sit with Stella and Tucker in Oakland, California. Compared to our first sit in the city of Oakland last February, this one was very enjoyable and repeatable! The area and the house are desirable, the dogs fun and the owners friendly, helpful, communicative and appreciative. The only thing these two sits had in common (other than being in the same city) was – surprisingly – the size and layout of the smallish home, with the difference that this one was well-organized, clean, airy, bright and cozy.
But, enough about the comparisons. Continue reading
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!
Lola loves balls
Comfy in the car
Pinnacle Gulch Walk
Taylor Mountain hike
Pinnacle Gulch Beach
Not so sure about those cows
Pinnacle Gulch Beach
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.
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.
You guys coming for our walk?
The yard before spring arrived
When Mark and I found out about a 2.5-week house and pet sit in Southern California, we applied to take care of 7-month-old Jaxx and find warmer weather. The owner chose us for the assignment and soon after, we were on our way to Costa Mesa after visiting some friends in the San Francisco Bay Area. We were to stay in her cozy apartment, in walking distance of many stores and amenities.
A few weeks ago, when Mark and I were still taking care of Herk and a pool in Rocklin, CA, we faced housing insecurities for a period of four weeks. After not finding suitable listings, we were getting a tad antsy, only a couple of weeks out. Would we be homeless between our week-long house sit in Fairfax, CA and two-month assignment in Sebastopol, CA? What would we do for four weeks? We couldn’t afford staying in a motel for that long… Luckily, some other options started to appear.
Bay in Laguna Beach
“Do you think I should apply to that two-week house sitting job in Lacey, Washington?” I ask Mark as I am reading through the assignment again.
“Sure. Why not, we don’t have anything else at the moment,” he replies. “We have nothing to lose.”
“OK,” I say. I write a nice letter, explaining why we would be the perfect sitters for their two dogs and hit the submit button, thinking how an 11-hour drive and weather that is even colder than Northern California are not ideal. Continue reading
After every house sit Mark and I finish, I write a quick overview for my “Completed House Sits” category. This allows readers to get a feel for our particular assignments and offers potential home owners insights into how we would function in their home, and care for their sweethearts. It also brings conclusion for me, saying goodbye to our temporary pet(s) and the place we called home for a bit.
For this three-month house and pet sit in Rocklin, California, Mark and I drove across the country and left the New England area indefinitely. I recently wrote about a typical day in our lives as house sitters in Rocklin, so I won’t repeat myself. We enjoyed our stay in a comfortable house with all the amenities we could wish for and in the company of a great pooch.
Herk is a very sweet and cute dog to care for. Continue reading
2016 has passed in a jiffy. The older you get, the faster time flies. I am a firm believer of that “theory”.
In October 2015, Mark and I started our life in the United States. We applied for my green card (for the 2nd time in ten years; the 1st one, obtained in 2008, was “returned”), which I received five months later. The process for that took a tad longer than writing these two sentences! We began house sitting, expanded The Wirie business and I decided to write a book. A month later, I created this blog and an initial outline for said book. In December, we escaped to Florida for warmer weather.
2016 is our first full year of house and pet sitting in the US. The business has been successful and much easier to “handle” than from a sailboat in the middle of the ocean. I worked hard on my blog, trying to keep up a schedule of three posts a week. In April, for the A to Z Blogging Challenge, this became one a day! I worked on my memoir, which I will write more about on Wednesday, and we took care of a bunch of sweet, entertaining and smart animals. Continue reading
I have mentioned before how Mark and I love our current lifestyle of house and pet sitting… The variety it offers, the different areas we experience, the wonderful pets we get to adore and take care of, the low cost, the comfort and conveniences of living in a house, the adventurous aspect of packing up and moving every few weeks or months. Yet, there is one, big, not to be underestimated negative aspect when committing yourself to full-time house sitting. One we only slightly realized while in New England, but that has bubbled up since we have been in California. Every day, it appears to become stronger: we are feeling lost! Not so much in a literal way as in “we don’t have our own place to live in and don’t feel like we belong anywhere”, which is true as well, but we knew this ahead of time when choosing this lifestyle. No, I mean socially lost. Mark and I don’t know anyone wherever we temporarily live and that does not seem to change for the better. We are isolated. Continue reading
… because I missed Wordless Wednesday yesterday
… because this photo deserves a blog post
… because it sums up the good times we had, hiking the dogs we pet sat for three months (we will miss them)
… because tomorrow the “Blogging from A to Z Challenge” starts, and that means a bunch of words every day! 🙂
Resting on the top of a hill with Henry and Mickey