The main focus of my week has been housesitting. So far this summer, I’ve spent about two and a half weeks housesitting for people, and by the end of the summer I will have spent roughly three more. The actual jobs vary quite a bit, from just taking care of a few cats, to watering the plants every day and giving the dog its insulin shot on time, to taking the dog for two or three walks a day. It’s all fun, and it feels like a vacation, where I have hours to read or watch movies, instead of socializing. The problem is, I always have my other jobs, too.
There are undeniable benefits to housesitting, including not having to use the dryer in my apartment building, which doesn’t dry clothes. It is one of the small miracles to take clothes out of the dryer and have them be warm and dry. I get a chance to have pets for a little while, without having the long-term responsibilities getting pets involves. Plus, they are already house trained. When the vegetables in the garden ripen, I am given the task of eating them. Cherry tomatoes fresh off the vine are the essence of summer. Also, as I mentioned before, it’s a change of scenery, and a chance to read my book on the porch or just enjoy the quiet.
The good parts of housesitting make it worth it in any case, and I would never complain about a chance to sleep in late with a cat to cuddle up with, or a dog to talk to in the morning. One of the odd side effects of housesitting, however, is the slight feeling of homelessness. For instance, today I went back to my apartment to hang out with my roommates and eat supper. Only no one was home, which made me immediately regret having forgotten my book. I realized that the movies I had checked out from the library were at the house where I’m housesitting, and I couldn’t do the things I needed to do, because all the tools I needed in order to do them were at the house. Luckily, a new addition to the apartment is the capacity to stream Netflix on our television. After watching a movie, my roommates were still gone, so I cleaned my bathroom. I’d been putting it off a little bit, but today there wasn’t anything else to do. My roommates came back after that, but the afternoon reminded me how floating between two living situations can be discombobulating.
The only other bad part about housesitting is that my mind starts to really consider it a vacation. I might stay up much later than I normally would watching a movie or reading a book. For a while, I was convinced this was because my schedule was thrown off by the new scenery, but I’ve come to understand that my mind demands I make the most of my “vacation.” I may be exhausted from work, and completely aware that I have work the next day, but while my body says it’s bedtime, my mind says, “Let’s do something fun!” This is a particularly unfortunate situation when the presence of certain animals demands an earlier start in the morning than usual. When I finish housesitting, I sometimes sleep for a luxurious ten or so hours the next night.
Of course, there is also the fact that I manage to creep myself out any time I spend a week alone, whether it is because I watched The Black Dahlia or because I just finished reading about the town of Derry in Stephen King’s 11/22/63. But that’s another story. Now I’m starting a load in the dryer and deciding whether to watch a show or read my book. There’s so much time I still need to enjoy!