What have you been up to little monkey? (Mainly zooming around causing mischief with a silver crinkle ball).
Now Jack. Can we make an agreement that you don’t start digging up the litter tray tonight the moment I turn off the light? I know you like digging. I know it makes you happy. But not at 12am thank you. And definitely no number twos! (Small eco house = lots of stink) 🤢😳🥴😷
Sometimes all it takes is a half hour, some favourite tunes, and a bit of booty shaking to make me remember my shine again.
He’s a top lad is our Jack. He’s been through it in his life. After four days he’s finally trusting me, finally not scooting away like a ninja into the shadows. He loves hanging out, watching. I’m about to dance. I wonder what he’ll make of that. 💃🤞🎊
I love welcoming housesits. These hosts made us feel so at ease last night. We were greeted warmly from the moment we arrived. The hugs, food and drinks flowed. So much so I have a bit of a woozy head this morn. 🙃 I ❤️ this black monkey panther too. 😻 She’s a cheeky scamp.
It was 8pm, on a Sunday and we were driving to Gloucester. To an Airbnb for a few nights in between sits. It was going to be amazing, relaxing, peaceful. Then we found out the host was unorganised, unreachable and the lock box code wasn’t included in the check in instructions. We had nowhere to stay and were dazed and confused having just moved out of our last sit several counties away. We were in limbo. Then our booking was cancelled. We were stranded in a service station carpark wondering what to do.
After extra cold sushi and pesto pasta (great combo 🤔) we decided to drive two hours further south to Devon and sleep on my mum’s couch. We arrived at her noisy and somewhat chaotic household and crashed out. Thank you mum.
It just so happened that the next day she was going to view a flat. She’s downsizing and moving. So we went with her. I’m glad we did. I’m sure she would have bought it. Being quite a vulnerable soul. It wasn’t good enough for her. She knew it. Too many compromises.
I realised how much I wanted to look after her. To give her the best life in her later years. I wanted to protect her. She said she didn’t want to bother me. That sometimes she thought I didn’t want her around. That cut me. It’s been hard over the years, but the tears of love that rolled down my face after those words hit me showed me I wanted her around more. I didn’t want to be able to count on my fingers how many times I’d see her before she died. She drives me crazy but she’s my mum. And all of a sudden we were looking at bungalows for her in Scotland. 🙃
Because that’s the big news I want to share.
We’re moving to Scotland! 🥳
And now my mum’s coming too. 🎊🎊🎊
The time frame’s tight. The race is on. Come February the logistical nightmare…ehem….adventure begins. Along with the search for two properties. 🤪 Whoop whoop! We’re all excited.
And what’s mad (and another reality) is if the Gloucester Airbnb had worked out, we wouldn’t have stayed at mum’s and gone to see the flat. So she may have bought it and stayed in Devon and our futures would be very different. Apart. And a long way from eachother.
Seeing the dots connect is magical and comforting. Things that may seem annoying and inconvenient at the time, may just end up being pathways to your new and improved future.
Bye bye little pickle Florence. Our time together was short yet very very sweet. What a darling catto you are. ❤️
Recently I’ve found housesitting more challenging than ever before. Partly because I’m ready to settle down, have my own place, make my own rules. But partly because I end up in some houses where the people are absoluely nuts. I wrote this a few months back. I went a bit nuts too at this one. So much so that I was left in a great deal of pain. I’m fine now. And I learnt lots of lessons too….Mainly about standing up for myself and trusting my instinct.
This is a subject I never wanted to be proficient in. But here I am. All researched. Slightly squeamish. And realising that each person in this life has a different standard of living.
My reaction to fleas is understandable. In Australia I ended up with over 60 bites all over my body after moving into a house with a cat who had fleas. It was a wake up call. Australian fleas seemed more ferocious too. Or at least left me scratching like a crazy woman. A chemical bombing of the house was necessary. I stayed away 2 days and then went back and cleared up the leftovers. It wasn’t pretty.
So arriving at this housesit and realising that each cat was dropping hundreds of flea eggs each day, every time they scratched and walked anywhere, began to do me a major concern.
These cats were supposed to have had protection. You know, that super poisonous liquid that goes onto their neck, then into their blood and affects the fleas in all kinds of ways. I used to think it was too extreme. I preferred natural protectors using herbs and spices. But right now, when I’m battling to keep a flea population from exploding, I’m gonna go with the poison for quick results. Sorry cattos.
But I can’t. Because apparently they’ve been treated. So why are they still itching. All. day. long?
And then emotion hits me. Disbelief, shivers, ‘heebie jeebies’, past trauma, survival mode, confusion. And anger! So much repressed anger. Because we’ve ended up staying in a hive of vermin. Because this isn’t a new problem. I see the signs. There are seats and stools with blankets on them, covering up flea eggs and dirt underneath. And the worst feeling ever when I lift up the main sofa blanket to discover wriggling larvae all over the seat cushion. All kept warm by our lovely body heat each night. Until they were discovered anyway.
This is a wealthy housesit. Things appear tidy (neurotically tidy). And neat. And expensive. But underneath the facade there are problems. Too much ocd. Too much control. Attention focused in the wrong places. These poor cats scratch so much. They’re dropping eggs everywhere. Why isn’t this being addressed?
So we address it ourselves. And deep clean the whole house. For free. While they’re off galavanting the globe. I float in and out of anger. Dancing helps pacify me. I’m cross. In my British sort of way, which means fuming privately and being polite in public. Damn I wish I were more outspoken sometimes. This is a bad sit. This is the kind of sit that makes me want to stop altogether.
We keep in contact with the owner about all this. We’d rather not have to. They’re on holiday. But there are some things that can’t be left unsaid. We want to educate. Gently. So we inform them of the facts. I hope we say enough and in the right way to effect long term change. ie try a different flea repellant for a start!
Through close observation of the space gradually we see more and more eggs. All over the rooms where the cats go. In cracks, in corners, on surfaces, behind sofas, on chairs, cushions, tables. There’s a white rug in here too. Prime territory for flea eggs. In one area, where a cat brushes by each day, hundreds of eggs have dropped down onto the hard floor surrounded flea dirt for the larvae to feed on when they hatch. The bowl of infested pot pourri is definitely out of here. The place is covered. We sweep an area and see hundreds of white iridescent eggs in the dustpan. They’re beautiful things. But unwelcome.
I’m angry because I feel the situation is unfair. I expect a certain standard of living as a housesitter. Fleas on cats isn’t one of them. I’m told to pick the fleas off with a comb and kill them. Every house cat has a few fleas apparently. Not the ones I’ve lived with. And it’s the lack of treatment to end the cycle which is so frustrating.
So we’re hoovering. Lots. And sometimes spraying insecticide. Hideous stuff. But effective when you’re feeling desperate. And keeping the cats contained for the time being. One room. Their room. A nice airy room. And outside. It feels safer that way.
While all this happening, I’m getting messages from the person. Not about how we are. But how our efforts are progressing with the cat choosing to live outdoors. Are we managing to get her back into the house again and onto our laps? You know, the cat who scratches all day and is full of fleas. That one. Oh fine. We’re really happy to sit down with her on our laps while she sheds eggs and dirt onto our clothes. Yes, that’s all going really well. 😳
Being a full time housesitter is a serious business. We’re having to be meticulous about not transferring eggs onto our clothes and into our suitcases. Another reason to feel cross with this housesit.
If I could leave right now I would. I want to protect myself. I want to run.
But I have to stay. And look after. And stay lighthearted. And keep hoovering. And keep things in perspective. And dance.
One more week. Then freedom. It’ll taste delicious.