Aug 27, 2009

Adventures in House Sitting Part 1: The Worry Sets In

Kate and David are off camping in this massive truck/camper thing with their children, and I'm in their house while they're gone.

I don't know if you've spent much time alone in other people's houses. They always tell you the most important things they think you'll need to know. The variety both in the depth of details and breadth of knowledge some choose to share is quite interesting. Kate showed me where the cat food and olive oil was, and David pointed out the bathroom (thanks, buddy), his mother's phone number, and where to turn off the main water supply. As a teenager I babysat for a woman who would always go over a long list of emergency numbers, how to lock and unlock every door, where the fire extinguisher, flashlights, candles were, but failed to mention how to unlock the dog kennel (hilarity and scary neighbours ensued). I stayed with a friend once who only pointed out two cupboards - one I was allowed in (liquor) and one I wasn't (vibrators).

But back to the current house.

"I'm glad someone will be around," Kate said.
"Just don't actively pursue an agenda to kill the cats," David said. "If they die of their own stupidity or through natural selection, don't worry about it."

It sounded easy enough. A mutually beneficial deal. I got a place to myself for a week. They got some feeling of security knowing I was around. Though now that I'm thinking about it, I'm not sure what I can possibly do if anything goes wrong. Maybe become an unfortunate victim along with the cats.

I mean, honestly, what kinds of things are likely to happen to a house? Robbery springs to mind. The chances of someone randomly targeting this house during the one week the owners are away is slim. And if anyone had been scoping the place out and were planning to hit it on the assumption it would be empty, well, I doubt they'll be all apologies and low bows when they stumble upon me. More likely they will lash out in their surprise and I'll end up with something impaled somewhere and be all the worse for wear.

Fire seems to be one of those big, irrational worries of home owners. Most house fires are caused by human stupidity. If it was going to burn because of Kate and David's stupidity (candles left burning in the closet, exposed wires near pooling water) it would have by now. So in all likely hood, if it does burn it'll be because of my stupidity, and the house would have been safer without my presence. Unless it's arson, in which case please see argument against theft. I'm still screwed.

What I'm saying is that if there are any targeted attempts of mischief on the house, I'm woefully under skilled to handle it. And Kate and David, if thieves and arsonists and other unsavoury characters are targeting you, I'm not sure you're the type of people I should be associating with anyway. Especially as you left me here unwarned and unarmed, with only the location of the bathroom and some olive oil to defend myself.

Any other house-destroying events would have a natural disaster flavour. Lightning, earthquake, freak tornado, etc. What do you expect me to do about that? If nature has it out for you, you're done for. Haven't you seen The Happening? The earth wanted to teach humans a lesson, and they turned the air evil. Is that what you want? Evil air?

Really, the only thing I'm good for is possibly noticing if the water heater breaks. I'll be able to turn off the water main and then call David's mom in hopes that she'll know what to do. Maybe we could use fire to dry out the water damage. If the whole house goes up in flames with the cats inside*, would that count as actively trying to kill them? Because that's not allowed.

* No cats were harmed in the writing of this post.

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