Sunday, December 29, 2013

Housesitting: working unfamiliar coffee machines, killing ants, and keeping the fish alive.

During the holiday season, house sitting is at it's peak. People are out of town, and leave others - sometimes friends, sometimes total strangers, sometimes a neighbor they cornered on trash day - in charge of the care and well being of their home and pets.

We have left not one but 2 house sitters on the premises while we travel to California and house sit out here while enjoying all that Southern California has to offer. So far, Southern California has offered us snow, ice skating, a walk on the beach, and good Chinese food. All in the same 24 hours.

Well played, Southern California.

Our house sitters have been left to contend with our neurotic dog, our vaguely threatening fish, and an epic ant population that - despite exercising some pretty extreme measures to deter them - have moved into the dishwasher. It's winter and dry outside and the ants, they like the water. Sam has run the dishwasher hoping to end the problem once and for all, only to open the door and find them all crowded up in the corners, huddled together for protection from the suds and hot water. They are in the dishwasher because it is next to impossible to find anything to eat anywhere in my home, because I have everything on lock down in sealed containers, or shoved in the fridge. To no avail. My next step is Terminix, because I would rather spray poison inside my home than have ants in there.

There is no ant problem here in the house we are house sitting, but don't think our experience has been carefree: I can't work the coffee maker, and we might have killed the fish.

This almost but not quite deceased fish is a problem we need to address TOOT SWEET because there is nothing as unfortunate as coming home to a dead pet. We will probably not be asked to house sit again if that happens.

I am going to try to save the fish, or possibly replace the fish, but first I need a cup of coffee. And that, my friends, is the real stumbling block here. Our host informed me cheerfully that his 5 year old could use the coffee maker, but his 5 year old is obviously much more of a critical thinker than I am before coffee. When I woke up Christmas morning after a very abbreviated few hours of sleep, and I saw the can of coffee on the counter, my heart began to sing. I searched high and low for the coffee maker, but there was none to be found. Confused, I looked for a french press, or maybe some sort of drip setup.......... but still no. There was a stack of plastic tubes and fittings on the counter near the coffee, but that was clearly for plumbing or basting or something, so I gave up and went looking for tea. I found a box of decaf English Breakfast. I reminded myself that I am STRONGER THAN CAFFEINE, because I knew that eventually some coffee would be made and the mystery would be solved.

When coffee was offered shortly thereafter by my very gracious host, I went right into the kitchen to see where the magic happened, and discovered that the tubes and fittings were indeed used for making coffee. Mind? Blown. Our host made the coffee for the first few days, but then they left on their own vacation and I forgot to ask about the magical coffee tubes. Which meant I was on my own, with Sam as my faithful sidekick. We spread out all of the parts, assembled them as best we could, and made something hot and coffee-scented.

Which allowed us to focus on the fish.

He (she?) can be roused if you violently enthusiastically shake the bowl (please don't ask how I know that) but otherwise, the thing is completely unresponsive.

We're going to give it another few days. In the meantime we have watered the plants, taken out the trash, and washed the towels.

Tomorrow is Disneyland (God help me) and then on to a new and exciting adventure further south.
That fish is going to have to fend for him(her?)self, because we have bigger fish to fry.

(Too soon?)

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