Home, Sweet Someone Else's Home
I've had several people ask me how I can stand living with my parents for so long. There are several reasons, chief among them being the low cost of rent (yes, I do actually pay rent). But the secret I don't tell them is that I actually don't live with my parents. I just use their house for storage.

In the past 2 and a half months, I've lived in 6 different houses; I've slept in someone else's bed for 33 nights of the past 72 days. Such is the life of a perpetual housesitter. In the calendar below, the blue lines are the housesitting jobs I've had this month. I have two jobs lined up for August, and two more in October.

I'm thinking of making business cards advertising my ability to pick up mail, put out trash and walk the dogs. I have even been specially trained to administer insulin shots to cats! In the meantime though, let me offer some tips to those of you who might be seeking such services.

1. It is helpful, but not necessary to give me info for how to either A) tap into your wireless Internet access, or B) sign into your desktop.

2. Thank you for showing me how to use basic appliances like the coffee pot, grill, convection oven, etc.

3. Speaking of food, please keep some good grub in your fridge or pantry. If you plan on cleaning out the fridge before you leave, please include a small stipend in the check to allow for grocery shopping. A girl has to eat and if I have to stock up on coffee, frozen dinners and salad dressing because you have no edible food in your kitchen, it's going to make me think twice about whether or not it's worth it to add 20 minutes to my commute to watch your house and pets. On the other hand, if you're kind enough to stock my favorite cereal and a fresh gallon of milk, I'll stand post as your personal sentinel anytime.

4. Please, please, please explain in detail how the alarm system works. It's not fun having to explain myself to the Brinks Home Security people.

5. Thanks for warning me about the stuffed animal you have quite correctly named "Hump Bear" that the dogs love. And I mean love.

6. If you have a Sleep Number bed, an in-ground trampoline and live 5 minutes from my work, I will try to convince you to go on more vacations. An in-ground trampoline, people! That's freaking awesome. Not to mention that the 5-minute commute lets me run "home" for lunch to float on a raft in the pool.

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