Each year HouseSitMatch hosts a Blog Competition and this year our entries are better than ever; here we share the Housesitting Blog Competition Finalist 7 entry. Kelly Hayes-Raitt An American from California started housesitting as a way to change her life and pursue new horizons. Since then she has discovered a whole new lifestyle that has enabled her to pursue her love of writing. Read her blog entry to find out what she’s learned along the way…
Housesitting Blog Competition FINALIST 7 – Kelly Hayes-Raitt
This Is What I Have Learned About Housesitting: Puppy Love by Kelly Hayes-Raitt
I KNOW THE MOMENT I fell in love with Marcus. I was housesitting in Kent and caring for two terriers. On an early date, I suggested we take the pups for a long walk through the winding country roads in “my” neighborhood. Secretly, it was a test: How canine-compatible were we?
We were so engrossed in our conversation, we walked farther than intended. The younger terrier was in heaven, exploring off-lead and getting a great workout. The older girl, however, was lagging and getting weary. Before I knew it, Marcus had scooped up all fifteen pounds of her wriggling weight and tucked her muddy little body into his coat. He carried her the whole way home! That was it: I was a smitten kitten.
Our relationship bloomed through each succeeding housesit. Since I live in Los Angeles and housesit in Mexico six months/year while I rent out my house, and he lives in London caring for his mum while he rents out his home in rural Wales, housesitting provided us the opportunity to be in the same postal code.
First, we housesat together for two weeks in Cardiff for two lively whippets. We explored the docks, the canals and our lives during our marathon dog walks and chats. Next, we spent a month together in Twickenham, a stone’s throw from the Thames, where Marcus charmed a feisty calico – and me. We dined in riverside restaurants, played Scrabble in the local pub and competed over whose lap the cat would choose while we cuddled on the couch watching movies.
That fall, he flew to Mexico to join me in my recurring housesit for ChaCha, the rambunctious, smart pit/lab rescue I care for every spring and fall. Within moments, he had ChaCha eating out of his hand – both literally and figuratively. She reveled in the double-dose of playmates and I reveled in sharing the stunning views of Lake Chapala with my new British beau.
Next, we spoiled two bunnies in Berlin – and spent a day helping newly arrived Syrian refugees. What I’ve learned about housesitting is that it opens more than doors to free accommodations; it opens opportunities to connect with people on a deeper, more authentic level.
But, honestly, I knew from the beginning Marcus was The One. On our very first date (a “blind” date!), back when I had just arrived at my housesit in Kent, we decided to meet at a Polish restaurant in South Kensington, giving each other a half-hour window because we were both coming from outside the city. While we were on the phone, he researched which train I’d catch; it would take an hour.
Date morning dawned bright and crisp. I left two hours early, just in case. Delays started immediately: I couldn’t figure out how to lock the front door. (What is it with British locks?) Finally tamed tricky lock; twenty minutes wasted. Took wrong turn driving to the train station; thirty minutes shot. Missed my train; another fifteen minutes until the next one. Cellphone died en route and I couldn’t access Marcus’s number. Tube into South Ken was running behind. I burst into the restaurant, an hour and a half late, disheveled, flushed from hot flashes; all heads turned toward me.
And there was Marcus, calmly sipping a glass of wine. “I’m so, so sorry,” I gushed slipping into the chair opposite him. He ordered me a glass of wine.
“I’m really sorry,” I started to relay my saga.
He looked at me and quietly interrupted, “I knew you’d come.”
I breathed deeply and smiled. “And I knew you’d still be here.”
Housesitting Blog Competition FINALIST 7 – Kelly Hayes-Rait
When not housesitting with her honey, Kelly Hayes-Raitt blogs at http://www.HouseSitDiva.com. She’s just published How To Become a Housesitter: Insider Tips from the Housesit Diva, available on Amazon (http://amzn.to/2hlj7UP) or http://www.BecomeAHousesitter.com.