Tony and I finally landed our first house sitting gig here in the islands! People who make a lot more money than we do and live in beautiful houses often ask someone to stay in their place, especially if they have pets. These gigs are almost always unpaid, but you get to stay in an incredible house for a week and use appliances we’d never be able to afford here, like dishwashers and washer/dryers!
So the house we’re staying in belongs to someone associated with the school and we have 2 dogs to care for. I’m not much of a dog person, but these two aren’t too bad. The little one is old and calm most of the time. The bigger one is much younger and does jump on me a bit, but it’s been ok….
That is, it was all okay until we came home from work on Thursday. The dogs met us at the front the gate like they usually did and jumped all over us to be petted. We walked into the house and set our bags down on the kitchen table. The house is a split level, so I was headed up to our room to change out of my work clothes. I glanced down over the railing into the living room and stopped dead in my tracks. “Tony!” I cried. He was a little confused, until he walked down into the living room. Pillow stuffing was everywhere! It looked like shower of polyfil had rained down in the house. Remnants of throw pillows littered the floor and one of the couch cushions was lying amid the carnage, each corner thoroughly chewed.
The site made us both almost physically sick. We immediately jumped in the car and went out in search of where the homeowners might have purchased the couch cover and pillows. Of course, high-end home decor places are rare here on Tortola, so there were only so many places we could stop. None of them yielded any successful results. Finally, we turned back and wearily faced the reality that we were going to have to call and tell them.
Tony explained to the homeowner that one of us (probably me) thought she locked the baby gate behind her when she came up the stairs that morning, but the lock must not have fully engaged. (Upon later inspection we realised the gate often looks locked on the top but is not in fact fully engaged at the bottom where the stronger locking mechanism is located. Darn that hindsight!) He went on to say we’d cover all the damages. The homeowner then told Tony who had made the couch covers and where the throw pillows had come from.
Meanwhile, I went snooping in the storage closet downstairs. That’s where we were getting the cans of dog food, so it’s not like we were banned from the closet. Anyway, I just had this feeling that these were the kind of people who would have extras of things. They had shelves and shelves of sheets and towels, cases of dog food and non-refrigerated milk… Lo and behold, they also had extra fabric! There were about 2 yards there, plenty to recover the cushion since the pillow form itself wasn’t damaged at all. We already knew of a tailor who had been recommended by a shop owner in our otherwise fruitless search of the island.
However, when Tony got off the phone with the homeowner he told me the cushion covers were made by one of our coworkers! This dreadful situation seemed to be getting more and more bearable.
The next day I humbly approached our coworker and explained what had happened.
“Again?!” she bellowed with exasperation. “This is like the third time I’ve had to remake those blasted covers! Darn dog!” Despite her frustration, she relented to making them another time, with our promise to pay generously for her time.
And thus we became the worst house sitters ever. The end.