House-sitting requires a degree of honesty, responsibility

Last summer (August 2, 2007) this column pointed out what a drag it is helping people move. It was a subtle message to whoever was reading: Stop asking me to haul your crap all the time. It worked. No one has.

House-sitting, on the other hand, is a favor I’m always up for. Talk about a sweet gig. It’s basically a controlled pillage.

For starters, it’s guaranteed the pad you’ll look after is way nicer than the ones you’re used to living in (people don’t hire house-sitters to make sure nothing happens to their dump while they’re away). It’s like a mini-vacation that you get paid for!

Second, the job requires no skill. Basically – other than familiarizing yourself with the couch, the refrigerator and the Hi-Def channels for the flat screen – all you have to do is recline.

Third, as long as you don’t burn the place down, you’re doing a good job.

That’s a far better deal than moving. All you get there is a bad back and an empty promise of free beer and food.

With vacation season at its peak, house-sitters are in high demand, too. Easy a job as it sounds, however, it does require a degree of honesty and responsibility. After completing my second stint ever house-sitting this week, I thought it might be helpful for everyone to draw-up a ‘house-sitter’s code of conduct’ based on my personal experiences. If nothing else, it should give house-sitters a guide to go by and home owners peace of mind while they’re on vacation:

– I solemnly pledge myself to protecting this house (so long as that doesn’t require any more than turning off lights and appliances).

– I will not go through your medicine cabinets (unless I run out of deodorant and need to borrow some Lady’s Speed Stick in a pinch).

– I will not use excessive amounts of hot water, even though it would be the perfect opportunity to feed my closet shower singing addiction without fear of being heard and ridiculed by others.

– I will not try on any of your clothes, including bathrobes, as to avoid a repeat of a nasty live Internet incident that occurred last time I was entrusted with your home.

– I will rotate daily which couches I lay on, as to avoid creating a permanent body indentation in any.

– I will not drink milk from the carton, even though you’d never know if I did.

– If I have a huge party, I’ll leave behind the cans and bottles, because that might add up to be some decent coin for a rainy day.

– If I drool on your pillows, I will flip them over.

I, (your name here), understand my responsibilities and will probably do my best to follow most of the rules listed above, especially the one about not wearing your clothes.


McGuire credits Gold Bond Medicated Powder for saving his life on several occasions. His column appears Thursdays.

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