Thursday, 26 April 2007

House sitting

Well, bonjour mes bonnes amis! I 'av meesed you! Sigh... Anybody still have snow out there? Wanna send me some? I'm looking fondly at snow pictures these days. It's now considered to be fall and soon to be winter. Winter means an average high of 20 degrees. Once in a while they get frost at night. There hasn't even been more that a splattering of rain in the last 2 months that we've lived here. I think I'd be content even with a gooooooooood thunder-boomer. The kind that shakes the house in the middle of the night. Where you wake up and peek out the window into the pitch black and watch the light show as it streaks across the open sky, lighting up the water as it convulses under the downpour that can soak to the skin in meare seconds. I can sit for hours watching a night-time storm. Here every day is pretty much the same. Sun, heat, occasional clouds as the sun is about to set. Pink and purple sky as the sun goes down. Birds... incessant birds. We have to have a flock of about 200-400 Gala birds (most well know bird in Australia for being noisy) that inhabit the trees just outside the blue fence.

OOOoooooohhh.... have we ever mentioned the blue fence? Most major buildings around here are made of corrugated tin. The hospital, the nurses quarters and the fence around them, along with most of the outbuildings, are made of corrugated tin painted a single shade of blue. We joke about being trapped behind the blue fence as though it's our prison walls. It's enough to make a person feel trapped. Is blue supposed to be soothing? Ya, so beyond the fence... everything of interest is beyond the blue fence. We all would like to escape the blue fence on occasion.

I don't mean to be so random, but... guess where I am? I'm at Heather's house. hehehe. Heather is the (scottish, I believe?) female doctor out here, she and her family went on vacation and have kindly offered us the use of their house. She went on and on and on about all the benefits to us...
1. Easy walk to the hospital, only 10 minutes for young things like us. (Nursing quarters: 10 seconds away)
2. Internet access (very nice, fast, excited about this, should be posting a lot of pictures this week)
3. Satellite television (we have cable, only 4 channels... don't watch all that much tv anyways)
4. A comfortable home where we can lay on the floor watching telly. (Um... she doesn't know us so well. We have a comfortable place where we do that already. Heck, we'd do that if it was dorm style housing)
5. 8 person spa (is it cold enough to climb into a hot tub? sigh... maybe well step in with the heater off. Update you later on this one.)
6. Hmmm, actually I think that's all the upsides she mentioned.
Downsides:
1. 3 dogs
2. 6 chickens (fancy ones you don't collect eggs off of but raise to go to shows and show off their plumage)
3. 1 duck (duck? who keeps a duck? are they going to eat it?)
4. 6 or 8 cockateils ( I didn't get close enough to count, they were all squacking and flapping around in their)
5. 2 rabbits (not so friendly, maybe they'll warm up. Appear to be Lops, y'know, with the floppy ears that hang down?)
6. fish (haven't found them yet, I think there's a few)
7. 2 kittens (carefully instructed not to let them in the kids rooms if you let them in the house as they will hide under the bed and you'll never get them out.)

Okay... so we agree to do this, and plan to get a walkthrough of the house before they leave. I get asked to switch shifts because they are short nurses the evening we planned to do the walkthrough, so Laurie does it alone. Heather gives us the keys yesterday and tells us, actually they're leaving a day early, and can we feed the animals thursday (today). Sure, no problem. All the animals are fed only once a day in the evening, or every third day, depending on the animal. That means since Laurie is working evenings, I need to feed them today, so she gives me a brief rundown (and draws a map) of where to find the food for each different animal. Sounds simple. How is it that "sounds simple" is never a good thing?

I walk here, confident that it will be a cinch. Find the right house (always important if you don't want to freak out the neighbours by walking in without knocking). Open the door to the porch with the key in one hand and my paper that has the alarm code in the other. Unlock the front door and look around. No alarm box. Laurie never drew me a map of the house. Forgot about the alarm when I was talking to her. The note says what room the alarm box is in. Where in the world is that box, or the room I'm looking for?... nope that's the guest room... nope bedroom... um, kitchen... still looking, spin in circles... THERE! Open it... uncertain if the alarm is set or not. Do I punch in the code? Nothing is blinking. Wait a bit.... Better punch in the code. (At least two minutes have gone by.) I don't hear anything. No phone ringing to ask who set off the alarm. I think I'm okay.
My mind switches to the job I need to accomplish. Kittens live on the front porch. Didn't I see a kitten slip through my legs when I came in? It was going outside wasn't it? Hmmm, I did leave the front door open... there's the kitten, outside like I thought. What about the other one? Shoot, there it goes into the guest room. Run!!! It's under the bed. Heeeerreee kitty kitty kitty. Peeking out.... won't move. I move. Shoot, that was the WRONG move. Really far under the bed. Chase it from side to side... not getting me anywhere. Move things under the bed... kitten disappears. No clue where it went. Maybe I should feed the other animals. I'll find it later.
I get to the back door, and hear a high pitched noise. Alarm beeping? Kitten mewling? Walk back to the front door, kitten number one looks up at me. Meows. Probably the kitten... wait, I hear it coming from behind me, turn around... no kitten. check the alarm, nothing. Back to the back door... hear it again. Turn, there's kitten number two running across the hall, hurry after it, dive! Got it. Carry kitten to front door, which I need two hands to open, finally get it outside. I'll leave those two trouble makers to last.
Grab the handle to the back door... can't get out. Knob won't turn. No bolt in the door, nothing to manually turn, click or otherwise. Can't see any other door to the back. Keys, she said something about leaving us keys. On the phone table. Where? Phone table? Searching, searching, searching. There they are. Yup, one key fits. Phew!
Out the back door... Surrounded by three dogs, (a pug, a boston terrier, and some really big thing that also has a pushed in nose and probably weighs as much as me). My mind starts to race, thinking: I'm a stranger, these dogs have never met me before, this has to be the stupidest thing I've ever done, walking into their territory without their owner or some way of them knowing I'm okay. Chalk one up for stupid dogs! They were all excited trying to lick me and looking for attention. Didn't even bark at me. Horrible guard dogs. I look around the yard, refer to my map... These dogs WILL NOT leave me alone. Better feed them first. Find the enclosure with the food, drag the one dog that's supposed to eat in there with me. Dog goes to the other end and crawls under the fence. Oh well. Find the food, realize I need the dishes, go back out and collect the dishes, little dogs are over excited, running after me. Go back to the enclosure and the big dog follows me in, finds an old pizza slice in the little dog's dish and starts chowing down. Do I pull a strange dog away from food? Ummm, yes? It gets dragged out by the collar, reluctantly. I close the gate and dish out the food. I come out with the two dog dishes, hand them to the dogs and watch them wolf it down. Dog 3, who should be in the enclosure stares at me. I don't think she knows how to get back in even though she just finished sneaking out. I have to lead her back through the gate, this time willingly. She runs in and starts chowing down. Man are dogs loud eaters! I filled the water dish without incident, go back to my list, decide the rabbits could do with some food. Realize it's back in the enclosure. Get that, walk over to the rabbit cage escorted by the little dogs, who didn't bother to finish all their food and are now tearing in circles chasing their own tails, rubbing themsleves against the ground, and generally making idiots of themselves. How to open the rabbit cage... I circle the cage... none of the sides opens out... Ahha! Up! Lift the lid up. How much food do rabbits need? Can they be overfed? Oh well, they eat grass from the bottom of the cage, I'll only give them a little and find out the proper later. Next... chickens.
Chickens stink! Hmmm, how much do chickens eat? Laurie said some in the dish and two small piles... I think I got it right. I wonder if I should gather eggs... wow there's a lot for only 6 chickens... I pick one up. Rattle, rattle. That thing is dead. Better just leave the eggs. Oh well, I was hoping for farm-fresh eggs. Guess that won't happen. Man do they stink. I'd better leave. Birds next. They only need dishes filled every three days. Can't figure out how to open the cage. Ummm, they have enough food. and water. Look around... I think I'm done. Kittens still need food. Back to the front, now kittens I can handle. Finish with them, scrub my hands in the kitchen.
And so here I am, on the computer, realizing just how dark it is out and that I really need to get home and eat soon.
Tomorrow, Dubbo!

2 comments:

Ernie said...

First and foremost: I am sending regards from Canada. More specifically... Oyama.

Second: The reason I knew that it was Heather making the blog entry was from the use of the word "incessant". I dunno.. I have a gut feeling that Laurie would have misplet that one. No offence to Laurie, of course. I LOVE YOU.

Third: Heather, I think that you could have avoided all the misdemeanours if you had actually paid attention to Laurie as I have full cofidence that Laurie infromed you of everything (including which room the alarm was in and that you cannot eat the chicked eggs)

Note to Heather: The above comment was inteneded to suck up to Laurie. Please ignore.

Well... missing you two Outlaws.
Love you loads.
~She who was budged

laurie... said...

to Her who was Budged...

for your valuable information i do know how to spell incessant...while looking at your spelling of that exact word. Note to the Budged...check YOUR spelling of ahem..."cofidence," "infromed" AND "inteneded!" yeah...uh huh...nuff said...we are DEFINITELY related...and just because you scored better on the internet IQ test does not mean anything. i still maintain that i did it first! as a first born should. an undisputed first born!

so what are you sucking up for? you'll need to do better than that to get a good present! i can still find cherry patterned vans and/or converse if need be! heheh...

alright Miss Professional Budged!

love you an arms length and more,
~She who Budged