Posted by: jeanne | October 31, 2016

just over 2 months out

we’re going to venice again.  it’s only now becoming relevant to my everyday existence.  i’ve been setting things aside all along, of course.  the new pair of jeans.  the rain boots.  those lightweight raincoats.  but now i’ve got a list of things to do – more containers, plastic for apartment windows, 3 month stockpile of supplies.

and i’ve just chosen our housesitter – a nice couple from new hampshire; she’ll do phone work and he’ll take a couple of months off the road and chill; and she’s run her own airbnb.  ideally it’ll be like i’m still here running things, and i’ll only have to check in on things once in a while.  unlike last time.

last time we had a tag team of relatives take over the house while we were gone.  i would have written a comic novel about it except it would have been too traumatic to relive.  the in laws were as quarrelsome as badgers and as lazy as overstuffed bears – they fought with the other denizens, refused to take care of their obligations, and left weeks early, in a huff.  the grown kids in mom’s basement were doing drugs and forgot to do whatever it is they agreed to, and we lost a dog because of it.  and the troll under the bridge told us everything in great detail and it was never, ever his fault.  so since then i’ve been paying membership fees in trustedhousesitters.com and have gone thru the process twice.

the first time was pretty straightforward.  10 day trip.  we got some nutcases wanting to sit in our house, and then we got this nomadic internet-based couple from california who’d never been to this part of the country. and they were great.  but they were busy and couldn’t sit for us this time.

this time i had a series of false starts.  the first applicant was so amazing that i told her absolutely everything that could go wrong with the situation just to make sure she knew what she was getting into.  (what if they declare martial law after the inauguration and you start getting panicky calls from home – do you cut and run or hunker down and eat into our vast pantry.  what if the dogs die.  what if the troll in the basement wakes up dead.)  so of course she called me up and told me i’d successfully scared her off.  and that was really too bad.  i was at the very edge of confirming her as my housesitter.  there was also a retired vet’s assistant from england who sounded wonderful but quickly lost interest when i told her there would be others in the rest of the house.  oh well.  and then i spoke to this norwegian woman living in england, and was at the very point of confirming her when it turned out she wouldn’t be able to make it to my house until 6 hours after the latest time i could leave.  that was sad.

after that i was scared.  i wrote all the interested people and told them i’d had a sure thing back out, and were any of them still interested.  and from those replies started interviewing 4 of them (if you talk to too many people at once you don’t know who you’ve spoken to when you’re done).

but, interestingly, i’d had a sudden feeling while talking to the two that didn’t work.  i just knew that the one wasn’t going to want it, and the other wouldn’t be able to do it.  so while talking to the second round prospects, i paid attention to that.  i spent a bunch of time talking to one from arizona; we’d had a phone call and were planning to talk again friday.  but while we were talking about the condition some people let their pets get into, i had a sudden feeling that she was not going to like it here.

then i went back over the letters of interest i’d received, and there were several from people up in the frozen north looking for a warm place to overwinter.  and they sounded like they’d fit right in and really enjoy being here.  (compared to the in-laws who thought the place was possessed by demons and couldn’t make the heat go up high enough and had us install a higher level of cable service, every one of these applicants sounded just like us.)

but there was one letter where the woman said she was part of a couple, which would insulate them from various neighborhood and family pests.  and she said she owned an airbnb before they sold the house, and would be cool taking over and running it while we were gone.  which is great.  i was going to have to hire a manager and a cleaner anyway.  but all she has to do is everything i do, and at her own speed, and she can have the cleaning fee and a bit beside that.  it only takes 3 hours per guest.

the thing about this person was that when i saw the email i’d overlooked, and responded, and she called me up and we talked, i got this strong feeling that she was the one, and so i asked her then and there.

oh, and i’m also suddenly psychic about things like phonecalls.  it’s a feeling, and i trust it.  it’s not the same feeling as other feelings, there’s something special and compelling about it; it’s not something i can easily ignore.  so, cool.  while it lasts i’ll use it.

so now i’m compiling inventories of stuff i need to stock up on, and updating the apartment manual, and making a list of things to do between guests, and in general turning my attention to travel once again.

next year i will be out of the country for almost 6 months, travelling.  for the last 2 years i’ve stayed put and tended to daily life in one single place, enjoying the changing of the seasons, enjoying the unchanging 4-daily dog walks.  we haven’t yet gotten out our winter clothes, and we’ll be packing up whatever we’re wearing to go to europe at the very last minute (and packing all the other clothes away so the housesitters can use the space).  but we’ve got all the winter clothes we could desire already, and we’ve got down jackets and gloves and boots and sleeping bags already, and we’ve got suitcases and walking sticks and zoom lenses already, so it’s all just a matter of putting it all into bags that will bear lugging down city streets and into vaporettos.

i’ve been given two commissions (if you can call an xmas gift a commission), one a portrait of my grandkid for his great grandmother, and one a koi painting for a very old friend.  i’ve already finished the portrait (by far the hardest), and am working on the painting now.  i was going to do nanowrimo again this year, just to show off, but with paintings i won’t have the time so never mind exhausting myself for an internet badge.

then there’s getting the car ready to take us to dc where we’ll catch our plane.  and getting the yard ready for winter.  and rearranging the attic to fit all the stuff we’ve been storing in the back gallery.  and cutting down on the dust-gathering decorative crap that finds its way to our shelves despite multiple cleanups.

but i’ve done this type of travelling enough now that it’s all getting orderly and i’m able to finish things early and get them out of the way because i can, and there’s no honor in doing everything at the last minute.

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