Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘house sitter

Twice Blessed

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I arrived home yesterday, shortly after noon, and found everything in such great shape I could hardly fathom our good fortune for having found our latest house/animals sitter. Not only does she provide excellent care for our horses, dog, and cat, she cares for our home in every way. I swear it was cleaner when I walked in yesterday than when we left it last Thursday.

She brings in our mail and hauled our trash bins up from the end of the driveway. We checked in with her on Sunday night when we learned there was a tornado warning and she was already aware and waiting downstairs with Delilah.

Everything down at the barn looked great. We’ve been watching and treating an open wound on Mia’s leg that I thought still looked bad so I tried to get a picture to send to Cyndie for her review. Mia did everything she could to foil my attempts.

The good news is that those with better knowledge than us about this kind of thing have a more positive opinion of the progress. Someone is going to stop by to apply more salve to assure things keep going in the right direction.

From the looks of the property, that storm threat the other night didn’t bring much in the way of wind or rain. It is very dry and the prediction is for it to be hot and continued dry for the rest of the week. That’s not very conducive to the main concern I have right now about working on the gravel edge of our new asphalt driveway.

I only have two days before I’m scheduled to head back up to the lake for some biking in the woods. I’m holding onto the possibility that I won’t be working too hard here prior to that departure.



Written by johnwhays

August 2, 2022 at 6:00 am

Early Getaway

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This weekend being a three-day federal holiday weekend in the US for Memorial Day, we made an early escape from home life yesterday and drove with Cyndie’s mom up to the lake place.

As in:


We have a recently hired house and animals sitter who is spending her first span of time actually living in our house. Up to now she has been making brief visits to walk Delilah or feed horses in the afternoon while we were away for a few hours. This is the real McCoy now. We are hoping she has a trouble-free few days.

That means we are able to experience some precious time freed of the usual home responsibilities and it feels like it’s been a long time since we had this kind of break. I’m really looking forward to it.

We jumped right in with our favorite, Coop’s pizza for dinner last night. That feels like being at the lake. It being the traditional opening weekend of the summer, there will be plenty of chores to do, but they never feel as much like work when you are doing it with so many friends and enjoying the lake scenery.

Did you notice the geese swimming in the photo above? In the off season, wildlife likes to  behave as if the beach belongs to them. It will take a few consecutive days of human activity for us to reclaim our turf and encourage the beach loving animals to choose the less populated miles of shoreline on the lake for their own.

I was able to fit my bike in the back of Marie’s Kia Sorento for the drive up so I’m hoping to sneak in some hours of cycling north country roads while we are out of sight from all the lumberjack work and mowing, trimming, and compost turning that needs to be done at home.

Thanks to our early getaway, we have a spare day before Wildwood Work Day commands our attention. I’m hoping to soak up each precious moment and slow down the perceptions of passing hours so this departure from our usual routine provides maximum benefits.

All this is in contrast to the jarring blemish on our nation’s souls as more blood has been spilled in another senseless mass shooting. Problem analysis from politicians and talking heads without a glimmer of preventive action just serves as salt in our wounded hearts at this point.

There is little reason to believe the formula that feeds this national disgrace will ever change for the better, despite the majority of citizens clamoring for positive action to control access to assault weapons.

I wish we could all make an early getaway from guns and violence.

Hug someone you love and count your blessings for each day you survive without falling victim to some lunatic shooter.

What an embarrassment for the U.S. of A.



She Knows

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I walked into the kitchen and said to Cyndie, “She knows.”

Cyndie instantly agreed, “Oh, she totally knows.”

Our departure for a 9-day getaway to visit Cyndie’s parents in Florida was still a day away last night, but both of us picked up a powerful vibe that Delilah was already beginning to mope as a result of our telltale activity.

She laid under the table and watched us with her eyes, without picking up her head. Suitcases had been brought out of storage. Cyndie was kicking into high house-cleaning gear, and both of us were mentally grinding through virtual lists of tasks to be done, items to be packed, “i”s to dot and “t”s to cross.

Delilah has witnessed this scene before.

One of our newer house and animal sitters, Anna, will be taking care of our place while we are away this time. I’m hoping the weather will be uneventful and the predators all stay away while she is on duty. Wouldn’t it be a shame if we lose a hen (or hens) during her stay?

I’ve tried to point out to her that it can happen at any time, hoping she won’t suffer too much if a loss occurs on her watch.

We drive to the airport this afternoon for a flight out around the dinner hour, departing just as a mass of colder air with a chance of some snow is expected to pay a visit. Guess it’s not the worst time to be escaping to Florida.

I’ve been pondering what I might choose to do for blog posts while we are away. One possibility that keeps tugging at me is the challenge of choosing one photo per day to convey what we are experiencing. At the same time, I assume a week of leisure might free me up to do more writing than usual, so maybe I don’t want to restrict myself to a single picture.

Either I’ll write more, or I’ll take a break and write less. We’ll just have to wait and see what captures my fancy, after I settle in to that eastern time zone with the warm, humid air.

One way or another, you can rest assured that, for the next week, I will somehow be sharing the most delectable morsels of our adventures in Florida, visiting Cyndie’s mom and dad.



Written by johnwhays

January 18, 2019 at 7:00 am

New Family

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Since the day our friends George and Anneliese moved out to a new home they built in Princeton, MN, our basement “apartment” has been mostly unoccupied. Meanwhile, we have been searching for new sitters to care for our animals and house (needing to replace the services of both McKenna and Shelby, who have each moved away to their next life opportunities) to provide cover for times we escape to the lake place or embark on other exotic travels.

Cyndie advertised our search in two primary locations: our veterinary office in Stillwater, and the University of WI, River Falls Ag programs.

I did occasional scans of Craig’s List for pet sitters, and thought I struck gold when a perfect sounding post showed up just an hour prior to one of my visits. She didn’t want to travel very far, though, and told us we were out of her Hudson, WI range of service.

Then Jackie called. She was in school at River Falls and was hoping to find a room for the summer. Jackie has the horse skills we required and boards her own horse just six miles to the east, in El Paso, WI.

In a cosmic twist we never saw coming, when she stopped by to meet us the very first time, Cyndie recognized her date who got out of the car with her. Marcus is the new farrier who has been caring for our horses in the time since George moved.

When Jackie mentioned to Marcus that she was going to visit Beldenville to meet Cyndie, he responded that he knew a Cyndie in Beldenville. They quickly realized she was the same person, and Marcus came along for the introduction.

Some wonderful synchronicity there.

Cyndie and Jackie worked out terms and a rough schedule, and now we have a new housemate added to our cast of characters.

It has been rewarding to watch Delilah and Jackie’s relationship develop as they spend more time together.

In a very short number of days, Jackie has become the latest new member of our ever-expanding family. It’s a bonus that Marcus knows her, too.

We feel lucky to have met them both, and to have their help caring for our horses. And, in Jackie’s case, our home and other animals, too!



Written by johnwhays

May 23, 2018 at 6:00 am