Well, the year didn’t turn out as we expected! Nevertheless, we were able to complete nine housesits that covered most of the year, with two months at our sons while we waited to see the havoc the pandemic was going to cause.
We had 13 housesits in Europe canceled, but no complaints. It was what it was. At least we were in the US, even though we were in the heart of Manhattan when the lockdowns started. Another lucky thing was when we did start seeing “real” housesits again; they were mainly in California and Nevada, which worked great for us.
For additional photos please also see my husband’s photo site – here.
Note the service we use is called Trusted Housesitters a UK company located in England. After several years of full-time sitting, Trusted Housesitters invited us to become Brand Ambassadors. If you email me I can send you a special code, you can not get from others! Email – [email protected] Thank you for being here!
San Diego, California and Manteca California – January 2020 (1 1/2 weeks)
We flew from NYC to where we had left our car in San Diego. I was very thankful to my sister’s friend Mindy for keeping our car safe for the five months we were gone. It was great to be able to go to the beach in January – and it was beautiful. We also did several geocaches – always a fun activity when traveling. A short stay with lots to do, but then we needed to head out for our next stop at my sister’s in Manteca, California, before starting our next house sit.
Oakland, California – January – February 2020 (2 weeks)
After having a chance to visit both my sisters (in San Diego and Manteca, CA), we arrived at a two-week house sit in the hills above Oakland for three dogs – Ziggy, Smithy, and Uncle Leo.
We had no plans except to meet up with Tom’s sister, which we did. She and her partner met us at a hamburger place in Oakland that was wonderful. It was great to see them. But we came home to a sad event. Two of the dogs had gotten into a fight, and there was blood everywhere! We cleaned up the dogs, and they didn’t look too bad. But the following day, the one definitely needed to go to the vet, which we did.
We could not take it to its usual vet, but we did go to the backup vet. She said there was no serious damage, thank goodness, but she did need a couple of stitches. Unfortunately, we could not get a hold of the owners as they were in a very remote location. As soon as they were back in range, they were so thankful we took care of their dogs, and they reimbursed us the vet bill immediately. We liked these people before anything happened, and they were the people we thought they were! Still friends today.
Grass Valley, California – February 2020 (2 weeks)
This time around, our number one goal was to move everything we had in a paid storage unit to our son’s home, where he had room to store our things. It was a lot of work, but we were successful. The storage unit is empty – happy day! It was also our son’s birthday. Great to be there to help him celebrate his special day.
We went and wandered Nevada City, which is always fun. And if you know us, you would know that ice cream was involved. Nevada City has many great shops to wander, and there is one that has many unique travel items. I always make a point to stop there. We saw lots of deer at the house this time. It is like living in a forest – smile. Time always goes by quickly when we are there. Now it is time to return to New York City for two house sits.
We were selected as Ambassadors for Trusted Housesitters – how cool is that. We love to talk about house sitting, and it has been such a fantastic journey for us. So we were happy to be selected.
Brooklyn, New York – February 2020 (1 week and 2 days)
We returned to our son’s place in Brooklyn. He was going on a cruise, so we would take care of his four cats – Asher, Jack, Louis, and Essy. They each have a different meal they eat, so I took many pictures and notes to make sure I got it right! We did take an excursion to Chelsea Market. It has changed a lot in the last five years. When we lived in Manhattan, I would like to go there for all the cute unique shops; now, it is almost all food. There are a few shops left, but now a great place to go if you are hungry.
Walking in Manhattan, we came across a new type of Starbucks – a Starbucks Reserve Roasters. Very different from your typical Starbucks. We spent a lot of time there; you can even watch them roast the coffee beans. We also went and met up with our next two house sit owners, one in Manhattan and one on Roosevelt Island. I have wanted to go to the island forever, so to get a house sit there was terrific.
Manhattan, New York and Covid-19 – February/March/April 2020 (6 weeks)
55th House sit. Our house sit was in a lovely studio apartment with a Murphy bed. We had not used one before; I was glad to have the chance. It was nice to be able to put the bed up and open up the living space. We were taking care of two loveable cats – Ethel and Johnny Boy. Their owner went to India for a spiritual retreat. Little did we know what was going to happen next – a pandemic – Covid 19.
.We did many things before we knew of the problem, like visiting the local parks, taking walks along the Hudson River, Georgetown Cupcake (smile), Canal Street Markets, and Times Square. Then there was an all-stop.
The homeowner could not return from India; all flights had been canceled indefinitely. Plus, the owner did not take a cell phone or a computer. So it was challenging to keep in touch. There is a very long story here, but the short version is the US Government finally set up several rescue flights, which he could get on one. We had all of 2 days’ notice to vacate the premises since this was a studio with no extra room. Plus, we weren’t sure where we could go next – then our son in Grass Valley said, come here! So we did. Crazy times. (PS, despite the pandemic, I did manage to buy some Girl Scout Cookies – smile.)
We had 13 house sits lined up in Europe – Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Switzerland, and also one in Canada – covering 22 weeks, all the way till the first of November – ALL canceled because of the pandemic. The good thing was we were still in the US. So if you are looking for a silver lining, that was very fortunate for us.
Grass Valley, California – April/May/June 2020 (2 months)
Our son picked us up from the airport, with everyone wearing masks. The guest bedroom was our sanctuary for the next two weeks of quarantine. During this time, our son’s dog of 14 years passed away – sad. After quarantining, we were again able to cook meals together and share some time.
All of us asking what are Tom and I are going to do next? How long is this going to last? There were no house sits; some were listed but not real. We did get one in San Diego, but both our sons said, no, you can’t go; it is too early. I am glad they said something because it was true.
We waited until June before we started house sitting again. The first one was in Nevada City, only a few minutes away. It was springtime and a beautiful time to be in the area. We saw many deer with their babies and wild turkeys. The trees and flowers were blooming, which helped to make life a little less depressing. Oh, there were foster kittens in the house! So Cute!
Nevada City, California – June 2020 (2 weeks)
The home we were house sitting at was off the grid, at the top of a hill, and had fantastic sunsets. The home was unique, and the husband’s hobby/side business is glass blowing. There were dozens and dozens of his pieces inside and outside the house. Even all the drinkware was unique, and no two glasses were identical. This was a very comfortable home that we could have stayed much longer – smile.
They had two dogs – Kona and Buddy. To take the younger one for his walks, you had to drive down the hill to a flat area. We would pass deer, cows, turkey vultures, wild turkey, guineafowl, horses, and so much more on our daily drive.
From here, we visited a covered bridge, which was under renovation – yeah, it needed it. Then, we went and found the marker where the first long-distance telephone line was built. There was also a Wells Fargo Express office there that was built in 1853. I love the building, but way off the beaten path.
Great house sit close to our home base with lots of historical places to visit nearby. Our son and his wife did come for dinner one night, and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset together.
Henderson, Nevada (near Las Vegas) – June/July 2020 (2 ½ weeks)
The two pets here, one cat (Charlie) and one dog (Nyxie) were two of the best pets we have taken care of. They were both loving and had excellent manners. It was a pleasure and fun to spend time with them. Their mom was originally from England and had a definite English accent. And more fun-she is a helicopter pilot.
My sister and boyfriend came and stayed with us for a couple of nights (with the owner’s permission). It was hot, hot, hot, but we still managed to go to the Las Vegas pinball museum and Red Rock Canyon. After my sister left, we went out to Lake Mead. Because of the pandemic, the road to Hoover Dam was closed, glad we saw it the last time we were in the area last year.
We also went to a couple of casinos that had reopened, but very few people were there. It was eerie. We don’t gamble, but we enjoyed exploring them. The other interesting thing about this location was the woman was moving the day after her return, so most of her things were all packed away. Of course, we had everything we needed, but it was strange to think she was leaving for Kentucky right after.
Bullhead City, Arizona – July 2020 (8 days)
Visiting more family (my brother & wife, nephew, niece & husband, and my brothers three grandkids) in the heat of summer, really! It was 120° F / 48.9° C a couple of days and never below 100 / 37.8. But we still were able to have a great time. We went over to the Colorado River a couple of times, took a drive around Laughlin (Casinos across the river from Bullhead City), and several delicious BBQs.
Our niece Jessica made us a beautiful cake – she does this as her profession, and she is very talented. One of the grandkids shared his snake with us, then forgot it on the couch when he got in trouble and needed to go back to his house (next store). Fortunately, his dad noticed it – LOL. My brother’s wife, Candy, had just gotten a new puppy, and it was adorable!! We gave the granddaughter a tea set, which she enjoyed by having several tea parties. Had a great, great time!
Grand Canyon, Arizona – July 2020 (3 days)
The last time I was here, I had our two young sons with us, the last time Tom had been here, I was pregnant with our younger son Ryan – oh so many years ago. So it was nice not to be in a rush and take our time to walk along the rim of the canyon. We were staying in Williams, Arizona, which was a cute town to wander to. We even were there when they had a shootout reenactment. Williams is on Route 66, so a lot of Route 66 memorabilia for sale. It was also a little cooler than Bullhead City – smile.
San Diego, California (1 of 2) – July/August 2020 (2 weeks)
On our way from the Grand Canyon, we spent the night in Quartzsite, Arizona. We also stopped at the lookout over the Glamis Sand Dunes in California. So now we are back in our hometown, house sitting for my sister. She lives near Santee Lakes, wherein all the years we lived in San Diego, I had not been to as an adult. So I can see why people like to go there. They even have a couple of on-the-lake cabins you can rent.
My sister’s dog, Joy, goes to dog camp twice a week, where she has such a great time. Amazing. My sister also has one cat named Turbo, a big ginger cat. From here, it is easy to get around San Diego – a great location.
San Diego, California (2 of 2) – August 2020 (2 weeks)
Our next house sit in San Diego was located very close to the San Diego Zoo, which turned out to be a great location, plus Tom’s brother lives just a couple of blocks away. Oh, mentioning the zoo, our friends took us there for the day, what a blast. It had been such a long time since we had been there a lot of it looked new. We spent the whole day and could have stayed longer! Thank you, Alan and Lesley.
The house was different in that the bedrooms were downstairs (where you enter), and the living room and kitchen were upstairs. There were two dogs, Miley and Alley, who did not like going for walks or other dogs. We split the dogs up, Tom taking one and me the other to go for their walks. Other than that, they were excellent dogs when they were at home.
I met up with a long-time friend, Sandy (almost 40 years), and we had a picnic in the local park (because of Covid). After that, Tom and I went out to Cabrillo Point, which is always a fun idea – where the lighthouse has excellent views of the ocean and downtown San Diego. From there, we went down to the tidepools, which I don’t remember ever doing, but I think my mom took us when I was a kid – what a beautiful area. Oh My. I recommend going if you can.
We also went to Presidio Park, right by Old Town San Diego – all such great places to visit. On top of all that, we meet up with our friend Steve, and Tom’s brother Daniel and friend Stephanie. Jeez, what a fab two weeks.
Oceanside, California (Near San Diego) – August 2020 (2 weeks)
60th House sit. Beaches, sunsets, and peaceful location, a fantastic house sit. We could walk to the beach and do most things we needed in the two weeks we were there. My sister and friend rode their motorcycles up one day, and we walked out on the Oceanside Pier, everyone still wearing masks.
The homeowners were one of the first people in the US to have Covid back in December 2019. One of their bosses had gone to China and brought it back, giving it to almost everyone in the office. They weren’t sure they would survive at the time, but they did. Now they are off to Jamaica for some relaxation.
They have one dog – Marley, and one cat – Butter, both are wonderful. We also went and found some geocaches, some very unique ones. I visited my friend, Judy, who lives in Bonsall (about a half-hour away).
We have been invited back. Hopefully, we can make that work someday. Since we have left, they have gotten an adorable-looking puppy and would love to go back for a visit. (It looks like in July 2021, we will be stopping by!)
Grass Valley, California – September/October 2020 (5 weeks)
On our way back to Grass Valley, we spent the night in Bakersfield. We would have gone to see my sister in Northern California, but because of Covid, we decided not to stop.
We were so, so fortunate to be selected for a six-month house sit in Reno, Nevada. (next up)
Also, very, very fortunate to stay with our son and his wife in Grass Valley. This gave us time to sort through our things, and we have pulled out many items that we’ll either sell or go to a charity. Feels good to be downsizing.
The kittens are still at the house, so they made life fun. We did go and explore Nevada City and the Yuba River. Tom and our son both got drones; they had a lot of fun with them. We always enjoy spending time with our son and his wife. Being in one place long enough, Tom had some medical stuff taken care of. Now off to a six-month house sit in Reno.
Reno, Nevada – October 2020 to March 2021 (28 weeks)
Part 1 – October to December
Reno is surrounded by mountains and provides beautiful views and sunsets. Where we were, it was very flat, which made walking the dogs, Sallie and Sammie, easy to do. Across the street from the house was a mash with a walkway around it. It was great for those daily walks. The downside is we could see the airplanes taking off and landing; as one would pass me, I would wonder where they are going, how many people are on the plane – since travel was still somewhat restricted. I so wanted to be on a plane going somewhere!
The first place we went to explore was Virginia City. It made for a great day out, and Tom got a new souvenir/T-shirt from the “Bucket of Blood Saloon.” Great name, right – Yikes. Loved wandering through all the little shops; there are always things I would buy if I weren’t a nomad! Smile.
My older sister and her husband came for lunch almost the first day we were in Reno – kind of kicked off our six-month sit. The sit initially was for two months, a month break for December, and then another three months in the new year. Then the owners decided they didn’t need to come back, and again because of covid; it seemed more a hassle than it was worth; thus, it turned into six months. Well, that is what we thought.
At the end of October, our long-time friends from San Diego, Virgie and Rick – also nomads, were in Reno! Happy day. It was great to spend several days with them. They are very familiar with Reno, so they showed us around town.
Right after they left, I realized there was something wrong with the older dog, Sallie. So I made an appointment for November 6th. It turned out she had developed diabetes. Screech – that changed everything. We now needed to give Sallie injections twice a day at specific times, feed her twice a day at specific times, and get her to go for walks daily. Fortunately, if you remember, my younger sister’s cat was diabetic, and I gave her injections, so I was not afraid of jabbing Sallie. When the vet found out I had injection experience, she was soooooo relieved. So our easy house sit just became a lot of work, including taking the dog to the vet weekly all of November and December to help stabilize her and see what dose of insulin she should be taking. No complaints, happy to get her the help she needed, and the owners were very supportive.
Volunteering – one exciting thing I could do was be a volunteer at the Nevada Humane Society since we would be here for several months. I took the training, then started walking dogs and socializing with the cats. Eventually, because of a covid outbreak, the cats socializing needed to be put on hold because the cat rooms were not very big, and it would be difficult to “social distance.” But I still got to walk the dogs!
For Thanksgiving and Christmas, our older son and wife came over for the day. They live about a two-hour drive away, so they did not need to spend the night (though I would have been happy with that), but they have several cats and needed to return home. It was wonderful to have them here!
Reno is an effortless place to live. And another place close by is Lake Tahoe! We did go there a couple of times. We were married at Lake Tahoe, so it was always fun to return.
Despite Covid, we completed 10 house sits covering 33 ½ weeks of the year. Not bad, considering all the lockdowns. Plus we spent a lot of time with family, which was great! In 2021, we continue our current house sit in Reno, see year 6 (2021).
Many travel plans have been changed with the pandemic, and many flights have been canceled or rescheduled. As a result, most people are going for shorter trips, a few days here or there, instead of a couple of weeks or more.
Before the pandemic, it took some effort, but we went from house sit to house sit with no gaps, not so easy this year (2020 and 2021). We have been very fortunate, but we have taken several sits less than a week-long, which we usually would pass on for more extended sits. Also, all our sits since the pandemic have been in California with a couple in Nevada. We do have a house sit in Hawaii (Aug/Sept 21) and Utah (Sept/Oct 21), so starting to travel a bit more.
We have a tentative three-month house sit in Winchester, UK, for Christmas 2021 that may or may not happen. We were offered a six-month sit in England but felt it was a bit too soon for that. It would have started in September – when we had to decide things still did not look good, so to err on caution, I tearfully turned it down. They officially are not open yet, but fingers crossed, we will be traveling to the UK or somewhere internationally soon.
Year 6, well it was another interesting year and it is not over yet – after November 1, we are not sure where we will be, looking for somewhere interesting for Christmas – smile!