Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Knotty Baby Sitter

My most recent overnight was for one of those gray area client/friend people, bordering on treating me like a family member. I would never choose to be a member of their family, but they gave me a birthday gift so they were starting to grow on me when ...

"Oh by the way our son is staying home for this trip. But please still stay the night."

Their son is in high school or community college, something like that, but not old enough to drink. Good to know. He also doesn't speak. A text message informed me after they had already left, he isn't allowed to have friends over.

The first night was perfectly quiet. He stayed in the basement (fine by me) and caught the bus for school in the morning -- aha! He's in high school!

Then Friday night rolled around. I was wiped out and decided to go to bed early. At 9 pm I headed up to the master bedroom with my entourage of dogs and cats plus a book to read. It was a lovely night so the windows were open to allow me to hear the crickets chirping, soft wind blowing, two car doors slamming -- wait! And a "tee hee hee" high pitched giggle.

For the love of ... Sigh. I closed my book. I looked at the cat who looked back at me unapologetically.

I headed downstairs to find there were two young ladies over. I kid you not, their names were Kelly and Kellie. You've got to admit, this kid's got game.

I asked to speak to him upstairs in as calm of a tone as I could muster. "Why?" the little brat retorted.

"Because you're not supposed to have friends over."

"It's cool."

Uh huh. There was no sign of alcohol or drugs, and the girls seemed nice enough. "Ok, look. It's 9 pm now. I'll be back down to check on you guys at 10."

I spent the next hour brainstorming who I could call for back up. I did a facebook search of friends nearby. Nothing productive came out of this. Worst case, the neighbors across the street were cops and I could knock on their door. I decided to use my strengths: make it as socially awkward as possible. I went back down at 10 as promised. Peeked over their shoulders to watch the Eminem video on YouTube. Inquired about curfews, do parents know, and recounted stories of what we used to tell our parents when we were breaking the rules in high school. Luckily, the nice Kelly had a curfew of 11 pm. I said, "Great! So I'll be back down at 11 and you guys will be gone."

They said yes and unfortunately for the little brat, he decided to take it a step further and say that he had no idea why I was bothering them when he is allowed to have friends over.

Oh really?

The next day I called his 'rents. "Everything's fine," I said. "Oh say your son had a question. He wanted to know if he's allowed to have friends over."

"No. No. NO!!" they responded.

"Ok that's what I thought," I said sweetly. "I don't want to get him in trouble, but he seems to need a memory refresher. I'm glad he asked first."

They called him and got to the bottom of his mischief, or so they think. They reminded him that he is not allowed to have friends over and -- here's a new one -- he could only leave the house for school. Woops! He had gone out and they got that little morsel out of him.

So, Adventures in Baby Sitting has a happy ending. He only got in a fraction of the trouble he would have had his parents known the whole story. And he's never allowed to stay home with the pet sitter again.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Naughty Dog Walkers

I can sometimes give clients a hard time in this blog, so it's time we turned the tables. I often get new clients who are extremely wary of trying my services because their last sitter (or two!) was so awful. Here's a sample of some of the stories I've heard:

"She used our shower. She wasn't hired for overnights, just walking the dog. I guess we have a really nice shower."

"He stayed for over an hour past the pet sit to nap on our couch. Do you think he's homeless or something?"

"We came home from our trip and our dog was no where to be found. No note. After an hour of panic, our sitter brought him back. Apparently she didn't want to come all the way back to feed him dinner so she just took him. Not sure where."

"She went through our bedroom dresser drawers."

"She never showed up."

"She would come by with her boyfriend for 15 minutes and then leave."

We all make mistakes, and stories like these remind me to always try to do better. They also help me to be understanding when a new client seems paranoid and doesn't take my repuation, references, and years of experience at face value. Now, please excuse me while I use a client's hot tub and nap in their bedroom!