Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I Quit Overnights

A residual imperfection from my former career in the nonprofit sector is my inability to find work-life balance. This causes a number of strains on my wellbeing and on my relationships. So an idea popped into my head recently: What if I quit doing overnights?

A number of my overnight clients are awesome, and staying in their homes is not unlike being in a hotel with animals. And the pay is outstanding! But still, if someone goes on a 10 day cruise, that's ten nights that my own cats miss out on, not to mention my boyfriend. So I kept asking, what if?

Summer travel is in full swing and thankfully I have a contractor to help with the overnight load, but I'm still turning clients down including boarding clients who could have stayed in my house. It occurred to me, I can train my contractor to do overnights, but I am the only one who can board in my house. Hence the other question I have been asking myself lately: What I am doing for the business that only I can do and what can I train someone else to do?

While I'm asking myself these questions, I still have to complete the overnights I committed to. The last one was a doozy with geriatric animals. On the first night a fish died, the cat had excrement coming out of both ends, the dog ate the cat's vomit, and all the while I'm running up and down the stairs for paper towels, cleaner, and trash bags. On top of that, the cat requires shots, liquid meds, force feeding, and subQ fluid to stay alive. He still has quality of life, because he loves to cuddle under the covers at night. But I'm sorry, I'm not letting that mud butt under the covers with me. The next day, I met my forlorn boyfriend for lunch and he said that he misses me.

Enough. I'm not doing this anymore. Even if I doubled the price of the overnight service, I wouldn't do it at this house. And it's time to give the other houses to my contractor. Anyone who isn't comfortable with that can board their animals with me or find another sitter. I am done.

Whenever I make a big decision such as this, The Universe has a funny way of asking me, "Are you sure?" Except this time it wasn't funny.

It was bed bugs.

Not like like the dust mites that everyone has living in their pillows. I'm talking about the blood sucking, visible-to-the-naked-eye-once-you-think-to-look, impossible to eradicate parasite. There is no telling where I got them. I have been in the bedrooms of many houses, either overnight sitting or crawling all over the floor looking for a hiding cat. I have had numerous cats and dogs in my home, each bringing his or her blanky to cuddle with at night. I volunteer in a homeless shelter and share townhouse walls with two neighbors. And now I'm putting all of those communities at risk.

I may be vegan, but I'm not stupid. These freeloaders had to go. Shout out to Terminix. I called them at 7 am and they got me a same day consultation. While waiting for  my consult, I threw away about half my bedroom. The other half went in the washer and dryer on the highest temperatures. After two extremely unrestful nights (I had to continue sleeping in my bed to keep them from spreading to another room), the exterminator finally came for the bargain  price of $825. Seriously. They did two rooms for the price of one since I'm the only human with a mattress to be treated in the house. I also got the mattress encasement and 90 day warranty.

My household is slowing returning back to normal. The last of the poisoned stowaways are stumbling their way around to be vacuumed up. The My boyfriend took me on a #IkeaRun to replace the items I threw away.

Even slower to return is my feeling of safety and security in my own home. That is something that I am no longer willing to  exchange for booming business. I'm taking it off the Ikea table. And thank you, dear readers, for giving me the space to record this publicly. Please hold me accountable, December 22, 2016 is my last night available for overnights.


  1. I am sure your boyfriend appreciates it.

  2. Loved it! Best blog yet...why wait 'til December?

    1. I've made overnight commitments through the end of the year and I need to help my clients get acclimated to the change. Some of them don't like my new hire so I may have to hire an additional contractor, and include clients in the interview process.