Instructions to Our House Sitter

model house on lots of dollar billsAs Emile keeps telling us, we are “flying plane Michigan” tomorrow to see “Grandma AND Papa.” (Can’t leave Papa out, after all.) Usually leaving for two weeks in the summer means that we’ll return to a brown lawn, shriveled annuals, and a stack of cobwebby newspapers. But not this year! Thanks to a helpful and intrepid recent college graduate, we will for the first time be employing a bonafide house sitter. So of course I had to give her a few instructions.

1. The key to the house works all the outside locks.
2. We stopped the mail while we’re on vacation, but the newspaper will keep coming. Feel free to read it/recycle it/line a bird cage with it.
3. You can eat whatever you find in the fridge or the house. (Don’t like, eat THE house.) Things with nuts in them: the package of walnuts in the pantry, the jar of peanut butter, the granola bars in the pantry, the granola cereal and the panda bear cereal in the basement storage. Otherwise we’re nut less. [sic] We’ve left you a few cookies on the counter—those are chocolate chips and cherries.
4. There are two plants by the sink, one tree in the room behind the kitchen, and an African violet in that same back room, that need watering, maybe 2-3 times a week. The hanging pots on the porch need to be watered every day, and the two little pots out front need a splash every day. Those other two containers only need to be watered 1-2 times a week, depending on how hot it gets.
5. Use either AC unit, but maybe not at the same time, as they’ve thrown a fuse before. If a fuse does get popped, the fuse box is on the front porch, for easy access to criminals who would like to cut the house’s power and then kill the occupants inside.
6. The guest room is downstairs at the front of the house. I put fresh sheets on the bed. There are also two extra blankets and a space heater in there if it’s too chilly. If you use the space heater please take care not to burn down the house. It is a pretty safe heater, actually. There is not bathroom in the basement (sorry).
7. You’ll find fresh towels in your room, too, but if you need more they’re in the linen closet next to the bathroom off the dining room. You should probably bring your own shampoo, as the stuff we have in that bathroom is terrible or for people with a bad case of dandruff. If you have a bad case of dandruff knock yourself out with the T-Gel.
8. Please close the front curtains when you leave.
9. The track lighting in the kitchen is a joke. We use the light over the sink instead. But if you like mood lighting, use the switch on the wall.
10. The dishwasher works well—just click Normal and then Start. Dishwashing tablets are on the counter to the left of the sink, in the metal tin with the picture of Rosie from The Jetsons on it. Not that you have any idea what The Jetsons is.
11. We’ll give you $XX for watching the house, and our most sincere thanks.
12. The sprinklers to the front lawn are accessed behind the evergreen that is surrounded in cobwebs, at the corner of the porch and driveway. You’ll see two spigots — open the one that is closer to the house. I have no idea what the other one does. It’s possible it turns on sprinklers two blocks away, but whatever. You have to make at least a half rotation with the spigot to get enough water flowing to push the sprinklers out of the ground so they do their thing. If you could water the lawn twice a week for about 20-30 minutes each time, that would be great. Feel free to use the active sprinklers to wash the sticky cobwebs off of your hand and arm.
12a. The lawnmower guys show up early on Tuesdays. I’m sorry about that.
13. Trash day is Wednesday, so people put the garbage cans out on Tuesday evenings. Next week is garbage only (recycling is only picked up every other week), so please just put out the black container. Oh, and don’t put the container in the actual corner of the street, you have to put it in front of the next house or the garbage truck guys can’t get the lift arm to…whatever. Thanks. Everything is so complicated in this tiny town.
Welcome back to Walla Walla!

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