We have had the most emotionally draining day. You won’t believe what has happened. Let me take you back to the beginning because what happened to us means nothing if you don’t know the whole story. I haven’t had the chance to blog about our actual house-sitting experiences yet, but I felt compelled to jump online and type this as a form of therapy for myself. I apologize in advance that there are no photos of the house sit or the pets because I want to keep this as confidential as possible. As much as we want to warn other house sitters about this woman, we will let the owners of Trusted House Sitters take care of her. We filed a complaint with them, and let them read the main parts of this blog, mainly having to do with the state of the home, and her mental health. We felt it was our duty to make sure that she isn’t allowed to advertise for house sitters in the future. Nobody should have to go through what we did.
If you have read any of our previous blogs on house sitting, you would see that we ended our journey in Australia at the home of a woman who was having surgery and needed assistance with her dogs. We arrived at her home on January 20th, even though she wouldn’t be having surgery until January 27th. Our first impression of this woman should have been enough for us to cancel. Within minutes of meeting us, she showed us the scar on her wrist from where she tried to kill herself a few years ago. She then shared with us what medication she is on for her “Clinical Depression”. She then told us her entire life story, including how her husband left her for another woman. Every night, we sat through dinner and let her vent to us about her life.
We met her 2 dogs, which we absolutely loved. The house, on the other hand was another story. The house was absolutely disgusting. I don’t think it had been cleaned EVER. There was dog hair covering every surface of furniture, and even the towels we had to use smelled musty. During our short stay here we came across various creatures including cockroaches, and maggots. Yes maggots (thank god that was this morning and we are now gone). The cupboards were filled with ants, and there was never a short supply of flies in the air. If that doesn’t gross you out enough, picture us drinking out of glasses that have live and dead bugs in them! Yes, I am not kidding, it was absolutely horrifying. She fed her dogs raw chicken parts, and raw bones that were stinking up the fridge from being so old. When it came to garbage day, we took the opportunity to throw out most of her fridge because there was so much garbage in there, and the smell was just nauseating. We didn’t say anything, because it wasn’t our place to judge, but now that we are gone, I feel I need to express how disgusting this was to experience. You would think that we would have turned around and run out on day 1, however, we were now in the middle of nowhere. This woman lived in a small village, which was 45 minutes from the closest town, and 4 hours from Sydney by train. There weren’t any buses or any way to get out even if we wanted to. We also felt sorry for this woman because her family would not assist her, and she would need someone to help with the dogs while she was in the hospital. So, we stayed, and tried to put the state of the house and our surroundings out of our minds.
She seemed to be a nice woman, at first, but no matter what we tried to do for her, she would always criticize us. We cooked most nights and cleaned up the kitchen every night, but instead of thanking us, she criticized us. We watered her 100 plants (not exaggerating), and I kid you not, she came home from surgery and said “I don’t think you watered these because they look bad, I will just do it now”. Of course, we didn’t let her water them, and we did them for her. We took the dogs for walks every other day, and fed them their food.
The first sign of trouble came on the day that she announced to us that she would need us to drive her to the hospital and pick her up after her surgery. The problem is that we don’t have any experience driving on the left side of the road, and neither of us felt comfortable driving in a city with stop lights and lots of traffic. She told us we could practice, so one day, Trevor decided to drive. It went well overall, but there were definitely some scary parts to the drive, including a near accident in a round-about. She wasn’t the best teacher, and caused a lot of confusion with her communication. I was close to having a panic attack in the back seat. Needless to say, at the end of the day we were emotionally drained, and made the decision NOT to drive her to the hospital. We were worried about telling her this because we had nowhere else to stay, and could not afford to stay 2 weeks in a hotel. We were honest, and she took it very well. The next day, she had called the hospital and arranged private transportation, which wasn’t a problem at all. Neither of us realized that she became bitter about this, and was holding it all inside.
So, now we come to today. The day started like any other day. We were in the kitchen making breakfast when we found maggots all over the floor. We were both disgusted. Trevor got out a mop and tried to get them all into a corner. I had JUST turned on the air conditioning, and was about to close the windows when I decided to look up how to kill maggots on my phone. The home owner walked in, and of course the first thing she says is “you have the air conditioning on and the window is open”. I said “I know, I was just about the close them when I got distracted, you might want to look at your kitchen, it is disgusting.” The weird thing is, she didn’t seem shocked to see maggots at all. This made us believe that she has them all the time. She tried to blame us (are you surprised), and said it was because we used a large garbage bag. Funny, there were no maggots in the garbage, so I don’t think it was a one- time thing, and it certainly wasn’t our fault. She sat down and said “I want to talk to you also, I don’t think this is working out, and I would like to ask you to leave today, I want my house back”. WHAT? She said that we have done NOTHING for her while we have stayed there. She said she was upset that we did not come into her room the night before and check on her, or ask her if she needed anything. This is an odd statement, since we have never once gone into her room, nor has she ever asked us to. The night before this, we had ordered dinner, and asked her what she would like, and I even delivered it to her IN BED! I offered to get her anything she needed. Every night before this, we always said goodnight to her because we always had dinner together, but this day she was staying in her room, and never came out. Every day, she would sleep until noon at the earliest, so we never would dare check on her before this hour. When I told her this is why we didn’t bother her on the day she was complaining about, she said that was “ridiculous”. She went on to tell us how she doesn’t think we will survive our holiday if we won’t drive. She said she told her daughter that we weren’t comfortable driving, and that her daughter insulted us by saying “what kind of 30 year olds are they?” She then went on to tell us that we have never walked her dogs! She then said that she never told us we could use the air conditioning (when she showed us on day 1 how to work it). We were clearly fighting a losing battle with this woman. It was either her mental illness, or her heavy use of pain medication that was causing her to literally lose her mind. I asked her how she expected us to go somewhere when she was supposed to give us a ride to the train station in 2 days to catch our flight. She said that because SHE had to make her way to the hospital on her own, WE would have to figure out our own way out of town. I told her that was UNFAIR that she put that expectation on us to drive, when we applied to look after her dogs, and she never posted in her ad that she would need a driver, otherwise we wouldn’t have come. She had nothing to say back to this. I asked her if she was going to pay for a taxi for us or if she would drive us. She said “you can pay me for the electricity that you used, the showers you took, the air conditioning, and the internet”. I said “that is something that gets agreed upon at the beginning, you can’t ask for that after you advertise your house sit as being FREE”. She owed us money from dinner the night before, which she refused to give us back. She simply said “you will find somewhere to go”. She then went to hide in her room until we sorted out a plan. We couldn’t believe this woman. After everything we had done for her, and her dogs, and living in her disgusting house, this is how we are treated? We were shocked.
I immediately got on my phone and started looking for somewhere to stay. Unfortunately for us, the areas surrounding the city where we needed to catch our train at was incredibly expensive, so we weren’t going to get a deal anywhere. We settled on a holiday park near the beach, in hopes that we could enjoy our last 2 days, and try to leave on a happy note. Now all we had to do was find a way out. There was a bus that came to town, but it only came a few times a day, and we would have to walk our luggage quite far to get to it. I immediately thought about going to a neighbour to ask for help. Normally, this isn’t something we would think to do, but when you are stranded in another country with no way out, you tend to do whatever you need to do. I went next door, while Trevor packed up all of our luggage. I am embarrassed to admit this, but when the women opened the door, I could only introduce myself, and then I broke down in tears. I think all of the anger and hurt just came out. I explained the situation to her and her husband, and they were very sympathetic. Another surprising thing is that they weren’t shocked by her behaviour. The woman looked at her husband and said “I told you she was loopy”. Apparently, this home owner had done a lot of crazy things in the past, and these neighbours were very aware of her personality. They offered to drive us to another town, about 20 minutes away. We were so grateful. She only asked us for $20 for gas, but I made her take $50. I told her she was an angel, and she accepted with tears in her eyes. If nothing else, this day showed us that there are good people left in this world, who will help out another human being.
We ended up in a beautiful location, just minutes from the most unique beach we had ever seen. Within minutes of being in the water, we told each other that we were happy that we were here, and that we were going to make the best of this situation. If you look at the photos you will see that we picked a great place to be stranded in. We will be here for 2 nights, and then we make our way back to Sydney to board our plane to New Zealand. That’s it for now!