Housesitting – or – Not Paying for Electricity for Three Weeks

As you would guess, from the title of this post, I am in the process of organizing the Proletarian Revolution that will usurp the power of our capitalist, corporate oppressors.

Of course I’m kidding. (Stay strong comrades). For the past week or so, I have been enjoying residence in a lovely home in Mount Pleasant. The owner of the home is an English Professor at the College of Charleston (hey, I went there), who speicalizes in the Victorian Era. Every summer, he and his lovely family take three weeks and go to Maine. There is a problem with this plan, however, in that this lovely family has found itself to be the custodians of two Springer Spaniels, three chickens, a gerbil, and a beta fish. Again, this is Mount Pleasant.

Here’s a quick Geography Lesson for those of you who have not lived in the Charleston Area. You’ve got Downtown Charleston, North Charleston, Mount Pleasant, John’s Island, Kiawah Island, James Island, Folly Beach, and the part of Charleston that lies West of the Ashley river aptly named – “West Ashley.” This is going to be a bit of a detour from the main idea of the post, so for those of you with short attention spans, skip ahead, but be sure to return to this part. This will be covered on the final.
The Downtown area is where all the touristy stuff is, as well as some of the most expensive property per square foot in the entire USA. Stay away from the east side if you can.
North Charleston was listed as the 6th most dangerous city in the US by the FBI. But it’s getting better, so I hear. There’s also an Outlet Mall there.
John’s Island is one of the few rural areas around. They’re trying to put an interstate through it, which would take care of that pesky problem.
Kiawah Island is a private island. It’s residents include: Stan Lee, Mel Gibson, Tara Lipinski, and many other rich people who want to live near Charleston, but as far away from North Charleston as possible. Also, it’s unbelievably beautiful out there.
James Island is not really rich, not really poor. It’s kind of a stoner town – but not really. James Islanders are known for two things: trying to secede from the municipality of Charleston, and being so close to Folly Beach.
Folly Beach is a stoner town. Also, surfers. That might be redundant, though.
“West Ashley” is where I live. It constitutes a majority of the actual land that makes up Charleston. It is almost entirely residential, and has two main arteries of traffic. Which apparently don’t seem to be bothering city planners who are allowing about a bazillion more homes to be built on said arteries, which are already congested without doing anything to expand them. Brilliant.
Mount Pleasant is a rich area for people who want to be rich, but don’t want to commute an hour from Kiawah to get to work. The neighborhoods are all nice, the homes are almost always big, and most residents are the kind who would call code enforcement officers when their neighbors began raising chickens in the back yard. (perfectly legal, btw). Which brings us back to the subject at hand.

The “chickens” part of the housesitting is not a difficult part. You open up their little house, they come out. You collect the eggs, refill their water, give them some feed, lock up their fence, forget about them until the sun sets, close the door to their cage, and then go to bed. Very little is cause for deviation from this routine.

It is of course the “dogs” part of the housesitting that I would like to relate to you. They have two Springer Spaniels, which look like this:

Their names are Gracie and Nelly. Gracie is old and likes to lie around a lot and be loved. Essentially, she is the perfect dog – aside from the fact that she also farts a lot. Gracie normally has a look on her face that expresses a sublime world-weariness that only age can bestow. I don’t have a picture of either dog, but here are Gracie’s Human counterparts – only more grumpy –

Nelly is, in the fullest sense of the word, as far as I’m convinced, an idiot. She’s much younger than old, tired Gracie, and fully of energy and stupidity. Luckily, for some reason, both dogs collapse on the floor around me while I’m typing, so I don’t really have to worry about them right now. Both, however, have decided to do so on all of my notes for Claims Investigation. C’est la vie.

One interesting quirk about Nelly is that she will fetch a ball, but will not, NOT, drop it unless she sees that you have one ready to throw and for her to chase. If you can only find one ball, and throw it, prepare for a rousing time of chasing her around the yard, then ignoring her so that she comes up to you timidly, and finally ripping the ball out of her surprised mouth. The surpise lasts for approximately .5 seconds, as she is immediately running to get this new ball, which you have not thrown yet.

One more anecdote about Nelly, and then I’m done for now. By the way, the only anecdotes I have about Gracie are boring, becuase she’s a good dog all the time, yes she is, yes she is. We found the plastic cup that we put chicken feed in half eaten. All the words you just read are correct. “Plastic” “Cup” and “eaten”. It did not take a lot of deduction to come to the conclusion that clearly Nelly had been framed. Why would she eat a cup? that’s just silliness. Then two nights ago, we are awoken to hear Nelly coughing. It’s dark, but it looks like she’s trying to eat something. I wake up to investigate. What she was trying to eat was her own vomit, as dogs do. As a human, I am repulsed by this and send Nelly to her little kennel thing. When I go to clean it up, I find that there are small hard pieces of something in the regurgitation. It did not take me long to revise my original conclusion that Nelly had been framed to “Nelly is clearly an idiot.” Heather, who groggily awakes, asks me where Nelly is. I say I put her in her cage. “Why?” she asks. Instead of giving a detailed explanation, as I just have to you, I simply reply, “She puked up a cup.”

It’s not as funny now, I imagine, but at 4 in the morning, most things are.

If you skipped down here, over all the previous writing, please go back and read it. I’m sure it was completely accidental that you omitted the majority of the post, so I’ll forgive you…this time.

Here’s Nelly’s counterpart, btw.


~ by aeqvitas on August 1, 2008.

2 Responses to “Housesitting – or – Not Paying for Electricity for Three Weeks”

  1. Looking at the old couple made me laugh harder than I did at anything all day…you are a winner!

  2. Dude.
    I just want to let you know that according to the Revolutionary Handbook for Marxist Comrades (Sec. 8 Par. 3), those who mock the forthcoming destruction of global capital and the bourgeois are the first against the wall. Normally I wouldn’t even warn you, but I thought you deserved it. THIS TIME.

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