I recently had to go away to Melbourne to attend a conference being held by the company that I contract my medical transcription services to. To not attend wouldn’t have been a bad thing but getting some face-to-face networking action wasn’t going to be a bad thing either – therefore overriding my hesitation to leave my home in the hands of my son while my husband was away.
I was reasonably committed to the impending trip but I was hedging my bets on house sitting with the lady down the road who adored my dogs or the local house and dog sitter who I’d had before. I wanted to give my son a chance but I’ve got a reasonably long memory and I could still smell the gas after he’d been home alone for one night and gone to bed, forgetting turn the oven dial to off. I had been lucky in this instance to arrive home early or it could have been a more tragic scenario. My dogs had had the good sense to go out onto the back veranda but one lit match and it all could have been featured on the 6 o’clock news the next day. There was also the time he left the house unlocked just after a break-in next door and the case of the missing house keys last seen in his wallet in a Brisbane night club.
To be fair, he has lifted his game a bit and is more reliable now, albeit a little absent-minded at times. I was starting to come around to leaving him for short stints when I went shopping or overnight if I had to be on the mainland and couldn’t get home. Since he has moved out and is now looking after his own turf, he has become a little more concerned for the welfare of the things he has bought and paid for.
Two days before I flew out he walked in with all his gear and assured me that everything would be fine, my precious dogs would still be alive and the house would be in good condition upon my return. I wasn’t entirely convinced of the credibility of that statement after I walked into his bedroom a half hour later and found the cold meats, milk and sausages he had bought from the shop strewn all over the bed and leaking through to the mattress. He had apparently gotten sidetracked with something on cable and forgotten about them. Two hours after that he managed to spill cooked rice all over my computer tower which promptly fell through the cracks and landed on my graphics card and my motherboard – after I told him to keep himself and whatever he was eating out of my office.
The final nail in the coffin of doubt was when I managed to get a good look at the laptop he’d been trying to hide from me for a couple of weeks because it was now sporting a round, black hole of nothing about the size of a large heel in the middle of the screen. Apparently, after I’d told him about one hundred times to get it off the floor or somebody would step on it – he’d stepped on it with his size 12 foot in the dark when he’d jumped out of bed.
It was at this point I decided that yes, he could stay and look after the house for me and babysit my dogs, but I was getting some backup just in case. The lady around the corner was rostered on to call in and see him the morning after I left and the lady up the road was commandeered to phone him the day after that and drop around unexpectedly in the afternoon on a seek-and-find mission and report potential problems back to me immediately.
I also put my own laptop in the office with the other computers, locked the office up and took the key with me to Melbourne. As far as I was concerned it was more important to remove the temptation than to have to kill him later on. I ensured that he had enough to keep him happy with as much cable as he could handle and a cupboard full of as much food he could scoff in three days, to negate the hard-done-by notion that he was inclined to run by me every now and again when it suited him.
In the end it all turned out okay. The house was reasonably clean, the dogs were still alive and fed and I had only been cleaned out of assorted packets of chocolate biscuits and chips. He’d had no wild parties, no stupid friends over to trash the place and no breakages.
My husband wants to go overseas for two weeks next year but I’m digging my heels in. I’m not sure either of us are ready for that yet.