Crisis averted here -- what did you break on a sit?

I’ve spent the past week on a sit, with one more to go. I’m in the loveliest home, with all the amenities and conveniences, and invited to use and enjoy everything. They have a private theatre, and I’ve been in front of my laptop every night, LOL. They even have a self-cleaning kitty litter box. (the cats even occasionally use it :worried: … but that’s another story)

Anyway - I was washing dishes and went to refill the built-in dish soap dispenser. And while I was at it, I thought I’d refill the electric/automatic hand-soap dispenser, too, so I did.

Well, ladies and gents - the hand dispenser quit working. FLAT OUT no more motor noise, no soap, no little lights. I was certain I broke it somehow. I let it ‘rest’ overnight to see if it was something like the sensor automatically turned off so that it didn’t ooze soap all over the place.

Well, guess what, that did nothing. I was consigned to replacing the device, certain I had damaged it. So FINE, i’m responsible. I go online and it’s not on amazon. It’s not at any local stores. It’s apparently a collector’s item and only a few were made in this color and style, and it’s $125.00 - and that’s before shipping!

So, I think, OK for that much money, I’ll go poke at it again and see if it’s really trashed. Maybe I just need to change the batteries. I travel with a tiny screwdriver set, so I fetched it, opened the device, and found 4 AAA batteries, I took them out, making sure they didn’t get wet, and … popped them back in. Lo and behold! It worked again, and I had soap all over my hands, the sink, my shirt… hurrah!

I was mentally committed to drop $150 on getting this new super-unique electric soap dispenser overnighted to this house!!! ! I’m so glad it didn’t come to that.

What’s your story?


Several years ago I did a 3-month sit in a gorgeous house on Puget Sound. I drink a liter or more of iced tea everyday and the homeowners showed me their fancy electronic tea maker and insisted I use it – had they not insisted, I would never have touched it.

It had a glass carafe with a basket at the top for loose tea. It heated the water to the right temperature, lowered the basket to infuse the tea, then lifted the basket back out.

All went well until the day they were returning. I had washed the carafe and turned it upside down on a towel to dry, and few minutes later heard a crash and the sound of glass breaking. I ran back to the kitchen and was horrified to see that the carafe, heavy on the bottom because of the mechanism for lowering the tea basket, had toppled over on the counter and shattered.

I immediately got online to order a replacement, only to find they don’t sell replacement carafes – the only option was to buy an entirely new tea maker, which cost hundreds of dollars! I was writing a book at the time and had no real income, whereas the lovely, generous homeowners were quite well-to-do. I was willing to pay for a replacement — it was the right thing to do! — but really hoped I wouldn’t have to.

Happily, I was already getting brownie points for picking the homeowners up from the airport, and on the drive home I broke the bad news. I was very relieved that they took it in stride and said eh, not to worry, no big deal, they could probably find a replacement carafe on eBay anyway.

All these years later I still feel the pain of breaking that carafe, and I largely avoid using expensive stuff in any home, even when the homeowners insist I should!

shudders with the memory


After 147 house sits so far in the last 7 years, we had a few mishaps, even though we are very careful. I once opened a kitchen cupboard and a teacup fell out and broke into a million little pieces. We offered the homeowner to replace it, but she said it was an antique heirloom! I felt bad even though I did not cause the breakage, the teacup was not stored properly.
I now take inventory of the china and crystal at the beginning of every new housesit. If it is Crystal de Sèvres or Baccarat, we do NOT touch it nor use it. If it is from Ikea or Crate & Barrel, I know I can replace it, which I have done several times. I was hand washing 2 wine glasses in the sink, when a cutting board in the dish draining rack tipped over and fell on top of the glasses, which shattered. I purchased a 6-pack of wine glasses at Crate & Barrel and left the unopened box for the homeowner. The majority of homeowners appreciate our honesty and understand that accidents happen.
Overall, we fix more things that we break, thanks to my super handy husband Jeff, who goes out of his way to fix and repair things that do not work properly. He has fixed door locks, garage doors, refrigerator doors, replaced toilet flapper valves, snowblower belts, and the list goes on and on! Homeowners are very grateful for his handy work!


Biggest OMG :flushed: was a very large bust of a jazz singer! The owner was a musician and he had lots of music memorabilia, instruments and such.
I knocked it over with my shoulder bag as I was moving in right after they left for 3 weeks in Italy.
I was mortified.
Decided to wait till they got back. Looked to replace it ($400!)
Put all the pieces in a sack took a deep breath…

When they returned they shrugged their shoulders and said “no big deal. It will be fun to see if We can put it back together”


On our very first sit I was vacuuming and backed into a vase, knocking it of its pedestal then did that cartoon thing of watching it fall in slow motion whilst frantically trying to catch it. Failed miserably and watched in horror as it smashed on the floor.
It had a high street label underneath so I tried to get an exact copy but unfortunately could not, so bought a similar size and shaped one to replace.
I was dreading the home host telling me it was of sentimental value but he was very understanding and said he preferred my replacement to the original - phew!


My very first sit with THS … Mad cat Denzel and Woody the failed sniffer dog Springer Spaniel in the kitchen, finished dinner the counters had dishes etc waiting to load, just above the counter was a serving hatch suddenly screeching through the opening comes a manic cat, lands prone on the dishes and they all hit the floor (china does not bounce) OMGoodness what do I do, never even broken a nail on my watch, messaged the owners who were a joy, “No problem Z has too many dishes anyway”

Same sit a month later, roaring fire in the sitting room move the fire guard and a piece of coal flies out onto the carpet, burned my fingers picking it up but even I wasn’t quick enough to stop a very significant burn mark.

Mortified I left that one until their return, "Don’t worry we’ll clai on the Insurance, they had a new carpet.

I have had incidents with sitters also but we dealt with everything in a rational, amicable way.

Accidents happen even to the most diligent and careful. It’s the way we handle the situation that matters.


On our very first house sit 6 years ago we scratched the non-stick surface of the insert of the homeowner’s rice cooker. Honestly, one could barely see the scratch, however, we felt it necessary to replace. We were able order one from a local appliance repair shop at USD $60. The replacement didn’t arrive prior to the H.O.'s return. Nevertheless, though the H.O.'s told us that it was completely unnecessary for us to replace the insert, they appreciated the gesture just the same.


Of course it’s going to happen at some point and it did. We were only in our Housesit for 1 day when my husband used the French press and broke the glass carafe. We went to several stores trying to find a replacement carafe but we’re told probably have to buy a new one anyways. Problem was finding one just like it in Tokyo :astonished: Wouldn’t you know we happened to go by a Starbucks of all places and saw one similar in the window. Hallelujah! Now we travel with a stainless steel French press so no issues.

OH MY gOoDNeSs some of you are making me feel like I’d have gotten off cheap with only a $150ish expense. Well, the sit’s not over yet!

Not sure which is worse – breaking a client’s French press… or being without coffee!

Definitely being without coffee. Just placed my order.
Just saying…

SAME! Everything in this house seems to be crystal, fragile, antique, expensive or otherwise irreplacable. I’m afraid to touch anything besides the cats – but I thought using the soap dispenser that’s right on the sink was fair game

that’s a heartbreaker, but I’d have done the same. Some of those devices are very expensive, and even when you read the manual, intimidating.! I’m fine with a pot on the stove.

Such anxiety! I hope it wasn’t heirloom china! Neither of those was your fault… you can’t be faulted for sprinting cats and sparking coals (tho, didn’t they have a spark screen?)

Your cartoon scenario - that’s happened to me. Too bad the accident was how you were able to convey your excellent taste in vases. Come break some stuff at my house! :laughing:

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YIKES and BIG OOF. (づ°‿° )づ

The lady of the house has a contrabass (IDK, it’s bigger than a cello) on a stand in the foyer. I tiptoe around that thing every day and I don’t DARE walk in that direction at night!

147 sits?! Oh my stars you must have some stories to tell!!!

yes, this… and I clean more things than I get dirty.


Thank you @MissChef

No, the china was fortunately not heirloom I wouldn’t even look at using precious china, not on a sit anyway, at home of course :wink:

Yes, there was a guard however I took it down to add coal to the fire, bad timing!

wait, you made a fire with literal COAL?

That’s something I forgot that people still do! I had no idea coal sparked, just wood. and I’m all too familiar with that. I grew up with a “standard” built-in wood-burning fireplace that spit out huge embers. The floor in front of it was a mess of burn marks, which we covered with a rug, which was also inevitably a mess. My dad probably used crappy wood.

In my house, we have a cast iron fireplace,. It is wood-burning and has a window in front, but loads in from the side… and it shoots out sparkles at you like sprinkling pepper on a flame when you open the door. It gets the house so hot, I’m in tank tops and shorts all winter.

(This is my Staffordshire, Noodles, she loved that fireplace. And she’d happily wear any article of clothing I put on her. :heart: LOVED that pooch… :cry: )


Yes there are still homes which have an open fire, with coal. This was sometime ago and in the depths of winter.

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