House sitting discoveries!

I wonder if like me there is something you’ve discovered as a result of house sitting?

I’ve recently sat in houses with bird feeders, binoculars and bird books which has really inspired me to get into birdwatching!

Needless to say I now have my own binoculars and book! House sitting can introduce you to many unexpected things…

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We recently sat in an Alexa connected condo. We just had to say, “ goodnight Alexa” and the shades were lowered, bedroom ceiling fan turned on and lights turned off. The homeowner told us to use anything in the cupboards or refrigerator and if it needed replacement just to tell Alexa to add it to their grocery list!

When we got home, I continued yelling Goodnight Alexa only to have my husband give me a multiple exasperated looks. So now, I can tell Alexa to change our thermostat and to turn on a lamp. Not quite an entire house of connectivity but it’s a start!

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@petsit…what a great discovery! I find bird behavior to be so fascinating. The way they communicate with each other, the way they build their nests and the way they feed their babies. I have nine birdhouses in my backyard and one of my favorite times when on the back patio is just sitting with a glass of wine and observing them going in and out of their homes. I love hearing the new babies churping when mom/dad come back with worms.

I would absolutely love to hear what others have discovered while they are housesitting as well!

Debbie - Community Coordinator

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Hi @PetsSit This post is similar to your scenario, but more about such things as kitchen gadgets. It evolved into discussions of AGAs, bread machines, and more.

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We stayed in a house where every room smelt divine. We realised it was from different scented reed diffusers.
We’d never used them as we were scared they would be really strong.

But after that sit we went and bought several and so I am writing this in my bedroom with the sweet smell of pomegranate from a diffuser fragrancing my room.

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Yes! I’ve taken a note of the brand and then bought them for my home too!

I’m currently staying in a house with reed diffusers on each floor plus plug-in fragrancers on each floor as well PLUS scented candles. I had to switch off the plug-ins and hide all the other fragrancers on day 1. I’ve been experiencing an allergic reaction to this overload of synthetic fragrancing chemicals: stuffed-up sinuses, sniffles, runny nose and I’ve now come out in rash. These chemicals are nasty, not just for those of us who are immediately sensitive to them. They have long-term health effects - just google side effects of fragrancers.

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@Dace and @AllyMac I have a story about reed diffusers. When I was married, my husband loved them and we had them in the main sitting areas of our home. Then we left for a winter of house sitting (5 months) and had a sitter move in (no pets). She immediately put the reed diffusers away, and brought out her Lamp Berger. We returned to a gift of a beautiful Lamp Berger - a gorgeous cranberry-coloured glass - and she explained the concept. Initially designed more than a hundred years ago to purify the air in hospitals, it provides a healthy delicate fragrance of your choice, or can be used unscented.

My husband disliked the lamp and returned to using the reed diffusers. The lamp sat unused. He and I later separated, and you may guess the rest of the story. It was logical that I should keep the lamp, and I now use it and enjoy remembering our sitter. :sun_with_face:

I will mention that I have done a sit where I was given advance notice to not bring or use scented products in the home, because of the homeowner’s sensitivity to fragrances. They also reminded me before I left home. It’s easy for me to accommodate as I don’t like or use highly scented products. If you require any similar accommodation - as a homeowner or sitter - it’s good to remember to share that information, so that everyone can be comfortable.

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Just don’t forget to put them back as you’re heading out the door. Like we did. Forgot, I mean.
Ooops…

Hahaha! I did forget the reed diffusers although I remembered to take out the scented candle. Left all the plug-ins switched off though. Still got a 5* review so she probably hasn’t noticed yet.

Yes, fragrance sensitivity is something I’m now going to add to my profile. In over 6 years of house sitting, it’s never been a problem as it’s just been one or two fragrancers which I could switch off or hide. On this last sit though it was overload with at least one in every room/hall/cupboard! Plus the house is a new-build with new furnishings which wouldn’t have helped.

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Fascinating gadget on my last sit that really increased my awareness. In the kitchen counter top there was an electronic meter that indicated the current wattage consumption and it displayed where you were in the weekly budget. I loved it because it became like a game. When I arrived it was the last day of the week and the wattage was over the weekly budget. So every day I was able to see where I was on keeping to the budget.
It was very cool and I am happy to say I stayed below budget :nerd_face:

It’s a “Smart Meter” @Amparo … rain increased the budget, owners had to use the dryer.

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Never heard or seen one before. I think it’s brilliant!

@Amparo I agree that’s amazing. Mine is definitely not as cool, but I have lots of information I can access on my online electricity bill. Homeowners choose rates set by either time-of-day use or a flat rate. Here’s my flat rate for a recent day, and it’s easy to see trends.

I can also access monthly information, broken down into the tiers (green is cheapest, red costs twice as much as green).

The fun part is I was on house sits part of April and most of May. Don’t you love the difference in my electric bill? Sadly it only makes about $15 (£10) difference as most of the charges are flat-rate delivery fees. :sun_with_face:

I’ve discovered how some things never change, but other things certainly have everywhere.

On a recent UK sit I saw a smart meter on the electricity. It was in the closet so I didn’t really pay attention to it, but I knew it was there.
But this reminds me of my first visit to the UK in 1970 when we had to put coins in the meter to get electricity for the water heater.

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Last year at a house sit the HO had Bondi Wash pump hand soap in the guest bathroom with the most wonderful fragrance of Tasmanian pepper and lavender. It made my hands feel so soft. I ordered some online to be sent home while I was still at the sit. Bondi Wash is Australian made from natural botanicals with a large range of products (even dog wash) with the most delighful fragrance profiles. Now I use several of their products.

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On my current sit I am discovering a flush wash dry smart Japanese toilet a.k.a bidet seat

p.s. and no, the water is not cold, you can warm it up to the desired temperature :wink:

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I sat at a home here in the US that had these fancy Toto bidet toilet seats in all four of their bathrooms. The HO had lived in Japan for a while and had probably discovered them there. The water is warmed and it sprays warmed dry air. I have friends who recently installed them in their home too.

During the pandemic-driven toilet paper shortage, I looked into getting them too but decided that it was too costly and involved to install electric and purchase the seats so went for the non-electric type, which we have in two bathrooms. They are great!