This was house sit number 5 for us and by far it was the most exciting house sit we’ve ever had. Let’s just say we had excitement from all ranges of the spectrum from exhilarating to scary.
Once again we found this house sitting / pet sitting opportunity through Trusted House Sitters. We really do feel they have the best selections for us, so we keep renewing our membership. Of course, we have written all about them, so if you want to know more then click here. There is also have a sign-up link you can use as well here => Trusted Housesitters (US).
Let me start by saying, that we’ve loved every single house sit we’ve done. We have also fallen in love with every pet we have been pet sitting. This time was no different, but we did have the added luxury of having a 9 month old chocolate lab puppy, named Rolo.
As you will see, a puppy adds an extra layer of excitement and a little more spice to any ordinary day. He is learning how to be a great guard dog and still thinks he is the size of a lap dog. In addition there were a few other experiences which added to the excitement calculator, especially when staying in an unfamiliar place.
Where were we?
Yes, the location was very exciting for us! We were staying in a chalet in the ski resort village of Morzine, in the French Alps! The home was beautiful, and nestled in the pine trees on the hillside, with a river flowing below. It was surrounded by great hiking trails, fresh air, and gorgeous views. Even though it was summer, there was a bit of a cold snap, so we were able to enjoy the jacuzzi at night, wrap up in blankets on the couch, and once we even had a fire (in the fireplace of course). There was only one other home near us and the rest was just beautiful nature all around.
The Guest of Honor
One of the main reasons we house sit is to spend time with pets. Because we are a traveling family, we aren’t willing to commit to having a pet of our own, so the next best thing is to borrow them for a while. We used to have a yellow lab named Baker and he passed away several years ago. So we have a particular fondness for labs and retrievers. Being with Rolo reminded us so much of Baker. In fact Alan even called him Baker a couple of times. (That’s meant as a compliment, Rolo!)
Rolo had no trouble adjusting to us and of course we fell in love with him immediately! He wanted to play and lay around with us. He loved going on hikes and saying hello to every passerby, with great excitement. No matter where we were, he was by our side. That is, unless he was out protecting us, chasing after another dog, running up to a hiker approaching on the trail, or getting into mischief. Keep on reading.
The stove doesn’t turn off!
First of all, this wasn’t overly exciting, but it was a challenge I was determined to master. The chalet came with an Aga cooker. If you aren’t familiar with one I have a little blurb description below:
The AGA cooker is a heat storage stove and cooker, which works on the principle that a heavy frame made from cast iron components can absorb heat from a relatively low-intensity but continuously burning source, and the accumulated heat can then be used when needed for cooking.
Have you seen anything like it or used one before?
Thank goodness the owners explained how to use it to us and left the manual right on the counter as well. It is always on, at all times! Crazy. Each oven is a different temperature and is meant for cooking different things. On the stove top there are 3 burners (Hi, Med and low). you move your pans to the appropriate burner rather than changing heat. There are no knobs!
I only set off the smoke alarm once and that was quite the thrill. We were running around opening windows and doors. Of course Rolo thought that was loads of fun and felt it was a great opportunity to go explore outside on his own. I actually became very fond of the cooker by the end of the week. Without reading the manual, I made french toast, biscuits, roasted chicken and potatoes, soup, brownies and more. I can see how it is great in a home with a colder climate.
Someone’s in the house!
The home was 3 stories and surrounded by windows looking out to the beautiful forest by day, but by night it was pitch black. There weren’t any curtains on any of the windows, but it wasn’t likely that anyone would be outside anyway. We were in the bad habit of staying up very late, as there were many activities in the home to keep us entertained.
One night in particular, Anya and I were going upstairs to bed and were passing through the upstairs living area (Yes there were two huge living areas, the 2nd floor is in the photo above).
Of course it was dark out and as we walked by the stairs leading to the master bedroom and I noticed the door was ajar with the light on. That’s weird, as we hadn’t been using that room. Soon thereafter, Rolo came up to see where we were going and he started in with a little gruff bark, as if he wasn’t sure about something. Of course my mind wandered and I immediately thought someone was in the house.
I slowly walked up to the room and checked it all out and no one was in there. Anya was freaking out, because I thought someone might be in the house. Then I told her why I though that and she told me she had turned on that bedroom light. She wanted to see if the bathtub in the master bedroom was bigger than the tub in our bathroom!
What’s that under the bed?
Phew, an intruder was no longer in my thoughts, for about 3 minutes. After we closed the master bedroom door, Anya was slightly spooked and wanted to snuggle in my room. I will not turn down snuggle time with the kids. So she came in my room with me and we had a few laughs about what just happened. She then went on to say how maybe it was like the horror movies and there really was someone there and he just finished getting all of the neighbors and is now at our place.
Next we moved on to saying how we hate it when we’re scared and think someone or something is going to reach out from under the bed and get us. At that very moment, I feel a cold wet nudge on my arm from the side of the bed! Let’s just say I jumped up about a foot and screamed very loudly, which in turn let loose screaming Anya.
It was Rolo in stealth mode coming into the room to see what all the giggling was about. Of course I was laughing so hard, but Anya was still freaking out, because she didn’t know what was going on. I couldn’t speak from so much laughter, and then finally got out “It was Rolo”. Rolo thought this was all fun and games for him and tried to climb up in the bed with us to join in. It’s been ages since I’ve had side-aching laughter like that and eventually Anya’s squeals turned into laughter as well. Of course, it all didn’t end there, the conversation quickly went back to the dark side.
Out of nowhere the house went dark!
All of the sudden the lights went out! We were in complete darkness and our minds were really making up some scary stories now. I quickly got up to look out the window to see if it was just our house and noticed the lights were still on downstairs. That is when I realized the hall light, which was illuminating my room has a motion light on a timer. Duh! Of course the lights will go out on their own, when they are on a timer.
Needless to say this was one of my favorite highlights of the house sit, as I haven’t laughed so hard in years. Anya was laughing crying and remained a bit spooked for the remainder of the night. Of course it didn’t help that Lars was making scary noises in the halls and in their bedroom.
Someone’s outside (Alan’s Tale)
My story is soooo spooky. It’s dark out, and Heidi and the kids are out of the house, so it’s just me, Rolo, and whatever, or whomever is lurking outside. It just so happens that I was in roughly the same spot that I am in the picture below. I was working on my iPad, and out of nowhere Rolo starts barking at the windows to the left. He’s got a deep growl going, and I can tell he’s on edge.
It’s light inside the house, and dark outside, so if someone is out there, they can totally see me, but I can’t see out at all. I move over to see if I can see anything. Nope. Complete darkness. Normally, I would go over to the window and see what’s up, but I’ve seen enough horror movies, that I’m not going anywhere near the window. I’ll admit, I was a bit scared.
As I move to get more comfortable (more protected), Rolo starts barking again. Then something clicks in my brain. I move back on the couch, and look through the window directly across from me, and I see something completely terrifying…My reflection!
“Rolo! You big dummy! That’s my reflection!”
He was just barking at the reflection of me. Obviously, he didn’t understand me, but my stress level dropped, and I was able to get back to work. Whew! That was close.
House Sit Kleptomaniac?
So a few days into the house sit, we found a popped plastic ball on the front porch. The next day there were some swim goggles in the backyard, attached to Rolo’s mouth. Apparently Rolo liked to visit the neighbor’s yard and borrow items from time to time. The people staying in the home were just friends of the owners, so hadn’t visited the area previously. We told them that we were just visiting too and we didn’t think Rolo was going to listen to us. We advised them to keep their toys up and out-of-the-way or in the house.
The next day the neighbor came over asking if we had seen his shoe. Huh? Why would we have seen his shoe? Apparently they saw Rolo inside their house and told him to go home. A while later they were heading out and noticed a shoe missing. They just assumed poor innocent Rolo took the shoe. Ha!
We asked Rolo if he knew about the shoe and then we went to look in the yard. Oh look there is a shoe on the grass. Rolo made a run for it and wanted to play keep away from us. Yes it took 2 grown men and a couple of kids to retrieve the shoe from Rolo. Oh what fun it is to have a puppy. No doubt it was a load of laughs and apologies. We absolutely loved this house sit and would return in a heartbeat.
It isn’t often we have so many extracurricular activities at a house sit
As if there wasn’t enough excitement around the house for us, we went out and found even more! Of course we will create a list of Things to Do in Morzine, but here are a few teasers of what is coming on the blog: (don’t worry, someone usually stayed behind to play with Rolo.)
Downhill Mountain Biking
If you aren’t sure house sitting is for you, there are other options, like house swaps. We have written all about the various options, so if you want to know more then click here. We also have a sign-up link for house sitting, you can use as well here => Trusted Housesitters (US).