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Por Favor or Poor Favor?

picture of luggage

Hi! It's that time of the year again, and I need a small favor. I ask this only since we're friends, and not just on Facebook. We're going away on vacation and need someone to drop by to water our plants while we're gone. The plants are mostly geraniums and begonias. They're so pretty right now, and we don't want them to die while we're gone.

If it's not too much trouble, in this hot weather the ones in pots will probably need to be watered every day.

We'll be gone for only a week. Below is a picture for your reference of this year's plantings.

picture of flowers

Thanks so much! We'll send you a post card for your kindness. 🙂

P.S. The ladder is in the garage.


Maybe you can use that to make your request for vacation help seem minimal to whoever will be doing you a favor.

Once I took care of some friends' pet birds while the friends were on a trip. When it came time to show me what needed to be done, they told me that they were looking in on their neighbors' house while they were in Florida for a few weeks. And so they needed me to look in on that house several times too, just to make sure everything was ok. Sounds simple enough, right? Read on.

Since this took place in the late 1970's or early 80's, small details of the story are unclear in this repressed memory of mine, but the main details are unforgettable. On one of my trips to our friends' neighbors' house, I found an enormous mess — things were broken and torn up beyond belief! There had been an intruder, but was he still there? I wasn't sure what to do since I did not even know the name of the neighbor family. I called the police who came and went through the house with me. A squirrel had gotten in somehow, come down through a wall, and was apparently trapped for a while in the drop ceiling. It had chewed through a ceiling tile and done all kinds of damage in the house before dying from who knows what. The police looked up the name of the family and figured out a way to contact them for me.

I felt terrible, but there really was nothing I could have done to avoid the situation. Watering the ton of flowers in the picture above would have seemed like a picnic compared to that situation!

Do you have any nightmarish stories of mishaps that occurred while you were taking care of someone else's house during their absence?


"When things go well, it's not that we're so smart; it's that God is so good." - Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

I wonder how many venues I've been in throughout my life without even knowing it, simply because I had not yet learned the buzzword "venue." Now I'm struggling not to feel horribly cheated.

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9 Comments on “Por Favor or Poor Favor?”

  1. #1 Rebekah
    on Aug 2nd, 2010 at 7:56 am

    We were watching a neighbor’s place while he was out of state. Every day, his burglar alarm would go off, often more than once. He’d never shown us how to disarm it…. We finally got in touch with our neighbor’s sister, and she helped us take care of the alarm.

    Rob adds: The first time that happened must have been alarming. Then just annoying.

  2. #2 Michael
    on Aug 2nd, 2010 at 8:19 am

    My friend was asked to take care of a pet tarantula once. The owner kept it in a glass jar without a lid “because there’s no way he can get out.” The spider required a steady diet of crickets. Murphy’s Law, of course, dictated that both the spider and the crickets escaped into the apartment.

    Rob adds: You are a brave man, Michael! I’m not sure I could agree to do a favor like that. But then, I pick friends who have pets that are not so exotic. 🙂

  3. #3 Bette
    on Aug 2nd, 2010 at 8:47 am

    In 1965 our son-in-law’s parents (newlyweds) were housesitting for a wealthy couple who were on a European tour. A cooking fire destroyed their whole house. I’ve often wondered how they made that phone call.

    Rob adds: YIKES! This one will be hard to top, Bette!

  4. #4 Margie
    on Aug 2nd, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Our next door neighbors used to spend winters in Fla. They allowed the neighbor on the other side to use their garage while they were gone. Good Thing! One day he went into the garage to get his car and he heard water running. So he went in to find water gushing from their dishwasher! He was able to turn off the water source but water had already gone through to their basement. What a mess! When the couple returned from Fla they had their insurance company check it out and thousands of $ of damage had been done.

    Rob adds: Margie, that must have been a horrible experience. I wouldn’t even want to try to imagine.

  5. #5 Carrie
    on Aug 2nd, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Wait, I come here for laughs, not heart failure! Bette, that is one of the most terrible stories ever. I did get a chuckle from your beginning story, though, Mr. Loach.

    Rob adds: I’m glad you specified my beginning story (which was not really mine), and not the wretched situation with the crazy squirrel.

  6. #6 Sharon Klenk
    on Aug 2nd, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    More than 10 years ago, I was house-sitting for a friend from church. After I left for Wed. night prayer meeting, straight-line winds came roaring down through their yard. I came home – in the dark – to find one large tree down across their driveway. I parked the car off the road and climbed around the tree to get up to the house. There, I found that a smaller tree had fallen on their roof, breaking dining room windows and sending the inside three dogs into a panic! THAT was fun! :-/

    Rob adds: THAT does not sound like it was fun, Sharon!

  7. #7 Mary
    on Aug 2nd, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    My parents asked their pastor’s teenage son to feed their dog and water their plants while they went on vacation. When they returned, the very sheepish young man confessed that he had picked up my dad’s shotgun, and being a young juvenile male, had pulled the trigger. Thankfully no one was hurt, but there was a hole in the wall.

    Rob adds: I’m glad he didn’t blame it on the dog. Phew! That one could have ended very badly.

  8. #8 Beth
    on Aug 2nd, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    I have gone by to check on cats for friends, and I never had any problems besides one being missing (she was hiding and was there the next day.)

    I have had alarms for off when I went to clean a dentist office, and once as I was opening up a store. Alarms are such tricky things.

    My dad checks some homes for a gated community, and one time two winters ago, my mom noticed water coming from a garage. A frozen pipe burst and caused quite a bit of damage. They were able to get it taken care of. The owner had left for the winter, so it could have been a major problem.

    Rob adds: Both cats and alarms are tricky things, Beth. We’ve house-sat for people and have never seen the cats we fed for a week! Its sounding as if people in colder climates need to have someone check in in the winter time because of frozen pipes.

  9. #9 Melanie
    on Aug 5th, 2010 at 9:47 am

    One of the towns in the county next to us is rather corrupt for a small rural town (think drugs and dishonest public service officials). This story took place quite a few years ago. People would go on vacation, so they would ask the police chief to check on their house to make sure everything was ok. Then when these people would come back, they would discover their house had been broken into and appliances and technology items had been stolen. Eventually, someone thought to check the police chief’s house. Sure enough, they found tons of the stolen goods in his basement! He and another deputy were the culprits. They would let the items “cool off” in his basement for awhile before selling them.

    Rob adds: Melanie, are you safe in your county?