Never again. Content has been edited for clarity.
Home Sweet Home
“We came home from a 10-day cruise to Alaska, which consisted of five days aboard ship on the inside passage and five days across land stopping at a nice resort each night – including Denali National Forest, to a non-functioning septic system. Of course, we didn’t know it was non-functioning when we got back to our out-in-the-boonies home from Denali National Forest airport at 10:30 p.m. and we didn’t know for another hour that our niece, aka the house sitter/caretaker for our animals, had caused it.
We had made it clear to our niece to never put any feminine hygiene items down the toilet. And she had been our house sitter before multiple other times. We spent an hour just chit-chatting about our 10-day adventure and got ready to say our goodnight.
Then my neice said, ‘Oh, the toilet in the hall seems to be backing up.’
A quick check of both bathrooms, and we confirmed that things were well stopped up. Long story short, Mr. Expensive Plumber paid us a visit until 2:30 a.m. and cleared the offending items.
I guess the only good thing about this may be that it occurred just before we got home. Had it been a day or earlier, then things might have gotten nastier and messier.”
They Bugged Out When They Got Home
“We’d gone on a trip with our kids one summer, probably to visit family. We’d left our dog, Gennie, at home and had a dog sitter who didn’t quite figure out what the situation was. So we opened the door and walked in, and a moment later had fleas on our legs. Then more. It was worst in places where the sun shone in. Fleas like sunlight. We had curtains with white, thermal backing, and the backs were covered in the things. At least we could see them there, which we couldn’t see on the carpet.
Well, you know how they got there. It was a high-flea summer in Tulsa and we hadn’t used enough flea treatment on Gennie (a lot of those treatments, like flea collars, frankly never worked anyway). And the little things bred. They breed fast, let me tell you. Gennie was covered with them and was miserable. The worst part was she was allergic, so we had to wash her with a coal-tar pet shampoo and give her prednisone pills.
As to the house, I was forced to go to chemical warfare. We had a pyrethrin-based flea spray that we got from our vet. It had an inoffensive, sweet smell. We sprayed the walls and carpet. We sprayed the curtains. We sprayed the furniture. The whole house smelled of ‘inoffensive’ bug spray. It was no longer inoffensive, but it worked.
Only not absolutely completely. It didn’t kill all the flea eggs, so a few days later the next generation began a second assault. Round two. More spray and more smell. But finally, it was done. We all survived, except for the fleas. Gennie recovered. And the smell went away.
The moral, as if you didn’t already know: keep your pet’s flea protection up to date, especially if you’re going to be out of town!”
Friend Or Foe?
“This past summer, I was in Turkey visiting family and friends. While I was there, I was regularly chatting with my friends from back home. One of those friends, let’s call her ‘C,’ told me after an intense fight with her housemates, they had kicked her out. C is not a stranger to homelessness, so at first, she tried to play it off and say that the fight was the biggest issue. Having known her since middle school, I saw right through her and offered her the room I was not using while I was away. She got super emotional and after putting up a bit of a fight she finally accepted my offer.
I called one of my roommates to tell her about this. She agreed that we couldn’t just let C stay on the streets, and arranged to give her a key fob to get into the apartment. All was going well, we would video chat occasionally. Since she was staying in my room, we had also agreed that C would look after my cat, taking the duty away from that roommate from earlier. So she would send me pictures of my cat and show him to me during the video chats as well. Then came time for me to come back home. C knew exactly when I was coming. The weekend I was meant to get back home, she was on a road trip with some friends.
I came home to find my room in a disgusting state. There were bags and bags of food delivery everywhere, half-eaten. There was a box of unfinished and visibly stale nachos open on the bed, perfect for the cat to get at. My bedsheets were on the ground and my mattress was stained with chicken wing bones. My cat hadn’t been fed since before C left, and it looked like she hadn’t cleaned his litter in much, much longer. The room smelled horribly of cat pee in places other than the litter box. C’s clothes were all over the place, and worst of all I found an adult toy just nonchalantly thrown on my bare bed.
Now that I was back, she didn’t have the face to come back. I messaged her constantly, asking her politely to come back to at least clean up the mess. Then finally, getting tired of her constantly giving me excuses, I told her, ‘Look, I’ve been sleeping on the couch for two weeks because I can’t stand the smell of my own room. I came back from a very stressful trip and I was hoping to get rid of my jetlag in my own bed, but I’m on this uncomfortable couch instead. The least you could do is come back and clean up your mess so that I can have my room back.’
This got to her.
She said, ‘I didn’t know you were sleeping on the couch. I’m sorry.’
But here’s the thing…she still did not try to make plans to come over and help me clean!
Finally, getting tired of the couch, I started to clean my own room by myself. I threw away the food, put all her belongings in a bag, and cleaned out almost all of the gross smells. Some of it, I couldn’t even tell where it was coming from. Finally, I got my room back into a livable state.
Nightmare over, right? Wrong.
C still had my roommate’s key fob. My roommate was letting herself in since the buzzer is connected to her phone, but we needed the fob back or else we would have to pay a fine to the office for losing it. I tried constantly to get her to meet up with me so I could get it back. I tried leveling with her, telling her I would trade her belongings back for the fob. Eventually, she straight up blocked me. I used my roommate’s phone to reach her this time. Then she had the audacity to get mad at me for giving her phone number to my roommate. I told her that if she didn’t want me to use these methods, she shouldn’t have blocked me. She denied blocking me, but miraculously after that, I found myself unblocked.
She finally gave me the address of her workplace, which was in the sketchiest part of town, and we arranged to meet up there. I went up to her workplace and asked for her. They told me no one with that name works there. This was actually my bad, I asked for her using her real name. As a call girl, C worked under a fake name to protect herself. I was about to leave when she came out to see me and we did the exchange. After giving me the fob and receiving her bag of stuff, she had the gall to give me a hug. I ground my teeth through it and then I left.
I think it goes without saying that we aren’t friends anymore.”
Uh-Oh! Someone Got In Trouble
“One February, my husband and I went on a couples-only trip to Jamaica. My oldest daughter was 20-years-old at the time and we allowed her to stay in our home in Maine on the promise of her best behavior. I took my younger two children to my mother’s house in Philadelphia. We had an oil furnace in the house and had just filled our 350-gallon tank prior to leaving on vacation.
Because we didn’t 100 percent trust our 20-year-old, I had locked the adult beverages into my bedroom closet and had asked our neighbors to keep an eye on the house to make sure there weren’t any more than one to two cars in the driveway at any given time. Feeling that we had covered our bases, my husband and I proceeded to enjoy our time with friends on a beautiful tropical island.
Seven days later when we arrived back at our house, we found all the lights on, the doors wide open to zero degree temperatures, and the furnace completely out of oil. There was a note on the kitchen counter written by a friend of my daughter’s reading: ‘Morgan is in jail, you’ll need to bail her out when you get home.’
Our living room furniture had multiple smoke burns, as well as on the bedroom carpets and some of the beds. The shower had been ripped out of the main bathroom. My closet door had been removed to get at the adult beverages I had hidden away. All of us had valuables stolen. The total for the damages totaled 12,000 bucks and THAT didn’t include our lost heating fuel.
After much thought and consideration, I decided I would not bail my daughter out of jail. I did however speak to someone at the jail to find out the charge was serving alcohol to her underaged friends.
She had a difficult next couple of months, but ended up discovering some real strengths. During that time, she totally turned her life around and when she finally asked if she could come back home, she was told yes but with conditions. Over the years she filled us in on what actually happened and that people she didn’t even know kept coming into the house because they ‘heard’ there was a party. She tried to stop it but it was far too out of control.”
“She Was Apologizing Up And Down”
“My grandmother was waiting on a liver transplant and lived with us for several months as she waited and then recovered.
Her good friend that lived across the street had asked if her adult children and two grandchildren could stay in Grandma’s house for a short while, as they had lost their home and were waiting for the okay for them to move into their new, smaller home to come through. Grandma agreed.
A month or so after this, we were going to take Grandma back to her home for a weekend to get some different clothes, check on the house, and so on. We called ahead to her friend, who told her kids and grandkids to clear out for the weekend and either stay with friends or at a hotel.
When we walked in, the house was a mess. Clothes were everywhere, open suitcases in the living room with clothes flowing out, dishes were piled in the sink despite having a dishwasher easily available, trash on tables and I don’t remember what else.
Mom called the friend and asked her to come over. The friend took one look, burst into tears, and started cleaning up the mess. She was apologizing up and down. Apparently, she hadn’t been over to the house in a while and didn’t realize what a mess her kids had made. She piled up all their stuff in the suitcases and garbage bags, helped us clean up and remake the beds, then called them and told them they were not staying in the house anymore, to return the key and to come to her house immediately so she could deal with them.
Grandma was even more exhausted after all of that and the stress didn’t do her any good. I think we were all glad to return to our house after the weekend was over.”
“There were two incidents. The first incident happened when I had a roommate at the time I went on a vacation. During this time, I got a call from one of my colleagues that one of his friends needed a place to crash for few days. I told him that I already had a roommate but his friend could come and stay for a couple of days and by then, she could look for another room.
I came back from vacation around 11:45 PM on Sunday. When I entered the house, I saw it was filled with luggage and other belongings. I realized that my colleague’s friend had already arrived which I didn’t expect. I slowly made my way to my bedroom, but I couldn’t open the door. This so-called new person was actually sleeping in my room rather than the couch in the living room. It was late in the night and I was exhausted.
She opened the room after I knocked a couple of times, and she reluctantly moved into the living room. I just wanted to take a shower and sleep. I then went into the washroom and it was a mess. I just hated being there. I had to clean the restroom to even use it. She stayed for over two weeks and I had to force her to leave.
Another incident involved my friend. He also had a roommate and one time when my friend was on vacation, his roommate forgot to close the main door of the house when he left for the weekend. By the time these guys got back, a stray dog was coming in and out of the house and soiled my friend’s bed a few times. He had to throw away his bed and clean the dog poop in the house. It was a nightmare for him.”
“I came home and found out that the person who was supposed to take care of my cats had not come every day as I had asked. She was supposed to clean litter boxes, feed, and give water to my cats. So she needed to come every day. Also, we came home to find out my daughter’s fish was dead.
My dad had died unexpectedly and I had to ask a friend to take care of our pets quickly. I suspected she didn’t come every day, just right before we came home because the litter was not in little bags the way it usually was when it was done every day. I learned my lesson though.
After that incident, I found a local company that charged 40 bucks per day for all eight of my cats to come to fill up food, clean water, and clean litter boxes. My cats don’t get freaked out by having to board them. Better than ‘my friend.’ Every day when the new caregiver came, she texted us pictures of the ‘kids’ to show they were okay.
It was cheaper than boarding as well, and the company screened the caregivers. It worked great, and my peace of mind was complete.”
Something Didn’t Right With Their Dog
“When we had just landed at our local airport, we immediately called the dog sitter who had been staying at our house the past few days while we were on vacation.
I said, ‘Hey! We are back. We just want to let you know that you can let them out to pee because we will be home in a half-hour.’
She said, ‘Ok. I’ll let the dogs out.’
When we got home, we opened the back door and noticed one of our dogs was so happy to see us. Then we saw the other dog who was usually hyper, not excited. We knew something was wrong.
When she bumped into the wall we knew right away. She couldn’t see. In one of her eyes, there were hundreds of tiny microscopic like splinters in her eye. She couldn’t see at all out of that eye. We immediately rushed her to the vet.
She ended up being fine. But after spending well over a few grand on this trip, we didn’t expect to spend another couple hundred on a dog!”
They First Thought They Were Robbed
“A week ago my husband, ‘Rory,’ and I returned home from a two-week vacation. We had hired a house sitter, ‘Clara,’ to come over every day and feed our cats, check the mail, and also water my plants every three days.
When we entered our house I instinctively turned to drop my keys into the key bowl and they hit the ground. We turned on our lights and our foyer had been completely rearranged. Our first thought was we had been robbed and we began to move through the house checking every room to make sure we were home alone, ready to dial 911.
What we discovered was just bizarre. All of our furniture had been rearranged, our living room, dining room, TV, and stereo system, office, bedroom, my craft room, the den, my husband’s game room. Even my piano has been moved!
Back in the kitchen, we were looking around and I noticed that my pantry door was open. When I went to close it I realized my entire walk-in pantry had been completely rearranged from floor to ceiling. I started opening cabinets and all my baking supplies, pots and pans, cutlery, and even my silverware and junk drawers had been moved.
As I was frantically looking through the bedroom and office making sure nothing had been stolen and our safe was intact, Rory found a note from Clara.
In it, she stated that she’d enjoyed house sitting for us and she hoped that we liked our new living space. That she has been taking a course in interior design and she decided to ‘allow us to become her first client, pro bono!’ She placed pieces from other rooms in different rooms so it wasn’t as easy as just switching each room back to how it was. She took down pictures and artwork, patched the holes in the walls, and hung my artwork in different rooms!
We did not like our new living space. What she did completely messed up the flow of our home. Rory and I had spent over six months rearranging furniture and trying pieces in different rooms until we found exactly what we liked best. It was our first home together and it was important that we designed it together as well. It really made us feel like our home was truly ours.
I really did not know what to say to her so I haven’t talked to her yet. Clara is my friend and so Rory decided to leave it up to me to deal with this. We spent three days putting our home back together again, and I don’t know how to deal with this. She has emailed me and asked what I think about the house and asked if I’d write a review for her new interior design business!! The level of entitlement was just mind-boggling and then for her to expect a pat on the back and a review as well?
I did not know how to address this with her because honestly, I was afraid that if I didn’t have a script in mind, I would just begin screaming at her. I felt incredibly violated, almost as if someone had broken into the house. Both Rory and I are OCD, and I have GAD. I was having difficulty sleeping at night and I was so uncomfortable in the house ever since we got home. How did I explain that this was unappreciated and highly violating? Should I even mention that it was a really, really lousy design job?
She was often bored and would ‘open a business,’ and six months later drop it and never do it again. She had been a photographer, a caterer, a cake decorator, and now I guess an interior designer. Always unlicensed and she would always leave someone in a lurch. She was supposed to cater a wedding. She got bored, quit doing it, and didn’t tell the bride until a month before the wedding. Same with doing baby photo shoots and a few people’s cakes for birthdays or baby showers.
She seemed to enjoy the thrill of new business cards, buying all the equipment, making a business page for herself on social media, and then once she started getting jobs (because unfortunately, she was one of those people that are great at everything they pick up) she would get bored and quit.”
What Happened To The House Sitter?
“My wife and I lived in Australia at the time, when we went on a holiday trip to England for three months. We arranged for a house sitter for our time away.
On our return, we were told the housesitter had gone off with a new girlfriend after the first week so no one had been in the house for nearly three months. When we opened the front door it was to a sickening smell. Apparently, when the person left, they turned off some power switches including the one to a well-stocked fridge and freezer we had filled for the housesitter. Over 400 liters of rotting food had been festering for nearly three months in a hot closed house.
I won’t go into the details of what we then did but it took a long, long time to get the house back to liveable. Definitely an unwelcome surprise on returning home.”
“In 2014, my family and I were returning home from a trip to Las Vegas. My grandmother was watching over our house while we were out. After we arrived back home, we discovered that a few things were missing like my dad’s credit cards, my sister’s laptop, and my mom’s ring.
My grandmother made up a crazy story about some strangers coming to the house, offering or selling something to her. Not getting the full story, but she implied that she had been tricked and robbed mysteriously when she let ‘those strangers in.’
We had a hard time believing her. My grandmother had kleptomaniac tendencies.
Later on, we found out that my dad’s credit cards were used in a nearby city. He had to sort it all out with the bank.
The most probable theory was that my grandmother gave my evil aunt and our other crazy relatives access to our house and they must have stolen our items. It was also possible my grandmother could have been manipulated or something.
Since the incident, the relationship between her and my dad tore apart.
Overall, it was a very unpleasant surprise arriving from an international trip to our house being robbed.”