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MindMyHouse News 1 August 2007

by Susan Holtham, 1st August 2007

Check out this nineteenth edition of MindMyHouse News for all of the following: ooooops! Our apologies for sending out multiple copies of our last e-newsletter; your opinions on our divergent sitter wanted listings – the home exchange question and others; hall of shame, here they are for you to throw rotten tomatoes at; a journalist’s request to interview UK people who work while on house sitting assignment; your editor gets to blah blah blah on American live radio about her favourite topic – house sitting of course!; and finally, more interesting MindMyHouse tidbits.

Posted in: MindMyHouse News2007

Dear MindMyHousies,
Our coldest month is finally done with here in sunny New Zealand. Yay! On the upside of the planet it’s high summer season for house sitting in northern capitals such as New York, London and Paris. We hope our house sitters are being run ragged with offers of fabulous house sitting assignments in these exciting cities!

Check out this nineteenth edition of MindMyHouse News for all of the following:
Ooooops! Our apologies for sending out multiple copies of our last e-newsletter; your opinions on our divergent sitter wanted listings – the home exchange question and others; hall of shame, here they are for you to throw rotten tomatoes at; a journalist’s request to interview UK people who work while on house sitting assignment; your editor gets to blah blah blah on American live radio about her favourite topic – house sitting of course!; and finally: more interesting MindMyHouse tidbits.

Ooooops! Our apologies for sending out multiple copies of our last e-newsletter.

Despite tender daily care from your webmaster, our beautiful and well-tended site has been glitching in all sorts of ways. We hope you haven’t noticed! If you were among those who received multiple copies of the last edition of this community e-newsletter, can we offer our apologies now for what must have been an annoying and tedious invasion of your inbox.

What can we say but that we are so sorry for bombing your inbox with multiple copies of our last e-newsletter. If you rushed to unsubscribe yourselves from receiving MindMyHouse News again in such a fashion we wouldn’t have blamed you! We were performing a minor upgrade to our mail system and it seems that our servers developed a metaphorical case of ‘sorcerer’s apprentice syndrome’. Eventually we had to switch the mail-out process off completely in frustration so you may have been among the group who did not receive a single copy of our newsletter. We sincerely hope that it won’t happen again! If it does, please write and complain – at least it will give you something to do besides filling and emptying your trash folder of unwanted mail from us!

Your opinions on our divergent sitter wanted listings – the home exchange question and others.

Two editions of this e-newsletter ago (22 April 2007) we asked you for your opinions on the whole question of just how divergent our sitter wanted listings should be. Obviously none of you wanted to read about one particular Irish bachelor farmer’s request for a beautiful young Eastern European house sitter. Then there was the puppies for sale, the frustrated careworker who wanted a flatmate to relieve her…I could go on. Thank goodness we have finally put an approvals system into place!

But could our sitter wanted listings extend to requests for home exchange partners? The tenor of your replies was split half and half between the following two representative comments:

I enjoy the house swapping adverts and would consider a swap if an appropriate opportunity came along. So please don’t ban them from the site! Renee, a Dutch-born translator living in the Austrian Alps with her two teenage sons

No house swappers. There are plenty of avenues to do that so why mess up your focus? I have been surprised at some of the requests so perhaps your keen eye will curb some of that. Pam, a self-employed, middle-aged American

We decided that we would allow requests for home exchange partners for now, if only to help boost the numbers of sitter wanted listings on our site. We will re-visit this policy when the site gets sufficiently busy.

On another issue, we have decided not to allow requests for childcare through our system of sitter wanted listings. If you need childcare we recommend hiring the services of a professional childminder to take responsibility for your little darlings. They are too precious to try to do anything else!

Hall of shame – here they are for you to throw rotten tomatoes at

Here is the latest batch of would-be fraudsters who tried and failed to register with our service over the past two months. Note the first six addresses were all used by the same ne’er-do-well. Persistence! He was the happy recipient of one of my ‘special’ emails recently warning him off ever visiting MindMyHouse again. As far as using the name of Paul Newman goes – what a master of disguise! Hang on, isn’t that the name of someone famous…hmmm, probably not the best choice. But don’t elderly movie stars need house sitters too?

A persistent loser:
nitodafa01@yahoo.com
nitodafa07@yahoo.com
talk2fikayo@yahoo.com
mi2mi07@yahoo.com
newmanpaul10@yahoo.com
newmanpaul08@yahoo.com

A batch of assorted losers:
wesleyjeremy02@yahoo.com
julietteginn@gmail.com
Joelmac100@gmail.com
makela_centrum@outgun.com
edwinwright02@yahoo.com
escot_crawler@yahoo.co.uk
etay_taylor@yahoo.co.uk
gremark_henderson@yahoo.com
fain_w@yahoo.com

The latest big loser:
officalboys@yahoo.com
ben.henry01@yahoo.co.uk
thomas.solomon10@yahoo.com
ben.henry2007@yahoo.co.uk
fozman1@yahoo.com

Apparently one of these would-be fraudsters has been pestering a few of our members with the offer of a house sitting assignment in Texas as a reward for collecting a package for him. Dubious! If you are ever in doubt about a particular house sitting-related email you have received please forward it straight to us. We love to deal harshly with these people. And remember that the bottom line is: no legitimate home owner will ever ask you to send them money!

Journalist’s request to interview UK people who work while on house sitting assignment.

Are you a UK-based person who is able to continue to earn a living where ever you find yourself on house sitting assignment? If so, there is a freelance journalist who would be very interested in interviewing you for an article.

Sarah McBride is looking for the following case studies to interview by phone or email in the next few weeks (early August 2007). She is not offering any kind of ‘fortune’ but only a little bit of ‘fame’ in return for your efforts. If you fit either of the following profiles, why not volunteer your time to tell the world about how you manage to earn a living while on assignment. I would personally be very interested to read all about it!

• A British person, 25-45, who is self-employed and has worked while on house sitting assignments preferably abroad but also in the UK.

• A British person, 25-45, who is employed but has flexible working arrangements. For example, you may be a school teacher who is able to house sit during your 13 weeks of annual holidays.

To register your interest please contact Sarah McBride directly at the following email address:

Ismcbride at ntlworld dot com

Your editor gets to blah blah blah on American live radio about her favourite topic – house sitting of course!

Recently I was contacted by a journalist from the New York Times who was writing a story on house sitting disasters and blunders. The resulting piece, Return from Vacation. If you Dare was hilarious in its own way. These very singular real-life tales of obese cats on YouTube and mudslides into the toilet room provided a nice ‘isn’t life strange’ feeling rather than being warnings of woe and misplaced trust.

As a result of this article, I got a request from Greenstone Media’s Radio Ritas, Maureen Langan and Diane Dimond (a lively duo who have a light-hearted post-modern feminist take on the world), to join in on a live-to-air eight minute chat about my favourite topic. With a jumpy tummy and sweaty hands I waited up until past midnight for the call from New York. Clutching my notes, I was ready to tell the world about the MindMyHouse project and the new Internet-based phenomenon of house sitting worldwide. Then Maureen floored me with the following question: ‘so, just how can home owners prevent their house sitters from wearing their underwear?’ ‘Erm…’ I giggled into the phone. Suffice to say that the rest of the eight minutes went very quickly, I don’t remember a word I said and the interview isn’t available to download as a podcast. This is probably a good thing!

More interesting MindMyHouse tidbits

We have recently bought a new domain name – our third, www.mindmyhouse.co.nz, which we are very proud of by the way! So, whatever domain you want to visit us on: .com, .co.uk or .co.nz we look forward to helping you hook up with the right people and meeting your house sitting needs!

We have also had our first (and possibly last) sitter wanted listing for an authentic cave house. This erm…cave… is in Spain’s Canary Islands and apparently has all modcons and spectacular views. Unfortunately, our house sitter membership are now so adept at sending off prompt and well-written applications for our choicest house sitting assignments that the poor home owner was deluged by your interest. So much so that it seems she felt able to hide her listing in less than 36 hours!

And last but not least, I just thought I would share the following: a house sitter member wrote to berate us for having a poor quality website and lousy customer support. Seems she was a little confused about which site was letting her down so badly: I had to very nicely send her to one of our competitors who needed to hear what she had to say about his service.

Happy house sitting (or best of luck with your sitters!)

Susan Holtham
aka the team at MindMyHouse

About the author: Susan Holtham

Susan Holtham

The editor at MindMyHouse is a fun gal, intrepid traveller (in a former life), holder of three passports and enthusiastic house sitter. A book editor by trade, she did a three-year stint with Lonely Planet Publications at the start of her career. During her time at LP she shepherded many titles through the production process. Baaaa-aaaa-aaaaaa! Now that two gorgeous little girls call her mummy she's a very busy woman tending to their needs and to the occasional cries for help from among our 5000+ membership. No really, she's always keen to help!