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MindMyHouse News 30 September 2008

by Susan Holtham, 18th October 2008

Tune into edition 25 of our little community e-newsletter for all of the following: Tom Hill publishes his excellent how-to e-book (free for 25 of you!) to help get you on your way to house sitting success; do our listings seem to disappear just as you try to click through to them from your email alert?; what do you take with you? part II, thanks to Linda Razzell for this one; and finally, an ever-shorter list of losers.

Posted in: MindMyHouse News2008

Dear MindMyHousies,
another long wait for this one – sorry! However, you have our full attention now. Kia ora! (That’s Maori for a very fulsome hello.) We are so thrilled to be in the full swing of spring now that the Earth has swung around to an altogether better position relative to us. Our little triangle house in the valley survived the many storms of the winter just gone by with no complaints except for a bit of creaking in what can be the gale-force winds. Did I mention the landslide of around a tonne of clay from the top of our bank to 80cm from our back door? Ouch…home ownership is certainly full of surprises!

We had a nice surprise recently when a house sitter member from the States got in touch to ask if she could stay with us for a few days in between house sitting assignments. ‘Come on down!’ we said. Pam was a delightful, considerate world traveller who had a lot to share with us about her experiences of using sites such as ours and all of that other practical stuff that house sitters have to learn as they go. Fascinating!

As we approach the northern winter, a certain breed of bird begins to prepare for its annual migration south. If you are into winter sports, gazing over long, icy vistas or simply snow-shoeing around your own private 81 acres then keep checking in with the site as the snowbirders start to post their sitter wanted listings.

Tune into edition 25 of our little community e-newsletter for all of the following: Tom Hill publishes his excellent how-to e-book (free for 25 of you!) to help get you on your way to house sitting success; do our listings seem to disappear just as you try to click through to them from your email alert?; what do you take with you? part II, thanks to Linda Razzell for this one; and finally, an ever-shorter list of losers.

Tom Hill publishes his excellent how-to e-book (free for 25 of you!) to help get you on your way to house sitting success

Successful House SittingWhat can we say about ‘Successful House Sitting. An easy how-to guide by Tom Hill of Housem8.com’? We think it is absolutely fabulous! Tom is a very shrewd ‘genius truck driver’ type of guy who has boiled down five years of experience house sitting Europe-wide into a very sweet and easy-to-read hard ball of toffee for your pleasure. Want to know what it really costs to run a car in Europe? Wondered when a horse might need to see a vet? Worried about how to conduct yourself during a first meeting with home owners? Feeling concerned about how to keep your relationship healthy while on assignment? Thinking about taking out some form of liability insurance? Then this is the publication for you!

While Tom Hill has written this comprehensive how-to guide for the aspiring full-time professional house sitter (that is, those who charge a fee for their services), there is a lot in here for anyone with any interest in the subject. Tom’s writing style is so concise, well organised and accessible that any reader can dip in and out of each section as desired.

“As long as you carry no unusually burdensome debts and have no dependent children, this publication will show you, in a logical step-by-step way, how to break free from the conventions of regular employment, should that be your wish. Equally, if you want to take a ‘year out’ or use house sitting as a way to earn two or three free foreign holidays per year; it will explain how to use the concept of house sitting as a tool to drastically reduce your living expenses. House sitting can free you from the confines of working regular hours in the same location day after day, and above all it will show you how to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle as if you were earning many times the actual amount that you will put into your pocket.”

This e-book usually goes for a song at only US$10 but the first of our 25 registered house sitter members to contact him at lin@housem8.com can get his considerable wisdom on this subject for absolutely free. While Tom has said in the past that something that is free has no value, in this case – not true! Be assured that this isn’t an advert – just a good old-fashioned review of a quality product we know our members can benefit from.

This e-book has around 21,000 good words of road-tested facts, grains of salt and nuggets of truth on our favourite subject: house sitting! All of this from our favourite Bloggers on Assignment, Tom Hill (and Linda Worthington of course!).

To secure your free copy of this excellent how-to guide, visit his website at www.housem8.com. To get your free download of this e-book be sure to tell Tom that you have come from MindMyHouse.

Do our listings seem to disappear just as you try to click through to them from your email alert?

We have noticed a flaw in our system that may be annoying the heck out of some our house sitter members. Has this ever happened to you: You click on a link to a listing in an email alert you have just received from us in your inbox. You are excited about the sound of this particular listing, you know it is freshly published and are imagining the possibilities of running a boat on a volcanic lake in Guatemala (yes we did publish this very listing recently) but then…dang it! You click on the link and…and…get a system message from us saying that you can’t view the listing. ‘Why?!’ you scream silently in your head.

Here’s the answer: Our home owners are in the habit of editing their listings one or more times after they are first published. We have an approvals system in place which means that our listings are automatically hidden from view every time they are edited until our editor is able to re-approve them. Given that we are online for only 16 or so hours out of 24, often our listings are unavailable to view when you are attempting to do so. Sorry about that!

We have realised that the default message we were giving our house sitters when they were unable to view sitter wanted listings on our site was misleading. So we have changed that message to something similar to the following:

"This listing is currently not visible on our site. It may be that it has been edited by the home owner and is waiting to be re-approved by our editor. Please check this listing again soon! If you can’t view this listing for 72 hours or longer it has been hidden by the home owner."

We recommend you re-visit all of those tempting listings you had assumed had been removed from the site. These may now be live on our site and awaiting your response!

What can you take with you? Part II. Thanks to Linda Razzell for this one!

You may have read a charming contribution to Bloggers on Assignment, mentioned in the June edition of MindMyHouse News from Clare, our regular contributor from Queensland, Australia. Well, Linda Razzell from the UK (but currently house sitting in and considering moving to France) was inspired to send us her list of ‘must haves’ too. Nice one Linda!

Hi Susan, here’s our house-sitters’ essentials kit. We can’t do without any of these things, even for a fortnight.

  • Carrot juicer (not many people have one)
  • Measuring cup (some people don’t have scales)
  • Our cat’s scratch post (he has his own list but that’s another story)
  • Cordless phone (other people’s phones are often weird things with wires attached)
  • My special pillow
  • Laptop (has all our music and entertainment on it)
  • Big tool box containing all our kitchen tools (preferably when house-owner not looking because it does look like a big tool box!)
  • Proper cast iron frying pan
  • Cook’s knives and proper peeler
  • Our 2 china mugs
  • Water filter jug
  • Tea pot & good quality leaf tea just in case
  • Mosquito net
  • Cotton sheets & pillow cases (surprising how often you don’t find these)
  • Dream catcher
  • Bicycle
  • Internet radio
  • Weather station
  • Photo of my grandchildren

There may be more but I think that’s it!

Loser of the month

Here they are again. Oh dear. Notice that this list is shorter than in previous spots in our e-newsletter. This is because these ne’er-do-wells are being bounced from our system more often these days and aren’t even able to attempt to register with us. Please note that these email addresses were used by would-be fraudsters in Africa trying to pass themselves off as home owners in the West. As stated in our Privacy Policy, we guarantee the privacy of all of our genuine members’ information!

The same loser:
ackvass@gmail.com
rosew234@yahoo.com
ackvas@live.com
emmasky4real@yahoo.com

Different losers:
michael_brian0072@yahoo.com
jeremy_zino46@yahoo.com
cjaneheld@yahoo.com

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!