Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The house not right in the head

I love this house we're sitting this July.  I'm not sure the feeling is mutual.

This is the fifth time we've taken care of this house, a charming bungalow decorated in Arts and Crafts style by the rather tall woman who lives here.  And therein lies the problem.  Having been here five times, the fourth time being six years ago, I know that I will be covered in bruises whenI leave in a month's time.

House-sitting has taught me that houses have different shapes, not all of which are compatible with my trajectory, for want of a better word.  My tall hostess places things high up - it's her home, after all - and on top of that, things like hooks and closet racks are slightly beyond my reach and there are no stools or stepladders because my hostess doesn't need them.

My shins are an appalling shade of green from my re-learning of how to clamber into her large bathtub with the very high sides.  On my first attempt during this stay, I managed to briefly wedge my lower leg between the tub and the toilet, banging my leg painfully as I struggled to extricate my heel while trying not to topple catastrophically into the unusually deep tub which would have involved a long fall with my body being bent, crumpled and possibly snapped into some wildly unnatural positions.

However, last night, I became convinced that the house was out to get me. It was a hot Canada Day -- for Victoria, barely a summer's day in Ottawa, but the thing is, few homes in Victoria have air conditioning, so by the time younger daughter and I got back from celebrating the holiday with Demeter, the house was uncomfortably warm and I still had to get the garbage and recycling sorted into four receptacles and lined along the pavement to await the various trucks in the morning.  By the time I had tracked down the items and worked out what went where (the rules vary from municipality to municipality and are quite different from those in Ottawa), I was sweating.

The house has large windows which can open to admit a host of insects and arachnids from the surrounding garden and the only screen is a narrow one which must be balanced on the sill and gingerly held in place by the sash.  I managed to pinch my fingers the first try and the screen plummeted to the flower bed below.

Next, it was time to haul the four containers out to the curb.  That's when the garden path attacked me.  For some reason, there were several dried-out bamboo spikes cunningly lurking in the foliage and grasses overgrowing the side of the house.  Two of them got me, one piercing my trousers.  The fact that it really, really hurt was probably an indication of how badly injured I was, i.e. not very.  Later inspection revealed a nasty welt and scratch in my thigh which stung like the dickens in the shower.

It was when I sat down at the computer that I realized my glasses were missing.  I'd go search the foliage, but I'm afraid of another ambush.

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