“He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich”

Do you come from a land down under?

This song has been in my head since we made arrangements for housesitters to stay with Truffle while we’re gone three weeks this summer. Kerrie and John are from Newcastle, NSW, 100 miles north of Sydney. They’re retired school teachers who travel the world by staying in people’s homes.s.

Yes, complete strangers I met on the internet are staying in my house and taking care of my beloved dog while we’re 5,000 miles away. My neighbor’s expression when I told her this shows she thinks I’m nuts. Knowing my mother-in-law she probably thinks they’ll steal my identity. Me, I think it’s fantastic. They are super nice – we’ve corresponded by email almost daily and talked once on the phone (weird experience knowing it was totally the next day there). Their references are glowing. Their dream is to eat at el Bulli … they’ve got to be pretty cool.

Kerrie was interviewed on All Things Considered (go listen!)  about their gig. I had to laugh when the host talked about people and their pampered pets leading to an increase in the popularity of housesitting. I guess that would be me. I can’t stand the thought of Truffle stuck in a kennel for three weeks — though he’d probably be perfectly thrilled at the doggie day camp and collapse into sleep at night. But still. It seems like puppy jail.

Our new Aussie friends are coming to the states early May and we’ll spend the weekend at Lake Cumberland getting to know one another. We can’t spend the weekend here — other complete strangers are staying at our house, which we’ve rented to them for Derby. My neighbor finds me the oddest duck on the block, I know. Then they’re off to another housesit in Virginia and will be back a day or two before we leave.

To give them a little local insight during their Louisville stay I’ve started the Traveling McMahan’s Google map of Louisville where I’ll put all our favorite haunts.

Kerrie has suggested we come visit them in Australia. You never know, it might be time to head down under.


2 responses to ““He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich”

  1. Dana, you KNOW we don’t think you’re crazy, just very smart! I really like the Google map…what a great idea for houseguests! Brava!

    We’re looking forward to seeing you and Brian soon! Our very own house excahnge guests arrive in 2 days!
    A presto!

  2. Hi all,
    John and I are so excited at meeting the McMahan clan – especially Truffle ( sorry Dana and Brian ). As we live with a dad who has had one hip and two knee replacements pet have been out of the question for the past eight years. Being a house sitter is a bit like being a grandparent – we fly in, spoil the
    ” child ” and get lots of love in return and they always behave better than they do for their
    ” parents ” :)
    In the past John has bonded with a gorgeous cat in London – although I do believe her devotion to him was more to do with the pork scratchings they shared each evening, in front of the TV. Bella and Poppy, two rescue dogs, at our last house sit went for a wander each night with John as he dispensed treats along the road to the farm gate – the three of them looked so cute. I got the mundane tasks and he got the love !!
    Only 11 days to go until we fly out of Sydney.
    Looking forward to all that life has to offer,
    Kerrie and John Staples

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