As I previously noted, I like to leave places in better shape than when I arrived, so I spent most of the morning vacuuming and cleaning up the house where I had been house sitting. I consider myself a fairly neat person, but it’s amazing how dirty a place can get with two dogs running around. I did take special care when cleaning the stove area to make sure I didn’t add any additional lumps to the pair I’d already received.
As I was washing towels and sheets, I also threw in some of my clothes since the place I’m heading is an apartment and there isn’t a washer or dryer in the place. That way I wouldn’t need to do a washing for another week or so. In doing so, I almost lost over $70 in cash which would have been pretty devastating while living on a minimum wage budget.
I carry more cash than the average person. It’s an habit I formed living in Japan at a time where almost all transactions were done in cash, so I needed to have a lot with me at all times. I usually keep most of it in my wallet, but I also keep some in my front pocket, and I had forgotten to take that out when I threw my jeans into the wash. Luckily, one of the bills separated from the rest and came out when I pulled out a towel. As soon as I saw it, I realized what I had done. The rest of the bills were in the far back of the machine, and had I not seen the one bill, I could have very easily missed them (the washer had this sliding type door in front of it so that the washer door couldn’t open completely making it difficult to look inside without some effort — I actually had to get down on my knees to take this photo, so just bending over didn’t allow me to see the back of washer where the bills were).
My guess is that if I’d missed the money, the family would have done another wash without noticing it and when they found the money, they would have just assumed it had come out of their clothes. It would have been gone forever. It was a pretty stupid mistake on my part and losing that amount without getting anything from it would have been a major financial mistake on my part. I feel fortunate that I learned the lesson to keep track of it better without actually losing any of it.
After the money scare, I went to buy some basics for the family so when they returned, they didn’t have to go out that day shopping if they didn’t want to. While I certainly could get away with not doing this to save a bit more money, I just feel that it’s the proper and considerate thing to do. The problem is that it’s difficult to get these things at a discount since they are basics, plus I’m traveling so don’t have access to stores (and coupons) I’m familiar with. While I still come out far ahead, I would love to come up with a way to get these basics for a greater discount rather than pay near full price if can. Anyone have any ideas on that?
I currently look for whatever fruits and basics are on sale when I walk into the store. This helps reduce pricing a bit, but not as much as I would like unless I get lucky and stumble across a great deal that just happens to be taking place. I ended up buying bananas, oranges and bread. I usually also buy milk and eggs, but I didn’t need to this time. I don’t think that they drink milk (they only had soy milk and there was almost a full case of it in the pantry from Costco) and there were still plenty of eggs (they had a 18 egg carton and I only used 4 during the stay). The total bill came to $6.63.
I decided to make a stop at Golden Gate National Recreation Area since it was on the way to the next house sitting job. The Golden Gate Bridge was as beautiful as ever:
What many people don’t realize is that the entire area was once a fortified military area (there is a Nike missile silo still there where you can take tours on certain days and see the old missiles). I spent the afternoon playing around the many abandoned bunkers which is a great way to spend time, especially on a sunny day:
Beside the food I bought before I left, the only other spending I had for the day was the purchase of three postcards for my nieces and my best friend’s little girl which ended up costing $1.35. There is no charge to enter Golden Gate national recreation area. There was a $6.00 toll charge to cross the Golden Gate bridge, but this was covered by the transportation costs for the house sitting. Between the food and the postcards, I spent a total of $7.98.
When I arrived at the new house sitting job for the friend that is vacationing in Hawaii, I was a bit surprised. She told me that I was welcome to eat anything that I wanted, but that there wasn’t a whole lot in her refrigerator. While the first refrigerator looked like this and the second one (which I had doubts that I could get by on without going to the store) looked like this (scroll down), this is what I found when I arrived:
Since it was really too late to head to the store, I had a light dinner with what I could find and I’ll definitely need to make a trip to the grocery store tomorrow. Even with creativity, I don’t think I’ll be able to get by without purchasing a bit to supplement what’s on hand here.
Next article: Day 19: What’s A “Real” Date?