After 780 miles (1255 km) of driving from our house sit in New Mexico, we arrived at our next job house sitting in Austin, Texas. This was one we were particularly excited about. Not only had we been wanting to visit Austin for quite some time, but we hit it off with our hosts right away during our initial Skype interview. It came as a bit of a bummer when we didn’t get the job initially, which happens from time to time when you aren’t the first applicant. However, we got a second chance when the other sitter had to cancel. We were so excited we immediately adjusted our plans to fit Austin back in the schedule. It was definitely the right decision.
Texas is the second largest state (behind Alaska) and second most populous state (behind California). It is considered a Southern state and is bordered by New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mexico, and the Gulf of Mexico. Texas’s history is slightly different than many of the other American states as it was held by Spain, France, Mexico, and was an independent republic all before joining the Union. My opinion (based simply on observation) was that Texans are very proud of this history and feel almost more connected to their state than the country as a whole. It reminded me a little bit of the Sicilian saying, “We are Sicilians first and Italians second.”
We were house sitting in Austin, the state capital of Texas. Although it is only the fourth most populous city in Texas, it is the 11th most populous in the country. Austin is home to a diverse culture of artists, high-tech workers, and students. It even ranks in the top three cities with the greatest population of people identifying as LGBTQ+. Although the adopted motto of “Keep Austin Weird” may not fit with much of the political and religious beliefs held by many Texans, it makes for the perfect place to visit for old-millennials like us. Just check out this Perfect Weekend in Austin post and you’ll understand.
While house sitting in Austin, we lived in the neighboring suburb of Round Rock. Our house was a two-story, single family home at the edge of a park. It had three bedrooms, 2.5 baths, two living areas, and an office. Similar homes in the neighborhood are selling for around $250,000. The home was very modern, with nearly all of the gadgets being either automatic or controlled by the family Alexa. We particularly enjoyed the master suite and master bath. I loved the adjustable bed and hands-free lighting.
The neighborhood was nice and quiet, with several parks and walking paths just out the front door. A few blocks away, we had our choice of grocery stores and some restaurants. Our favorite was the Salt Lick, a Texas BBQ house that is popular in the area. We waited nearly an hour for a seat, but were rewarded with delicious pulled pork (a faux pas, apparently; we should’ve got the brisket), mac n’ cheese, and baked beans.
Our hosts are a young couple from the area who run an amazing, free internet marketing project. We were lucky enough to get to spend an evening with them before they left for their holiday in Taiwan, and had a blast getting to know them and compare notes on our career paths. They are the parents of three well-loved dachshunds: Lucy, Maggie, and Marcy.
I have to start with Lucy because she is the princess of the house. She is a beauty queen who loves lap sitting and sleeping with her tongue out. In the very important sleeping arrangement scheme, she took the head of the bed. I often awoke to her tangled in my hair or sleeping on Josh’s neck.
Maggie tries very hard to be the alpha dog. She has all the confidence and ambition necessary, but lacks the social awareness. Maggie enjoys two things: sleeping under blankets, and being alone while she sleeps under her blankets. I enjoyed Maggie very much, but I got the feeling my love was one sided and that she was only letting me pet her out of politeness. Maggie had a special bedtime ritual, getting tucked in under a blanket on her dog bed. By morning, she was under our blankets and snuggled along my back.
I don’t play favorites, but if I did, Marcy would win for our house sitting in Austin. She enjoys cuddles and playing with toys. Although Lucy was always the first to jump on my lap when I sat on the couch, Marcy was shortly behind and made sure to get the prime real estate. Marcy was my little spoon at night. She cuddled under the blankets at my stomach with her head under my chin. My bed feels cold without her now.
Our Work and Personal Development
We’re pretty settled in our routines now and have been able to maintain them well as we move from house to house. While house sitting in Austin, Josh worked on the final round of editing for his book and I worked on my various marketing campaigns. The one new work-related change was that I became a VIPKID Teacher. I now teach English to Chinese students for a few hours each week. It has been a lot of fun and is bringing in some steady money.
It was an oddly perfect stay for cooking. I don’t know what the difference was, but for our entire stay in Austin, every meal we cooked was perfection. We challenged this theory by trying out some new dishes, including an involved cupcake recipe, but still ended up with great meals. I’m not complaining. Everything was just weirdly good.
Our Lives House Sitting in Austin
We took a couple of trips into Austin proper. Josh’s favorite part was the food. This included our crazy delicious banana, honey, and bacon doughnut at Gourdough’s Big Fat Donuts, and the street tacos we tried in the SoCo district (South Congress). I enjoyed all of Austin’s street murals and quirky shops. It reminded me a lot of Portland, Oregon, but warmer and cleaner. Unfortunately, we didn’t spend nearly enough time in town to get a good feel for everything Austin has to offer, especially the music scene the city is known for. Guess we’ll just have to go back, dang it!
All in all, we had a fantastic time house sitting in Austin. This is hands down one of the best sits we’ve ever done. The house itself was comfortable, the dogs absolutely lovable, and we made some great new friends in the process. Though we’d never really considered living in Texas before, Austin is now in the running for becoming our permanent home. One way or another, we’ll definitely be spending more time in Austin in the future.