Never lie to an anxious, tech-savvy homeowner

So this was a weird sort of f#ckory we recently experienced and is a story a bit on the lighter side so I figured I’d share it. So we recently visited Mark’s parents in Iowa, and, like the day before we were supposed to leave we were like, “OMG WHO IS GOING TO WATCH HOWIE?!” So we immediately thought of everyone we knew in the area and realized we don’t know a ton of people and we trust even fewer, so we thought of ONE person, a high school boy. So Mark went to go find him at 7:00am (Mark’s a go-getter) and knocked on his door.

So despite his early morning wake-up-call from a near stranger, this kid luckily so graciously agreed to watch Howie for $100 (easy money), so he stopped by at 3:00pm later that day so I could give him further instructions, which included, “Take him out in the morning, after school, and before bedtime, make sure he poops at least one of these times, feed him two cups of food in the morning, and make sure he has fresh water and doesn’t die, and here’s the garage code… Any questions?”

And he was like, “No – I totally understand!!”

So this kid seemed (and I think is) incredibly honorable and trustworthy, so I had zero concerns, so we left at like 9:00am the next morning and I honestly, even as an anxious person, didn’t even give Howie another thought until like 4:30pm when we were sitting in Mark’s parents’ living room watching Joel push around a mini-shopping cart, at which point I suggested, “Mark, you should check your app to see whether the garage has opened recently, just to ensure that Howie has been taken care of…” (Yes, there’s actually a thing such as this, and we have it.)

So then Mark checked his app and was like, “The garage hasn’t been opened in like nine hours.”

So I was like, “No big deal. I’ll text him to see what’s going on…” But I didn’t want to seem like a micromanager or a babysitter or the overbearing person that I am, and I also didn’t want to disclose that we have an inordinate amount of technology and security and spy equipment in our house, so instead of texting, “Have you taken care of Howie yet?” Or, “Why haven’t you taken care of Howie?” Or, “When are you going to take care of Howie?” Or, “I can see you haven’t taken care of Howie? WHY?!” I texted, “How was Howie today? Do you have any questions?”

And instead of immediately texting back what I expected (“Oh, I’m running late – I’ll be there to take care of Howie very soon!”), he texted (20 minutes later), “Howie is great!!!”

So then Mark and I were puzzled because the garage door app has never failed us, and this kid didn’t seem like one who would be untruthful. (I mean, he is involved in choir for God sake!) So we assumed that Mark’s app was broken and tried to think of other ways we could discreetly decide whether Howie would be taken care of or would succumb to a mini-famine over the next couple of days.

So I was like, “Mark, can you access the nanny cam in the living room to see if the $100 has been removed from the counter?”

So we accessed the camera and tried to zoom in to view the countertop, but we couldn’t tell whether or not the $100 had been removed, and we tried to get everyone in the family to analyze it and no one could tell for sure. We also kind of moved the camera around to see if we could spot Howie, and no such luck, so then my anxiety finally kicked in, and I started thinking that Howie had obviously been abducted and that this kid obviously had nefarious intentions for him.

Mark continued to fiddle with the garage door app, and then he accidentally opened the garage, so I made him close it really quickly in case this kid happened to be standing outside our house preparing to take care of Howie. (I didn’t want him to be terrified.) And after Mark closed the garage, his phone beeped signifying “garage closed,” and the app last-opened/closed time updated to “one minute ago,” so then we realized the app had indeed been working all along, and no one had been in our house in over nine hours.

So at this point I realized this kid had lied to me, and liars/lying freaks me out – my anxious brain starts firing, “Pathological liar, juvenile delinquent, sociopath, serial killer, etc.” (It tends to escalate very quickly.) And then I started to worry that we might have hired the wrong person.

Mark was like, “This is really simple – just text him or call him and ask him why he hasn’t taken care of Howie!”

“How do I say I know this!?” I asked incredulously.

“Just tell him about our garage door app,” Mark suggested.

“I can’t,” I replied.

“If you don’t call him, then I will,” Mark threatened, as he ran off with his phone, as I shouted and hissed, “But he seems like a very sweet kid. Give him the benefit of the doubt!!! Be gentle with him!!!”

Well, Mark eventually returned and informed us that this kid hadn’t answered his phone, so he’d left him a voice message asking him to call us back. And then I texted this kid one more time, “Well, I’m glad Howie is doing so well – please feel free to let me know if any questions come up with him!”

And then shortly thereafter Mark’s phone beeped again, signifying the garage had been opened, so we logged back into the nanny cam and watched this kid play with our dog for a few minutes, which seemed a bit too voyeuristic, so we logged back out, while I texted some friends about the recent developments of this bizarre saga.

Then Mark’s app beeped like 50 times, so we were all puzzled like, “Why is he opening and closing the garage door so many times?!”

But I defended this kid like, “GUYS – He is trying to be safe. He doesn’t want to just leave our garage door open.”

So finally everything settled down and we were at peace that Howie had been taken care of, and this kid returned Mark’s call, and Mark was super kind like, “No worries AT ALL – we just happened to notice this thing on my phone saying that maybe our garage door hadn’t opened, so we got nervous about Howie, but then we thought maybe our garage door app or my phone was malfunctioning?” So basically he discreetly said, “Hey we’re watching you and caught you in your fib. And there are home monitoring technologies that exist that you have yet to fully comprehend. But no worries AT ALL.”

And this was kind of SUPER embarrassing, because, like we have all of this technology, used it to micromanage our dog sitter (!), got way paranoid when we didn’t see the activity we’d expected, and then disclosed to him that we were watching him and that we’d caught him in his untruth…

But, at the same time, instead of fibbing, he probably should have just told us the truth and been like, “Hey – I actually haven’t seen Howie yet, but I’m on my way over from choir practice, and I’ll be there really soon.” And I would have been like, “AWESOME.”

But no, this would have been too straightforward, and things always have to be complicated in my life.

When we arrived home I texted him, “Hey thanks for taking such AMAZING care of Howie! You did better than anyone could ever do. Not sure what we would have done without you!!!” So hopefully this saved face.

But I can’t stop thinking that none of this (stress, detective work, embarrassment, etc., etc., etc.) would have happened if not for all of this technology we have. In cases like this, it’s like there is such a thing as information overload, and it would have probably been better for us all had none of these gadgets/apps/things been available…

We would have been under the impression that Howie was surviving and thriving and these assumptions would have continued until we returned home to a living (or not) dog. Also, this kid wouldn’t have had to be caught in his fib or even tell it in the first place, but instead, he received an education on home technology systems whether he wanted it or not.

8 thoughts on “Never lie to an anxious, tech-savvy homeowner

  1. Lol… I can relate to that. It’s so hard to find someone to watch our dogs when we leave. We don’t have all that cool stuff but don’t need or want it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have all this home technology stuff at our house too! My husband talks to people at the front door while at work through his phone and the camera/front porch light. It freaks them out big time. I was opposed to most of it at first but it does come in handy sometimes, like checking to see if the garage door is closed, etc. Oh and my 10 month old is trying to say Alexa (that’s the name of the Amazon Echo which you probably know about or have).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have a fancy alarm system, which I failed to mention. Every so often we set it off and the sound is super scary and is so high pitched… Oddly enough, it doesn’t seem to bother Joel, which initially concerned me, but his hearing seems normal (if not amazing) in all other ways. I’ve heard of Alexa but we don’t have it! Also, we do not have that front door thing, but I may ask Mark if he’d like to consider it! I could definitely see it freaking people out, but I think it could have advantages too!


  3. Omg! What is it with dog sitters?
    We fired the one we had been using for the last four years a few months ago… because he didn’t stay the night as he was supposed to. I don’t actually have proof like a cam, but it was pretty obvious. He also upped his rate by $15.00 a night without letting us know? Wtf.

    Then a few weeks ago we left the dogs with someone new and I had told her we would be home early afternoon. Well we actually got home at 10am and she was not there…at 11:30 I get a text saying “I’m leaving now, the dogs were great this weekend”…to which I politely responded “oh wonderful, we have been home since 10am, glad the dogs were good for you”.


    I wasn’t even mad, just thought it was kinda funny. Good dog sitters are hard to find. This does not help my anxiety when I think about ever trusting anyone to watch Leif…. including when he is school age!

    I’m glad Howie is fine. I also want a nanny cam now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG WTF with the lying dog sitters?! I laughed out loud at the part of your comment about the text to the one dog sitter, not because it’s funny, but because I could picture her face receiving that text. Geeez, hopefully these people can just learn to be honest?! And yeah, stuff like this makes me not trust ANYONE, and it is really difficult for me to leave Joel with ANYONE, and I’m currently working on this in therapy, and my therapist is concerned that I’m heading down the path of homeschooling Joel (no offense to homeschoolers). And yeah, a nanny cam… I didn’t like what I saw on it (nothing awful but nothing ideal either) with the very first person we hired, and so we fired her…


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