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  • Writer's pictureJ. F. Rowan


Phoenix, AZ.

Phoenix, AZ.

I am sitting here during a cloudless day, in 75 degree sunshine. Yes, we’re back in Phoenix for a repeat house sit helping out our new friends Ellis and his cat, Lupe. It was sort of a “no-brainer” since after all, it’s still winter and only 200 miles to the north, the temps are far below the warmth we have right here.

Our second visit with "Lupe."

And so while here, we have another opportunity to catch up on things. Mainly taxes, health-care paperwork along with some scheduled truck maintenance.

Air filter comparison. I feel better when I change them more frequently.
This was the old fuel filter that I removed. The filter color should be BRIGHT WHITE! I am lucky to have the tools that I do. It can be hit or miss at to whether homeowners have even basic tools.

A fuel filter change (with filter) at a dealer costs about $135. An air filter change, again at the dealer, (filter included) cost about $45-$50. I bought a combo pack of filters on Amazon for $38 dollars and did the work myself. Savings!

And all the while watching this latest headline that we all seem to be glued to, the coronavirus. Now, normally we really wouldn't give it much thought, at least not at this stage of its existence because we already practice good hygiene. That said, how does this latest out break affect us? How, if at all, will it change or alter our planning for the next 6 months or beyond.

Below is a map I found using the Johns Hopkins website. It seems to be fairly current and consistent. I've embedded a link to the photos so that you can get your own up to date map. If you have a better map or method to follow this new pandemic, please comment below.

Well, at present it’s already having an impact here for us in Arizona. As you know, somewhat like other “Snow-birds” we’re here, in part, because of the weather. That said, one of the ways we make camping feasible this time of year is to house-sit where it’s warm, specifically here in Arizona. At any given time, our house-sitting service has about 12 house-sits listed in Arizona so finding one that works in terms of time and location, can be challenging. But, we beat the odds with our next scheduled house-sit in Flagstaff, Az. It will be an almost made-to-order event. One dog, one cat, nice house, great location, perfect timing, etc. We applied for the sit and after the process was complete, were accepted. But during the later part of the process, during the interview stage, it was revealed that the couple would be going to Japan!

Needless to say, we were a bit concerned. The “what-ifs” started flying around the kitchen that night amongst the dark red mist of a spaghetti dinner and a big bottle of Chanti. We had two main issues.

What if the couple gets to japan only to be stranded there, or in a quarantine facility? And second, what if their trip were canceled altogether? Would they have an alternate plan, would the sit be canceled? A few days went by after we officially accepted the house sit and when the dust settled, we came up with a plan which would cover one of the problems, the possibility of the house-sit getting canceled, even at the last minute. The plan would consist of planning another house sit in the same time frame. Even going so far as to apply and start the process of all but accepting the new house-sit, keeping the present house-sit tucked in our virtual hip pocket. It looks great on paper, but the chances of it actually working are slim. After all, with only 10-12 house-sits listed in the entire state of Arizona at any given time, we probably would have a better chance of seeing Gwyneth Paltrow in a thrift store eating a Slim Jim.


If you would like to see the video I made on this subject, click HERE or on the video thumbnail below.


But there was no real solution regarding the other issue which was, what would happen if the couple got to Japan, but couldn’t get back? We just can’t leave an empty house and pets in the lurch. So a conversation had to take place. And it did. The home-owners assured us they had a plan “B” which we agreed upon. They would be able to find someone to pick up the house-sit in the event they could not return on time, releasing us to continue on our way. Only time will tell how it all turns out. These are not just things to think about for us, but anyone who travels right now.


UPDATE: (3/2/2020) 10AM- We just got back from grocery shopping to stock up for our trip south. The three photos below were all taken in the same store. The pictures are a shelf area where antibacterial wipes are sold (empty), a shelf where surgical gloves were sold (empty) and the last photo is where hand sanitizer was sold, all but empty.

Clorox Wipes. Yea, all gone.
Gloves are all but gone.
Hand sanitizer is gone.

If you would like to see the video I made on this subject, click HERE or on the video thumbnail below.

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