Sometimes—although very very rarely can you choose your neighbors, but most people don’t get to know their neighbors until after they’ve moved in. This is a reality for Airbnbers. We’ve had really good luck with really quiet neighbors thus far–that is until Ireland. Seriously! What is up with the Irish? I keep thinking that maybe it’s a cultural thing–but I’m getting the feeling that, thankfully, maybe it’s not a Irish thing–just a case of bad luck in the Airbnb world.
In Dublin we had Peggy. Oh Peggy was a wonderful lady, sweet, old, didn’t get out much, and lonely. She came over one morning asking for Barry (our host). Well, Barry obviously wasn’t home so she asked my husband if he would go get some things at the store for her. Being the sweet man that he is, my husband said that of course he would. She made a list (of which included the following items: butter, she made it very clear that she had to have LoLo butter, a bag of rice, k biscuits, ice cream, jelly, and cigarets). We were going to the store the next day, but that didn’t stop her from coming back later that afternoon and then that evening to see if we had been to the store yet to get her things.
The next day my husband went on a run before heading to the store and upon his return Peggy comes out again asking if we have gone to the store yet. No, we had not, but we would leave right then to go.
We walked the 15 minutes to the grocery store, found the LoLo butter, then we decide to be generous and get her 2 bags of rice rather than the one she had requested, ice cream, and as far as the K biscuits went–we had no idea what they were. I even asked someone who worked at the store if they knew what they were and I checked Google…neither knew. So–because biscuits are cookies in the U.K., we got her 2 different types of cookies whose brand started with a K. As far as the cigarets went…neither of us are smokers, so we had no idea what brand of cigarets to get Peggy–so we guessed and went home with her things. My kids were really excited to deliver the items to Peggy. We even bought her a chocolate bar and threw it in the bag of items. They put the bags on her front porch and then came home.
A little while later, our doorbell rings. It’s Peggy. She proceeded to tell my husband that we had gotten her the wrong rice. She didn’t know what to do with the bags of rice we had bought her. She explained that she needed canned rice. The cigarets were wrong too. They were imported and she didn’t smoke imported cigarets. Thankfully, my husband had answered the door, because I was listening to the conversation completely aghast at her ungrateful attitude. Then she left.
My husband had to work that night, and as he’s working the doorbell rings again. I opened the door and there’s Peggy. She’s looking a little bit frantic and I’m going to write out the conversation between her and me because I just can’t make this stuff up:
“Where is he?!?”
“Your partner, the lovely gentleman.”
“Oh, he’s working.”
“Well I really need to talk to him.”
“Well, he’s working. I can’t go get him because he’s teaching a class and I am not going to interrupt him right now. He cannot come down.”
“Well, I really need to talk to him.”
At this point I’m thinking something must really be wrong. She’s frantic and seems a bit out of sorts–so I ask her, “Is there something I can help you with?”
“Well, the butter. It’s not in the bag!”
Oh my goodness, I’m not really sure how to respond here. I thought her house was on fire or something tragic had happened, so I was not expecting this!
“Um…I know we bought you butter and I know we put it in the bag that we left on your porch.”
“Are you sure? It was supposed to be LoLo butter. I cannot have bread without my LoLo butter!”
“Um…yes. We got you LoLo butter and put it in your bag. I can go check our fridge to see if somehow it made it back here, but I know we put it in your bag.”
I proceded to walk to our fridge, opened the fridge searched the fridge, and walked back empty handed. “I’m sorry, it is not here.”
“Well, I cannot have bread without butter! You did get me jelly and that is good, but I cannot have bread without butter!”
By this time, I just cannot believe what is happening! I had seen a block of beef drippings in the fridge and offered it to her to try and get rid of her. That didn’t help. She didn’t want beef drippings. She wanted LoLo butter.
“When does he get off of work?”
“Not until 10.”
“Well, I’ll be asleep by then”
After apologizing to her, I say, “Well, I’m sorry you lost the butter. I hope you’re able to find it.”
Peggy turns around to leave, but then turns back and says, “Now, that rice! I asked for canned rice. What am I supposed to do with those little hard things?”
Oh my goodness! I’m just shaking my head at this woman, “Can’t you cook it?”
She’s is incensed that I would even suggest that, “Cook it? I don’t cook rice! I get it in a can and leave it open all day and eat it. And those cigarets–I don’t smoke imported cigarets. Those are too strong for me. And where’s the bread? I didn’t see any bread. That was on my list too. There are these hard square looking things that I guess could be bread, but I didn’t see a loaf.”
Oh boy. I do my best to not be rude and say, “bread was not on the list. My husband is working until ten. Have a good night.”
I close the door, shaking my head in disbelief at what had just transpired. About 25 minutes later, the door rings again. And. I answer it.
“You will not believe it! I found the butter! I cannot believe how stupid I was! I left it under some clothes!”
I smile, “oh good. I’m glad you found the butter.”
“And that rice! Can you return it? I wanted canned rice. What am I supposed to do with those hard little things? I guess I could eat them, but they are so hard!”
Here we go again. Why did I answer the door?
The next evening the kids and I went to some friends’ house for dinner and we were out late. My husband got off of work at 10 again that night, and before we got home, he wanted to go on a run. As he’s leaving the house, Peggy is outside watching him and scares the crappola out of him! She had waited for him to get off work so she could bring the cigarets she didn’t like over so he would exchange them for ones she did like. So, yes, my husband is a softy for old and lonely women. He obliged and the next day we were at the store exchanging the Marlboro Reds for some Irish-made skinny white brand of cigarets.