It seemed to be a good idea at the time, We’d had success renting our studio above the garage through Airbnb, so when we decided to post our front house on the site, we figured we’d also put it on VRBO. Airbnb seemed to cater to couples renting for the weekend (hence the bnb—bed and breakfast) and our personal experience with VRBO was with larger groups for longer stays. So why not have two sources of renters?
We were delighted to see all the bookings, though we were surprised that most came through Airbnb. A few people worked through VRBO, but not many. That’s probably why Tony booked a lady from Wisconsin coming to Charlottesville for her daughter’s PhD celebration on Airbnb and the Annie signed up a group for a family get-together on VRBO.
Only two months later when the dates were approaching did we realize we’d booked both for the same weekend. One group was nine and the other ten. No way we could put them in the same house. And if you canceled a reservation with either service, they would put a black mark on your listing.
So what to do? The answer was obvious—we had to move out of our house and so one group could move in. But where were the two of us and our four dogs to go? Our studio was booked for that weekend and our cottage was rented. Four houses on the farm and we had booked ourselves out of every one.
Fortunately, Sandy and Susan’s tenant had just left and they generously offered their cottage to us.
Here’s what you do when you have to move out of your house for three days so strangers can move in–according to my wife.
“We have to get padlocks to lock all our closets, construct an owner’s closet in the garage utility room to hold our silverware, drugs and valuables,” she insisted. The list was long but when she said we had to hide our underwear I objected.
“That’s ridiculous,” I said.
“No, it isn’t, the first thing people look at is your underwear.”
Somehow I had overlooked this aspect of human behavior.
“So if you won’t hide it, I will.”
The undies disappeared. As did everything Annie could get her hands on. She ran around for two days squirreling this thing here and that there.
Somehow, we managed to get our house completely guest-proofed, packed our bags, loaded up the dogs and moved out on the afternoon the guests we’re arriving.
As we pulled into the Rives’s driveway, Annie said “&%$#!<! I think I left a bra hanging out in the laundry room!. I was going to put it away but I forgot. How mortifying!”
“They’re probably showing it around as we speak.”
“You don’t realize how nosey people are, they look everywhere,” she huffed. News to me, another part of human behavior I’d missed. But after checking with a bunch of female friends, I was surprised to find it’s common knowledge that people poke around everywhere and have a thing about underwear.
We survived the weekend, actually had a nice time living out of suitcases in the Rives’ small but cozy cottage.
When Sunday arrived, we packed up, thanked Susan and Sandy and headed home. Fortunately, the renters had departed well before checkout time and the house was still standing.
We moved our underwear back in, took the locks off the closets, stripped the beds and retrieved our valuables from the garage.
The house was just the way we left it and our bank account was fatter due to the rental income.
There was only one thing wrong—my computer was missing.
“Okay, where did you hide my computer?” I asked her.
“Did you look in my armoire?”
“I’ve looked everywhere. The renters wouldn’t have stolen it, you have to have hidden it somewhere.”
“I honestly don’t remember doing that.”
“C’mon, Hon, it has my life on it. You were in a mad panic secreting everything away, you have to have put it somewhere.”
“I swear I remember seeing it right where it always is. I can’t recall having moved it.”
Four hours went by with the two of us tearing the house apart and still no computer.
Finally, “Aha!” she said and reached down and pulled my laptop out of a bookcase. She had filed it away on its side amidst a bunch of tall books, thinking no one would ever think to look there. And she was almost right.
“Thanks,” I said. “Next time, maybe you should write down where you hide stuff.”
Silence and a stern stare from the wife–some things are better left unsaid.
That afternoon, we tooled up to Walmart and bought this honking big calendar, entered all the upcoming bookings and swore neither one of us would accept another without checking the calendar to make sure the date was open.
Now everything’s back to normal and my underwear is safe in its drawer—and still unseen.