The Sounds of Fucking

are all I hear right now at 11:48 p.m. on Friday night.

My upstairs neighbor is getting laid. This will make the third time in Portland that I have lived in a place with walls thin enough to hear people cough. Of course I am going to hear them fuck!

The fact that we are all staying home more due to the Corona virus doesn’t help with the privacy factor. I work from home and I am self isolating at home. Leaving only for food, weed, and the self service station at the post office.

This means I see the patterns of my neighbors lives in a way that would have not been apparent to me pre-Corona virus times.

I don’t mean to be a hater. I’m not jealous even though I can say I wouldn’t mind if it was me getting laid. I will even admit that I watch porn so clearly I don’t mind sex noises ( I like them when I chose to hear them ) ( or make them ). I just don’t want to be in the position where I can’t escape other people’s sex noises.

The first time I couldn’t escape was when I first moved to Portland, Oregon. I moved into a basement apartment. A family had turned the basement of their home into a 3 bedroom rental situation. Only one of the bedrooms had a bathroom in it. Each bedroom had its own locked door. I shared the other bathroom with the third roommate. Otherwise we shared the kitchen and the living room.

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The roommate with the bathroom in his room turned out to be into the BDSM lifestyle. He was a Dom. He had many Submissives. At one point, I think I saw a different girl every day for 5 days in a row. He didn’t discriminate. The women came in all shapes and sizes. Gotta give him credit for that. It was just all the sex noises. How would you like to be constantly woken up in the middle of the night to loud fucking sounds?! I would yell through my wall sometimes – ” for the love of god, please just turn on some music”

I rather be woken up to music than the sounds of his fuck session. One time the other roommate and I sat outside his door at 5:00 a.m. and made loud fake sex noises of our own. That’s was fun! We laughed so hard for months. Another time, I was walking in the door from a long hard day of work, just to be met with the sounds of the Dom at it again. I yelled again for music.

I realize sex is a part of life. It is natural. It is fun. Where does the line get drawn when the walls are thin and it affects the people you live with?

Eventually I moved. Fast forward 7 years later…. I move into a studio apartment- by myself. I am excited to live alone again after not being able to do so for four years. I moved into a building with 8 apartments. I met one of the neighbors right away, a nice younger couple that have been in the building for eight years. I had not had the opportunity to meet the person who lived above me before I “heard” him. One weekend was especially bad. I couldn’t sleep because all I could hear was his music. It wasn’t obnoxious however I could sing along with the words of the song playing. If I am unable to sleep because the music is too loud, we have a problem. Second to bodily pain, nothing makes me grouchier than lack of sleep. It was about 11:30 p.m. when I started banging on the ceiling with a broom. No change made. Around 2:00 a.m. I plugged my Goal Zero external speaker into my cell phone, turned it up as loud as it would go with electronic music and placed it on the highest surface I had facing the ceiling. No change made. Normally I would have a conversation but here it was in the middle of the night, I was naked, I had been banging on the ceiling and playing loud music with no results. I was mad. I couldn’t even entertain the visual of a conversation. When the sex noises came at 5:30 a.m. I found a YouTube clip to play to let them know I could hear them – I rather hear this than the neighbor

Do you think they got the point? I can hear everything. I want you to know that I can hear everything. I really need to replace my earplugs.

I didn’t have to deal with it more than a couple months because he moved. I live in a great location therefore it didn’t take long for a new person to move in. This time I made sure to introduce myself right away. There was a gentlemen helping her move which she said was just a friend. I wanted her to know the walls are thin and if there was ever a time my music was too loud, she could give a friendly bang or text me and I would turn it down. I was wishfully thinking it would translate into her being aware ALL sounds can be heard through the walls.

Everything was going along nicely….

Until the sex noises started. FML. I wasn’t going to play the sex noises in retaliation. I didn’t want to change the dynamic of our friendly relationship. I dealt with it. It started to become more frequent and I found myself in the same situation. I rather hear music than the sounds of other people fucking. This Michael Jackson song is a great distraction – It is six minutes long, which is plenty of time for my neighbors to wrap it up. I really like it which means I get into it and can forget for a few minutes that I am bothered.

After listening to it a handful of times, I think I need to switch up the song. There could be the potential for miscommunication. Wanna be Startin Something? LOL

Do you have a suggestion for me? I need a couple go to songs. In the moment when I am scrambling, my mind can go blank and then I reach for MJ. I have mixed feeling about MJ after watching the Neverland Documentaries.

Do you think it’s rude of me to turn up music to drown out the sex noises coming from my upstairs neighbor? Is it reasonable to say that since I am the only person I can control, that I am making the necessary adjustment for my comfort?

I am not entirely sure which side of the coin I land on. I do know that I just want to get to sleep peacefully. In a nice, dark, quiet, and cold room. Where you will find me naked. Puhlease don’t mess that up for me unless you want to be drowned out with song.

Goodnight everyone.

Calm Down

Does this phrase actually make anyone feel calmer?

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When it is said to me, it evokes the opposite response.

One day the washing machine at the house broke forcing me to go to the Laundromat. I like going to Spin Laundry Lounge because there are video games to play while you wait, their dryers are awesome, the prices are relatively reasonable and depending on which location you choose, there are snack options.

In addition to getting my laundry done, I was on a research mission for information about the Laundromat. My roommates have never been and they would also need to get their laundry done. I located two empty, smaller size washing machines next to each other and put my clothes in them. There is a spin dial to choose water temperature and desired cycle. I am guilty of not reading all the information before getting started with things. Today would be no different. I picked the cheapest cycle and swiped my credit card to pay. Then I realized there were more options. I wanted to wash them in cold water (which cost .25 cents extra). I guess it was too late. When both loads had finished, I took out the hang to dry items and loaded the rest in one big dryer. I went back to the washing machines to take photos to send to the roommates when I noticed there was a balance of .25 on the washing machine I had just used. I was confused by this therefore I located the only employee working to ask her what was going on. She followed me over, asked me a few questions and then said she didn’t know. She wasn’t even sure if they had gotten washed. Hhhhmmmmm that’s odd, they felt damp when I moved them to the dryer. She said it would have just done a prewash which would explain why they were damp. All I know is I needed my clothes to be clean.

It wasn’t worth taking chances so I went over to the dryer to pull that one load out to rewash. I expressed a bit of my frustration with this process and lack of knowledge when she suddenly says to me to ” I’m just trying to help you – calm down.”

The best part about this is: I wasn’t even that upset about it. I was just expressing my emotion. On a scale of 1 to 10, I was maybe a level 3.

I couldn’t believe she was saying this to me. I know myself. I know when I am being “extra” and when I am not. I know how people can react to me when I am acting “extra” and this situation wasn’t even close. Her words didn’t make me feel any calmer, like I said before it has the opposite effect on me. I immediately knew the conversation had taken a turn and we were in a different place now. A place I didn’t want to deal with. It can be a tremendous amount of work to get strangers to a place of real understanding of who you are and what you are communicating. It suddenly occured to me she was taking it personally. All she needed to do was give me the space to express my moment of frustration and we could all move on. So in that moment, the conversation was over for me. I told her, Thank you, I got it, and I didn’t need anything else. She walked away.

Over the years, I have come to realize when a misunderstanding is taking place. I would love it if everyone knew what everyone was saying all of the time. I also know that people are looking through their own lense at life. They can only meet you from where they are. Sometimes I take the time to correct the misunderstanding. Sometimes the moment is happening so quick and there is not time to do all that is necessary to get back on the same page. I made the assumption of how much work it was going to take based on her response of taking things personally and decided to just end the exchange. I wonder if this was the right thing to do.

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Another time I have been told to calm down, recently, was my first day in Spanish Conversation class. I enrolled in class through Portland Community College to solve a parking challenge at work and get more Spanish in my life. I work on the waterfront right in front of the Eastbank Esplanade in Portland Oregon. There isn’t any parking besides two private parking lots for business and one parking lot for a PCC campus. The class I signed up for is non credit evening class that takes me 30 minutes to drive to once a week however I love it.

The semester had been in progress for several weeks when I arrived for the first time. There was homework from the previous week that, understandably, I wasn’t aware of. I didn’t have the book nor did I plan on purchasing it. I was hoping for just conversation. It’s been years since I have taken a class and my Spanish skills were rusty. Midway through the class it was time for everyone to read their homework. Two jokes and a short story. There were only three other people besides myself and the professor. When it would have been my turn, I said with excitement, I don’t have any jokes because today is my first day. The teacher immediately told me to calm down, in a nice calm way a few times. I was immediately offended. Once again, expressing emotion was causing someone to tell me to tone it down. I wasn’t even upset until this phrase was said to me.

It took a few days of reflection and analyzation to figure out what exactly bothered me so much. I think that because she didn’t know me and her reaction to my expression was one of correction. She wanted me to be different. Therefore telling me to calm down felt like a rejection of my personality. When I feel rejected, I go into self preservation mode. I either let the full force of my personality out and I don’t care who likes it or I withdrawal completely. Either way, I am not trying to be likable. I don’t know why I respond this way but I do.

Thinking about that moment in class over and over again led me to this realization.

I am an emotional creature. A very emotional creature. Sometimes I show that emotion when expressing myself verbally.

Maybe the other person is uncomfortable with the level of emotion that I am expressing and saying calm down is their way of trying to control the situation to bring it to a level of comfort for them. (Emotional Contagion). I don’t need to take it personally! I can understand what is happening for the other person and adjust where I can.

I hope I am able to maintain this point of view so that the next time someone tells me to calm down, I won’t feel the need to be so reactive.

Tips for stress free selling on apps like OfferUp and Letgo.

I sell a lot of things on OfferUp, Letgo, and Craigslist.

If you have sold things on these platforms, you will know how flaky people can be.  It can be quite frustrating. I refuse to have strangers waste my time. I will not be held hostage waiting on anyone ever again.

Here are some tips & tricks I have found to be effective in order to feel less stressed.

Pricing: I like to price things to move. I list it for half of what I paid or I do some research to what others are selling it for and make it a few dollars less.  No matter what price you list your item for- expect people to ask to buy it for less.  It is okay to remain firm in your offer.  The right match will come around once you stand your ground.  Especially if it is a fair price.  If you are willing to accept their offer – go ahead 🙂

Communication: Don’t expect it to be great.  When people message me to ask if something is available- I answer yes and then delete their message.  When people message me to say they will get back to me- I delete the message. I assume that people are going to flake so I just delete all messages. I don’t chase and I don’t follow up after I have provided pertinent information. Just let it go and move on.  The serious ones will come back around. After some time, they become obvious.

**People who are good communicators will get back to you. They will answer your questions. They will set up a specific time to connect with you. They will be responsive and sometimes, just sometimes, even be the one to initiate the details. They will let you know when they are on their way (especially if you have requested they do so).  They show up. Be sure to give them positive feedback about the aspects of their behavior you appreciate ❤

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Location to meet: I like to find a business close to where I am located (this can serve as a reference point for them to map how far it will be from their location). I never give my physical address unless (it works best for my life) / I have gotten a good vibe, the communication has been good and they are ready to head my way.  If the communication hasn’t been great, I just give them a business nearby and ask them to let me know when they are there and then I will come over.  This will save your time.  This way you don’t have to wait at your house for anyone.  I understand that things come up which could change the time they are able to come.  If you just ask them to let you know when they are there then you don’t have to be held hostage.  Sometimes they don’t show up…. makes no difference to you since you aren’t waiting around on them and then a bunch of random strangers don’t have your home address.

I hope that you found these tips helpful.  I hope if you use them, that they work out for you. Feel free to share tips that you find useful!!!  I am always looking to improve…

Happy Selling out there!

 

 

Covert Operation = Get Nieces back

3 thousand dollars & Karma allowed for the covert operation.

Maybe you have read the other blogs about my journey, maybe you have not. This story picks up at the end of the blog that is linked above.

For those that have not, let me give you the readers digest version: I don’t have a good relationship with my biological mother. My younger sister passed away in 2003 which prompted me to connect with the abusive dysfunctional people from my past in order to attend her funeral and to meet my little nieces, whom were 3 years old and 18 months old at the time. I wanted to help raise my nieces so they moved to Austin TX where I was living in 2004. It didn’t go well and my biological mother lied and said she was going on vacation when she was secretly moving to Oregon about 1.5 years later. She then proceeded to cut me out of my nieces lives. She changed the phone number leaving me no way to contact the little girls that had become such a big part of my heart <3.

When I found out they moved, I made plans to visit. Those plans were met with resistance. I was told I had to do certain things, I wasn’t willing to do. My biological mother doesn’t get to treat me however she wants and then dictate my response to it. This is when she told me not to come. Shortly after that she changed the phone number.

I realized that if I was ever going to see them again, I would need my visit to be a surprise. I didn’t take the trip I originally planned since she had all the details and could have easily left town. This would result in me wasting $3,000.00

Covert Operation = get nieces back began to form. I bribed my boyfriend at the time to come with me with some fun plans in Portland before traveling to Salem to sit in front of their house. I decided going around Christmas time would increase the chances of me being able to find them at home.

In 2006, I got plane tickets for Portland, a rental car to drive to Salem, hotel rooms and massage appointments. I went to the local toy store and purchased Christmas presents for the girls. We stayed two days in Portland before headed off for the drama.

Portland was awesome! The size of the city reminded me of the Austin Texas I moved to the summer of 1996. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe- off to Austin TX I go. The nature scene reminded me of growing up in Colorado Springs. Portland has delicious food, cool bridges and nice people. It was becoming clear that I liked it so much that I wanted to live there. I never thought I would see the day I wanted to move from Austin because I loved living there. It’s the place I have lived the longest yet (15 years) Portland was pretty awesome though and I seriously started to think about moving. I would need to finish college first.

After two days in Portland, we drove to Salem, checked into the hotel and went to sit in front of my nieces house. It was completely nerve wracking. The anxiety built with every passing moment. At some point my boyfriend mentioned he was hungry. I didn’t want to leave because Murphy’s Law says the moment I leave is the moment they come home and I didn’t want to miss them. He ended up convincing me to get some fast food for him. We weren’t gone long. When we returned, the lights in the house were on. I knew it! I missed my moment! I was pissed at my BF and pissed at myself for agreeing to leave. Now we have to go to the door. This gives my biological mother more of an advantage.

We crept up to the door and couldn’t really see through the oval circle made of frosted glass that was in the middle of the wood door. I could hear them though. I tried to wait until I heard the girls voices closer towards the front of the house however it was proving impossible. I knocked on the door and she told the girls to go to their rooms because she thought I was going to be someone else that was showing up with something for the girls for Christmas. When she answered the door, it took her a minute to register what was happening. I saw her face change when it clicked. I shoved my foot in the door so she couldn’t close it on me and I started yelling my nieces names. I didn’t overcome the year of sadness and come all this way not to be successful. She let me in…

At first it was very awkward. It took an hour or so for the girls to remember who I was. There weren’t any pictures of me around. I’m 100% sure she didn’t talk about me or say nice things about me or remind them of the good times we had and how much I loved them. She asked if I was there to take them away? My answer was – I’m not you.

I had a hotel down the street and I wanted the girls to come and stay with me. I’m surprised she agreed. I got to spend all the days I was there with them. We went out to eat and had a couple sleepover nights. I couldn’t have been more happy. I got them back!!!!!

After a week, it was time to return home to Austin. I invited each of my nieces to come for 1 week during the summer. The littlest one was too scared to fly so the older one asked if she could have her sister’s week and come for 2 weeks. OF COURSE. It almost didn’t happen because she was very scared to get on the plane. Thankfully a nice couple saw this little girl crying and offered to accompany her during the flight. Words could not express the disappointment I felt at the thought of her not being able to board the plane. I am so proud of her for conquering her fear and making it all the way to Texas. We had a blast. Lots of swimming. Reuniting with old friends. She lost a tooth. She celebrated her 8th birthday while there- We went at Schlitterbahn with friends. Our relationship was back on track. I love her more than I love anyone in the world.

I spent the next 2 years flying to Portland for visits. As my nieces got older, I knew that they needed me to be closer. I wanted to be a bigger part in their lives. I was putting myself through college part-time which would take 10 years to complete. I graduated the summer of 2010 and by the end of December, I moved to Dallas OR, where they lived.

3 thousand dollars & Karma

I can’t remember the name of the dating app or site I was on when I made a connection with a gentlemen.

20190727_115935.jpgWe decided to met at bar called Casino El Camino for drinks and food. This bar is located on the east end of the infamous 6th street in Austin TX. We got cocktails and ordered food while sitting on the back patio. I remember that neither of us wanted to smoke many cigarettes in front of the other person because we were trying to impress each other (smoking is unattractive). Eventually we just had to be ourselves.

I liked him right away. I just wasn’t interested in dating him. I don’t meet many people I want to date so the chances were slim from the beginning anyway.  I will still make effort to engage with the opposite sex since it feels like a numbers game. Eventually I will meet someone to share my life with.

For as long as I can remember, I have been struggling to earn enough money to get ahead of my poor economic situation. Dare I dream to be able to put money into savings.  I always manage to earn enough to survive! I have been working since I was 14 years old- 114 jobs and counting.

The stress of my economic situation revels itself when major changes happen in my life and I’m not able to take care of them how I like.

In 2005, my biological mother took my nieces, secretly moved to another state, changed their phone number and removed me from their lives. I was heartbroken. I cried every day for about a year. I got my first tattoo on the day that marked 1 year since I had seen their faces. Grand stand ideas started to ruminate in my mind as to how to get those little girls back into my life . If only there was a way to do it without having to deal with my biological mother.  The girls were 5 and 3 years old at the time.

I thought of showing up at their house to surprise them. I have their home address.. This surprise plan would require plane tickets, renting a car, gas money, a place to stay, bribing my boyfriend to support me in this drama, and feeding ourselves along the way. I did some preliminary research on how much it would cost to take the time away from work, pay for all those required things as well as doing something fun since I was going to a new city.  It was looking like it was going to cost around $3,000. Shit. How was I going to do that? I only made enough money to cover monthly expenses working  while putting myself through college.

My new friend is a really good poker player.  Plays online all the time. He had a day job working ( I don’t remember where). He had been there for awhile and wasn’t happy anymore.  He liked it the first few years, felt appreciated, received work bonuses but those days seemed to be long gone.

One day when I was at work, we were talking on the phone and I was telling him my grand plan.  I blurted out that I needed $3,000 to accomplish it and I had no idea how to do it.  My heart hurt so intensely it was clouding other aspects of my life.

He mentioned he was playing in an online poker tournament that night and 1st prize was $3,000 and if he won, he would give it to me. Now I know what you are thinking. I know what I was thinking. He can’t be serious. I mean this is too generous of a gift. What would prompt him to do such a thing?  I knew he had feelings for me, (little ones anyways) because we hadn’t known each other that long.  I didn’t want to say no.

After work, I went home to do homework, study and make dinner. He kept calling me to give me a play by play. It was more than I could keep up with.  I told him good luck, I couldn’t talk on the phone all night because of homework and we would see what happened in the morning…

I woke up to a text message with an attached screenshot of the computer screen. HE WON!!!!!

This just became real. We needed to have a serious talk about it.  There would be no way I could accept this gift if he was going to hold it over my head. I couldn’t accept the extremely generous gift if it would come with invisible strings. Our friendship would not survive it. I know plenty of people who use their money for power, control, and to manipulate others. I know myself

He said he wouldn’t and I desperately wanted to believe him. It would take some time for him to get his payout.

20190727_115923_HDR.jpgWe dressed up and went to a Halloween party that year.  Halloween is my favorite holiday. We were sitting around the fire and at some point in the night, he made a hurtful/ manipulative/ power comment about giving me the money. It was the moment I was afraid of. I immediately knew I could not accept his generous gift. I told him so and he instantly felt bad and realized his error. He promised he wouldn’t do that and here he was making a comment before I even took the money.

How was I going to deal with this epic disappointment?! I was super depressed. I was discouraged. I was disheartened by the predictability of people and money. I was sad that I wasn’t going to be able to fly up to Oregon and try to get my nieces back. It took several weeks, several apologies and a couple conversations about his recommitment to being comment free before I would accept his gift.

Eventually I agreed and when he received the money, we made plans to meet.  He would be at La Zona Rosa with a date when I would roll by in my car.  He handed me a small package filled with my dreams. To this day he has never made another comment about it. Thank you with ALL of my being for this mister.

Covert Operation = get nieces back ” was ready to be put in place.

I couldn’t be more grateful. I am truly inspired by his generosity. I’m not sure I could have done the same.  I mean, I am a generous person. I’m always giving things away or feeding people.  I would take the time to help others when and where I can.  Three thousand dollars is a lot of money though.

20181116_233618.jpgThey say you get what you give. This couldn’t be more true in this story.

A few weeks after he gave me all that money, his boss called him into his office to let him know that a couple customers had called in raving about him.  He had received a few positive reviews.  He was a loyal, hard working, nice employee.

He got a bonus that year.

Guess how much…..

You know it.

$3,000.00

Love you friend. You deserve all good things! Happy we still talk and that I got to see you last year after not seeing you for eight years ❤

Update- as of the posting of this blog, he hasn’t returned my phone calls nor called me. This makes my heart very sad and I don’t understand.

Stop thinking with your penis and be my friend.

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Why? Why? Why? is it so challenging……

It’s the age old dilemma.

Can straight cis men and straight cis women just be friends?

I say yes, yes they can.

As soon as men think past their dicks.

I have met some men recently that I like. I like who they are. They are Reliable, Generous, Hard Working, Thoughtful men.

I am not attracted to them sexually. I just enjoy their company and it shines through my eyes.

Men tend to mistake nice for interested. Letting them know you aren’t interested means you run the risk of loosing potential friendship.

Once they realize that I’m not interested, I think they feel rejected and have a hard time continuing to hang out.

Age doesn’t seem to matter for this dynamic. I am going to be 45 this year and I have been experiencing this situation since I was 12.

I’m tired of it. When will it end?

I just want to be able to be myself. The nice, supportive, funny, charming, good listening, positive, adventurous side of myself. I want to be able to let someone of the opposite sex see the entire me and enjoy the parts they like without giving me a sexual vibe or entertaining sexual thoughts. Is it really that hard to think with the head on your shoulders and only that head?

It must be considering how often men cheat, try non monogamous relationships and talk about spreading their seed. Variety is the spice of life. I am willing to seriously attempt to understand the science behind the bio physical responses that your dick has. Can I say dick this many times?! I guess so, it is my blog (ha😜)

I have also heard the only way men and women end up as friends is because one of them isn’t returning the others attraction. That one person ends up settling for the friendship. Sometimes the flame is still there and they are waiting it out, sometimes the flame dies and friendship can remain.

I have a dear male friend that I have known since college. I have dated his friends and he has dated mine. We have a great time together. He has added so much value to my solitary life that I can’t say enough good things about him. Of all the things I have learned from him, the feeling of being included and how to be hospitable stand out the most.

One time we were out drinking in Austin TX and I decided to share with him the theory I heard about how men and women become “just friends”.

After I explained, we both said, so you were the one who was into me?

Then we laughed and laughed and went back to salsa dancing.

This is how I know it’s possible. Not one time did I ever think about wanting to be with him. I have nothing but nice things to say about him too. He is married now with a son, caring for his aging parents, working to get his company off the ground and just all around being a good human.

I hope we stay in touch and remain good friends until one of us is no longer on this earth.

I also hope that I will be able to make more male friends. I like men. I like gay men, trans men, cis men, Drag Kings, straight men- ALL the men.

I could also use more friends. Julie party of one is fun. Life is more fun with friends!

Life is more fun with friends and if they don’t show up….

969205_10151468021046033_616595444_nYou go out and do things alone. Yes, all by yourself (with other people) (that you don’t know) so it’s like you are by yourself anyways.

Is it awkward at first? Yes

Does it make you interact with the world in a way that you wouldn’t if you had a friend with you? Yes

Do you get used to it? Yes

Will it eventually be something you look forward to? Yes

This alone thing is liberating!

I started small by :

  • going to the movies
  • shopping
  • Yoga, Pilates, Boot Camp, Boxing, you name the workout class
  • Then I worked my up to eating a meal in a restaurant alone instead of ordering it to go and eating at home.
  • After that came having a cocktail at a bar.
  • I have managed to go see live music by myself.

Why should I have to miss out on all the adventures I want to have because I can’t find anyone to come along?

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Recently I went white water rafting alone. It was such a fantastic Saturday that I feel inspired to plan more adventures to do by myself. Next will be the Downwind in Hood River on a SUP board.

 

Doing things alone this year is easier than it has ever been before.  Many events and meditations have brought me to my current understanding and comfort level for solo adventures.  In 2013 I had a major realization while I was in Maui, Hawaii.  I went to visit a new friend that was going there for the season to work on a boat.  The boat would give whale watching/snorkeling tours.  I would get to be on the island for 10 days. I had never been to Hawaii before and I was very excited!!

What I did not realize about this vacation was that she was in the beginning passionate throes of a relationship and I would be the third wheel. I am no stranger to being odd man out however I was not very practiced in the art of doing things alone and I was looking forward to some quality time with a girlfriend.  She had to work a lot during my time there. When she wasn’t working, she was hanging out with her boyfriend and me.  I did not like her boyfriend which added to the disappointment.  My first day there, I did get to go on the boat she was working on for a whale watching tour. I saw so many whales. Everytime someone had a sighting they would yell it out so we all could catch a glimpse.  Breach- 3 o’clock Jumping_Humpback_whale

Before the boat trip started, I should have followed my friends lead with the sunscreen. I figured I lived in Texas for fifteen years and I don’t normally burn so I didn’t need to slather it on. Hindsight revealed living in Oregon for 2 years was enough time for my skin to turn pasty white effectively making it sensitive to the Hawaii sun.  I did not apply enough sunscreen and got the worst sunburn EVER.  I was miserable for a week easy.  Being so burned made sleeping difficult. I had to take Oatmeal baths several nights in a row and by the time it went away there was only three days of vacation left. I was in paradise and I did not want to spend anymore time in the sun.

Maui is a small island and I did the typical touristy things.  Whale watching, snorkeling, Lunch in Lahaina where the Banyan Tree is,  Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area for disc golf, watching the fire dancers on Little Beach, the Road to Hana where we camped at the end to visit the Seven Sacred Pools.

My life changing realization happened the night we went camping, when we were at the end of the Road to Hana.  We decided to stay so we could explore the Seven Sacred Pools in the morning. I am an early riser, waking up between 4:30a.m. to 6:30a.m. Pacific Standard Time.  Since there was a two hour time difference between Oregon and Hawaii at the time, I was up way too early.  Wide awake at 3:30 in the morning.  My friends were on Hawaii time and liked to sleep late. I would be up a full seven hours before they would rise.  What was I going to do with myself? I layed there for a bout an hour before I got up and went to explore. I knew I couldn’t go too far on the off chance my friends woke up early.  My exploration led me to discover a beautiful waterfall.  I spent some time here taking a bunch of selfies.  At some point, a small group of people came into the area.  They asked if I was alone.  That is when it occurred to me! Even though technically I was with other people, in reality I was alone. Being alone isn’t the same as being lonely.  I was just hyper aware of my aloneness.IMG_20130131_094657.jpg

Aren’t we always alone I replied? ( Lightbulb moment) I mean we are born alone, we die alone and the time in between we walk the path of our lives alone.  Here I was on this beautiful island for vacation, I had come to meet a friend and spend time with her but she was busy working and being with her boyfriend.  Technically I was with people. In reality I was alone.  I was on my own, even when they were around.

I could tell you many stories where I have found myself in a similar position.  It wasn’t always easy to be there.  Now I don’t mind.  I frequently choose it.  I also look forward to having it all my way since there isn’t anyone else to take into consideration.  Who doesn’t love that?

One of my favorite sayings is an African saying.

If You Want To Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want To Go Far, Go Together

I would like nothing more than to go far in life so until friends show up and stick around and until friends commit to joining me, you can find me on some adventure by myself having a great time ❤

 

 

Where are you from? not an easy question for me.

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When people ask me where I am from, I have to put on my happy face and ask some clarifying questions. Like- What does your question really mean? What information are you really looking for?

  • Did you want to know where I grew up?
  • What does grow up mean to you? childhood years or teenage years?
  • Where you looking to figure out where I was born?
  • Where did I move to Portland from?

Each one of these questions has a different answer. Language is important.

Usually I start by saying. I moved to Portland from Austin, Texas. Then they usually say- oh you grew up in Austin.

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Wait? What? I said I MOVED here from Austin.

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I grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Then they think I was born in Colorado.

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I was born in San Francisco, California

Spent half of the childhood years and 3/4 of my Senior year of High School in the Bay Area.

I realize this question is meant as a friendly conversation starter however I find it painful.

After all the answers- this question comes.

Did you move around so much because your family was in the military?

oh no… another innocent question is about to open a can of worms….

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No, we moved a lot because I had a dysfunctional family – I say with a smile to ease the tension.

I don’t really have any family per se. I have never met my Dad. Well that’s what it feels like anyway. I did see a picture of him holding me when I was about 18 months, my only half-sister passed away and my biological mother is dangerous to my happy life so I don’t talk to her nor have I for a very long time.

I wish society would come up with some other basic questions to get to know each other. Pronto. It’s quite possible that this question serves to constantly remind me that I am not like everyone else and to be comfortable with that. I can relate to orphans more than anyone else. Next question please.

Airbnb: Please don’t ask me about the money I make from hosting.

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I understand that people are curious creatures. Humans have a natural instinct to understand the world around them. It is fun to travel and see how other people live life. You could find yourself asking questions to help gain a better understanding of the settings around you. Friendly reminder- there is more than one way to gather information, especially when dealing with sensitive topics.

I find my financial details to be sensitive information and private. I am also willing to express my boundaries. I do not feel bad for standing by them either.

When two strangers meet, their respective boundaries are unknown. Maybe something will be said or done to reveal someone’s boundaries. When boundaries are expressed, it is important to respect them.

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Whenever a guest arrives and proceeds to make conversation about what it must be like to be in the Airbnb business, what it must be like to be a host, what it is like to have strangers around, it seems the money question also comes up. What makes people think it is okay to ask a stranger about their financial situation? and make no mistake, you are asking about money and since I can only speak from my experience and I only know the intimate details of my situation and you are asking me- then yes, you are asking about my private business.

Do you know what it seems like. It seems like this……

Hi nice to meet you, how much money do you make?

  • Is Airbnb lucrative?
  • Are you able to cover the mortgage?
  • Do you have to have a second job?
  • How much do you get after Airbnb fees?

The answers to these questions are none of your business. When asked, I am put in the position of verbalizing my boundary, which sounds like….. Sorry, however we just met and I do not discuss my financial situation with strangers.

The gentlemen who asked me the lucrative question followed up my response with- Oh, I am not asking you about your money. We argued a little. Listen guy, yes, yes you are. Here is the definition of lucrative.

Some people feel bad after my boundary response, which puts me in the position of trying to smooth things out because they are guests in my home and I want them to feel comfortable. I have had to work really hard for this- a few times. My honest response brought an awkwardness to the situation that I felt fine about but I could tell my guest didn’t. They overstepped the bounds with their questions and now they feel bad because I responded honestly and shut down the conversation. Now I have to do the hard work to make it comfortable again.

In the future, think about what you’re asking, really think about it. If it requires divulging personal information then think twice asking a stranger about it.

The saying goes “Treat people how you want to be treated”. As much as I understand the lesson being conveyed, I think we should tweek it a bit to say- “Treat people how they would like to be treated.”

Airbnb: Drinking with the Russian Guest – Part 3 The End.

Albert called a truce on Twitter and we got to bottom of our issue. Our issue was caused by a glitch in the app and bad communication. Airbnb Lesson for the Week: Bad Communication will get you nowhere. Turns out, there is a glitch in the Android version of the Airbnb app. The glitch won’t allow you to see the ALL the House Rules for a listing. There are preset options from Airbnb that you have to choose from and there is additional space to put custom rules (the part he could not see). For now, I am just glad we have made peace. I already think communication is challenging enough with people you know, it can be even more challenging when you don’t know them. It is easy to misinterpret their intent based on their style of communication. Ultimately, I still think it wasn’t okay for him to take my personal information and bash me on Twitter to the point where strangers could identify me. I do understand it was his way to vent his frustration.

Yesterday when peace was made, he asked if I would like to meet for dinner. My schedule did not permit meeting so I asked if he would meet me at Box Social for a cocktail at 8p.m. the next day. He said yes.

On his way to meet me, he was in the area of town where a person jumped/ or was pushed off a parking garage into the downtown streets of Portland. Police Investigation is Underway. He is a great photographer and captured the incident with great detail (the body in the middle of the street). The pictures were gruesome however that’s real life so I find it fascinating. He told me in Russia that pictures like that are often sold to the media. Had he headed my way a few minutes earlier, the timing would have put him there to actually witness the event with his own eyes. How terrible.

We hung out for a few hours, drinking and chatting about his world travels, government red tape, being Russian in the United States right now, jobs and logistics. He is well-traveled – I am in awe of it. I have been craving adventure/travel for close to a year now. Life has required my attention be focused other things. Now that I have done my due diligence, I am ready for some fun!

I am such a light weight these days and after two drinks I am feeling saucy therefore it was time to go after that. I am also a bike only girl who has been too drunk to ride her bike home before ( that was a crazy fun night) as well as terribly funny to me when I realized I couldn’t get home by riding my bike. Did you know you can get a BUI in Portland?

One of the reasons I chose the Box Social was because I am a sucker for a fancy vodka cocktail. Their cocktails are bougie.

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I enjoyed a Doc Holiday and a Bleu Apple Fig Panini. For the second and final drink, I ended our time together with a Moscow Mule.

He will be traveling back to Russia in the morning so it was nice to meet before he left. We hugged it out and then parted ways but not before joking that he had a new follower on Twitter.

Thanks for extending the Olive Branch first Albert. Thanks for showing up. Thanks for staying in the conversation long enough to figure it out and for listening to my side.

Peace and Chicken Grease.

Airbnb: Getting Harassed by a Russian Guest Part 2- Twitter

Twitter time.

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I only joined Twitter to talk smack to President Trump. I can’t stand him. He is harmful to our nation. He is harming our nations standing in the world. He is harmful to the lives of women, children, immigrants/brown people, and anyone who isn’t rich. I could shout at him daily. I was good about it at first and then I stopped paying attention since it’s guaranteed that he says crazy things every day and I want to spend my time doing other things.

I was informed a couple of days ago by a very kind stranger that the guest that required kicking out (Albert) had turned to Twitter to bash me and I didn’t deserve it.

Albert claimed to be a famous Russian blogger that was going to destroy me. He actually ignored my request for non communication and continued to send me messages gaining momentum in aggressive language. I feel harassed. You can only call me a Cunt on Twitter so many times before I have something to say. He has great reviews on Airbnb. That guy didn’t show up to my house to stay. I think we see his true colors on Twitter.

The research has shown the following tweets.

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and so it begins.

After getting kicked out, he went to the Inner SE which is close to a homeless shelter and dive bars.

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He sent a message saying he was landing at 11:00p.m. My mistake in thinking he would come straight here to check in around 11:30p.m. or midnight. My check in window ends at 10:00p.m so I was already doing him a favor.

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so he can follow instructions.

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He didn’t read the details in the listing because it clearly states where the space is located. 5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

and there are lots of signs around for good communication, including an chalk board arrow in the hallway pointing in the direction of the guest room (which is what I wrote on the arrow sign) Airbnb Observation: I’ve decided if you do not like these signs then you do not like communication.

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I give everyone a fresh start. Fresh sheets, dust, trash, clean mirror, and a 420 kit along with a personalized name on a chalkboard for your room. 3 Top Things Airbnb Hosts Should Do

Drunk Guests are the Worst!

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He doesn’t remember. I came downstairs to see what was happening, I noticed he just arrived since he still had his shoes and was drunk I felt compelled to make sure he knew where the bathroom was and where to get water. I don’t need another guest “accidentally” trying to come in my room while “looking” for the bathroom when the listing states in 2 places the bathroom is downstairs and the bedrooms make up the entire upstairs of the place.

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Airbnb Lesson for the week: If you lie about reading the house rules, show up and violate them, then your stay with me will come to an end.

After giving a mini tour, I tried to go back upstairs to go to bed. I had to be to work early and it is hard to go back to sleep when you wake up too much. He had questions though. Where could he smoke a cigarette? Smoking is not allowed on my property. He made faces and said – I can’t go out front? No. I can’t go out back? No. I reminded him that is states in the house rules (that he agreed to) He said he didn’t see that and gets out his phone to argue about it. I am grumpy from being rudely awoken and know he wants to argue. I shut down the conversation and say we can pick it up in the morning if there are still questions.

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This guy is killing me. Like it says in the house rules, the house is 420 friendly for guests since public consumption is illegal. I guess you lied about reading the house rules since you can’t seem to find them.

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I don’t argue with drunk people. Once I could smell the alcohol on his breath. I stopped the conversation and said we could pick it up in the morning.

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so the drunk guy thinks he is going to take action before I do. He sure talks a big game for someone who didn’t do a thing but complain on Twitter.

Before I went back to bed at 3:00a.m. I sent some messaging through Airbnb to document the situation. see messages here

at one point, I asked him to stop messaging and when he wouldn’t respect my request and wasn’t making sense or responding in an appropriate manner to the things being said, I knew I was going to have to have him leave.

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I called Airbnb first thing the next morning. They tried to call Albert but he didn’t answer. I had to go in the room with my phone. A case manager was going to tell him it was time to vacate the premise. Instead of keeping all his money, I would let them change his reservation to just one night.

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How does he think Airbnb will be on his side when they already told him he was wrong and had to leave?!?!

They already sided with me.

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He sure tweets a lot. I told the case manager I did not wish to pursue the penalty fee. I wanted to be done with him as fast as possible so I made it easy and let it all go. Look at him trying to be all big and egotastic……

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Did he get that refund he was demanding? Nope!

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He is trying to change his story and they are holding him to the agreed upon modification.

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He didn’t get his way and now he is whining away.

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I have worked hard for my Superhost status and he doesn’t have the power to take that away.

I have reported these messages to Airbnb.

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Actions speak louder than words. For the record: I have an Android phone not an iPhone. Get the facts straight.

I got it, he thinks that he can take advantage of my Super host status and their wouldn’t be consequences to his rude behavior.

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I can’t take it anymore and finally I say something.

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My favorite part is where he says Airbnb is not on my side this morning when he is at a crappy motel. He was asked to leave my residence. He did not get a full refund. He got his Airbnb privileges suspended. He has already complained about the situation. Which part do you think is confusing to him?

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I have a lot of gratitude out there for a particular person who gave me a heads up this Twitter bashing was happening. It should give everyone concern that someone can get your information legitimately and then take it to another platform where they intend to do you harm. Put enough information out there that strangers can identify you. I have an angel watching my back! I also am tired of being called a Cunt and the lies he is telling. He wants to sit back and act all big and bad and tell his followers a bunch of stuff that isn’t true. So I am here to give my side to the story and provide evidence along the way.

Twitter banter leads to a resolution..stay tuned for part 3 – meeting with the Russian.

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Airbnb: Getting Harassed by a Russian Guest: Part 1

I have been a host for Airbnb for 2 years and I have hosted over 350 people. People are people and patterns have revealed themselves. I have encountered all kinds of situations and behaviors – I thought I had seen it all. There is a first time for everything.  Lessons Consequences Choices Wisdom

Albert booked last-minute and sent a message saying he was landing at 11 pm. I took this to mean that he would be headed over straight from the airport and would be arriving around 11:30pm maybe midnight. My check-in window is from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. however I always let guests check-in later since I have a lock box and they can self check-in. Most people have Respect and come in as quiet as possible or at least apologize for waking people up. Not this guy.

20180612_0808551415496442.jpgAlbert, showed up at 3 a.m.- drunk and woke up the house wearing shoes while clopping up and down the stairs. I went downstairs to use the restroom and check out what was happening. I found Albert on the stairs with a deer-in-headlights look on his face. I asked if he was wearing shoes.  He said yes.

I asked why, it’s a house rule (with a penalty fee for agreeing with them and then showing up and not following them).

 

Airbnb: These are my House Rules. Do you think they are reasonable? There is also a friendly reminder sign on the front door. 20180501_195549.jpg

It appeared he had just arrived.  Clearly he hadn’t read anything nor was he aware of the details so I felt compelled to point out the bathroom and guest area in the kitchen so he could get a glass of water.  As I headed back upstairs to go to bed he had more questions. I am a bit grumpy when rudely woken up in the middle of the night. He wanted to know where he could smoke a cigarette. Well….like the listing states there is no smoking cigarettes (tobacco) on the property. He got a quizzical look on his face and said he didn’t read that. Could he not step outside?….no. Could he not go out back?…..no. He argued and debated and I was growing more grumpy. It wasn’t the time for it.

He got out his phone to pull things up. At a glance, I could not tell where this information was located on his phone nor was I going to wake up enough to sort it out. When my eyes opened enough to read it was 3:09a.m. I instructed him to turn off the lights when he was done and we could talk about it in the morning.  Airbnb: I am a host not a 24 hour concierge desk

Before I went to bed, I sent some messages through Airbnb to document the situation.  I knew that I would be calling first thing in the morning to see what my options were.  I have attached all of them for your viewing pleasure. Start from Left to Right in each row.

Someone needs to learn the difference between a House Manual and House Rules.  I even write in the manual to look at the rules for people who are slow or lack attention to detail.

I am an early riser.  I called Airbnb at 7:30a.m. to explain what was happening.  I was assigned a case manager who assisted with me in the process of changing a reservation. He called Albert several times to inform him it was time to vacate- Albert didn’t answer (shocker).  So when the case manager called me back, I said yes I was willing to knock on the door so they could speak on my phone.  Time for Albert to go.  He required me asking him when he was going to leave, he was just chillin’ in bed so I was forced to call Airbnb back to confirm it could be immediately since Albert was trying to say he had until check out time.  Why would he possibly want to stay any longer?

In the past, the guest leaves, I get to keep all the money since they violated the terms and conditions of the agreement.  This time I compromised and let him out of it by agreeing to let the reservation be altered to just one nights stay.  I also cancelled the request for the penalty fee for wearing shoes in the house.  I was willing to let him off easy just to get rid of him so I could move on to the next guest, who would be nothing short of awesome in comparison.

With Albert gone, I hung out with my other French guest, who had cooked us a delicious dinner the night before.

I had the best guest and the worst guest at the same time.  Good thing I like to focus on the positive. Back to the happy place.

Until I received a message from a kind stranger informing me that Albert was trashing me on Twitter, I mean really having a go at me. To the point where a kind stranger could identify me, reach out to me and let me know what was happening. I thought I was free and clear of his harassment.

Time to remember the Twitter password.

Part 2 coming next……

 

 

 

 

 

Airbnb: I am a host not a 24 hour concierge desk

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I am a host that offers two private rooms in my three bedroom home. I live on property, upstairs in close proximity to the shared rooms. I have several jobs and enjoy the flexibility hosting has to offer so I can fit it all in. The beauty about being a host is that you get to set up your business however works for you. My check in window is 3:00p.m. to 10:00p.m. People frequently ask if it is okay to arrive later than 10:00p.m. It is always okay to arrive later since I have Self Check In. I make sure to leave a key in the lockbox and the porch light on. I let them know that I will be asleep and that they have everything they need to have a smooth check in.

I understand that late night flights are common. By the time they get luggage and make their way to the house, it will be after the check in window.

Recently, I had this scenario come up. Guest asks if they can check in between 11:30p.m.- Midnight. I say “Checking in late is not a problem. You will need to Self Check In though as I will be sleeping at that time 🙂 It’s easy, I will leave a key in the lockbox and the porch light on.”

To which they reply – “Hi Julie. We just read all the house rules and are totally cool with how you operate in the house. Thanks for the clarity. We will be sure to abide by them. Look forward to meeting you too!”

Fast forward to the night they are scheduled to arrive.

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At 10:35p.m. I sent a message that said – “I hope you made it okay. I’m headed to bed. I left the light on in the room since it will be late and dark when you arrive. The weather was a little warm today. So I left some blanket options for you in case you get cold. There’s a fan and a space heater, please make yourself comfortable. See you in the morning. Sleep well!” and then upon rereading, I sent another short message – “I’m tired and that message could have sounded better. Good night”

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I woke up the next morning to a message they sent at midnight! At Midnight!

“Hi Julie we have arrived at the house. What is the code to key box?

This message ruffles my feathers on so many levels. They were very nice people. Young. Educated. Still. Who waits till the last-minute to ask for information they have had since they booked? Standing on the doorstep is not the time to get what you need. Airbnb Lessons are Really Life Lessons What makes them even remotely think I would be available to answer this question or that I would be up to help?? I mentioned more than once that I would be sleeping. I literally sent a message saying Good Night.

Needless to say, I did not respond. I also found them in the morning using my personal kitchen items. It was clear they didn’t read the details of the listing. 5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

Airbnb 101– READ the details, ALL the details of the listing. This will ensure that all parties involved have a nice experience. Airbnb: The Hosts feeling matter too. It will also ensure that you don’t cross boundaries you are unaware of.

I have a life. I have a day job. Guests don’t get to come and go 24 hours a day and I am certainly not doing the same job twice. Airbnb Lesson for the week: When asking for already provided information – expect to be pointed in that direction.

Have some responsibility for yourself. Prepare yourself. Your quality of life will improve because of the time and attention you put towards it. You will be happy you did.

You’re Welcome ❤

Portland, OR is the biggest DIY town I ever met.

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and I am smarter for it.

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I was born in San Francisco and grew up between Colorado Springs, Colorado and the Bay Area. At 21, I decided to leave Colorado Springs and move to Austin, Texas, where I will spend the next 15 years of my life (minus a 3 month stint dealing Blackjack in Vegas). I moved to Portland, Oregon from the ATX.  I have been living in Portland for eight years now and counting. I will move again.

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I don’t remember much about the way things worked in the Bay Area or Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs, at that time, was small, conservative, and surround by the military.  People were probably friendly enough in both places.

 

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Living in Austin taught me about “Southern Hospitality”.  There is something to be said for living with constant sunshine and hanging out outside all the time – it makes for friendly outgoing people.  People who are ready to take the time to answer your questions, call someone if they don’t know or let you follow them because they happen to be going in the same direction. I loved it.  Help with a smile.

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Living in Portland has taught me to be even more resourceful. It is not as sunny around here and it makes me wonder if it contributes to the mentality.  Not many people outside and not many people willing to help you do what you could do for yourself. I hope you have access to the Internet.  You need directions some place? … look up the address, and put it in your navigation.  Don’t have that… Use a compass and a map. There is a gear store nearby where you can purchase those items if you don’t have them either. Figure it out. Solve your problems. No one will be phoning a friend or escorting you around here. It forced me to be even more resourceful.  I have an abundance of gratitude for that.  It is a nice skill to have.  Waiting on other people sucks.

Is it easier for people to just tell you every detail of how things work ( insert anything you have questions about)? yes.  What about the long game though? Teach a man to fish…..

I like to say that the lessons hardest learned are the ones not easily forgotten. People don’t learn from other peoples mistakes.  You have to get your hands dirty, get involved with life and learn from your own mistakes. Mistakes are great teachers. Knowledge = Power.

After all, Life is either the greatest adventure or it’s not.  You choose!

 

 

 

 

 

Airbnb: Sex with guests

Would you do it? Have you thought about it? Been tempted but refrained?

I have thought about it (a couple of times).

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I am a very single girl. I don’t have children. I don’t have any pets and I haven’t had sex in years. Did you read that last sentance? Years!

I am not interested in going out to bars to pick someone up. I am not meeting anyone on Tinder or Bumble or Match or *insert app. I have never used the adult section in Craig’s List nor do I plan to. A few of my friends have and they recommend it. It scares me.

I can hear you now. What’s the difference between going out and going home with someone vs finding them on CL and hooking up? What about meeting online, then meeting in person and having sex quickly?

The answer is : I don’t know. It feels different. I know they will be leaving. They don’t live in town so I don’t have to have some awkward run in at the grocery story if it doesn’t go well.

One time I hosted a gentlemen from Canada who came down to attend a workshop at the Convention Center. He was staying with me for four nights. I was enjoying his company during the times we saw each other at the house. On the third day, very early in the morning, I woke up to a message that was meant for his old co-worker. He accidentally sent it to me before he went to bed.

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He was telling a story about a road trip and a funny suggestion. He wanted her to know that he actually followed through with her suggestion they talked about. He wore lace panties all day to the conference and they kept him” WIDE awake, almost better than coffee.” When he came downstairs that morning, I had to inquire about what these panties looked like. He turned beet red and then became a good sport about it. Telling me about his shopping adventure at Victoria Secret’s-there was a sale so he bought three pair. He planned to try them all out. I suggested a photo shoot so we could send pictures as proof to the former coworker. It was spontaneous, adventurous and funny as hell. I laughed so hard at times. I was rolling on the floor with tears coming out of my eyes. He was such a good sport about it. I asked him to pose in specific yoga poses. Warrior one, Reverse Warrior, and Tree. During one of the poses his penis slipped out and I didn’t notice since I wasn’t wearing my contact lenses. He would later mention he was impressed I didn’t skip a beat when it happened. That was when I told him I couldn’t see that far without my glasses. We played around for about thirty minutes when some sexual tension started to develop between us.

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After the photo shoot, we got ready for the day. He went to the conference and I went to work. When we both happened to be home for the evening, he invited me out to dinner and I decided to go. I took him to Bollywood Theatre . Even though I felt like I was on a date, I was aware of the Host/Guest relationship we had. I wanted to remain professional. I also didn’t know that much about him. I did enjoy his company and I was attracted to his body but I like to know more about someone before I get naked with them.

Nothing ended up happening. Unless me being able to hear him masturbate after the photoshoot counts?! ( The Sounds of Fucking yourself )

I crawled into his room the next morning, the day he was checking out, to acknowledge the tension and admit that I wouldn’t be acting on it. I don’t want to bang and then he leaves. I don’t want to give someone that part of myself if there is only one opportunity to enjoy it. If I do ever have sex with a guest, it will be towards the beginning of their stay so I can enjoy them the entire time they are in town.

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We decided to go to Multnomah Falls with his last few hours in town before he drives home.

The morning after he left, I was thinking about him. I decided to send a text saying hello along with a picture of Multnomah Falls from the day before

I couldn’t have guessed his response in a million years. He was married ?!?!?! He thought that now was a good time to tell me so that I could decide wether to continue to be connected. He wasn’t happy in his marriage. He said meeting me showed him he needed to deal with his current situation. This does not make me feel better.

I was instantly glad I didn’t have sex with him. He lied about quite a few things.

I know this happens all the time in life however it’s not something I’m interested in doing. I broke connection with him immediately.

New Rule: No sex with hot guests.

Im so thankful I didn’t do it. I would have been crushed.

Airbnb: I don’t recommend hosting anyone other than the person in the profile.

It is becoming more common that I get requests to host a relative/ friend of the Airbnb member ( the person in the profile). Even though I have been doing it, I have remained hesitant the entire time. There are guaranteed challenges that come along with it.

  • Communication– it automatically becomes third-party communication because it forces the communication to be outside of the Airbnb platform which is not recommend. This opens up the host to some liability. I personally like to screen shot outside communication and then put those pictures into the Airbnb messaging system. 20180405_162305.jpg

Bad Communication

Don’t communicate outside of Airbnb

  • Details included in the listing– hosts take the time to provide a wealth of information in the listing. Not having access to this information takes away the guests ability to be self-reliant. Guests are going to have more questions and are more likely to step over boundaries they aren’t aware of. Time is valuable and I don’t like wasting mine by explaining information that has already been provided. When asking for already provided information expect to be pointed in that direction.
  • House Rules- just like the details not being read, guests tend not to remember all the rules. How are they supposed to remind themselves if they don’t have access to the details of the listing. I provide a laminated welcome sheet that has the rules posted on it. If only guests would take the time to read it. My feathers get ruffled easily when guests don’t follow the rules they have agreed to. My House Rules- do you think they are reasonable?
  • The Review- The guests that are hosted are the ones that should leave the review. If they relay their experience to the profile person and then the profile person leaves the review it feels like we are playing the old school telephone game. I don’t think it’s fair nor as accurate as it could be. Airbnb: Location the category that isn’t fair to hosts for guests to grade.

20180522_082856.jpgI recently hosted someone’s parents.

Overall it went as well as any other guests stay. Their visit included the aforementioned issues which reinforces the reason not to host people who don’t have their own profile.

In addition to the recent experience, I learned something today that will result in me declining requests to host people who don’t have their own profiles. Straight from the Airbnb website……

Can I book on behalf of a friend or family member?

Transparency and trust are vital to the Airbnb experience. People rely on information in Airbnb profiles, reviews, and other verifications when deciding whether to host or stay with someone.

We require Airbnb reservations booked for personal travel to be booked by the person who’s going to stay at the listing.

Instead of making a reservation for someone else, consider referring them to Airbnb.

The longer I host, the more I learn about the law.

I find value in knowing the way short-term rentals work, informing guests of how things work, and without hesitation enforcing the rules. I’ve noticed people don’t like being held accountable and if you stay with me….plan to be.

Knowledge = Power

Ultimately- Everyone is responsible for themselves.

Airbnb: Superhosts don’t always make Superguests

Lately, I have had some tough experiences with guests therefore I have set new parameters of who qualifies to instant book. Instant book means anyone at anytime can book the room, if it’s available, without communicating with me first. The new parameters include; if you are new to Airbnb and do not have any reviews, you have to inquire first about being able to stay or if you have negative reviews on your profile, you also have to ask first if you can stay. I take the time now to review those guests with greater scrutiny and I actually look at the reviews that have been left by previous hosts. I will no longer be accepting guests that have established a pattern of less than ideal behavior. It is not worth the time or stress.

You can imagine my delight when a reservation came in from a Superhost.

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Even though it was only for one night, I was looking forward to having a rock star guest that would know how it goes therefore he would do all the right things to make it a great stay.

My hopes and dreams could not have been farther from the reality that was to come with his stay.

His communication was terrible from the beginning. He didn’t answer the questions asked upon booking. He didn’t answer the question asked specifically in the message I sent. I had to repeat the question until I got the answer. Eventually he said he would arrive at the official check in time of 3:00p.m.

Instead, he showed up at my doorstep an hour early because he needed to charge his phone.

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This could have been done easily at a coffee shop. I never got any communication that he would be early or that he was on his way. Just. Boom. On the doorstep. While he is on the doorstep, I get another message that there is no key in the lockbox ( You better believe there is no key available before check in time!) This is by design. It is in response to people who don’t read, people who aren’t aware of the details, people who are willing to break the rules Airbnb: These are my House Rules. Do you think they are reasonable?, people whose actions don’t match their words. I have hosted over 350 people, patterns have emerged. People require managing at all times. If there was a key, was he just going to go in? What makes him think this is okay in any way?! He was already putting me in a position by just showing up.

He was lucky I was home preparing the room. I still had a bathroom to clean when he started knocking on the door. If the other guests weren’t home, I would have ignored him to teach him a lesson but I didn’t want there to be drama. I just kept thinking that Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

As I opened the door, he introduced himself and asked if he needed to remove his shoes. Another Big Red Flag- I have every guest confirm they have read the house rules. It clearly states in the rules that there are no shoes in the house. There is even a reminder sign on the front door and a $20 penalty fee attached to breaking this rule.

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Clearly he isn’t paying attention nor is he familiar with the details. This is not starting off well…..

I invited him in, gave him the tour and the house key, as well as let him officially check in early.

He acknowledged that he often changes plans without communicating and it frustrates his wife. After a conversation, he seemed to be more aware of the error of his ways. I can only hope that he will be motivated to change his behavior in the future.

When guests only stay for a night, it forces me to ask early on what their check out plan for the morning is. Airbnb: Respect the Check Out Time! This feels slightly awkward for me. It seems like I am saying, Hi- nice to meet you, here’s the room, here’s the bathroom and what time will you be leaving? I am sure it will get easier the more I do it. I’ve just been at it for years and it still makes me feel awkward.

He didn’t know his plan (of course). So I requested to be informed before I went to bed. That sounded vague. It is important to be specific when communicating. In conversation, ambiguity leads to interpretation which will lead to not getting what you were hoping for. I corrected my request to include a 9:00p.m. deadline. After a pause, he mentioned his flight was earlier in the morning so he would be checking out around 7:00a.m. or 8:00a.m.

I went to bed planning for that. I woke up to a message that said his flight was at 5:00a.m. so he would be leaving at 3:30a.m. and since I was awake by 5:00a.m., I decided to get a head start preparing the room for the next guest. This would allow me to get to work on the earlier side of the day. Imagine my surprise when I went into the room to clean it around 5:05a.m. and he was still in the bed.

He missed his flight. “Sorry for messing up your day ” he says. At this point, I am just ready for him to go. He mentions he would be leaving around 8:00a.m. and he did.

It is a sad day when a Superhost isn’t capable of being the best guest. If there was anyone to empathize with the host’s position. Airbnb: The Hosts feeling matter too. I find Hypocrisy a very unattractive quality to deal with. Get it together people.

Airbnb: Dear International Travelers

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We are all apart of the global community.

Before you travel, it is in your best interest to prepare yourself to the best of your ability.  You can hypothesize about future challenges and already have an action plan to conquer them. #success

I would like to remind you that since you might not have easy access to the internet when you are in the United States, that it is a good idea to write down the information you need, before you show up to the front door of your Airbnb and can’t access the internet to get the required information. Personal Accountability is important.  You are in control of how smooth the check in will go by utilizing the information already provided.  Information = Knowledge = Power.  Airbnb Lesson for the week: When asking for already provided information – expect to be pointed in that direction.

Hopefully you have established a Check In plan with your host. What details do you need to carry out this plan?  If you will be Self Checking in, be sure to write down the instructions, the code to the lockbox or whatever details you need to have a smooth check in. 5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

You will also want to write down the Wifi name and password. I can only assume that you will have access to the internet when traveling internationally. If you don’t, then extra information will be necessary to write down before you travel. Prepare yourself with the Host’s information so you can have access upon arrival.

Remember to pack an electrical outlet adapter.  If you stay at my Airbnb, I will provide one for you (in case you forgot) 🙂

As it states on the Airbnb website, it is not recommended to communicate through any other method but their platform.  This seems to challenge many travelers, especially if you do not have access to the internet or the Airbnb app. Regardless, it has been my observation that people prefer to text. Airbnb Lesson for the week: Never communicate outside of Airbnb20180405_162305.jpg

Sidenote- texting is just a different platform to send a message.  A message is a message.  You have to pick a recipient, then type a message, and hit send.  What difference does it make if those steps are done in Airbnb vs Text Messaging ?

Ultimately, I realize traveling can be stressful.  Hopefully this blog has reminded you the importance of preparing yourself with as much information that is available to you and asking for any information you will need that is not provided .

Safe travels to you!

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.

 

Airbnb Lessons are Really Life Lessons

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There have been guests that show up to the house who have never seen a lockbox or they  don’t know how to use it. They don’t communicate their plans or when their plans change.  They haven’t read the listing and all the details provided so they aren’t able to navigate the experience with as much ease had they been prepared. They say they have read the house rules, show up and don’t act like it. People say they will do things all the time they don’t do.

Isn’t this how life works?!?!

This is when you learn that actions speak louder than words.  You learn that knowing is different from doing. You learn when someone is showing you who they are that you should believe them. Unknown

Whenever a guest is having a challenge and I point out the part they missed, like reading the listing or following directions . Their response has been – “It’s my 1st time to use Airbnb”

5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

1st time to Airbnb- Here is your to do checklist.

Airbnb Lesson for the week: When asking for already provided information – expect to be pointed in that direction.

Can someone please explain to me how not using Airbnb before has anything to do with whether or not you read? What does being new to Airbnb have to do with following instructions? or being a good communicator?

I would genuinely like to know ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

Airbnb: Why pick a place thats details don’t fit the best into your travel plans?

People fascinate me.  I am a cultural anthropologist at heart.  I should have majored in Sociology instead of International Studies.

Some of the details for the two Airbnb rooms in my house are:

My Check In time is 3:00p.m.- 10:00p.m.

My Check Out time is 9:00 a.m. Airbnb: Respect the Check Out Time!

Full Kitchen use is not available neither is access to the washer/dryer.

There is a penalty fee of $50 each time you do not lock the front door when leaving the residence.  Airbnb: These are my House Rules. Do you think they are reasonable?

I live in the Inner NE part of Portland Oregon.  It is 1-2 miles to the west side of town where Downtown is located however you have to cross a river with one of the thirteen bridges so it can appear further to people who aren’t familiar with town.  A mile is a mile though right? Airbnb: Location the category that isn’t fair to hosts for guests to grade.

If these details do not fit the best into your travel plans then please do not pick my place while harboring negative feelings.  Instead, find a place that works for you.  There are a plethora of options out there.

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30% of guests ask to check in after 10:00 p.m. Checking in later is usually a non issue.  I most likely will be sleeping however I can leave a key in the lockbox and the porch light on.  The house has lots of signs around for good communication purposes.  They help strangers ( I mean guests ) navigate the space.

70% of guests ask if they can check in early. I normally only let repeat guests do so. I have been known to make a few exceptions however it is rare.

50% of guests ask if they can check out later. During the week it is not an option for me since I need to turn around the room for the next guest and get to work.  If  it is a Saturday, then I will give you an extra hour or two if I like you and you have been a nice guest.  If it is Sunday then guests get lucky and can have until 12p.m. due to my weekly volunteer gig.

Please don’t mistake me.  I understand that the answer to an unasked question is always no however it seems that people just don’t read the details of the listing before they pick 5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do and then they try to work around the established boundaries.  I can tell by their language when they harbor negative feelings about it. It happens frequently enough I am writing about it.

Perfect Example coming atcha.

Review left by guest -“Location was great! The room was nice. The check in after 3pm and check out before 9am was kind of a bummer.” “I had to plan my flight around the check in and out which was a bummer and couldn’t spend an extra day in the city” Is this person serious?  This screams lack of personal accountability!!!  It triggers me ( I will work on that). I can’t get over the fact that he blames the check in and check out times on his ability to make travel plans.  

Airbnb: Private Room does not guarantee a lock on the door.

A private room means you get a door. Maybe the door locks, maybe it doesn’t. Do not be surprised if it does not.  The privacy part comes from the door.

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This seems to be lost in translation with  people.

If you want to have a lock for privacy then you should look into getting the entire place instead of a private room in a shared situation.  Which type of Airbnb is right for you? Shared Room or Private Room or Entire Place.

A host should not be penalized in the review with lower stars because you didn’t know that a private room doesn’t guarantee a lock on the door and you preferred one. Airbnb: Location the category that isn’t fair to hosts for guests to grade.

If you would like to ensure your things are secure then make sure you lock the residence.  Your room will be inaccessible if thieves can’t get into the property.

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I personally will never have the Airbnb rooms in my home have locks.  6bd63441-a0cc-4eb0-83b8-ecea9d631def

  • I don’t offer candles in the room anymore since I have found them left burning in the room when guests have left for their adventures.
  • I have found space heaters left on with no guests around and I will go in and turn them off since they can cause a house fire easily.
  • I have had to force my way into a room to prevent a guest from sneaking in other people in the middle of the night. Airbnb Hell: The Worst Guest I’ve Had To Date.

 

Since I have two rooms in my home, whenever a house rule has been broken, each guest likes to blame it on the other.  I have only had one person own up to their behavior.

I would have a space that locks for guests if and only if it was a separate space that only they occupied so that if anything happened they would be forced to take accountability.  I would also have a security deposit.

So the takeaway from this information is that if you want a door that locks, think about getting the entire place.  If you find yourself needing a private room because cost is a factor, then ask the host before you book if the door to the room locks.  I mean if you care so much then take the time to get the information you need to ensure you are comfortable instead of showing up, being disappointed/concerned and then leaving a bad review.

Stay safe out there!  and Lock the front door!  🙂

 

 

Airbnb Observation: I’ve decided if you do not like these signs then you do not like communication.

I have noticed that people either love or hate the signs around the house.

There have been many negative references to them in the reviews guests leave after they stay. There have also been some positive ones.

I think the people who have strong negative reactions to them are the people who are challenged to act accordingly.

The people who have said something positive about them have said they found them helpful. They found it easier to navigate an unfamiliar space.

These signs are up for good communication purposes. They have developed over time. Some are meant to be helpful, some are informative and some are in response to people not doing the things they agree to do by staying in one of my Airbnb rooms (House Rules reminders). Airbnb: These are my House Rules. Do you think they are reasonable?

I think they allow guests to be independent. No Micro Managing necessary.

I also receive the unintended benefit of seeing what kind of people I am dealing with in my home. Their response to the signs shows me who they are. Most people have proven respectful.

During the week it can be challenging to greet guests. Things go better when I can greet, give a tour of the house and point out specific areas missed from guests not reading the listing 5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

When I am not able to be there, I tell them to keep a look out for all the signs 🙂

How do you feel about things being labeled? Did you have a positive or negative reaction to reading the signs? Can you appreciate the hosts perspective?

Airbnb: No Good Deed Goes Unpunshined

When I moved into the house, I inherited everything that came with it. The slow filling flapper less system toilet. The creaky wood floors, the ill wired electrical system, the too tiny pipes for the water pressure, etc.

In the bathroom there is an old claw tub with one of those shower curtains that goes all the way around.  It hangs from the ceiling by the shower head and into the wall on the opposite side.  The wall isn’t solid and the screws have worn and the whole system is wobbly.  I have been hard pressed for an aesthetically pleasing fix. 20180502_064317.jpg

My guest this week mentioned he has the same claw tub at home.  He said that he has the same issue and he found a way to make it more stable.  He asked if I had a tape measure however it was late, I was ready for bed and said we could talk about it the next day.

In the morning on my way out the door, I reiterated that I would like to hear about this solution he has enacted before bed that day since he would only be around for another night.  Turns out, I did not see him.  I was in bed before he came home.

The following day I came home from work and was reading a book on the couch in the living room when he arrived.  He had come home earlier than the previous nights. He surprised me with bringing the things to MacGyver the shower.  What a nice gesture! Not many guests go out of their way to do something nice therefore  my heart-strings were being tugged on big time.

How much do I owe you? $15 he says. Hmmm- I don’t have that right now. I wanted to hear about how you fixed it.  I am not sure I would do the same thing. Even if I liked his idea, I wasn’t prepared to fix it before taking care of my tax bill to the IRS AND I was only willing to pay $3-5 to fix it.

He purchased unnecessary parts.  He didn’t measure the length from the curtain rod to the ceiling and bought 4 pieces of chain that were too long, a package of hooks and four metal rings.  I already had a hook for the ceiling and an extra ring for the curtain rod.  The only thing I would have needed is a proper fitting chain.  I am pretty sure that would have cost no more than $320180502_064242.jpg

So now here I am between a rock and a hard place because a guest was kind enough to take action and do a nice deed. It would have been nice if I was in a position to give him the full amount however I would be doing a disservice to myself by doing so.  I wasn’t going to hand over $15 that I didn’t have when all I really wanted to do was honor him in hearing his solution. I ended up telling him I didn’t have the money and I didn’t like how the solution “looked” so I would use one ring and one chain.  He understood and gifted it to me.

No good deed goes unpunished.

Would you have reimbursed him the $15?

 

 

 

 

 

Airbnb: The Downside to Hosting

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People Lie.

People use your stuff without asking. Airbnb: What is the reason guests use host’s personal things without asking?

People are loud. Loud talkers. Loud TV watchers. Loud walkers.

People keep erratic schedules. Which type of Airbnb is right for you? Shared Room or Private Room or Entire Place.

People are dishonest and try to sneak in other people.  Airbnb Hell: The Worst Guest I’ve Had To Date.

People have left my property unsecured aka: not locking the front door when leaving the house, giving anyone the ability to walk in at anytime while I am at work and can’t do anything about it. Airbnb Lesson for the week: If you lie about reading the house rules, show up and violate them, then your stay with me will come to an end.

People have burned holes in duvet covers- I even found poop once on one ( they flipped it over so it was a surprise when I pulled the covers back).Unknown

People do not read the listing and then access areas not available to them forcing me to lock them up and label everything. Then some people complain about the labels. Airbnb Observation: I’ve decided if you do not like these signs then you do not like communication.

People don’t read the labels and throw the trash in the recyling. People recycle things that aren’t recyclable.

People create more work for me by not acting with mindfulness and awareness.

People are unwilling to help themselves.

People say they read the rules and then show up and don’t abide by them.  Then when it’s time to be accountable they cancel the reservation and decline the request for payment. Airbnb: These are my House Rules. Do you think they are reasonable?

People show up with more people than in their reservation. 5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

People plan poorly. They don’t have time to clean up after themselves. They pack at 3:00 a.m. right before their flight. They wake up 10 minutes before check out time and barely have enough time to brush their teeth.

People don’t respect the check out time and require being rushed out. Airbnb: Respect the Check Out Time!

People think they can pay their way out of things. The “Hotel Mindset” won’t serve you well when using Airbnb.

People are allowed to leave a review even if they cancel their reservation. Let’s take a side bet on how many of those are going to be positive. Airbnb: Guests who cancel their reservation can still leave a review. How is that reasonable?

I still host because the good outweighs the bad and I can do anything for 24 hours. Just keep swimming, I tell myself as I wait for the jerks to leave and the sweet respectful guests to arrive.

 

 

 

 

Airbnb Lesson for the week: If you lie about reading the house rules, show up and violate them, then your stay with me will come to an end.

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Another One Bites the Dust

Just in case you haven’t noticed by now, when I want to share a lesson based on real life experiences and people, I name the guests  “John” for the sake of anonymity.

So, I had a guest named “John” this week that was to stay for 2 nights. He used Instant book to make his reservation on 3.25.18 to arrive 4.23.18 When you get a new reservation, you get a message from the guest saying whatever they decide to say. I have 3 specific questions that I hope will be included in their message.  Some people see them and include the answers, most people don’t.

Johns message didn’t contain any information except that he was traveling alone for two days. I responded within a couple of minutes, asking for the information I needed – check in time and confirmation the house rules have been read. I sent three messages asking. Airbnb: These are my House Rules. Do you think they are reasonable?

I didn’t get a response until 9:30p.m. the day before his trip. He didn’t answer any of the questions in my emails and argued language used instead of providing information. He clearly didn’t read the details of the listing and did not know about the check in time. 5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

We finally make arrangements for him to Self Check In since I will be at work when he arrives.  I ask all guests to send a message letting me know they have made it in okay. 3 Top Things Airbnb Hosts Should Do

He made it.

and now the chaos will begin………..

Thank goodness my other guests were home.  They had been staying with me for the last five nights with no problems.  I had prepared them for the new guest coming since there were so many red flags.

When I arrived home in the evening, I found my biggest pet peeve happening in the bathroom.

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The sign says – Please put all the toilet seats down. Thank you! It’s my biggest pet peeve

Then I went upstairs to check in with the other guests who mentioned he was stomping all over the place. Loud when home, went into his room, watched TV at a loud volume for a while and then took off.  When he left the house, he slammed the door so many times, they wondered what was going on down there.  When it became apparent he left, they went downstairs to find the front door not shut or locked.

I immediately sent him a message letting him know that I can’t express enough how unsettling it is to be at work where I can’t do anything about the fact that my property has been left unsecured giving anyone the ability to walk in. I mentioned I sent a request for money and he needed to take care of the penalty fee right away or stay somewhere else.  I also mentioned the above bathroom situation .

I was met with ……..

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Before he came home to talk about it, he sent a message saying – I could not unlock the door, can you check it for me? No, clearly it works since you let yourself in with it. 

He came home wearing shoes and only took them off when I prompted it. This is breaking house rules and probably the reason the stomping around was so loud earlier but I can’t prove it to fine him. 

He asked me to show him where the rules were. Then you lied when you said you read them in the confirmation message I pushed for. 

He never once was apologetic and tried to switch the conversation to why there wasn’t a lock on the bedroom door. Nothing to do with the issue at hand. 

He had only used Airbnb 4 times and this was his 2nd review.  I wish I would have seen it before his trip.  I would not have let him come.

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I did not see this review before he came or I would have cancelled his reservation.

Since he wasn’t giving me anything to work with, made no reference to adjusting his behavior. He didn’t acknowledge the bathroom situation nor did he seem to care. I took the key back, informed him he couldn’t stay and called Airbnb in front of him to document the situation.  He gathered his things and made his way out.

 

 

 

 

Airbnb: Guests who cancel their reservation can still leave a review. How is that reasonable?

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Life isn’t fair

Airbnb Policy

“As of 01 June 2017, to comply with local laws, we now allow reviews for trips cancelled on or after the day of check in. ”

If a guest is cancelling their trip after they checked in then chances are it isn’t going well. One time I had a guest make a reservation for 1 person and then in his messaging kept saying we. We means more than one person so when I reached out for clarification and to mention the reservation needed updating to reflect the actual situation, he wrote back saying he couldn’t afford it. He cancelled. (and for the first time ever I gave someone a 100% refund.) Lately though, I have had people check in, then break the house rules and when the penalty fines have been imposed they just cancel and leave. What kind of review do you think is coming my way from them? Guest messes up, doesn’t want to deal with the consequences. Do you think anyone will ever say they were the problem? (that’s a rhetorical question since we all know the answer is NO)

After a guest has finished their trip or cancelled after checking in, they get 14 days to leave a review.
They have the ability to give 1 to 5 stars in categories like:

5-star

  • Accuracy
  • Check In process
  • Cleanliness
  • Communication
  • Location
  • Value

How is it possible for someone to judge you on these things when they didn’t actually stay in the residence? Airbnb: Location the category that isn’t fair to hosts for guests to grade.

I have a strict cancellation policy. Straight from the Airbnb website….

Cancellation Policy: Strict. Cancel up to 30 days before your trip and get a full refund. Cancel within 30 days of the trip and get a 50% refund of the total nightly rate, as well as a full refund of fees.

Forced policy upon hosts by Airbnb -“We’re adding a 48-hour grace period to the Strict policy to encourage bookings
Starting May 1, guests will receive a full refund if they cancel within 48 hours of booking a reservation with a Strict cancellation policy—as long as their check-in date is at least 14 days away. This gives guests the confidence to book, but still guarantees you’ll have at least 2 weeks to get another booking in the rare event that they cancel.”

If your listing falls below a 4.6 star rating then Airbnb will send you messages threatening to deactivate your listing. They threaten you by saying they will not showing your listing in people’s searches.

If they continue to implement rules like these, they are going to lose good hosts. Only Entire Place’s will be the option since sharing space has become easy for guests to manipulate to their advantage.

Airbnb: These are my House Rules. Do you think they are reasonable?

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I have instant book which means anyone can book the room without prior communication with me (the host).  I am willing to accept anyone at any time as long as they pass the Airbnb requirements.  In order to feel comfortable doing that,  I need guests to do certain things while in my home. That’s how the custom house rules were born.  Since there are fees attached, I require each guest to acknowledge that they have read the house rules.  When a reservation comes in, I let them know I am happy to host, I ask what time will they be checking in and I quote ” When you have a moment, please confirm you have read the house rules since they are really important to me and there are penalty fees attached to breaking them. Thank you”

 

Airbnb’s Rules you must pick an answer to:
No smoking
Not suitable for pets
No parties or events
Not safe or suitable for children (0-12 years) – Weed is legal in Portland and smoked in the house A LOT
Check-in time is 3PM – 10PM
Check out by 9AM

Custom Rules created by me- I put my reasoning in Italics, these words are not included in the listing.

**THERE ARE PENALTY FEES FOR NOT FOLLOWING THESE RULES
$50 each time you do not lock the front/back door properly
$20 for wearing shoes in the house
$10 for every time you leave lights on your not actively using
$5 to replace lost house key

– Turn off Lights, Fan/Heater and Lock the Front Door Every Time You Leave Please (even if we are home so we may continue about our day)
-Turn off all lights you are currently not using, it’s a waste of precious resources. If you don’t turn them off then you can pay for the cost of that.  You are not at a hotel and I am not a big business.
-No guests without prior permission
– Keep toilet seat down, put down after use (my personal pet peeve) & ( it’s bad feng shui)
– Please pull shower curtain back after use, it gets moldy faster when it can’t dry not to mention my $100 shower curtain statement piece is aesthetically pleasing to look at
– No shoes in the house. Your shoes have stepped on everything gross on the ground, I don’t want it tracked into the house, especially in the kitchen where I am constantly making things to eat. My floors are very clean!
– Smoking Cigarettes in the Backyard Only- Careful of the slippery backyard stairs and there is an Ashtray for your use (ASK if you need it)
– 420 friendly house- for you too since smoking in public is illegal
– Bike storage is in the backyard not in the house, there is a covered area on the back porch and a lock on the gate

5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

Airbnb Lesson for the week: When asking for already provided information – expect to be pointed in that direction.

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Time is money.

There is only so much time in a day.

and yet, if we want to get philosophical then time doesn’t even exist since the time is always now.

Repeating myself is not an efficient use of my time.

I have taken the time to provide a lot of information in my listings.

Provided Information includes; Check In time, Check Out time, Amenities provided, Spaces Guests are allowed to access, House Rules, Self Check In instructions including photos, How many guests the space can hold, Bed Type, If the bathroom is shared, Host interaction with guests, Other things to note, Description of the space, Directions from the airport using public transportation, Parking information, Cancellation policy, pictures of the entire space including room, Internet Network name and Internet password.

I am perplexed with the notion that guests do not prioritize knowing the details of someone’s home you are about to enter. I understand traveling can be stressful.  There are a lot of moving parts which means there is a lot of information to keep up with.  It doesn’t change the fact that the experience you signed up for is different than checking into a hotel.  More is required from you. If you would like to ensure a positive experience for yourself, then familiarize yourself with the rules of the game. 5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

Please and Thank you.

 

1st time to Airbnb- Here is your to do checklist.

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  1. Decide which type of option is best for you: Shared Room or Private Room or the Entire Place. Which type of Airbnb is right for you? Shared Room or Private Room or Entire Place.
  2. Make yourself aware of Check In times, Check Out times, Amenities provided and House Rules. Look to see if Self Check In is an option- this will make life easier.  Lots of details are included with each listing however certain aspects affect you more than others. Airbnb: Respect the Check Out Time!
  3.  Verify the Location works for you: Ask the host how far their place is from the places you want to go, in case the area shown to you on Airbnb isn’t specific enough for your needs.   Location helps maximize your time exploring. Airbnb: Location the category that isn’t fair to hosts for guests to grade.
  4. Make sure the number of people staying in the room matches the number of people in the reservation.  What could be a minor oversight on your part has the potential to be misconstrued on the hosts part.
  5. Book the room: either there will be an instant book option or you will have to reach out to the host.  Be sure to included any requested information.
  6. Communicate with your host to figure out how you will get in: Self Check In is the easiest and allows for self-sufficiency otherwise there could be someone there to greet you.Airbnb Lesson for the week: If you don’t know- ask.
  7. Enjoy your adventure! The “Hotel Mindset” won’t serve you well when using Airbnb.
  8. Airbnb Lesson for the week: When asking for already provided information – expect to be pointed in that direction.

Continue reading “1st time to Airbnb- Here is your to do checklist.”

Airbnb Lesson for the week: Never communicate outside of Airbnb

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People have different ways they prefer to communicate and I can appreciate that.

Personally my preferred mode changes with how well we know each other: If we do know each other then I like to Skype or talk on the phone, next would be texting and then emailing. If we don’t know each other then it I prefer email or text.

Maybe it’s just me but I have found it can be challenging to relay emotion through the written word whether you know the person you are communicating with or not. Especially if  you don’t want to add a superfluous amount of emojis.

When you are using the services provided by Airbnb whether it be as a host or a guest, it is recommended by Airbnb to never communicate outside of their program. It states it right on their website.  I’ve included a snap shot of it for the picture in this post 🙂

As a host, documenting all the communication that happens between you and the guest is imperative.  If you find yourself in the position of needing support from Airbnb, it only helps your cause to have followed their guidelines.

Conversations that happen between two people are considered hearsay by law. If you can’t prove it then you don’t have a leg to stand on.

Yes, of course there is going to be interactions between you and your guests that don’t get documented because they happen in person.  You can’t record every word ever said.  You just have to hope that nothing goes awry or it will be hard to have that verbal communication included.

Frequently guests include their emails and phone numbers during their initial communications as a way to get ahold of them “if I have any questions”.  They also  include the emails and phone numbers of their guests.

I always respond with ” I prefer to speak through Airbnb since it is a liability issue for me”

Most people are understanding! As you can imagine not everyone gets it.

Listen up world.  Listen up future Airbnb guests. Once the texting lines of communication happen, people tend to stay in that lane. Regardless, I won’t be calling you, texting you, emailing you or communicating with you in any other way besides through Airbnb. Not with the person who made the reservation and not with the other guests.  It makes no difference to me if they are your partner, spouse, best friend or a family member.


I recently had a guest who cancelled last-minute because I refused to let him text me the day of his arrival time.

After we said our hello’s, I asked for his check in time and confirmation the house rules have been read. He replied with a time frame and confirmation of the rules.  Then he said that he would be driving down and could give me an ETA while on the road.  He provided a phone number (which was blocked by Airbnb). There is usually a number attached to the profile anyways.  If that isn’t the correct one then people need to be responsible and update their profile.

As you know by now,  I replied with my ” I prefer to speak through Airbnb since it is a liability issue for me” to which he responded Okay but I won’t be able to contact you through Airbnb please expect a phone call. I asked what the reason was he couldn’t use Airbnb to which he replied he would be driving and only had his cell phone. What’s the problem with calling you?  ( He DOESN’T get it)

My message: “Like I said before speaking outside of Airbnb creates a liability issue for me. I prefer to only use Airbnb. You can download the app for your phone and we can continue to speak through Airbnb. Thank you for understanding. ” I also included the photo that is in this blog to show the exact language on the Airbnb website.

His Message: “The host is unwilling to allow me to contact her by phone to arrange entry on the date of my reservation, and I will not have internet access. This is ridiculous and I expect a full refund.” Full refund for cancelling the day before because you don’t want to follow the rules?! I don’t think so.

He did cancel his reservation and proceeded to keep sending me vent session messages.

The first one: “Nope, you fail as a host, please cancel my reservation. I have no time to deal with someone who is unable or unwilling to use a simple telephone. I run three rental properties myself, I know all about customer service and this is ridiculous. I need to be able to contact you to arrange entry into the house. Cancel my reservation.” Hosts are penalized for canceling reservations. There are fees for cancelling that can range from $50-$100 so nope I won’t be the one to cancel a reservation. If a guest wants to cancel – they can initiate it. What does running 3 properties have to do with the rules for hosts set by Airbnb??

The second one: “I have used Airbnb many times and this have never been an issue. There is absolutely no reason why I should not be able to contact you via phone on the day of my arrival. This is completely unprofessional, please refund my entire amount. I was simply trying to arrange contact with you so that I can be sure to find and get into the room that I had reserved. I can’t believe this would be an issue, it is ridiculous.”  It makes no difference to me if he has spoken with other hosts over the phone and it hasn’t been a problem for him in the past.
Every place works different. Every host has a right to set up their situation that works for them. Just because other people have chosen to disregard the language on the Airbnb site doesn’t mean I have to.

He made a request for the full refund.  I declined.


The next day I received a message from an Airbnb case manager. I have a strict cancellation policy.  You get 50% back.  The guest wanted back part of that 50% and she was hoping I would reconsider. She claimed the guest said he was uncomfortable with my language so she was going to mediate this!

I am so happy that all our communication was documented!!! I explained my position which included my response to his second message along with this –

He mentioned he would only have his cell phone and wouldn’t be able to contact me any other way. Does his cell phone have the Navigation feature on it, like 99% of people do? Then he has access to the internet. He can download the app or access the internet and go the long way to get to the Airbnb website.

I have Self Check In. We could have made arrangements for him to utilize this option. This way he has access to the space when arriving with no need to communicate via cell phone, unless he is going to say he wouldn’t be able to access this information from his phone. Then I would counter with that he could prepare himself with the available information while he had access to Airbnb.

I plan to be home to greet guests when I can. I work during the week which makes it challenging however he was arriving on Saturday- the weekend, which meant I could plan for his arrival time. I told him in one of those earlier messages his time frame would be fine.

It is frustrating for guests not to take responsibility for themselves when they have been given the information necessary to be self sufficient or to be flexible and respectful of the hosts preferred communication method (which has been set by Airbnb).

I do my best to be flexible with guests. The one area I will not flexible with is the area that can create a liability issue for me.


I won. He did not get a refund and he was reminded of the communication rules set forth by Airbnb.

Thank you Airbnb.