13 March 2014

What about Henry?

As most of you know, we set up our little Casita as a vacation rental and have been hosting on Airbnb for almost a year now. So far, all of our guests have been wonderful and we have made many new friends from around the world. Recently, we had a very unique experience with Henry (his name has been changed to protect his identity) and I'd like to share the funny stories with you.

Henry is a senior citizen that came to Costa Rica by himself, leaving his wife behind in the terrible winter weather North America experienced this year. Henry, bless his heart, should not be allowed to travel alone. He needs someone to look after him. Here are just 4 of the funny experiences we had with him.

  • Just a couple of days after Henry arrived, he decided to venture out on his own, on foot. He left the Casita about 4:30 PM and probably didn't realized it always gets dark here between 5:30 and 6:00 PM. Around 7:30 PM, I received a phone call from a young lady asking me, in Spanish, if I knew someone named Henry. I said, "Yes," and explained that Henry was our house guest. She told me that she and her girlfriend found him lost out on the highway after dark, without a flashlight, and they offered him a ride. Henry didn't speak any Spanish, and they couldn't speak any English, so he couldn't tell them where he was staying. Fortunately he did have our phone number with him and they called us, or he'd still be out there wandering the streets of Atenas. Poor Henry... bless his heart. (Note: We gave him a walking map to carry with him in case he got lost again.)
  • We have an outdoor space called a Rancho. It is a covered patio of sorts, with a kitchen counter, microwave, stone oven, tables & chairs, mini-beverage refrigerator with an ice maker, and a 2-person swing. It has a ceiling fan and plenty of lighting so our guests can enjoy this relaxing space in the evenings. On day one, we showed Henry how everything worked, and where the electrical panel is located to turn the lights on, or off. One of the switches is marked in indelible ink "DO NOT TOUCH - ALWAYS ON." One evening, Henry used the Rancho and turned on the lights, but when he retired for the evening, he set all the switches in the electrical panel to the "OFF" position. You guessed it, this turned off all the power in the Rancho, the Rancho bathroom, kitchen appliances, including the refrigerator and the ice maker. We awoke the next day to a river of melted ice running across the Rancho floor, and warm beer. Bless his heart!
  • We have an electric gate with remote controls for our guests to enter the property with a vehicle. Henry did not have a vehicle, so we did not give him a remote control. We just gave him the key to the pedestrian gate, so he could come and go as he pleased. One day he discovered an electrical switch inside our small Casita that opens the vehicle gate when pressed. Of course Henry had to press the button, then he walked out, off the property. He couldn't figure out how to close the gate. Then he discovered a small button switch next to the mailbox. He pressed the button, causing the doorbell to ring in our house, on the other side of our property. Henry continued to hold the button down until I finally ran outside thinking I'd find some mischievous child playing games. I asked him what was wrong and Henry said he was trying to close the gate. He really thought we had a convenient switch on the outside of the property to open & close the gate. I thought to myself, "Why would anyone mount an electric gate opener on the outside of their property? What kind of security would that provide?" Poor Henry... Bless his heart!
  • After Henry checked out, I went to clean the Casita and prepare it for our next guest. Apparently, Henry had done his laundry while he was with us, and I suspect only his wife does the laundry back home. I found Henry had filled the washing machine dispenser marked "LIQUID FABRIC SOFTNER ONLY" with powdered laundry detergent. Needless to say, it created quite a mess in the dispenser and took several cycles of clean water to clear up the mess. Not sure if Henry had ever used a washing machine before, or if he didn’t have his reading glasses on, but clearly he couldn't read the written instructions. Bless his heart!
I know we are going to have lots of stories to share with you about our hosting experiences. Stay tuned for our future adventures as vacation rental hosts.

Disclaimer: If you are ever a guest in our Casita, you could become the subject of one of our adventures. We will change your name, but remember it's all in good fun, and the story is ours.

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