When Life Gives You Lemons.......
Get your butt in the kitchen and start cooking! This only works if you 1) love to cook and b) have a kitchen.
My first lemon moment occurred on Saturday the 16th at 2:00 pm when I arrived at my AirBnB located in a small town 8 miles north of Socorro, NM. I had booked it two days earlier for a four-night stay and received a quick confirmation that included the lock box code and instructions that check-in time was after 1:00 pm. I didn't mind that the apartment was on the second floor, and being the efficient person I am, I decided to get the stair-climbing behind me. That required four trips of fully-loaded arms as I brought in anything that could freeze, but after driving for five hours I needed the exercise. I finally managed to open the lock box (I hate those damn things), got the key and unlocked the door. I lugged in all my stuff in from the deck, and then noticed the bed was not made. Looking toward the kitchen I could see a bowl of tomatoes on the counter and a guitar and amp were nestled in a corner of the living room. I opened the refrigerator and it was absolutely loaded with food. I thought, “somebody is living here!” and started schlepping my bags back down the stairs and into the van.
I had the owner's phone number so called him immediately but it went to voicemail. I logged into my AirBnB account and sent him a message saying “WTF, dude?” only a lot nicer. I told him I could not stay as the place wasn't cleaned and I felt like I was trespassing. I asked for my money back. I might add here that I was tired from driving, and when I am tired I get real crabby. 'Nuff said. When I didn't hear from him within 15 minutes I called AirBnB and immediately got put on hold. After too many minutes of bad music I hung up and pulled out of the driveway, frustrated and not knowing what else to do but drive 65 miles to Albuquerque for a hotel. I got about a mile down the road when I realized that if I was going to make a claim I needed proof. Pictures! I flipped a U-turn and drove back.
No sooner did I pull into the driveway than AirBnB called me. As Kathy I were agreeing that yes, she would process a full refund and yes, I needed to take pictures in case the owner did not agree, I received a text from him saying he was very sorry and yes, he would be happy to return my money. I told Kathy and she said she would contact him and process it asap and we hung up. Then the owner texted that he was also trying to call me from Peru (he is working there) via WhatsApp and it wasn't going through. Long story long, we were finally able to talk and he was so nice, so apologetic and surprised that the place had not been cleaned after the last guests who had left two days earlier. It turned out that his cleaning lady had something come up, but he said she could clean the next day. If I wanted to stay and change my own sheets and clean out the refrigerator, I was welcome to stay for free! So, I took him up on his generous offer and re-lugged all my crap back up the stairs.
I had to throw away a lot of “iffy” perishables the previous guests left, like thawed mango chunks, brown grapes, wilted lettuce and spinach, cut up limes, limp green onions, squishy cilantro. But I was able to use some of it, and combined with my own produce I was able to whip up a pan of apple crisp, a big pot of soup, braised celery, and sauteed green peppers with veggie sausage.
Later that evening as the owner and I were chatting via text (he was determined I was going to be comfortable and happy) I thanked him and said now that I was no longer tired (and crabby), one free night would have been enough. He said how about two free nights and you can book two nights? I immediately agreed. I enjoyed being in his warm, cozy apartment which is his home when he is not in Peru. Besides cooking up a storm, I did two loads of laundry, painted a small watercolor, did some writing, practiced my ukulele, power-watched Jane the Virgin on Netflix, and learned how NOT to use a bidet. Yep, lemonade.
On Thursday I once again headed north, stopping for gas and breakfast in Santa Fe. I decided to end my day at 4:00 pm in Raton where front end loaders were still cleaning up the 9” of snow that had fallen the previous day. Using the Hotwire app on my phone, I booked a 3-star hotel for only $58 a night, nonrefundable. Just as I hit “submit payment”, my tummy seized up because I had typed in Las Vegas, NM instead of Raton. Crap! I immediately called the Comfort Inn and told them not to hold the room for me because I had made a “senior moment” mistake. We shared a laugh over it and he suggested that I contact Hotwire. I spent 30 minutes on chat with Cedrick, and he said if he could re-book me in Raton, then Hotwire would return my $58. Unexpected lemonade!
Instead of heading straight to Buena Vista, I was going to Pueblo West for my friend Z's 70th birthday celebration on Friday. Girlfriends June and Brenda had arranged lunch at Petite Chablis in Canon City and Z had no idea that anyone other than the three of them were going. She was very surprised and very pleased to see Larc, Bets, Marcia and me, her “gypsy” friend. It was so much fun and lunch was absolutely delicious.
Saturday morning I enjoyed breakfast with Brenda, her husband Rich and another friend, Joe, before heading up the hill towards home. I stopped at Wal-Mart to buy a snow shovel and a few groceries. It was a beautiful drive along the Arkansas with only a few snow-packed spots from the previous day's snow. At last, there was my Goldie (Honda) and my little chateau! I unlocked the chateau's door and was surprised at how warm it was in there, considering the furnace was off. I noticed how it smelled very “piney” in there. Then I heard dripping and saw that drops of water were falling on my TV which sits on my electric fireplace in the corner of the living room and onto the floor. Looking up I could see that a leak ran along one entire seam of the living room and there were brown stains that had not been there before. More frickin' lemons. I looked around at the rest of the place and could only find one other wet spot, on the closet floor. I am hoping the damage is not too bad. So much for that “the roof looks good” roof inspection I paid for last summer before I bought it.
So, here I sit at the Super 8 in Buena Vista for three nights, courtesy of my insurance company (I hope!) I found a roofer to come out to remove any remaining snow and put on a tarp, but he could not come until Monday. Hopefully the adjuster will contact me Monday or Tuesday.
One last minor lemon. After I shoveled out Goldie, and removed the solar trickle charger I had so cleverly placed on her battery, I turned the key, and click, click, click. The windshield had probably been covered with snow all winter, obscuring the solar panel on the dash. Duh, I should have faced her the other way. Today I will be calling AAA.
Okay, universe........how about just a little more lemonade?