My Week Unplugged

I took last week off. I went into the middle of nowhere with a friend and unplugged from social media and the computer for the most part.

It. Was. AWESOME.

Everyone should do it when you can. I was so much less stressed out. I kept up with the news some, but I wasn’t inundated with posts from friends. It’s not that I don’t like the posts, but it certainly gets to be a lot. (I sort of live in an echo chamber on social media.) I also didn’t work at all, which really helped my stress levels.

We started at an AirBNB in Northern Michigan. I say started at because we did end up having to leave, which was not the plan. The deadbolts didn’t go into the frame of the place; there were open electrical things because switch plates were missing; the shower was skeevy; there was no door on the bedroom (it was only a one bedroom place, not two like the ad said); the queen bed was where the living room used to be I think; there was only a curtain between that bed and the bedroom so you could easily reach out and touch someone (anyone remember that AT&T ad?); the “kitchen facilities” consisted of a burner, a toaster oven that I’m not sure worked, and a microwave that we had to move to where the TV was since none of the plugs were three-prong (we had to plug it into an adapter); there was a blanket covering a section where the wall was missing and it was just insulation; there was a sliding glass door with no curtain on it so anyone could peek into the house and see the person in the queen bed; the AC unit was plugged into an extension cord next to the queen bed so thank God we didn’t need it since it would have had to be plugged in right over my friend’s head; the ad showed photos of water sports but wasn’t near any water; it was in a sketchy neighborhood and we got creepy stared at when we went out for walks; and the sheets were musty and gross – we couldn’t be sure whether they were actually clean.

But, we were going to stick it out. Until the toilet failed and the showed backed up with it. We got there on Sunday and expected to leave on Saturday. The toilet failed Tuesday night. Messaged the owner to let him know and he told us to plunge – that it always worked for him. (So right there I’m getting pissed off since he knows this is a problem and gave us NO warning.) After a while we check the toilet and the water has gone down and it can be flushed. Except that it wouldn’t flush again Wednesday morning. That’s when we decided we were done. When you’re chronically ill and occasionally have nasty bouts of stomach ickiness, you don’t live with a shitty toilet. (See what I did there?)

Owner was totally cool with us leaving and refunded the money for the days we didn’t stay. I think in an attempt to get us to leave a good review, he told me he’d already called the septic company to come out. Then he offered to let us stay Thursday and Friday nights for free if we were still in the area. (We weren’t – we headed to Detroit to go to the zoo and a Tigers game.) Then he rescinded the offer because he had his local plumber go out and that guy told him that his septic had failed. To further piss me off, the owner told me that he knew he was on borrowed time with the septic. He also shared that he wouldn’t be able to rent for the rest of the season. My heart broke for him. Or not.

The obnoxious thing about the experience was that we couldn’t have known it was going to be messed up from any part of the ad or the reviews. Everyone talked about how great it was. We wondered whether everyone had had problems and he just gave people their money back so they would leave good reviews.

This would completely put me off AirBNB but I’ve had a prior good experience with it. I will probably be very critical of the ads in the future and message the owner with questions they’d never expect (like, “have you had problems with the toilets recently?”).

If you’ve had experiences with AirBNB, please share them with me. If you all have had mostly funky experiences, I’ll stay away from it going forward. Also, I wonder if there’s a difference between international and local to the US AirBNB.