Just typing out all these details now, in case you are bored you can read all the silly things that led to me feeling exasperated and not wanting to host this guest again.
He had messaged asking permission for him to check-in early, 11 a.m., I agreed.
He had messaged asking permission to bring his yorkie, sending an adorable photo, and (thanks to this forum) I simply said your yorkie is adorable but my pet rule is strict and we don’t allow pets.
We messaged back and forth about a few other things.
I messaged to confirmed arrival time and that is when he used the word “we” for the first time (I had assumed this whole time he was coming as a single guest; he was one of my first instant-bookings back in Aug – I have since turned off IB – and I didn’t know then to really interview him, send rules, and make sure it was a good fit, and I could have sworn I had seen (1) registered guest, but maybe not?). His messaging up until then had always used the prounoun “I”. So I clarified by saying “You mentioned “we” will be there at 11. Are you bringing another person? If so I will need the name. Just wanted to clarify that you saw my ‘no pets’ policy is strict in case by ‘we’ you meant ‘you and your dog’.”
He said my companion’s name is Suzie Q, do you need her last name? (No mention of the dog, and this post is not about the dog, but his lack of acknowledgment was among the first small red flags.) I replied “oh thank you for telling me; I will prepare the suite for two instead of one.” (I just mention this because preparing for two instead of one is an example of the fussiness that some hosts don’t mess with, but I do like to leave snacks, waters, a note with both their names, etc.)
When he and Suzie Q arrived, I greeted them outdoors like normal and asked their general plans of coming and going – he was planning on looking for housing in the area while she was going to settle into the suite and participate in an undergrad class on Zoom. He went on his way into town, and soon he messaged asking permission to have a (local) guest come by to do the Zoom class with Suzie Q. He mentioned not seeing the “no unregistered guests” rule in my listing (I was brand new when he booked, the rule was not there yet), but that he saw in my rules binder “no unregistered guests”. I said I would prefer they find an alternative place, but that I understand it was for a class. I agreed to the third guest if he gave me her name and the time she would arrive to view the class in our suite, and the time she would leave. I also explained (as I am finding many guests simply don’t understand) this is our home, and I require knowing the names of all people coming on and off my property. He said no problem, her name is Jill-e-bean, she will arrive in an hour, their class is 2.5 hours.
Nothing bad happened with the guest student. I greeted her outdoors, and both SuzieQ and Jill-e-bean were friendly and cordial and grateful for my allowing her to come. They must have participated in their zoom class as planned; Jill-e-bean left after 2.5 hours, as they said she would.
About 5:30 I see on the driveway camera that Joe and SuzieQ are headed to the car with all the stuff they arrived with: coats, luggage, four-packs of drinks, backpacks, bags. One tote bag looked particularly cumbersome for SuzieQ and I wondered if they had indeed brought that little dog. I went out there to directly ask if they had brought their dog (again, gaining courage from this forum, heart racing, ready to say, “you can’t stay here if your dog is with you”). I started by asking how his house hunting went, we chatted, and this is when it felt very weird. He didn’t say anything wrong, but his body language was off, as if he was trying to block my view of the car. SuzieQ didn’t speak, she just got in the car and shut the door. I said, Joe, did you bring your dog? He said, “we did not.” I said, “okay, well, have a good evening.”
I was very distracted by the possibility that they were trying to sneak in the dog, and it didn’t really register that they had carried EVERYTHING they came in with, back out to their car. They were not back at 10:30 when I went to bed – I woke up in the morning wondering what time they must have got in that night because I had not heard them. (their entrance is right below our bedroom window so we always here comings and goings at night).
Next morning, viewing the overnight outdoor footage, it became clear that they never came back. I didn’t check their suite right away because you never know – would they arrive right at that moment wondering what I am doing in there? And I still didn’t know what was going on. Also I am a human and a mom so I did actually wonder if they could have been in a car accident or something. So I messaged him: “Good morning. Usually at this time I contact my guests and ask if their first night was comfortable and if they need anything else, but it is clear you did not stay. We have been communicating very clearly up until now, so this abrupt apparent departure without explanation is confusing to me. Please let me know if you have checked out for the weekend or what is going on. I hope you’re okay.”
Within a half hour, he responded, apologizing, “SuzieQ had a family emergency so we had to quickly leave. Everything is okay now. I meant to send you a message. There was nothing wrong with the stay or the room.”
One last detail. They had checked out perfectly, a hand towel in the laundry basket, and their used glassware was washed. Bed was clearly not used. (I leave a bottle of wine for couples over 21 and a note saying the water bottles and wine are free of charge). The wine bottle was gone, the glasses washed and drying on the edge of the sink, the foil from the wine in the trash. This wine detail has me thinking SuzieQ and Jill-e-bean shared a bottle of wine in the middle of the afternoon while Joe was out house hunting.
It doesn’t matter why they left I guess, but when we spoke in the driveway, he said nothing about a family emergency, and it was clear in retrospect they were leaving at that time. After SO MUCH back and forth on messaging, I was really just bewildered that they had just…split! And not considered telling me? I felt very frazzled. Less so now I guess, but it is hard not to have invested a little emotion into guests and their stays.