Ooh, this is gonna be a great thread. I'm looking forward to all the stories.
Though SiotehCat's guest story is wonderful, I still think the Thanksgiving Blowout of 2006 gets the gold ( http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=124274.0
Mine story takes place about three years ago when I first thought of renting the guest room out on an occasional basis to bring in some extra money. My first (and nearly last) "guest" was a woman about my age who was coming to town from Washington, DC to attend a week-long orientation meeting for a graduate program she had been accepted into. It's a prestigious private university that specializes in low-residency programs. The students have to attend this orientation, which takes place at a local hotel. I suspect most stay there for the convenience. The guest-from-Ehell (GFEH) was cost conscious, and having seen my ad contacted me. We emailed back and forth for a while and then talked on the phone. All seemed okay but some tiny part of me was a bit uncomfortable.
I should have known.
The first overt hint that there might be real problems occurred when I got a phone call at work from her, saying her cell phone wasn't working but that someone on the train--she had spent three days crossing the country because she said she couldn't afford air fare--lent her their phone. She wanted me to leave work and pick her up at the train station. Uhhhhhh... It's true that I had a lot of overtime, but I do not work as a chauffeur. I told her no. (If I had realized that this was the introduction of what I could expect I would have cut off all contact and let her deal with her own housing issues. That would have been the smart thing to do. I wasn't smart.)
I did tell her I'd call some cab companies here as the train station isn't that far from the campus, and I did. Prices seemed reasonable. But she wasn't going to spend the money. She got someone from the train to agree to drive her to the campus. I walked out to the entrance and found her with her bags, showed her back to my office where I let her put her bags down. It was lunchtime so I had another half day of work. She wanted a shower. There is a gym with showers on campus and I (still being nice--and relatively spineless) called the guy whose jurisdiction it was. He graciously agreed to let her use one, though it was against the rules. I took her down and talked to the front desk and they agreed, because I asked nicely, to let her use two clean towels. About two hours later she returns annoyed as all get out because she forgot soap.
Finally, the day ends. I drive her to my place but she wants to stop at the store. I sigh, but it's only a bit out of the way. I wait. She buys. We go home. I show her the room, she showers, settles in and has a couple of glasses of wine. So things are better, right?
She wants me to drive her to a bank so she can get cash from the ATM. Turns out for some reason her card doesn't work so once home she calls her adult daughter and .... dear god, I am subjected to the one-sided nasty sounds of a toxic relationship
for a good half hour. I don't know the outcome. I don't want to know.
She's suspicious of my taking the money so she wants a receipt. Okay, a bit weird but I print one up and sign it. Then she asks me to drive her back and forth every day to the hotel where the orientation is. The hotel is on the beach, not far from the campus but out of my way to work. I agree for $5 per ride in the morning since I need to be at work at 7:00 am. But picking her up at 9:00 pm? No way. By that time of night I am in my nightshirt and long since settled in.
I'll skip over a lot of stuff but let me briefly highlight a couple of goodies: She asks people at the orientation for rides back to my place at the end of the night. Everyone is undoubtedly tired and I am not near the hotel but for two days she gets this. The third day she is unable to secure any free rides so she takes a taxi, which infuriates her so much that when she stomps up the kitchen stairs she flings the screen door open so hard it slams into the railing taking a bit of paint off it. I open my mouth than close it. I've only a few more days to go so I decide to bide my time.
However (and you knew there had to be one, right?), she now has another grip, no doubt fueled by the multiple glasses of cheap wine she seems to really like. This one: I snore. So sue me, yes, I snore. She
demands a white noise machine. I don't have one. She
demands I keep my bedroom door closed. No can do; the cats need access to the litter box. She takes a towel of mine and stuffs it under her door after she dramatically and theatrically closes it.
I have told her I do not allow anyone to have food or even water in the bedrooms because I once had a small invasion of ants. No problems have arisen, but why tempt them? What do I find in her room when I went in just to check on it on the second or third day? A half-eaten ripe banana. I was furious and confronted her (spinelessly) about it. She claimed she had not eaten it. I guess the banana ate part of itself then, huh?
The lies, the anger, the ongoing stress and hassle finally got to me. So on what I think was the third or fourth night (of six or maybe seven) I was sufficiently angry that I stayed up very late reading. I was thinking more than reading, but I also thought the later I stayed up the less snoring she would have to endure. What I was debating was how to get rid of her early without risking damage to my home. I had no idea if all that anger--and there was more there than I have seen in a very long time--would be directed at me, my cats, or my home. I was determined to protect all three so I thought and thought and thought. Eventually, I came up with the plan to call in sick to work the next day in order to stay home. I would get up, shower, get dressed and eat breakfast as normal, then take her in the car to the orientation. Then I would come back pack up all her stuff and take it back to the hotel and leave it with the front desk staff after telling them where she was. And that's what I did. In the ultimate act of spinelessness, I sat down that morning after dropping her off--she had no idea as I was sweet as usual on the drive--and first wrote up a financial checklist that detailed the money she had given me, what she had used for her housing and what I owed her. I got the cash and the paper, put it all into an envelope and sealed it. I then went into her room and the bathroom and the refrigerator and packed all her stuff. Neatly. I then took it all down to the hotel, dragged it into the lobby, told the nice staff where she was and that she had been staying with me but that I could not take it any more. Then the tears came out. I didn't cry in front of them but I had tears rolling down my cheeks as I gently told them that I was sorry but to watch out for her. Then I left and went home.
I was shaking with fear and anger and rage at myself for not only getting myself into this mess but for meekly accepting the carp she kept piling on me. I cleaned and cleaned the bathroom; there was a horrible perfume smell that I couldn't get rid of for about three weeks with serious cleaning. (It turned out to be baby powder, but not the J&J brand. Different brand and different odor but same rotten stinky filth.)
She never came back, never attempted to contact me again. And though I lost some money I needed it was worth it to be rid of her. I didn't stop worrying, however, until her train pulled out of the station. (I knew the one she was on.)
And the whole irony of the situation for me was this: She was in the PhD program to become a psychologist!