A friend of mine has decided to do the Airbnb thing, meaning she is renting out her house to a Finnish family for three weeks while her own family is on vacation. She wanted to write up a list of information for the renters in English, so she came over last night for help. The list included some tips for the surrounding area and it explained some of the offerings and eccentricities of the house. It invited them to help themselves to the food in the kitchen and garden and explained how to set up the home cinema equipment. Some emergency contact numbers were included for eventualities . . .
After she left, I started musing about how such a letter would sound if we were to do the same –however unthinkable that is. I mean, there is a reason why we pay young, unfastidious, animal-loving house-/dogsitters to stay here while we are away. Nevertheless, in such an unlikely scenario, this is how the letter might go:
Dear Renter Family,
Welcome to our home and to this community, which, luckily, has so much to offer that it will keep you out of our house for most of your stay. But for the times when you are here, there are a few things you will need to know. Hopefully this list will answer most of the questions that are likely to arise.
About the house . . .
You are welcome to any food you find in the kitchen. You might want to avoid things in the refrigerator and cupboards that are either 1) dusty, 2) green, or 3) moving around.
All the beds have been made with freshly washed sheets. In case you prefer them without wrinkles, the ironing board is set up in the middle of the living room, in front of the TV, next to the large pile of un-ironed laundry. We have freed up some space on the bedroom floors for your clothes.
You are welcome to use the sauna in the upstairs bathroom. Inside, you will find a large selection of newspapers and advertisements to read, dating back to 2007. The key to the fuse box is in the bowl on the cabinet by the front door.
The cleaning lady comes on Friday mornings. Please be very VERY kind to her.
You will find the mousetraps in the basement next to the washer and dryer which, of course, you are free to use. The key to the fuse box is in the bowl on the cabinet by the front door.
If you lose the last remaining house key, the easiest way to break in is through the basement window on the left-hand side. Just remove the grating and climb down.
About the yard . . .
In case you are feeling adventurous and want to make a foray into the yard, the machete is in the tool shed, hanging on the left-hand wall as you enter.
About the pets . . .
The larger dog is blind, deaf, and senile. That sound she makes is not really growling. She sometimes has ”accidents” and in that case, the plastic doggy-do bags are stored in the front hall cabinet, the living room cabinet, the table on the front porch, the shelves on the screen porch, the red basket by the stairwell, in both bathrooms and next to the kitchen sink. Please don’t let her into the carpeted library.
The smaller dog is only one year old, so we haven’t gotten around to training her yet. Feel free to do so! We recommend that you wear long pants and never turn your back on her. Be reminded that everything left out in the space between the floor and approximately knee level is fair game. There are several good shoe stores in the nearby city.
A few short trips to the signpost and back and one longer walk around the cornfield per day are sufficient. In order to avoid criminal prosecution or hours spent running in circles, we recommend you keep the dogs on leashes at all times when you are outside.
In order to avoid confrontations between the cat and the old senile dog, the cat must be carried from the front door to the top step in the mornings and from the top step to the front door in the evenings. In these situations, that sound the old dog makes really is growling.
About the neighbors . . .
All of them are lovely with a minor exception. When walking the dogs, make a big detour around the house at the edge of the cornfield. The hotel right below us is lovely and inexpensive. The telephone number of our house-/dogsitter is 0672-104-5683. She is expecting your call.