GenieDannyJPonchoRhubarb House is just a click away, a click away, from being public on AirBnB. Oh, children, we are just a click away. I am channeling Miss Lisa Fischer doing “Gimme Shelter” with Mick Jagger, and I am having a lot of second thoughts about this whole thing.

My company-best towels and sheets have been in everyday use since I bought them when my departed husband and I hosted his cousins who came to Atlanta for a family wedding that took place about 15 years ago in a Southern Protestant cathedral. I have priced replacements online at Garnet Hill and Amazon Prime and can’t bring myself to buy more. Guests will have to overlook tiny holes, frayed hems, and a few spots of rust and teary mascara stains that won’t wash out.  After all, this is Alaska.

Leo and Rys are not just friendly indoor cats. Leo drinks from the toilets even though I keep bowls of water around the house. Rys swats at streams of liquid – any liquid—so in the bathroom . . . well, guys, watch out. And how do I, the nearly new-50 single woman, know this? My grandson told me about it. I asked if he missed; he did not. Not long ago an adult male visitor was surprised to experience the same thing. I did not ask questions.

LeoByStoveLeo and Rys also walk on the kitchen counters, and this has persisted in spite of the negative reinforcement training I tried with a spray bottle of water for a few days after each of them came from the animal shelter to his forever home. Plus, if Rhubarb House guests don’t want the company of one or both cats during the night, they have to keep the bedroom doors shut. Leo and Rys knock for a while, but eventually they stop and settle in with me.

I haven’t put any of that in the listing, because people will figure it out soon enough and just chalk it all up to being in the cosmic hamlet, but I am including a few house rules. The first three – no pets, no shoes inside, and no smoking – appear in several listings I’ve read. The first needs no explanation since Leo and Rys have already been mentioned. The second is common practice in Alaska homes, and I’ve noted that; the third is a no brainer, but Joy asked, “Don’t you think you should mention chewing tobacco?” So I am specific:

No smoking, chewing, dipping, or snuffing tobacco products inside or out. If you wish to inhale other substances, please advise the host ahead of time as she is just getting used to new laws. Exception: If you enjoy an after-dinner cigar, please take it to the deck and expect the host to step out to catch the aroma.

Rhubarb House Rules continue as follows:

  • Guests, especially those from anywhere east of Mountain Time, may experience an altered sleep cycle. Those who awaken before 6:00 a.m. (AKDT) are encouraged to be quiet until that time. Catch up on reading and work crossword puzzles. Sleep masks may be helpful June – August.
  • No cooking, but you may chill beverages and keep medications in the refrigerator. The hospital has a helipad for emergency medical transport to Anchorage.
  • No eating or drinking, except water, in guest rooms or lounge area. I may wait until guests arrive to tell them about this rule. It’s to protect the carpet from stains.
  • No cleaning of fish on the premises. Take them to a processor, or catch and release. Back home, you can get the same fish – wild-caught in Alaska – for a lot less money. I am not kidding.
  • Tidiness is expected: please make up your bed, hang up your clothes, don’t spit toothpaste on the bathroom mirror, flush the toilet, and wash your hands with soap and water. I can’t say that, can I?

When Joy was here last month, I finished the AirBnB listing, even though it was past the time when folks make summer travel plans and reservations. I wanted to get a jump on summer 2016. Then one morning she looked up from Garden and Gun magazine—the issue with the divine tomato sandwich on the cover—set her mug on the coffee table, and said, “Have you thought about having to clean the bathrooms maybe five times a week? Changing the bedclothes over and over again?”

I have been thinking about that, and a bunch of other stuff, such as just how strange a stranger I want to host, and I have decided to shut the door of Rhubarb House before it ever opened. BnB is not 2B, unless you’re family or friend. I know you, and you know me. Neither of us is any stranger than the other.

The rules about pets, shoes, and tobacco still apply, and these:

  • If you can’t sleep, make popcorn and watch DVD or online videos until it gets dark outside, though by then it will be morning. If you’re here in the winter, the light won’t be a problem.
  • If you wake up before I do, please turn on the coffee and feed Leo and Rys. That would be so nice. Eat some yogurt, and if you want a big breakfast, I have three great restaurants in mind. One opens at 5:00 a.m. Let’s try them all while you’re here.
  • Please do cook.
  • Eat and drink whatever you want, wherever and whenever you want. Stain remover is stashed in both bathrooms and the laundry room.
  • I honestly don’t care if you make up your bed and hang up your clothes the whole time you’re here. And since I know you it’s OK if you spit toothpaste on the mirror. Most likely you would wipe it off.
  • I will take you to the Spit to watch people clean fish. The muscly guys at Butt Whackers have been a big hit with a few of my guests. Then we’ll mosey around to The Auction Block to buy halibut. A friend from Georgia gave me a great recipe for halibut casserole.ButtWhackers Just let me know when you’re coming and ask about what you need to bring. It’s not what you think. This may be the end of the road, but it is not the end of civilization. I have plenty of everything, and did I tell you that Save-U-More has a whole aisle of Trader Joe’s stuff?

Copyright 2015. Genie Hambrick  

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