Airbnb Where Fleas and Rodents Are Your Housemates

I chose to use airbnb to book my entire two-week vacation. It was a nightmare.

I’ve used airbnb before for a stay in Portland, Maine and it was great. I had no problems. My wife has used airbnb several times and has had no issues.

We had issues this time.

Both of the places we stayed at had major issues. One property “host” near Bethany Beach tried to shake me down for $350 after I checked out. The other one in Hampton, Virginia was flea and rodent infested.

For me, the fleas were the worst.

The first night at this house, there was a family of raccoons living in the crawlspace and a family of large mice living under the kitchen cupboards. The host responded to my concerns about the racoons quickly. Some guys came out the next day and set traps. They didn’t catch anything, but they did scare off the mama racoon and her babies. The next evening she was pacing and whining outside the house, calling for her babies to come down. We didn’t hear from them after that.

The giant field mice remained and ate much of my food. I bought some traps and was able to get rid of one of them. The other undoubtedly is still there.

I can understand rodent infestations. It happens to everyone. So it didn’t bother me that much and I was happy to help get rid of them. But the fleas were another story.

I told the airbnb host at the first notice of the fleas that this was an issue.

That was day two at the property.

She responded that she would send a cleaning crew out to take care of them. The cleaning crew never showed up.

The days ticked by and we figured they weren’t coming. The fleas were so bad on the final night, we considered packing up everyone and just leaving that night. My wife pulled a flea off of our 16-month-old baby. We were capturing the fleas and killing them in a ziplock bag.

If you’ve never killed a flea, they’re not easy to kill. They often have to be crushed more than once to die. When my wife killed the flea that came off my baby, blood squirted out. The flea had been drinking my baby’s blood. It was disgusting.

We spent that last night laundering all of our clothes in hot water. We carefully packed up our suitcases to avoid bringing the fleas home with us. On our way home, we picked up some special bug killer to spray on our suitcases once we got home and unloaded everything. It was a major ordeal.

Once I got home, I sent the airbnb host a message that we had left that morning and I inquired what had happened with the cleaning crew. Why didn’t they show up?

Here’s her response.

“I’m so sorry Keith. The cleaning lady said that she walked through, didn’t see anything. Colby apparently was in the house at some point as well – they both thought that perhaps the dog/cats next door were the culprit and Colby sprayed again. Best wishes to you and your family.”

Let’s start off with the point that she begins with accusing me of either being a liar, or not knowing what a flea is. Now it’s true that I’ve never lived in a home with fleas in it. It’s also true that it’s not hard to recognize a flea. My wife did have to deal with a flea infestation at an apartment many years ago, so she quickly recognized them.

Oddly enough, when we were vacating the house, my wife and I discussed the bag of dead fleas we had collected over the course of the week. Initially we felt like just throwing it away. Who wants to drive around with a bag of dead fleas? But then I thought, “What if airbnb denies there were fleas at the property?”

Keep in mind that before I received this response from the airbnb host dismissing my concerns and failing to respond effectively to a serious infestation, I hadn’t considered any sort of refund for having to live in a flea-infested property. I just felt that it’s important that future guests not have to live with fleas.

Taking the bag of dead fleas seemed silly, but I’m glad I did because once I read the response from the airbnb host, I was like, “Fuck this, I want my money back.”

It was really that second part of her response that pissed me off the most. The assertion that the fleas were probably coming from the neighbor’s dog or cat, and that “Colby sprayed again.”

What she’s saying is that, “Even if there are fleas, they’re from the neighbor’s dog or cat, so fuck it.”

What did Colby spray? Where did he spray it? When did he spray it? Whatever he did, it didn’t work.

Setting aside the point that the family of racoons or the family of field mice are the more likely culprits, it doesn’t matter what the cause of the fleas may be, what matters is that there are fleas in the property.

So now I decide to contact airbnb support and I tell them what happened and I say I want a full refund.

The initial response was annoying.

In it, Jay the airbnb case manager said, “I cannot promise a full refund since you opted to spend all the nights that you booked.”

I stayed all of the nights I booked because I had already paid for this vacation rental. I didn’t have another huge pile of cash lying around that would allow me to book another property, with a kitchen, for a family of five, within walking distance to the beach, at the last minute for anything approaching what I paid for this rental.

Then Jay from airbnb chastised me for not contacting them directly.

He said, had I contacted airbnb, “We could have transfer[red] you over to another listing by using the money that you paid for her place or we could have put you in a hotel at that time but we did not receive any call from you.”

Again, the chances of finding a place comparable to this at the last minute was nearly zero.

But the reason I didn’t contact airbnb directly is because I assumed by contacting the airbnb host that I was contacting airbnb. I wrongly assumed that there was some sort of training or at least some expectations placed on airbnb hosts when it comes to issues, particularly those of infestations and unhealthy living conditions.

I told Jay that I had no knowledge of what airbnb, as opposed to the airbnb host are capable of doing or not doing.

The last update on this issue is that it’s unresolved.

There are people staying at the property tonight and those fleas are undoubtedly still there.

Maybe I’m just making a big deal out of nothing.

When I stay at airbnb, fleas and rodents are apparently considered acceptable housemates.

A nice hotel will work well next time I travel.

Melania Trump’s Einstein Visa Is Crazy

Melania Trump
Corruption took place when Melania Trump worked her way through our immigration system. In 2001, Trump was granted an Einstein visa, which is obviously ridiculous on its face.

People who get an Einstein visa, or EB-1, are people with very specialized skills, like Olympians, highly regarding academics, scientists, Nobel prize recipients, and shit like that. At the time, Trump was a run-of-the-mill model working in New York City. She was no different than the thousands of models who were working in New York at that time.

The BBC ran a story about this back in March.

How did Melania’s application get approved

Who approved this application at the State Department? Whoever did was obviously engaged in a corrupt act because there is NO WAY Melania Trump should qualify for this special visa.

The EB-1 visa eventually resulted in her becoming a permanent citizen. After that Trump brought over members of her family to live in the United States. That’s what the Republican party, and her husband call chain migration, which they claim to hate. They hate it when brown people do it.

Corruption like what happened with her Einstein visa this isn’t supposed to happen and someone needs to get a copy of her application and interview whoever approved it.

Episode 2: Rule of Law

Hillary Clinton warns everyone in 2016. She essentially told us to not let Donald Trump be in control of the law in this country. Doing so would be a nightmare.

In this second episode of the #FFS podcast, I discuss this history and encourage everyone to please vote better next time.

Listen to the podcast

I know Clinton won by 3 million votes, but it should never have been even that close. She should have won by 12 to 15 million votes. It should have been a blowout, but millions of people didn’t vote, and a bunch of people wasted their votes on other candidates.

There was only one correct choice in 2016. If you didn’t vote for Clinton, you made the wrong choice. In this year’s election, do it right and vote Democrat up and down the ballot.

Episode 1: Dark Days

The first episode of the #FFS is out.

With the Justice Kennedy retirement, liberals are rightly freaking the fuck out.

Listen to the podcast here.

Reporters Can’t See the Big Fat Orange Forest

My most harsh criticism of modern journalism is that coverage almost always misses the larger forest by focusing so intensely on each of the trees.

It’s called turn-of-the-screw journalism. It goes like this. This happened and then this happened and he said this and she said and this happened. When you consume that news you learn about various bits of news.

I was listening to On Point today. They were discussing the Iran nuclear, the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem and possible sanctions against European allies over the Iran deal.

It was the host and a couple of journalists. One was from the conservative Weekly Standard and the other I think was from the New Yorker. So they had balance on the show, right? The supposedly “liberal” New Yorker reporter and the conservative from the Weekly Standard.

If I may digress, right there is a flawed setup. The so-called “liberal” journalist on the panel is actually just someone working as a journalist. So she was just approaching these individual stories with measured, unbiased analysis. The guy from the Weekly Standard clearly presented himself in defense of Trump and the conservative agenda.

However, my problem with the entire On Point segment was that it merely ticked off various stories of the day involving Trump. The discussion largely centered around whether Trump won domestically on the issue or not.

When the panel discussed moving the embassy to Jerusalem, they all agreed that this was Trump succeeding. Both journalists seemed to agree that Trump was able to do something that no other president has been able to do. Trump campaigned on it, and so moving the embassy was a winner for him.

It didn’t matter that dozens of people were killed and thousands wounded. Trump was following through on a campaign promise. There was no discussion as to why previous presidents chose to not move the embassy. Presumably, those presidents had reasons for not moving the embassy, it wasn’t merely that they had failed.

On the Iran deal, the panel seemed to suggest that Trump was the winner here as well because he had promised to blow up the Iran deal. I think it was the guy from the Weekly Standard who casually said that Iran’s nuclear program will continue, but it didn’t seem to matter about pulling out of the deal. While the reporter from the New Yorker acknowledged that now the likelihood of violence between Israel and Iran has increased, it’s basically all jacked up over there anyways.

The panel all agreed that Trump’s threats about sanctioning our European allies who have not bailed on the Iran deal was just Trump bluster. In the end, the panel agreed that Trump would not really sanction European allies. Why they thought that about Trump wasn’t really explained other than they thought sanctions would be totally outside of norms. Yet, they just spent the previous 10 minutes talking about how Trump doesn’t follow norms, but I digress again.

These discussions never widen the lens. It’s all very micro journalism and it plays perfectly into Trump’s hyper-transactional style. All he cares about is winning on this or that issue on that given day. And so this sort of reporting about Trump makes him appear much more successful than he perhaps actually is as president.

If we pull back the lens a bit and look at all of these stories, we can examine them through the lens of Russia and Vladimir Putin. By doing so, a different picture emerges.

For example, which of our allies wanted us to pull out of the international agreement with Iran? None of them did, but Putin did.

Who thinks imposing sanctions on our European allies after WE bailed on the Iran deal is a good idea? Putin thinks it’s a great idea.

Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem was just something Trump had the power to do, so he just did it. He didn’t care about the ramifications of that decision beyond his joy of hearing a liberal reporter slap him on the back on NPR.

But looking through the wide angle journalism lens, you can see that each of the policies has achieved one common goal. That goal is to isolate the United States from our allies in Europe and weaken the US internationally. Because to Putin, that US/Europe alliance is far more powerful than Russia could ever imagine. But a fractured Europe and an isolated US? That’s a world where Russia can compete.

Nearly 8 in 10 Americans Think Angels are Real

Sometimes, when one looks at politics in America, it’s easy to think, “What the hell? Why are Americans so stupid?”

Why are Americans stupid? I actually don’t know. I have some theories, but there’s no doubt about it that Americans are stupid.

More than one poll has shown that nearly 80 percent of Americans believe that angels are real.

In 2011, an Associated Press poll found that 77 percent of Americans think angels exist. This poll corroborates a 2006 poll that pegged American belief in angels at 81 percent.

A vast majority of Americans believe that there are creatures who look like humans, but with wings.

That’s weird.

March For Our Lives: March 24 in Washington DC

Have you ever thought, “I’m tired of one mass shooting after another and the slaughtering of innocent people while our representative government does jack squat. I want to do something”?

Well, now you can.

Get your butt to Washington DC on March 24 for the “March For Our Lives” rally.

The brave young people from Parkland, Florida who suffered through the latest mass shooting are saying, “Never again.” And they’re not just saying it, they’re doing something about it.

It’s OUR DUTY to support these young people up and show them that we have their backs. We need a million or more people to overwhelm DC with a march like they haven’t seen since Martin Luther King in 1963.

It’s fine to use social media to vent, to organize, to socialize, but to make real change, you need to get out there and do something. This is our chance to say, “No more gun violence.”

March for our Lives
Moms Demand Action