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A old woman sitting on a hospital bed | Source: Shutterstock
A old woman sitting on a hospital bed | Source: Shutterstock

My Kids Listed My House on Airbnb While I Was in the Hospital — I Found a Way to Teach Them a Lesson

Prenesa Naidoo
Jun 04, 2024
02:35 P.M.

Mariah had been feeling less than healthy lately, causing her to admit herself to the hospital so that she could have a check-up. But in her absence, her children decided to rent out her house as an Airbnb, ready to pocket the money for themselves. When Mariah found out, she decided to teach her children a lesson.

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"Mariah," my friend Liz said on the phone, "why on earth is your house listed as an Airbnb?"

A phone opened to an Airbnb app | Source: Pexels

A phone opened to an Airbnb app | Source: Pexels

"What?" I asked, completely confused. "What are you talking about?"

"Denise was looking for a house to rent for the weekend because it's her bachelorette weekend, and she came across your house. Aren't you still in the hospital?" she asked.

A group of women | Source: Midjourney

A group of women | Source: Midjourney

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"Liz, I truly have no idea what you're talking about," I said, looking at the IV drip away into my bloodstream. "Send me the link to the site Denise saw."

This is how I taught my children a valuable lesson:

Recently, my blood pressure had been all over the place, causing me to faint at odd moments.

A close-up of an IV | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of an IV | Source: Midjourney

"Mom," my son, Liam, said, "you need to get it checked out. There's no point in going to the pharmacy and getting medication over the counter just because you think it's going to help. You need to get everything assessed properly."

"And you need to start eating better," Leah, my daughter, said. "Having oats in the morning, toast during the day, and soup at night isn't a balanced diet. You're playing with your health. It's time to take things seriously."

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A counter at a pharmacy | Source: Midjourney

A counter at a pharmacy | Source: Midjourney

Leah moved around my kitchen, slicing vegetables to make a salad to go along with the grilled chicken she had been marinating.

"And what about your constant headaches? It's time to get everything checked out. You should go into the hospital and do a full check-up," Liam said.

A plate of grilled chicken and salad | Source: Midjourney

A plate of grilled chicken and salad | Source: Midjourney

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"But I feel fine, other than the headaches and dizziness; I'm good!" I retorted.

Both my kids snorted and rolled their eyes at me.

"Do it, Mom," Leah said, pointing her finger at me.

A young woman pointing and smiling | Source: Midjourney

A young woman pointing and smiling | Source: Midjourney

I had to agree with them. I had been downplaying my health lately. I still walked every second day and did as much yoga as my body would allow during the week.

But still, there was a nagging feeling that something could be wrong.

Women at a yoga class | Source: Midjourney

Women at a yoga class | Source: Midjourney

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"Just go to silence that feeling," Liz said when we met for smoothies after our yoga class one day.

"But what if we find something?" I asked, suddenly nervous to be speaking my thoughts out loud.

"Then, we'll deal with it together. I know that Paul isn't here anymore, but I'm here," Liz said. "And anyway, we need you up and running for Denise's wedding. I don't know how to do the mother-of-the-bride things."

A close-up of smoothies | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of smoothies | Source: Midjourney

"I'll go to the GP and take it from there," I said. "If he thinks that it's the way to go, then I'll do just that."

"Yes, Mariah," the doctor said. "I think it's a great idea for you to go for a full-body check-up. There's nothing wrong with just knowing your health and body. And I'll recommend a CT scan for your headaches, too."

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A doctor putting on gloves | Source: Pexels

A doctor putting on gloves | Source: Pexels

Which is how I ended up at the hospital, and how my children chose to take advantage of the situation.

"I'll bring your lunch soon," the nurse said, smiling at me. "You just rest after your CT scan."

"Thank you," I said. "I'm just going to call my best friend and catch up with her."

A smiling nurse holding a clipboard | Source: Midjourney

A smiling nurse holding a clipboard | Source: Midjourney

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Catching up with Liz meant that hearing that my children had let my house out as an Airbnb for the week that I was scheduled to be in the hospital.

"So, what are you going to do about it?" Liz asked me when I called her back after I confirmed that it was my house on the site.

A woman talking on the phone | Source: Midjourney

A woman talking on the phone | Source: Midjourney

"I don't know," I admitted. "But I want to teach them a lesson. Leah and Liam should have known better. But Leah and her husband are always looking for ways to make extra money. I'm sure that Andrew has a gambling problem, too."

"Tell me what you want me to do," Liz said, chewing something into my ear.

A couple playing poker | Source: Pexels

A couple playing poker | Source: Pexels

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"I want you to tell Denise to book it," I said. "But they'll recognize that it's her, so she's probably going to need to create a new account. Do you think she'll be okay with that?"

"Of course, she will!" Liz said. "Anything for you. But then what?"

"I'm getting discharged tomorrow," I said. "But the kids think that I'll be here until the end of the week. So, let them think that they're going to make some money off the place."

A close-up of a woman's IV and hospital band | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of a woman's IV and hospital band | Source: Midjourney

"You want Denise to rent the place, but you want to mess it up?" Liz chuckled. "That's devious."

"No, my children are devious," I said.

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I hung up the call, and the nurse brought my lunch to me, ready to leave me alone to eat while she did her rounds.

A tray of hospital food | Source: Midjourney

A tray of hospital food | Source: Midjourney

If I was being honest, I didn't know how I felt about my children's betrayal. But it hurt me to imagine that while I had been away at the hospital, my children were perfectly fine with having strangers take over my home.

"What were they thinking?" I asked myself.

They hadn't given a second thought to people using the mugs I had hand-painted, or people sitting in their father's worn armchair. Paul has been deceased for a few years now, but it still felt like his chair.

An armchair in a living room | Source: Midjourney

An armchair in a living room | Source: Midjourney

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"No," I said to myself. "I'm going to get back at these kids."

The next morning, I was discharged with a clean bill of health, despite warnings to keep my stress down.

"And keep an eye on your cholesterol, Mariah," my doctor said. "Eat lots of green leafy vegetables."

Leafy vegetables on a countertop | Source: Midjourney

Leafy vegetables on a countertop | Source: Midjourney

I drove myself to Liz's house, where I was going to wait for Denise to meet me with the keys to my house.

"Are you sure about this?" Liz asked, making me a cup of tea and buttering a lemon and poppy seed muffin.

"Yes," I said. "And this way, they'll truly have to feel accountable for their actions."

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A cup of tea with a muffin | Source: Midjourney

A cup of tea with a muffin | Source: Midjourney

I went home a few hours later. There was something different about the house. The smell was different, and I knew for sure that someone else had been staying there.

There was a sweet perfume scent that took over my usual woody-scented house.

I had a long shower, ready to wash away the scent of the hospital that clung to my skin. I was ready for a long sleep in my own bed.

A comfortable bed | Source: Midjourney

A comfortable bed | Source: Midjourney

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For tomorrow, the fun began.

The next morning, I made myself some breakfast and dutifully took the array of vitamins and supplements that the doctor had given me.

Then, I began to pack away all of my appliances.

Appliances in the trunk of a car | Source: Midjourney

Appliances in the trunk of a car | Source: Midjourney

"Where are you going to put everything?" Liz asked me when she came over.

"I'm going to put some into the trunk of my car, and we can hide the rest in the garage for now," I said.

Together, Liz and I emptied out the house, leaving only the old toaster behind.

"Come on," Liz said, linking her arm in mine. "Let's get you out of here."

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An old toaster in a kitchen | Source: Midjourney

An old toaster in a kitchen | Source: Midjourney

I waited until Friday, staying with Liz. And then I drove myself home that afternoon.

"Hi Mom!" Leah said excitedly when she saw me pull into the driveway.

"Hi, honey," I said, taking out my bag from the backseat.

We walked into the house, and there were entirely new appliances all over my kitchen.

A kitchen with new appliances | Source: Midjourney

A kitchen with new appliances | Source: Midjourney

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"What's all this?" I asked, pretending to be shocked.

"Liam and I thought that you deserved new things!" Leah said, looking at the floor as she spoke.

"No, you didn't," I said. "You came back to my home when your guest was supposed to check out and you found everything gone."

Leah stared at me with her mouth open.

A shocked young woman | Source: Midjourney

A shocked young woman | Source: Midjourney

"You know?" she said.

"Of course, I do!" I exclaimed. "I took everything! You needed to be taught a lesson. Why would you let my house out?"

Leah blinked slowly.

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"Mom," she said softly. "I'm so sorry. Andrew and I thought that it would be a good idea because it seemed like a great opportunity to make some extra money. Liam said that it was okay as long as nothing was broken."

A close-up of a young woman | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of a young woman | Source: Midjourney

"Darling," I said, hugging her. "You can't do this. If you and Andrew need money, you come and talk to me about it. Don't do things like this. It's going to ruin our trust."

My daughter smiled and took my bag from me.

"Come," she said. "I'll make you some tea with the new kettle. I'll return everything else tomorrow. And the money is all yours."

A fancy kettle on a countertop | Source: Midjourney

A fancy kettle on a countertop | Source: Midjourney

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What would you have done?

If you enjoyed this story, here's another one for you:

My Son Came to Me Pale, Clutching My Husband's Laptop – What He Showed Me Next Turned My World Upside Down

A boy using a laptop | Source: Pexels

A boy using a laptop | Source: Pexels

Lana, who loves reading gossip columns online, finds her life turned upside down when her twelve-year-old son discovers a folder on her husband's laptop—revealing incriminating photos that scream out an affair. And who is the other woman?

Read the full story here.

This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided "as is," and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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