After Madame Home Depot had actually booked her tickets for this last adventure at ours, she made an off-hand comment that one of the guys she knew from work had told her he wanted to come to France too. MHD, being MHD, told him that if he booked his own ticket, she was sure Dig and the tribe would be happy to have him along. So one bright and sunny Kansas morning, MHD gave a copy of her itinerary to said gentleman et voila! And much to every one's surprise, he actually booked a ticket.
What hadn't been explained to us in greater detail was that, sure, she knew him from work, but only because he was a customer of Home Depot. And sure, they have had lunch together once, but overall she knew him about as well as I know my mailman.
For the 10 days she spent with us before he arrived, we quizzed her on everything we could. What did she know about his family, about his past, if he'd been arrested for any major crime, if he ate meat or drank alcohol, or even what he liked to do when he wasn't walking through the hallways of a hardware store. Her answers never wavered. "I don't know! I DON'T KNOW! Oh, my GOD!"
Ok. No big deal. We've had other random people come through the B&B before. We could handle this. Daily deep breath therapy seemed to help MHD not stress too much about it all because, hey, big deal if she basically invited a complete stranger to spend a holiday with her in Europe. Loads of people do that all the time, right?
Luckily for her (and for us) said gentleman was exactly that. An all-around good guy who's motto, "it's not a problem until it's a problem" has now become standard mantra with us all. He jumped right in and helped with the house renovations, hung out with the kids, and shared his own personal experiences with MHD, The Man, and me. He fit right in and didn't seem too phased by the state of the bathroom. He fixed our lights, removed radiators, and helped The Man plan some renovations to our little house in Idaho. Such was the complicity between them that he even caught the horrible lurgy that The Man has been fighting for weeks. Ever so kind, wouldn't you agree?
If I have to admit it, this whole experience has reminded me of the thing I've love most about the Birth Control Bed & Breakfast: all these people who come to stay. Be it family, acquaintances from near & far, or friends who showed up after years of being lost, they plop their bags in the guest room and just jump right in, adding their touch to this tapestry we call home. Here is a France that doesn't exist in guide books: a real live, loud, messy, multi-cultural, multi-lingual guest house where everyone is welcome, well as long as they don't mind changing an occasional nappy or painting a wall.
Overall, I think she did good there, MHD, by inviting this gentleman to come. It was a risk, for sure, but as we all know, sometimes we need to take risks or we miss out on life and all it's got to offer. (Granted, if one of my girls tells me years from now that they've invited a strange man they met at McDonald's to go on a trip to with them to the other side of the world, I might be just a wee-bit nervous, but hey, at that point we'll just forget this little event ever happened, ok?)
All's well that ends well and I'm happy to say that this gentleman stranger is now a no longer just a stranger. And who knows? Maybe after this trip, he and MHD might even go out to dinner! As for The Man and I, we only hope that we will cross paths with him again someday, even if it's only for a few seconds and a coffee in the paint section of Home Depot.