There’s nothing like coming home from a long vacation. It’s the perfect way to wrap up a wonderful trip, right? Well, that’s not something these people can say! Travelers on Quora share the unexpected surprise they had waiting for them at home. Content has been edited for clarity.
I Would Simply Have Moved
“We came back from a camping holiday and my 7-year-old daughter found a coiled up rubber snake on the floor in the kitchen in our Australia home.
The first strange thing was that I didn’t think we had a rubber snake. The second strange thing was the way this particular rubber snake woke up and started slithering across the floor towards us.
Now, this was in Tasmania where luckily there are only three types of snakes. Unfortunately, they are all seriously deadly, and this one was a black tiger snake, one of the most venomous snakes in the world.
What to do?
Did I have a weapon handy in the kitchen? Yes! My three-year-old son’s fluffy-headed, pink and black, foam hobbyhorse with a meter-long handle.
So, thrusting with all the dignity I could muster, I pushed the fluffy pink horse head at the snake. The snake became distressed by the immensity of my arsenal and retreated towards the lounge room.
‘No, no mister snakey,’ I said.
I didn’t want it hiding somewhere in the house behind a bookshelf, or in my bed. So I got around in front of it and corralled it back into the kitchen, where it slithered towards the kids. Not good. New parley – snake swung around and hid under the fridge. I sent the delighted kids out of the room and shut all the doors.
Then I called the police. They were a little bemused and suggested I try a snake catcher. I explained I was holding a pink hobbyhorse with one hand and didn’t really have a spare hand to search for a snake handler. (Where would one look after all?) The police put me on hold for a while and came back with a phone number for me to call. Progress!
So, g’day mister snake catcher, couple of pleasantries (quick check that mister snakey isn’t doing one of his bust outs from the far side of the fridge and sneaking up behind me). Then on to business.
Yes, no problem, Mr. Snake Catcher can come. But it’s $70, cash upfront.
Now, this was on a farm, a good 20 minutes from the bank. And did we have $70 cash on us? No, we did not. Will Mr. Snake Catcher work on credit if I drive to the bank with him straight afterward? No, he will not.
Leaving me armed only with the mighty Horsey Fluffikins, the rest of my family jumped in the car and headed off to the bank. I spent a quiet hour in the kitchen with an increasingly agitated snake, who (using the time-honored method of shaking a fluffy pink horse in its face) I wouldn’t let leave from under the fridge, despite its more and more frequent attempts.
The strange thing is, I can really now vouch for the exposure method of phobia treatment. I started that hour really quite terrified of snakes – Indiana Jones terrified. I finished having gained a fairly decent understanding of how predictable and easily corralled they are. The snake would shoot out to get me, which was a little unnerving, then meet head-on with the pink-horse-devil-of-its-every-nightmare, and retreat back under the fridge. Then, a few minutes later, we would repeat the process on a different side of the fridge. Sort of like Whack-A-Mole, but with death.”
They Planned This Out Quite Well
“As my wife is from the Philippines, a few years ago we spent four weeks in the Philippines in December and January. We arrived back one snowy January evening at Heathrow Airport at about 8 p.m. and then took the Flightlink bus from there back to Nottingham, and finally a taxi from the bus station in Nottingham to our home. When we arrived back at our home in the middle of the night, we were horrified to discover many of the lights were on inside the house (when we had not left them on) and our car, which had been parked on the drive, had vanished. We realized then of course we had been burgled, and immediately called the police, who arrived a short time later. They noted the crime and gave us a crime incident number so we could claim it on our insurance.
When we looked around the house, we realized the burglars had quickly gone upstairs and found a set of house keys and car keys in a jacket in our bedroom, and they had also stolen my wife’s jewelry, which was also kept in the bedroom. The keys enabled the burglars to go out of the front door instead of the rear lounge window through which they had forcibly entered our house and to load the car up with as much as they could and drive off in it. Indeed, they also stole among things a dinner service, a set of silver cutlery (my long service award from work), a collection of Dutch Delft pottery and other silverware and ornaments, and a Nintendo Wii and all of its games. However, I was relieved they had not gone up into the loft and found my gold sovereigns which I keep up there.
When I inspected the property further the pattern of the footprints in the snow, some recent and some looking as though they had been done some days previously, indicated to me that the burglars had paid more than one visit. And then I noticed the diary in the hallway beside the telephone had been moved to the stairs, indicating the burglars had read it to find out more of our whereabouts. I had actually written in the diary the actual precise date and time when our flight landed back at Heathrow Airport. It soon became clear to me on seeing this, the burglars had carried out the burglary only just before we arrived back home, when they knew we would be on the Flightlink bus. They realized if they were in the house then, it probably would not attract attention from the neighbors, who would assume that we had already returned home. Indeed, some of our neighbors who knew the approximate date of our return home told us this, they thought we were home when they saw the lights on in our house.
I hardly need to say we never saw the stolen items again, but we were thankful no damage had been done inside the house and the car too was found abandoned, undamaged, and with the keys still in less than a mile from our house. Immediately after the burglary, I improved our home security, and also whenever we go away now we hide all of the keys to the property, along with diaries or other items that indicate our whereabouts.”
Good Riddance To This Friendship
“This past summer, I was in Turkey visiting family and friends. While I was there, I was regularly chatting with my friends from back home. One of those friends, let’s call her ‘C,’ told me after an intense fight with her housemates, they had kicked her out. C is not a stranger to homelessness, so at first, she tried to play it off and say the fight was the biggest issue. Having known her since middle school, I saw right through her and offered her the room I was not using while I was away. She got super emotional and after putting up a bit of a fight, finally accepted my offer.
I called one of my roommates to tell her about this. She agreed we couldn’t just let C stay on the streets and arranged to give her a key fob to get into the apartment. All was going well, we would video chat occasionally. Since she was staying in my room, we had also agreed C would look after my cat, taking the duty away from that roommate from earlier. So she would send me pictures of my cat and show him to me during the video chats as well. Then came time for me to come back home. C knew exactly when I was coming. The weekend I was meant to get back home, she was on a road trip with some friends.
I came home to find my room in a disgusting state. There were bags and bags of food delivery everywhere, half-eaten. There was a box of unfinished and visibly stale nachos open on the bed, perfect for the cat to get at. My bedsheets were on the ground and my mattress was stained with chicken wing bones. My cat hadn’t been fed since before C left, and it looked like she hadn’t cleaned his litter in much, much longer. The room smelled horribly of cat pee in places other than the litter box.
My roommate explained to me because C had such an irregular work schedule, they would often never see each other during the day. So my roommates wouldn’t even be aware she’d left for a few days until she texted them on, say, the third day something along the lines of, ‘Oh, by the way, I’m out of town, could you feed the cat for me?’
This very reasonably frustrated my roommate because the least C could do was let her know she’d be away so the cat wouldn’t go days without food or water.
Now I was back, she didn’t have the face to come back. I messaged her constantly, asking her politely to come back to at least clean up the mess.
Then finally, getting tired of her constantly giving me excuses, I told her, ‘Look, I’ve been sleeping on the couch for two weeks because I can’t stand the smell of my own room. I came back from a very stressful trip and I was hoping to get rid of my jet lag in my own bed, but I’m on this uncomfortable couch instead. The least you could do is come back and clean up your mess so that I can have my room back.’
This got to her. She said, ‘I didn’t know you were sleeping on the couch. I’m sorry.’ She still did not try to make plans to come over and help me clean!
Finally, getting tired of the couch, I started to clean my own room by myself. I threw away the food, put all her belongings in a bag, and cleaned out almost all of the gross smells. Some of it, I couldn’t even tell where it was coming from. Finally, I got my room back into a livable state.
Nightmare over, right? Wrong.
C still had my roommate’s key fob. My roommate was letting herself in since the buzzer is connected to her phone, but we needed the fob back or else we would have to pay a fine to the office for losing it. I tried constantly to get her to meet up with me so I could get it back. I tried leveling with her, telling her I would trade her belongings back for the fob. Eventually, she straight up blocked me. I used my roommate’s phone to reach her this time. Then she had the audacity to get mad at me for giving her phone number to my roommate.
I told her if she didn’t want me to use these methods, she shouldn’t have blocked me. She denied blocking me, but miraculously after that, I found myself unblocked. She finally gave me the address of her workplace, which was in the sketchiest part of town, and we arranged to meet up there. I went up to her workplace and asked for her. They told me no one with that name works there. This was actually my bad, I asked for her using her real name. As a ‘lady of the night’ worker, C worked under a fake name to protect herself. I was about to leave when she came out to see me and we did the exchange. After giving me the fob and receiving her bag of stuff, she had the gall to give me a hug. I ground my teeth through it and then I left.
I think it goes without saying that we aren’t friends anymore.”
Called “The Windy City” For A Reason
“Many years ago, my boyfriend and I lived in a transitional area of Chicago that was both charming and high crime. After a short vacation, we returned and were horrified to find the back door of our apartment, which opened to the back porch, was wide open. It was wintertime and it was snowing. The apartment was freezing and there was a drift of snow that had blown through the open door and was now mounding inside our living room. The door had clearly been open for quite some time. Because our area was high crime, the back porch exterior door had both a door and a gate; though the door was wide open, the wide slatted gate remained locked closed. Hmm.
It was quite eerie. As we walked around the frigid apartment, we noticed our bed had been slept in. Whoever had slept there was both dirty and stinky. A rounded dished-out area near the bed pillows was now a greasy grimy blackish tone mixed with small twigs. The smell emanating from the bed was quite disturbing. Nothing else in the entire apartment had been touched. Who’d been sleeping in our bed? Had the bed been hexed? What strange magic was this?
Though we were immediately unbelievably spooked, we concluded one of Chicago’s infamous winds had blown our insubstantial door open. The snow had gently entered. And one or more of the areas many feral cats had enjoyed a few nights respite, traipsing in and out of the gate at their leisure, in a cozy and secure, soft pillowed, kitty cocoon.”
Learning An Important Lesson
“One February, my husband and I went on a couples-only trip to Jamaica. My oldest daughter was 20 years old at the time, and we allowed her to stay in our home in Maine on the promise of her best behavior. I took my younger two children to my mother’s house in Philadelphia. We had an oil furnace in the house and had just filled our 350-gallon tank prior to leaving on vacation. Yes
Because we didn’t totally trust our 20-year-old, I had locked the adult drinks into my bedroom closet and had asked our neighbors to keep an eye on the house to make sure there wasn’t any more than one or two cars in the driveway at any given time. Feeling we had covered our bases, my husband and I proceeded to enjoy our time with friends on a beautiful tropical island.
Seven days later when we arrived back at our house, it was to find all the lights on, the doors wide open to the zero degree temperatures, and the furnace completely out of oil. There was a note on the kitchen counter written by a friend of my daughter’s reading: ‘Morgan is in jail, you’ll need to bail her out when you get home.’
Our living room furniture had multiple joint burns, as well as the bedroom carpets and some beds. The shower had been ripped out of the main bathroom. My closet door had been removed to get at the drinks I had hidden away. All of us had valuables stolen. The total for the damages totaled $12,000 and that didn’t include our lost heating fuel.
I did NOT bail my daughter out of jail. I did however speak to someone at the jail to find out the charge was serving drinkd to her underaged friends.
She had a difficult next couple of months but ended up discovering some real strengths. During that time, she totally turned her life around and when she finally asked if she could come back home, she was told yes but with conditions. Over the years, she filled us in on what actually happened and people she didn’t even know kept coming into the house because they ‘heard’ there was a party. She tried to stop it, but it was far too out of control.”
So That’s Why She’s Not Allowed
“I’m a happily divorced father of two. Fifteen years ago I was leaving for a two-week vacation in St Martin with my girlfriend. I asked my son and daughter if they’d like to make some extra money stopping by my house to get the mail, water the plants, etc. My 13-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter were thrilled to do this. I had just helped my daughter with her first car purchase, and my son had video games he was lusting over.
What could go wrong, right?
Well, when we were leaving for vacation I noticed my upstairs toilet was running. I figured I’d fix it, but ran into trouble when the inlet line split (it was very old, an accident waiting to happen). No problem, I just shut the water off and closed the door. There was another bathroom downstairs.
Then the perfect storm. My daughter had an obligation after school, so my son asked his mom for a ride to my house. Somewhere she specifically was not permitted, nor wanted.
After my son did his ‘chores’ at my house and returned to the car, his mom told him she had to pee, and took his key. After snooping around a bit, she peed in my upstairs bathroom. When the toilet wouldn’t flush, she turned the water supply on and left it on.
When I returned, exhausted, from the Caribbean, I discovered my downstairs flooded. Approximately $12,000.00 dollars later, everything was back in order. My lawyer (a dear friend) thought I could sue, but it was worth the money not to have to be in the same room with her.
15 years later, it’s a funny story my girlfriend tells.”
“I’m Almost Afraid To Go Anywhere”
“I have found way too many surprises on returning home from vacation. I’m almost afraid to go anywhere.
The worst was coming home in Louisville, Kentucky, and finding I’d been burgled — not just burgled but literally anything and everything of value stolen. They had taken their time. All my work tools were gone, a couple of thousand dollars worth Because of this, I overnight went from a poor, struggling contractor to an absolute pauper. The Louisville, Kentucky, cops couldn’t have cared less. They refused to even take a burglary report (they were trying to make crime stats look falsely low). I had to go to the city service safety director to force them to take a report.
If this had been in the ritzy east end and it had been a couple of thousand dollars worth of jewelry, they would have been falling all over themselves to appear to be of service, but this was in the city’s west end. Incidentally, every single tool was inscribed with some combination of my name, phone number, and/or social security number (which was being recommended at the time). I never saw any of it again and wound up spending a winter eating almost nothing but government cheese until I could finally get a job again.
A couple of years previously when living in a house nearby, also in the west end of Louisville, Kentucky, I came home to find my car stolen. The cops also refused to take a report on that one — he claimed that he couldn’t because I didn’t have the title with me. At the time, Kentucky had a combined title/registration, and it was in the car. It turned out that the car had been stolen, the engine removed, and abandoned almost in the middle of the street, a half-block from the police station. Here’s the thing: it was an ancient beat-up Beetle with a brand-new engine. Only a few people had any suspicion that this was so. The pool of suspects was very narrow, but the cops couldn’t care. By the time I found out where the car was, it was in the impound lot and the towing and storage charges were too much for me to redeem the car.
Three times I’ve come home to find that raccoons had invaded my home while I was gone and utterly trashed my kitchen, up to the point of several thousand dollars worth of damage.
Ironically, the one that occurred to me first was when we came back from our honeymoon. Everything was fine except for one dead bird lying on the carpet. No active maggots — they had all pupated in the carpet, and I spent a couple of hours picking fly pupae out of my carpet. What fun.
Miraculously, I still enjoy taking vacations, but always feel a sense of dread when arriving home.”
That Is Some “Welcome Home!”
“A few years ago I was on vacation with three friends. We stayed in a village outside a small rural city in Greece that belonged to the parents of two of my friends (who were pretty obviously brothers).
The next-door neighboors were on vacation and were not due to come for a few more days, as they had informed my friends’ parents, just in case. So one night, my friends and I were out having a drink and we returned to find them very worried. There was noise coming out of the house next door.
All four of us are airsoft players and one is a police officer. So with three modified Glock 42s’ (packing enough punch into a BB to stop someone at close range) and one real USP (our friend’s service weapon he always had with him, just in case), the four of us proceed to sweep the house carefully, SWAT-style.
Halfway through the sweep, we realized the noise was coming from a T.V. We finished the sweep and nobody was in the house, while at the same time nothing was disturbed. We gathered in the living room, where the T.V. was on, wondering what happened when someone entered through the front door and turned the lights on. Only to find four weapons aimed at him by four people taking cover in every possible location in the living room.
The couple had returned a few days earlier, forgot to notify their neighbors, got home, turned on the T.V., figured they would go and grab something to eat, and forgot to turn the T.V. off and returned home to find us. At least the two brothers recognized them quickly.
Ok, after the first shock they were very nice and even thanked us for what we tried to do. But I can’t help but try to think what would go through their minds when facing four weapons (they could not have known that three of them were not real) in their living room just as they had gotten back from vacation.”
One Month Without Power
“At the time, I was living in the UK and had just returned from a six-week holiday in South Africa. As I opened the front door, there was the horrible stench of rotting meat. I followed my nose and found it was strongest in the kitchen. The power to the electrical circuit that supplied the freezer was off. The smell was much worse on opening the freezer door – all the contents of the fridge and freezer were at room temperature!
It turns out the area had a short power outage just after we had left on holiday. When the power was restored, the earth leakage RCD tripped out which meant the freezer was without power for around one month. We had ice cream and meat in the freezer, but the worst smell was coming from an opened bag of salmon. I put the contents of the fridge and freezer into black bags tied these up and put them in the bin – even then we could still smell the meat in the bin. I steam cleaned the fridge freezer and washed it with vinegar and bicarbonate of soda a few times, but it took almost one month for the freezer to smell ‘normal’ again!”
At Least The Cats Had A Blast
“We had spent Thanksgiving in Kentucky with our daughter and family. We arrived home, south of Nashville, very late and were eager to get to bed.
We entered through the door that opens onto the driveway and goes into our commercial kitchen on the end of our house. As the door opened, we were met with a flood of water that poured over our feet! The room had been filled with at least four inches of water, and it’s a big room!
We figured out what happened: Upstairs our bathroom has an old clawfoot tub with the old fixtures that have hot and cold handles that can be turned on but the faucet and showerhead can be turned off. Someone had left it that way, and our cats, (who love water!) had jumped up and pulled the shower lever!
To make it worse, we had a clog in our sewer pipe we didn’t know about until there was a constant flow of water. So the water that was draining from the tub was backing up in the lowest place in the house, our kitchen.
Instead of going to bed, we spent the next several hours draining, mopping and squeegeeing. Then we had to call for a visit from a plumber, which was extra expensive on a holiday weekend. Fortunately, there was little damage since the room was built to deal with water. We just had a lot to dry out.”