OK.....I could use some honest, unbiased opinions here....and some advice on how I should handle this situation.
I own very little in the world. I have very little that matters. If I were to die tomorrow, I would have next to nothing to show for my life, at least, nothing of value. Nothing to leave to anyone, at least, nothing that they'd really care to have (ok....maybe Duncan).
So my house is very valuable to me. Not the house itself, per se, since I don't own it, but the contents. Everything I own of any value TO ME is in my house. Most importantly, my "babies" are in my house.
So it's only with an extreme amount of trust that I would leave someone in charge of my house & my babies while I go on vacation. I wouldn't entrust the responsibility to just anyone.
So I asked my friend Alicia to stay at my house while I was in AL. If I had wanted someone to just feed the animals, I would have just asked my awesome neighbor, Nick, to do that. He's right next door, loves the animals, & has a set of keys. But I wanted someone to STAY here, so that my babies would have some human companionship. Toby, in particular, is VERY attention needy, & even Duncan & Ernie get antsy when I am away. Alicia stayed at my house in June/July when I went on my cruise (although, so did Dave, & even Amy/Rashad), & everything went well. I decided I didn't want my keys passed around through a million different hands this time, I only wanted ONE person responsible for my house & babies. I did NOT want Amy & Rashad (boyfriend & girlfriend, Amy is my friend) staying there this time. (A) I knew they'd have sex in my house (sorry, that's just kinda creepy...my house is not a hotel, & no one washed the sheets, etc.), & (B) when they are together, they tend to only have eyes for each other. I didn't want Toby shivering outside while they kick it inside & get all lovey-dovey. I suspected that would happen. Also, while he would never do it in the house, Rashad smokes, & the smell of smoke tends to linger on a person & follow them inside, & I just didn't want that happening. Etc., etc. It was nothing personal. I knew they would feed the pets & care for them, & not burn the house down or throw parties...but I just want one person there, & only one set of keys out.
I would joke with my friend Mary, "Hey, Mary, do you & Brian want to stay at my place while I'm gone & play house?" Every time, Alicia would say, poutingly, "I thought *I* was staying at your house?" I would explain that I was only kidding with Mary, & of course, she was still staying there. But as it got closer to my time to leave, I started getting a gut feeling that Alicia didn't want to stay at my house. I asked her, point-blank, "Do you not want to stay at my house anymore?" She assured me she did, but that she couldn't stay there Xmas Eve night or Xmas Day (night or day), because she'd be in OC with her family. I told her that was totally understandable, & I'd make arrangements for Nick to feed them those days. I knew he wouldn't mind.
Then one day, I was at work, & I heard Amy telling someone how Alicia had asked her to watch my house on Xmas Eve & Xmas Day, & how Rashad had jumped at the chance (they don't get time alone, since both live with their families). I told Amy, "Well, I actually won't need you to stay there those days, since I already talked to my neighbor about them, & it's all set. He's taking care of them those two days." I thought that would be the end of it, but just for good measure, I decided to mention that to Alicia, AGAIN. Erin, Alicia, & I were walking out after work, & I said to Alicia, "I do NOT want Amy & Rashad staying at my house while I am gone. I do not feel they would be as responsible, nothing person against them." I explained my reasoning, & she said, "Well....I don't think they'd be irresponsible." And I said, "Nevertheless, I do NOT want them staying there."
I thought that would be the end of it.
Alicia stayed with me Thursday night, to take me to the airport (5 minutes or less from my house & I offered gas money). According to the other girls at work (who have absolutely NO reason to lie about it), Alicia came to work that day & handed Amy MY set of keys & asked her to stay at my house the next few days. I had given Alicia MY set, so that she could check the mail (I get a LOT of mail, including lots of magazines, & didn't want the box to get full), since I didn't have a copy of the mailbox key. I had instructed her to put my keys back on my keyring, & leave them in the house, so I could have them when I got back.
I am going about my merry little way, blissfully unaware of any of this, blindly trusting. I called Nick on Wednesday to give him my flight info (he was picking me up), & the first thing he says is, "I'm confused." I ask him what he's confused about, & he says, "What days did you want me to feed the animals?" I said, "Xmas Eve & Xmas Day." He says, "Well, that's what I thought, & that's why I am confused. I went over there Monday night---Xmas Eve---and yesterday---Xmas Day---and the red Mercedes was parked in the driveway both times." At first, I was confused over who the red Mercedes belonged to...then I remembered RASHAD---Amy's boyfriend---has a red Mercedes. Argh! Alicia drives a blue Beretta. So I ask him if he's seen the blue car---Alicia's car---and he said he had NEVER seen the blue car. The red car was almost always there...including one day when he knocked on the door & rang the bell to try to figure out what was going on, & no one answered (but he heard stirring inside). So now I was confused & PISSED. I worried about it & was pissed about it the remaining days I was in AL.
So Nick picks me up at the airport on Friday, around 6PM. He tells me he STILL never saw the blue car. But he hadn't seen the red car for the last couple of days, either, but had seen a black mini-SUV in the driveway on Thursday night. He said he also thought that Toby had slept outside at night (he freezes during the day, night is much worse, & he always sleeps inside), but he couldn't be sure about that. He also said when he went in the house that day after work (4PM), the cats had no food, no water, & Toby's food dish was outside (he always gets fed inside). Also, my mail had literally been overflowing out of my box, & he had to pull some magazines out. Nick ran me by Sav-On to drop my film off for one hour development, & then took me home. He let me in my house with his set of keys...at which time I discovered that mine were no where to be found. I had to keep Nick's set to be able to go anywhere (you have to have a key to lock the door from the outside). I called Alicia, & almost immediately said, "Alicia, where are my keys? I can't leave the house, I can't check my mail....I gave them to you at the airport, but you were supposed to hang them up so I'd have them when I got back." And she says, innocently, "Ohhhhhhhh.....that's right. I have them. (pause) Actually....Amy has them." So I say, "Why does Amy have them?????" And she says, "Well, I got really sick, so I asked Amy to stay there." I said, "Alicia, you really should have called me if something changed. I left the number on the fridge, & it's not like it would have been long distance to you....it's my phone line." She says she knows...she should have. At this point, I wanted to strangle her through the phone, so I needed to get off before I said something nasty. I told her that I would go call Amy, & would see her tomorrow.
I called Amy & we talked a bit. I told her to please bring my keys tomorrow, cause I couldn't check my mail or anything. She said she had checked it at some point, & left it on the couch. My keys were on her keychain, so she'd have them for me the next day. I would just have to keep Nick's set until then.
So I go to work the next day. Everyone comes at me with big hugs, telling me how much they missed me. Alicia comes in, & I couldn't bring myself to say much of anything to her. Mary asked me if something was wrong, cause I didn't seem "normal." I went over the "schedule" with Amy, to try to figure out exactly when she had stayed at the house. Apparently, she (she meaning her AND Rashad, most of the time) stayed there Saturday night (the day I left), all day & night Sunday, Monday morning---went to work Monday---came back Monday night, & left after feeding the animals Xmas morning (Tues.). I think she also came back & stayed Tuesday night. According to Alicia, she came Wednesday night & stayed over & left REALLY early Thursday morning (had to be REALLY early, cause Nick leaves for work at 7AM & he NEVER saw her car), & came back REALLY late Thursday night, feed everyone, & left (didn't stay). The holes in this theory include the fact that Alicia called in sick to work on Thursday. She talked to Amy Wednesday to see if Amy could stay at my house instead of her, cause supposedly her car wasn't working well. Amy said she couldn't stay there Wednesday night, & supposedly called Amy from my house later that night, saying she had made it up here. Alicia said she was the one who left Toby's dish outside Thursday night, because she knew she wouldn't be there to feed him Friday morning, so she left him extra food outside with him. She also said she was there til really late, so she had NO CLUE who's black mini-SUV that was parked in my driveway. Amy didn't know who it was, either. At this point, I didn't know how many hands my keys had passed through. Some strange car had been parked in my driveway. I suspected Toby spent a couple of cold nights alone outside. I didn't know if occasions had passed without the animals eating. While Amy appeared to be very honest with me (I asked her if they had had sex in the house, & she said, "Yes, once."), I just got a gut feeling that Alicia was lying to me.
For one thing....her excuse as to why she had asked Amy to stay at my house was because she had gotten sick. According to the girls at work, Alicia did NOT get sick until Thursday. She was perfectly healthy when she asked Amy to stay there on Saturday.
Also, I was blatantly clear that I did NOT want Amy & Rashad there. She disobeyed that instruction. I also told her to put my keys back on my chain & leave them in the house. She didn't do that, either. She claims to have stayed over a "couple of nights," but even by her own story, she would have only stayed there Wednesday night. And my sheets were undisturbed (while Amy/Rashad sleep in the living room, Alicia sleeps in my bed). I noticed two videos sitting out where they didn't belong, & while Amy admitted to watching one of them, no one claimed having the other one out (how did it get there, then?). I left my three remote controls by the VCR when I left. I may not be the most organized person in the world, but I actually do keep up with some things. When I tried to use the VCR New Year's Eve, I couldn't find the TV or VCR remote. I finally found the TV one, on the couch (things had NOT been put back where they belonged, & I had tons of trash to throw away when I got back.....I think if you stay at someone's house, you leave it the way you found it!), but I couldn't find the VCR one anywhere. Amy said she had seen it next to the VCR when she was there, but hadn't used it cause she couldn't get it to work (the power button doesn't work, which may lead someone to think the whole thing doesn't work). Alicia claims she never saw it. I finally found it between the couch pieces. Who put it there? I sarcastically said to them, "Well, we'll just blame everything being in the wrong places to the mysterious driver of the mysterious black mini-SUV."
I am getting over my anger, & starting to get along with Alicia again. People definitely noticed something different between us at work at first, because we are usually very chummy. I didn't think it would do any good to confront her again, cause I didn't think I'd get any more truth than I had the first few times I asked. I am not a person to hold grudges.
So.....do I/did I have a right to be angry? How should I have handled this situation? Should I ask Alicia for her set of keys back (I have always let her keep a set)? How do I go about doing that? Should I just forgive & move on, but never trust Alicia to stay here again? Let it go...forgive...but not forget & make the same mistake twice (by trusting her to stay here again in the future)? Part of me thinks I over-reacted, the other part of me knows I didn't....this is my house...these are my babies. Do ya'll think I am over-reacting? Did I handle it okay? How should I proceed from here?
I'd appreciate any advice....this is still bugging me, & I have been back a week. Alicia is like my best friend in the world, so this hurt me deeply...
She also always professes to be "so mature"....but it seems that what she did was really immature & irresponsible...and deceitful. So I suppose I am more hurt than angry...although anger was definitely there.