Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Essential Oils Are Killing Me

The other day I tweeted this:
Look. I don't actually know anything about essential oils except that they are oils and they are ESSENTIAL.

I don't know what they are. I don't know what they do. I don't know if they save or kill the dolphins. I. Just. Don't. Know.

Everything you read in this post might offend the rosy grandma scent right out of your house. And I invite you to tell me so.

But not until next week. Put it on your calendar. In one week you can send me an angry email about how I blasphemed a sacred multi-level marketing order.

This week, I want to just complain at you about essential oils without an ounce of opposition from you. IT'S MY RIGHT AS A TECHNICALLY-MILLENNIAL.

So you can fully understand the angst in the above tweet I must give you some background.

As you are aware, I had a nervous breakdown last year and then signed up for Airbnb while in a meeting because I was semi convinced I was going to be unemployed and running through the desert in my grandma's underwear by the next full moon. Not during the next full moon. By it.

Over the next many months I hosted a number of really great travelers. I've made some friends with the chatty ones, but most just keep to themselves in my dark and dingy why-would-anyone-pay-to-stay-there basement.

And even though I know my friendliness and customer-service-people-pleaser skills are on point, every single time someone has left me a positive review I have been a little shocked by this.

Things were going along just fine until the essential oils people descended upon me in June.

Four women stayed with me for an entire week while they attended some giant essential oils conference near Salt Lake. Until they stayed with me, I had never even heard of essential oils.

They were nice enough people. I probably would have been friends with them if we met in a different way. But, y'all.

During the course of that week, they came home every night at 2:00 AM, slamming doors and screaming like youthssss. They had a trillion requests. They complained about everything including that I didn't have a big enough full-length mirror in the basement and I "really should have given a warning in the listing."

They were supposed to check out on a Sunday morning. But they stayed until MIDNIGHT. I could have kicked them out, technically. But I was trying to be nice and I didn't want to end on a really bad note.

When I got to the basement, the place was trashed. Literally. There was trash everywhere. And the bathroom had like 17 used tampons on the floor NOT THAT WE KNOW WHAT TAMPONS ARE and there were oil stains on the couch and bed, ESSENTIAL stains, and they even broke some stuff.

For reference, literally every guest I had had up to that point left the place exactly as clean as they found it. I've even had several guests wash their own sheets and tell me on their way out that the sheets were tumbling in the drier. (I of course assume that those people wet the bed BUT STILL).

So this was a very new thing for me.

My friend Adam is a host as well and he had an even worse experience that same week. His essential oils women brought children and nanny. The nanny was a bigger mess than the children. It got so bad that Adam actually had to get Airbnb involved in resolving a dispute.

After the June experience, I blocked out the entire month of July on my Airbnb calendar just to give myself a break and emotionally recover from the experience.

A woman had booked my place for this week some time ago and I didn't really know any details surrounding her stay until just a few days before check-in when she messaged me and said that she was coming with a group to attend an essential oils conference.

I legit started having the PTSD shakes.

In my listing I have a limit of FOUR people per booking. FOUR. onetwothreeFOUR. I don't even like having that many. And I definitely don't want more than that.

Over the weekend the woman who booked the place messaged me and her message was basically this:

Hi Eli. We are excited to check in on Monday. On Monday June, Serendipity, Gladys, and Jennifer will come and then on Tuesday Gladys will leave and Tiffany will be there and halfway through the day Jennifer and June are leaving and Tiffany's grandma will come and Gladys will turn into a man and a woman named Janice is going to show up to relive Serendipity of her duties who will then go outside on Thursday and Sarah will show up just before Sara and by that time Jennifer will be leaving so Tamara is going to take her place and then Rita will come but only once Sarah and Sara leave and Rita's four children will be there as well so on Saturday how many people will be leaving tampons on your bathroom floor?

You guys. It was like a math problem. FOR A COLLEGE COURSE. She gave me this itinerary that included so many names that I legit sat down at a table with a pad and pen and drew diagrams to figure out how many people were going to be pooping in my house this week.

GOOD THING I STUDIED ALL THAT TIME FOR THE LSAT.

By the time I was done, I figured out that over the course of the week like nine people were going to be staying at my house, but never more than four at a time.

I didn't love this and felt that it violated the spirit of the rule, albeit not the letter.

Meanwhile, I had gotten eleventy high maintenance questions and requests over the last few weeks about the exact size of the couch and how comfortable the bed is and what color are the sheets and "will your dog be a problem?"

OH NO THEY DI'INT.


Then on Saturday they finally crossed the line. One of the nine women sent me a message, informing me that she was going to be bringing her children so there would actually be more than four people staying in the basement most nights and "I know it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission but I thought I would give you the courtesy of informing you that we are not going to be obeying that rule."

I was with Matt in the car when I got this message and Matt went on a rant in response in such a strong southern accent that Forrest Gump just won another Academy Award. He told me it was time to cancel this reservation.

I sent this guest and the original booker messages, telling them that if they had more than four people they would have to find different accommodations. They both responded, begging me not to cancel and promising that they would find a different place for the daughter to stay and they "for sure" wouldn't have more than four people in the house at any given time.

So I relented.

I realize at this point that any bad thing that happens is really my fault.

The first batch checked in on Monday, including a woman who is so old that Titanic just won another Academy Award. She basically had to be lowered into my basement using a crane operated by the other women because she couldn't walk down the stairs.

To be honest, I loved this woman with every fiber of my being. Every time I left the house and then returned, she would yell up the stairs, "DID YOU BRING ME ANY ICE CREAM?!" and then she would cackle laugh with her 20-packs-a-day-since-the-sixties smoker voice.

But she only stayed one night. I think. Unless she's still down there.

When I woke up on the first morning, the smell of grandma perfume was so strong that I had to stick my head outside every few minutes just to breathe.

I went to work and ranted about this to a coworker, telling him that essential oils are a "hoax" and they "stink" and anyone who spends money on them is an "idiot" and---

He pointed his finger to a device on his desk that was currently emitting essential oils. And when I opened my mouth to apologize he cut me off and yelled "YOU'RE WELCOME FOR HELPING YOU LOOK 30 YEARS YOUNGER" which was actually a somewhat-impressive insult.

When I got home Rebecca showed up at my house because she's in town this week. Rebecca is 17 months pregnant and I had to remove a wall just so she could get into the house. The essential oils had grown even stronger. And she was with me, much to her dismay, when the woman who booked the place showed up and Rebecca had to witness me asking her to "please cool it on the essential oils" because "I think I might actually be dying from them."

The woman did not look pleased. And when she started telling me that actually I should be thanking them because essential oils cure cancer in 11/10 whales, I directed her to the Costco bag of Cheetos on my kitchen table and asked her if I looked like the right audience for this.

To their credit, the essential oils are at like half potency today. And I do look 30 years younger.

OMG THEY'RE GETTING TO ME.

And, for those whom I have not offended, please remember to get your Strangerville Live tickets for our Friday show. As a teaser, I think Jolyn's story is the best content I've ever seen her produce. The show is at Impact Hub in Salt Lake City (150 South State Street) this Friday at 8:00.

Get tickets at the Paypal button below.



~It Just Gets Stranger

64 comments:

  1. I hope these essential oil ladies haven't turned you off Airbnb forever because I'm wondering how much it would cost to fly to SLC now and if I came just by myself could I just hang out with you and Duncan?!?

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    1. (I'm not kidding, I'm searching airbnb now)

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    2. Obviously I have an open invite for all Strangers to stay with me for free and for as long as they want. It's a reciprocal agreement everyone agreed to by virtue of accessing the site. I plan to live and all of your basements one day. And eat all of your Cheetos.

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    3. The Cheetos are waiting for you in Kalamazoo - just sayin'

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    4. You are welcome to live in our basement. We will even provide an air mattress in case the sump pump stops working. :-)

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    5. I live in South Texas and we don't do basements here, y'all. I do, however, have a very lovely upstairs bonus room you're welcome to use. No privacy from my family or the neighbors (lots of windows), but you shouldn't hide your glorious hair in a basement anyway. Oh, also, please be prepared to sleep with at least four cats. And my dog. Please give me advance notice so that I can spend eleventy million years finding a parking space at Costco and buy Cheetos in bulk.

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    6. My basement is 4 feet high and unfinished. We call it our troll basement (there's more to that story). I just laughed out loud at the thought of you living in my troll basement!

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    7. I can't wait to tell my husband that I'm going to Utah to stay with a guy I met on the internet! And here in Canada we have Cheezies, which are even better than Cheetos.

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    8. Eli, if you're ever in Paraguay you can cash in on this agreement. BYOCheetos though, they're just not very good here.

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    9. WHY ARE YOU IN PARAGUAY I WANT TO VISIT!

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    10. My apartment in DC doesn't have a basement but it has a futon that everyone else stays on!

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    11. So can I come and can I bring my four daughters (two of which are twins so technically should count as 1) and my dog (who would love Duncan unless they got into a fight about which one loves you more because my dog loves EVERYONE because you can tell by home much a dog loves you by how much he licks you and my dog licks EVERYONE always) and I do not like essential oils except that I bought some tea tree oil for my daughter (not one of the twins) because of some skin thing one time and it was insanely expensive and then I had to mix it with coconut oil because the internet told me told and use it on her stomach but neither of us likes the smell so we don't use it and now there is eleventy hundred dollars I shelled out to Whole Foods (who is being purchased by Amazon so I should have gotten a discount).

      So, I'll be there on Tuesday for eleventy days, give or take. Thank you very much.

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    12. Eli, I'm in Paraguay working for Elevate Global. We team up with MFI's and other lending institutions to train their borrowers on basic finance and leadership. The goal is to help them grow their businesses and thus improving the local and national economies as well as helping them improve their lives! I love it! I've been here for 2 1/2 years.

      I live in a nice company house, so we have a guest room here waiting for you. We'll take you to Iguazu Falls if you come visit!

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  2. When I learned we would be going to your part of Utah in October for my brother in law's wedding, I legit looked for your place on airbnb. And then I worried about being a stalker so I texted my sister but she replied "that would be soooo cool!" And so I continued. But I couldn't find you. Maybe I needed to narrow my search to "dark and dingy basement". Seriously though, if you find yourself being waved at enthusiastically by a blonde mom with four blonde daughters and a confused looking husband, it's just me!!! Also, essential oils are the WORST except when I had bronchitis and they soothed my cough. I really think it was probably a fluke though.

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    1. Yes! Come stay with me! One word of warning, I do require all guests to give Tami a full-body massage.

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    2. Um- I know the math is a problem for you but doesn't that make 6 people? Are Strangers allowed to break the rule???? (BTW Amy - that might be why you couldn't find him. And if you see Eli I DEMAND pictures on Instagram!)

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    3. Hahaha, yeah that's probably why it really was just stalking- I knew we wouldn't actually stay there. Although to be fair, I had no idea he has a guest limit until this post because I never did find him bc I am no #stalkergoals I am more like #stalkerfail. But I think I have now officially been invited to 1. The family reunion (potato salad was amazing) 2. Stay at his airbnb EVEN with six people (take that oil people) 3. Give Tami a massage- which, considering the first time I "stalked/met" Eli was the day of her birth I would say brings me full circle. Thank you, and good night. (Mike drop)

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    4. Poor Mike. 😂 (Ames, shouldn't it be a mic drop??)

      I'm still jealous that my sister has seen Eli's hair in person. Just as well, I'd probably faint.

      Fainting aside, Eli, the invitation is mutual. There's a guest bedroom with an attached bathroom reserved for you in a house in Gabon if you ever get a hankering for traveling to Africa in the next two years. Beats couch surfing at least. There are enough twin beds for you to bring two friends. Duncan is welcome. My family of six is too large for your basement, but I might reserve it for a night or two the next time I'm in Utah just to get to visit and meet Duncan.

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    5. LETS MAKE A BACKROOM DEAL, Mimi!! When Eli takes you up on this offer to come to Africa, you let me know the deets and I WILL COME THEN TOO. How weird that my trip coincides with his. DONT TELL ANYONE OUR SECRET PLAN. (Stalker achievement level- unlocked) #stalkerwin MIC DROP (can I admit to laughing to myself right now and my three year old wants to know why...) Look, Duncan, throw this stick at Eli and distract him!

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  3. We had an air bnb guest for a week once. He brought all his own food and dishes, and backed his rental car into the fire hydrant near the end of our driveway after spending 15 minutes executing a 437 point turn trying to escape said driveway (it's not that long, and it's wide, and he fell off it at least once, spun his tires in the grass, leaving a huge rut, and forgot to roll up his window overnight while it was raining). He asked where we were going every time we left the house. He'd also apparently never met a dog. We have two. I told my husband no more Air BnB. I can't handle just getting to know someone and then having them leave.

    P.S. If you're ever in the Virginia area, you're welcome to stay in our fictional basement with all my husband's other wives.

    P.P.S. Is it possible the essential oils are making your hair even more stunning?

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  4. *dabs nutella/coconut/oldsocks essential oil behind ears*

    For the record, y'all, the little shit never did bring me any ice cream.

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    1. This comment is the best thing on the internet.

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    2. I choked on the pancake I was eating.

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    3. SOMEONE GET ANONYMOUS A NEW PANCAKE.

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  5. Question: Where did the kids go?? You say the woman who gave you "courtesy notice" about bringing kids found somewhere else for them to stay, but it sounds like she still stayed in your apartment? Are these grown kids? Are they abandoned children left outside in the gutter (so technically not on your property?) WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CHILDREN?

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  6. I use essential oils and absolutely love them. But when these conferences are in town I will go out of my way and catch the train 30 minutes early so I don't have to be stuck in a small space with 50+ people DRENCHED in every essential oil known to man. I really feel for you Eli! You are a saint for not killing these people. I mean, even if you left the bodies in the basement, you still wouldn't have to deal with smelly dead people because the essential oils would overpower the stench of their rotting corpses.

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  7. I feel your pain. I've told somebody in my office that her oils make me sick. She uses them and instantly my allergies flare up and I am about to die. She knows this, she hears my sneezing and sniffling and moaning, and still uses them. Essential oils are evil.

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  8. I downright believe essential oils are a cult (no offense Anonymous above that uses them). Every person I know that uses them tries to lasso me into becoming a member every chance they get. I've heard how they cure every ailment known to man yet most of the people are still sick regularly so evidently they're only temporary cures . . . .

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  9. Oh god, I am so tired of hearing about essential oils! Every time my son has any sort of ailment I get friends insisting I try them. "Oh, little guy's got a runny nose? Try this desert cactus flower oil!" "Oh no, he skinned his knee? Have you tried infusing oil of monkey's armpit into his bedroom at night?" Maybe some of them help, I don't know, but for some reason the people who use them are SO PUSHY that I avoid them all now on principle. In any case, I hope you survive the week, and I hope you don't find an old lady in your basement next week!

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    1. I can /maybe/ see how essential oils /might/ aid ailments like colds and stuffy noses and such, but I work with a lady who tried to convince me that essential oils would help with cramps. Umm, what? Is my uterus going to be breathing in the scents? If it's capable of breathing, it's certainly capable of not trying to kill itself once a month.

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    2. Anonymous, my sister tried to convince me of the same thing and told me that if I would just soak a tampon in some oils that it would cure my cramps among other things. I told her that there was no way I would do that and she insisted it's perfectly safe. A quick Google search told me otherwise, there are whole websites devoted to injuries from oils and the one below is one of the top rated!


      "Was advised by a consultant to soak a tampon in tea tree oil, insert it before bed, wear it overnight and by the morning my yeast infection would be cleared up. Before bed that evening I put 5 drops of Tea Tree Oil on the tip of a tampon (I was worried about soaking the tampon as she instructed & using too much), I inserted the tampon and soon noticed a warm sensation. I called the representative as she told me it was normal and how I knew it was working. I went to bed and woke up about 6-7 hours later feeling like napalm had been poured into my vagina. I could not remove the tampon myself the pain was so bad. A neighbor drove me to the nearest hospital; They removed the tampon immediately and treated me for chemical burns with a prescription of burn jelly to continue using for the next 10 days, and more antibiotics to prevent the burn from becoming infected. At the 30 days check the tissue had scabbed over & partially healed. The 60 day exam the scabs were all gone but he noted I may have scars remaining and at the 90 day exam he told me scarring was present and would likely not completely heal."

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    3. I use tea tree oil for acne (the only thing I use any essential oil for ever) and omg I would never, EVER think about using that product anywhere near my vagina! It is potent and can make my face tingle a bit -- I don't want to imagine how it would burn more sensitive areas! The fact a woman would suggest soaking a tampon in it is horrifying to me. SO unhygienic and misguided.

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  10. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_Ecmciv9zI Using Essential Oils - Ultra Spiritual Life episode 33 From AwakenwithJP He explains essential oils so well. Oh and gluten if you get a chance to watch that one.

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    1. JP is the only spiritual guru anyone needs.

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  11. Is there any way you can say "Essential Oil gurus need not apply"?

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  12. Ugh, essential oils. My sister is obsessed with them and it makes me crazy. I am a firm believer they have a purpose in some instances but being rubbed on the temples, and the back of the knees, and two drops under your tongue every 4 hours EVERY. SINGLE. DAY is a bit much. My sister moved into my parents basement for a couple of months while she was transitioning for a big move out of the country and the basement will never be the same. While she was there it constantly smelled of lavender making love with black pepper and sage but now it just smells like someone died. Maybe that is why the oil enthusiasts apply it so much because once you stop it's awful. I'm praying to the God's of all things Stranger that your dungeon/basement makes it out unscathed.

    Since they are there though you should make the most of it and do something like ask them to cure one of your ailments. I promise you will get a kick out of the myriad of solutions they will come up with if you will only buy eleventy billion of their oils. They will probably even cure all the hangnails and halitosis your future children will ever have. OR if you want to see steam come out of their ears mention that most hospitals ban people from bringing essential oils in hahahhahahahhaah.

    .....I'm not bitter about my sisters oil habits at all. I'm moving on now.

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  13. This post/the comments on this post have pretty much* made my week. THANK YOU.

    *I almost said "essentially," but rethought that one at the last sec!

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  14. Faith Imogene Smith.
    Strangers never pass up a pun.
    NEVER.

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    1. I don't know why I passed it up, really! Looking back at it, you're absolutely right. I'll sit myself in the corner for the appropriate amount of time, and think about what I've done.

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  15. If you ever want to come to Grand Rapids MI, you're always welcome to crash on our couch! I'll buy you all Cheetos you want as long as you bring Duncan with you!

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  16. I am living through this hell right now. I have family members in town for the oil convention. I am going to have to burn my furniture and I am definitely not getting my security deposit back.

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  17. All of this health stuff being sold in these multi-level marketing schemes is terrifying. These people have NO idea what they are selling. Don't even get me started on Shakeology and their very powerful medicinal herbs being sold as "superfoods". Why can't we just go back to selling tupperware?

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  18. You and all eleventy dogs are always welcome in Westchester, New York or my backwoods haunted New Hampshire home!

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  19. I saw this meme one day and couldn't stop laughing. https://artisanessentialtwo-ecomgreenllc.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Artisan-Aromatics-meme-battlefield.png

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  20. Can someone please explain how "airbnb" is pronounced? I mistakenly, according to my sister, thought it was pronounced as one word "airbn" the last "b" silent as in "dumb". She pointed out the bnb stand for bed & breakfast so it should be said "b and b". But do you really provide breakfast or is it just a misnomer?

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    1. It depends on the host on whether breakfast is provided. I stayed at three different Airbnbs while visiting New Zealand and only one of them offered me breakfast. But I would agree that your sister that it stands for bed and breakfast.

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    2. Yeah its pronounced "Air B and B" and the idea is that Bed and Breakfasts used to be just people letting you stay in a bedroom in their house as you traveled and feeding you breakfast in the morning. So the general idea with airbnb is that the host opens up a room of their house for someone to stay in. But that's kind of where the similarities stop between a traditional b&b and airbnb. I would be surprised if an airbnb host ACTUALLY treated you like a paying guest and made breakfast for you.

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  21. I use peppermint oil for my headaches because it's the only thing that helps. However, I try not to use it when other people are around because it can be very strong. Other days when I feel like I have a million daggers stabbing me in the head I don't care who can smell me and usually let everyone know that yes I am the one that smells like an old grandma (no offense to grandmas)..DEAL with it!!

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  22. Strong scents, especially perfumes, have a tendency to give my husband horrible headaches. Our relative got into essential oils, so of course the smells slapped us all in the face every time we walked in the door. Husband was miserable. We could never stay long. When the relative finally learned why, guess what suggestion she had? Another certain oil would help him!

    Eli, please feel free to complain about any multi-level marketing order any time, seriously. Come visit and do it in person, even.

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  23. On the train with this crowd and I feel your pain to a much smaller degree. Through my burning eyes I looked up the convention schedule for Young Living so you can block it out in 2018. http://www.cvent.com/m-events/Info/Summary?e=a4195953-0bc8-4a3e-a74f-c90e9f817310&fqp=true. If you can find them all you should be able to avoid future traps.

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    1. If only Young Living were the only essential oils game in town. This is Utah and people are addicted to this stuff. So we've also got to contend with people selling doTerra, House of Aromatics, Heritage Oils, Aura Cacia, Butterfly Express, Eden Gardens, Hopewell Oils, etc.

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  24. That sounds like an utter nightmare. Sounds like you need to block out those convention dates in the future! On another note, I found your Air Bnb listing and your check out time says Midnight....might need to fix that to avoid that again!!

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  25. I will acknowledge the belief that certain essential oils can do certain things. Peppermint in a humidifier when you are sick (that's essentially vapor rub, right?) or a pelasant smell for a calming effect (i.g. a candle), but beyond that, they're essentially vitamins...which also don't have the amazing effects people think they do (Eli, have you heard of Adam Ruins Everything? I feel like you would both love and hate it, and that would be incredibly amusing to hear you rant about.). Obviously there are expections. I mean laudinum did make you feel better...

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    1. Well, laudanum was an opiate, so ...

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  26. I feel you. Essential oils often bring out the crazies. Not always, but there is often religious zeal that accompanies use of them.

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  27. The last flight I was on smelled of EO. Someone must have applied the "defense" because you know, germs. Or maybe it was "Calming" because aviophobia of course. Either way it was stanky. I kept looking around trying to decide which person within my vicinity was the perp.

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  28. I'm afraid to enter my cottage post essential oils stay (they just left today). I've had nothing but weird and frustrating experiences with essential oils people booking my Airbnb. In June, the woman cancelled her stay two days before check in. Last week, the woman that booked it wanted to cancel, but wanted me to refund her money (I have a strict cancellation policy). I said no, but that if she found someone to book in her place that we'd refund 50%. She found someone, they didn't end up booking. She then have the gall to ask for 50% if anyone else at all booked it (that she didn't find herself). I hate essential oils people. And now I already have both conventions booked for next year. BOTH. Apparently there are competing brands (cults) and each has a convention. They are THE WORST!!

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  30. Are you sure "essential oils" isn't code for something more sinister?? This sounds like a nightmare!

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  31. There's absolutely nothing fun about Alabama, however, I have returned for a brief moment to the dirt from which I was bred. And you guys are always welcome to come hang with me and my strangely much older boyfriend, our disfunctional Great Dane, and our stow-away stinky cats (I hate cats... they're from his previous shit show of a marriage) any time!

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  32. OMG! It is not BETTER to ask forgiveness than permission. It is EASIER. If she's going to be a jerk, she can at least get that right!

    Also, I love essential oils, but people SERIOUSLY overkill on them.

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