Last week, I went away with some longtime friends for an all-female mini-vacation. We are a bit spread out now, so we chose to meet in DE. We rented a house in Bethany Beach, so we would have a place to hang out and talk at night.
As far as rental tenants go, we are a home owner’s dream come true. We traveled without kids/husbands/pets. We don’t cook when we’re away. We don’t have wild parties, play music loudly, or do anything else that will annoy the neighbors. We even clean up after ourselves. We ask very little in return for $400 a night, but we got less than little. The trip got off to a bad start. First we couldn’t get in because it is a gated but not guarded community and the owner never gave us the security code for the gate. When we called the phone number she gave us for problems, it went right to voice mail and it took 22 hours for the guy to respond to our call. When we finally got in (We followed on the tail of the mail truck.), we discovered the house had not been cleaned. There were food crumbs on the tables and floor, layers of dust and cobwebs, and a filthy oven. (When the guy called the next day his response to this was – yeah I noticed a few days ago it was really dirty but someone was supposed to take care of that.) Some of the smoke alarms were missing batteries. (Perhaps a response to the filthy oven?) We also were greeted with an additional list of rules such as don’t dry towels in the dryer, don’t use fragrant spices when cooking, don’t lay or sit on bedspreads and decorative pillows, and don’t use an excessive amount of air conditioning.
Now that we’ve read all the rules and cleaned up, we came to the realization we couldn’t leave. If we went out to dinner, how would we get back in? So we decided to hike around the tiny community of homes to find someone at home who was willing to give us their code. It took a while, but we did it.
Despite all of this, we still had fun. We all met a little more than thirty years ago and our lives have taken us in many different directions. Our politics are not the same. Our worries are not the same. But we still connect and that’s a wonderful thing.
As for all the house issues – they will give something to laugh about in the future and they will provide me with fodder to write about.
Tomorrow I’ll be at the Barnes & Noble in Holmdel, NJ from 4-6 PM. If you’re in the area, stop by to say hi and talk books or vacation horror stories – your pick!
“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet.
Even longer,’ Pooh answered.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh