What we’ve got to remember never to do is rent a house sight unseen. Or, at the very least, photos unseen. Not that we would have been able to see this house’s particular issues from photos…but at least we would have had some sense of the appointments (or lack thereof) before we arrived for a week of R&R. (Aside: I’m still not convinced that R&R is possible with an attention-needy 5-year-old, but that’s neither here nor there.)
The first thing we noticed is that the small window air conditioners were ineffective in sucking out the moisture. It was a cool, windy, humid afternoon that later brought downpours and the house — with its open windows upon arrival and proximity to the salty ocean — was sticky and damp.
The next thing we noticed was that none of the six twin beds was even remotely comfortable. Barely even passable. And I am not terribly picky about beds. I sleep on pull-out sofas on the regular and just make it work. Even The Who mentioned the shitty accommodations, and he is not one for that either. The box springs were all shot, the metal frames slid around on casters on hardwood, and the mattresses were so lacking in form and structure that m* reported feeling actually seasick after having spent one night rolling around on them. (As for myself, I woke up Sunday morning with some kind of absurd sciatic nerve pain running down the entirety of my left leg. It’s Monday afternoon now and it’s still not gone. — ed. I paused writing here and now it’s Monday night; most of the pain is finally gone. Still a twinge now and then.)
The third thing was that there was no shower. Instead, just a big stand-alone bathtub with a hose attached to the faucet, ostensibly for rinsing off. There were no towels, no rugs on the floor, and there was no shower curtain (obvs. Because of the no shower thing.) Trying to hose off in that thing proved disastrous. Water all over the walls and floor and pretty much no way to wash soap off of our bodies. And neither of us is really in a position to take a bath these days.
The final straw was a complete lack of like, anything. Not a fork to be found in the whole joint. Not a single paper towel. No dish soap. I suppose on its own, this would not be a big deal, but piled on top of the other disappointments of the place (which was reasonably priced, but by no means a bargain) it was what put us over the top. Both of us were ready to throw the [non-existent] towel in and call bullshit on the whole vacation, but at the last minute were offered a few nights’ respite at my brother-in-law’s across the street, which would be empty until midweek.
So, that’s where we are now. It is stunningly better appointed (which stands to reason since it is lived in all summer) with quality central air. The beds are also all top of the line and the one I snagged isn’t even a twin. Plus: forks aplenty!
Luckily, I’ve been able to rally. The change in venue combined with the sun finally coming out and the easing up of the sciatica has given me a little bit of a new lease on vacation. Today, finally, sitting in the sand at the shoreline with my joyful kid as he delighted in being tossed around by the incoming tide and with the promise of some social plans with good friends also vacationing down here, I saw a break in the proverbial black cloud hanging over this week.
The Who seems to also be rolling with it. We are tense and on edge and have been trying hard to still show him a good time, but it’s not been easy. Today was better for him, I think. Unfortunately, m* is not rebounding as well as the rest of us. She got wound up pretty tight between getting ready to travel, all the initial discomfort, and then the strenuousness of the packing up again and moving — she’s going to need a vacation from her vacation. I’m hoping that a nice breakfast on the boards tomorrow and then some time alone to read in the afternoon will give her some of the bounce-back she is so desperately in need of.
Despite all of this legitimate disappointment, I am trying to take stock of what I have and put my finger on my gratitude. The low, droning whine of “my shoooooore hooooouse isn’t perfeeeeeect” is not becoming on me and I have so much. I am trying to look at my healthy, sun-kissed little boy and my supportive friends and family and my caring and understanding wife and count my blessings. That we have the means to take a vacation like this at all. That we have options — to stay in a hotel or to go back to our comfortable home. It’s hard when the coffee pot leaks all over the kitchen floor and the breakfast-cooking sets off the smoke alarm, but we’re trying to take it in stride.
Trying to laugh at it when we can and give empathetic shoulder pats when the humor hasn’t quite revealed itself yet. We’ll just chalk this one up and hope that the next one is better.