Today Bits and Pieces: Our Weekend Vacation Rental

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
–Carl Jung

You want to build memories for your children, then, when the grandchildren come along, you want to help build memories for them, also. You want to keep family unity even though some members don’t speak that often to one another you think if you get them in a close environment you will help to stimulate their sisterhood and brotherhood. So, you figure out how to gather your family in a neutral environment that they will all enjoy.

We have the luxury of the Internet and can link up to almost anything, anywhere in the world. One night a few years ago, I happened upon a vacation home rental service that listed homes for vacation rentals along the central California coastline. It showed homes nestled in beautiful forests and ones with magnificent coastline views. My idea of a coastline vacation is to plunk the family on the beach. So, for a few years in a row we came to this central California location. The family grew and more and more people with various personalities jointed our group. Some were born into the fold and others by affiliation.

This year was different. Why? Let me tell you about our vacation and you tell me why. First of all, the house we wanted from last year was not available. The search was on for another in the same location with the same amount of bedrooms. I found what I thought was the perfect location. The photo looked like it should be on the cover of a vacation rental magazine. It looked like the quintessential rental, paradise waiting to unfold. The process started with location being available on the dates we requested. The security deposit was made. Time for total payment came along and another $500.00 cleaning fee was added, but would be returned if we left the place spic and span. At the time I did not think this was such a bad request since we all keep homes and they are always neat, clean and well organized. Payment was made.

As the date for the mini mansion vacation at the beach advanced, I began to worry about all kinds of things, but put them in the back of my mind. During the vacation, they all crept back up to the surface and I became an anxiety, stress driven monster. This did not deter the wonderful memories I had hoped to gather for my family, nor did it deter the friendships rekindled in the family. Siblings gained new trust and admiration for each other’s habits and behavior. I on the other hand walked into this mini mansion, and saw all of the dainty rugs spattered all around. Okay, not a problem. I gathered them up and left them in a pile in the corner of the breakfast area. There was nothing I could do to protect the WHITE carpeting and the glass tabletops. There was nothing I could do to control the non-stop eating, pooping, and peeing. Trust me, I didn’t even try, but when one of the family members made a huge barbeque on the back patio I was nervous. I burst a capillary when I saw the huge platters of charred meat, and corn being brought in and set down near the white carpeting. I couldn’t eat a thing and all I could really think about was the four-page email stating all of the rules regarding the rental, which was sent a week or so before the vacation by the person renting us the house. It did not mention we could not barbeque and bring charred meat in such close proximity to disaster. Think about charcoal on anything white. Oh dear.

Many of my family members have big hair. Big hair is the hair you see on billboards and pictured in magazine ads for hair products. Imagine big hair thick, long wavy hair on seven females dropping millions of strands of it in the showers, bathroom floors and of course, you guessed it, on the white carpets. Not a problem because in the end we have contracted to do our own cleaning and there were vacuums on every floor of this four story abode. Now, imagine little grandchildren who need to be protected from the stairwells in this vacation villa, so furniture is moved and strategically placed to protect the innocent. Remember also, that I am the captain of this ship, and I need to remember where every piece of furniture, ottoman, tables, chairs, is placed originally, every dainty rug, every dish, pot, pan, towel and so on and I am responsible to have it replaced in its original spot before we leave. I am starting to go into overload and the vacation has two more nights and three more days.

The next day brings more shoes on the stairwells, items of clothing strewn in traditional as well as odd places. Pillows in rooms other than their own. Games scattered throughout the house with their pieces everywhere imaginable and unimaginable. Items from the beaches lined up on the patios drying for take home. Sand and little pebbles turn up everywhere. You know it is impossible to control grains of sand and tiny beach pebbles. It is all okay and part of the plan, right? Until, someone decides that someone’s birthday is a week from now and we should celebrate it tonight. Somehow, a huge chocolate cake appeared in the kitchen because someone decided, they were going to have a birthday celebration. This is when the detonation occurred in my head. The four pages of rules and regulations did not say that you couldn’t have a huge chocolate cake on white carpeting with all of those people and all of those kids, plus some visitors who just happened to be in the area. It did not say you have to worry your brains out over the house, it just said that you can be responsible for thousands of dollars for repairs. The pages mention the computer for guest use, the washer, dryer, the televisions, the kitchen appliances, coffeemaker, glass paneled doors, breakable shelf items, plumbing problems, tablecloths, etc, but those pages never mentioned the white carpeting. I had to hide in my room because I could not watch the chocolate cake being dispersed. I was called from my room to join in the party. The chocolate cake was consumed down to the last crumb and not a drop appeared on the white carpeting.

On the day we left for home we were all up bright and early, eating crepe suzettes, cleaning and washing the bed linens and preparing for the big, hygienic, spotless, sparkling clean up. All of us worked very hard to polish, clean and shine places others before us had forgotten. The mini vacation mansion was better for having us there and I will have you know that I learned for next time to check the stress levels at the door, enjoy the ruckus, the strewn messes, the hair, the barbeques, the chocolate cakes and know that my family will come through in the end and leave behind our glowing warmth and true love.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Diantha
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 11:48:46

    A great place for a vacation is @ Riconada Dairy in Santa Margarita, CA. It is neear San Luis Obispo. It is an alternative to Cambria and environs. You are in the central coast, but this is different. If you live in L.A. it is 200 miles north on the 101. I got it out of the Travel section of the paper this morning and thought I would share it with you. Let me know if you like it.


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