The house we’re renting on Cape Cod is a cute little cottage except for the roaches, although the pest control guy claims they’re beetles but he agrees that they should not be inside.
Here’s what I don’t understand, however, about this Summer on the Cape phenomenon. Why is everyone so anxious to pay such a premium for so much inconvenience? Okay, it’s pretty here. But what am supposed to do? Besides go to the beach, which is a quarter mile walk along a busy narrow road with no sidewalk, and I can’t drive because you have to be a resident to park there and even if I had a resident sticker I’d have to wait for an hour for a spot.
But back to the house….it is a cute little house. Let’s put little in italics, for emphasis, particularly for nine people. Four big people and five rugrats. The real problem, however, is that when we arrived, it had not been cleaned after the previous renters departed. It was passable, because rental agreements stipulate that you have to leave the house “broom-swept,” whatever that means (Who are these people? Do you think I want to go on vacation to clean somebody else’s house?), but the bathrooms hadn’t been cleaned, the trash had not been emptied, there was even coffee left in the pot. There was a pair of dirty underwear under the bed. Two pairs, in fact. I mean, ick.
After several calls to the rental agency, the homeowner began calling. He called three times. No, he did not want to apologize for charging us $2,700 for the privilege of staying in his dirty house. He wanted to tell us that the rental agency had been feuding with the cleaning company and somehow our house didn’t get cleaned. But it wasn’t his fault.
He came over the next morning to tell us again that he understood this mess wasn’t our fault. Duh. But that it wasn’t his fault either. And that the cleaners would be there soon.
The cleaners came and cleaned the house and that was done. We went to the beach and swam in the frigid waters and dug in the sand, and felt temporarily very Cape Coddy.
Back at the house, the Diva told me her throat hurt. I gave her some ice water. That night at dinner, she told me she was cold. I gave her a jacket. She said she wasn’t hungry. I told her she needed to broaden her culinary horizons. Then I took her temperature. She had a fever of 102, and white pustules on her tonsils.
Husband reluctantly took her to the emergency room the next morning because I couldn’t get a
pediatrician’s office to answer the phone. There is one walk-in clinic that’s open evenings from 5-6:30 p.m., which I don’t find very helpful.
Anyway, the doctor took 45 seconds to diagnose the Diva with strep throat.
At the drug store, after I paid for the penicillin, I asked the pharmacist if he could recommend something to help with the pain in my increasingly throbbing cavity tooth. He said no, nothing other than ibuprofen, and he asked when we were headed home. “Saturday,” I said. “But we’re driving. To Florida.” He whistled.
“Who’s the penicillin for?” he asked. I told him my daughter had strep throat. He pointed at the Tyrant, who was with me. “No,” I said. “She has pneumonia.”
He shook his head, then said he’d be happy to recommend a good scotch.
The same night the Diva fell ill with strep, we arrived home from dinner just after dark. When my sister-in-law turned on the light in the basement bedroom where her two boys were sleeping, dozens of gross brown bugs scurried everywhere. My sister-in-law was, understandably, completely skeeved out by this, and she made her husband sleep in the basement with the bugs while the two boys slept with her in a queen-sized bed. She’s cranky now.
We called the rental company. They spoke to the owner who promised to send over the pest control company to spray enough chemicals to eradicate every known species of bug in the Northeast. We said no, thanks, but we’d rather our children not return to their homes as altered species.
Our 4-bedroom cottage is now a 3-bedroom cottage. Actually, last night it was a 2-bedroom cottage, since the upstairs bedrooms have air conditioning and the downstairs bedroom does not. All those rumors about the Cape having a cold windy summer? Put them to rest. The heat has arrived. Right now, I am writing at 5:30 a.m. while Husband, Pterodactyl, the Diva and the Tyrant pretend to indulge in restful sleep, all in the same bed.
The owner visited the morning after the bug discovery to announce again that this was not his fault because he pays a pest control company to handle this stuff. He did some vaguely threatening chainsaw work for about an hour then cut some of his hydrangeas and gave them to me as some sort of compensation. Then he showed up again last night at 9:30 p.m. to collect bug samples. At this point I think he is stalking us, and I’m going to take my boxing gloves out of the car and leave them in a prominent place.
Just to further complicate matters, the Pterodactyl is having a very rough time because most of his cousins are older and tend to exclude him from playing. He tussled with one younger cousin who bit his finger so hard I thought it might be broken.
I’m getting a little cranky myself. Husband said I barked at the children so loudly at the ice cream store last night that people actually stared. I have no memory of this. Also, I forgot to get my happy pills refilled before I left, so I am parceling them out sparingly.
And get this — it’s only Day 3. We’re not even halfway through.