Sunday, August 11, 2013

August 11th

Hi, it’s Christina –

It took over eleven hours, but we finally made it to the Outer Banks. Unfortunately, this is how our trip started:

Even after many years on the rescue squad, and being on countless accident scenes, seeing this one shook me up. There was literally NOTHING left on the outside of this car, just a mangled blob of twisted medal. I’m kinda glad everyone else in my car was asleep, so they don’t have the image permanently imprinted on their brain.

My husband and daughters woke up as when we were on the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge-Tunnel (they slept through two pit-stops and a gas fill-up) and wanted breakfast, so we stopped at Denny’s. Denny’s is usually known for their quick service, so I figured we’d be back on the road in half an hour. Almost two hours later, we get finish breakfast and are able to start heading south again. I realize things are done at a much more relaxed pace down here, but come on – two hours for breakfast? Seriously?

As usual, because we had plenty of time at Denny’s, I chatted with another customer. I made the comment about how many NJ License plates were in the parking lot. Not only was the man from New Jersey, he lives less than a mile from my house. I always said there were zero degrees of separation for our town!

Whatever, as long as I can hit that main strip getting onto the Outer Banks before one (rule of thumb for check in time on the island is 4:00 pm, so the closer you get to that time the thicker the traffic gets), I figure I will be able to avoid most of the traffic.

The first snarl happens fifty-two miles out and my eye starts to twitch. If I had to sit in fifty-two miles of bumper to bumper traffic, I was going to go postal. Luckily, it was only about two miles of back-up which I think was caused by an engineering error. Tons of cars had to get off at one exit, and the exit ramp was preceded by an equally busy entrance ramp. POOR planning if you ask me.

Traffic finally starts moving again and I think I’m in the clear, then boom, twenty miles out, it is bumper to bumper again. The last time we came to the Outer Banks, this strip took us over four hours to get through. This time, I managed in just under two, so I am considering it a bonus, but still at this point I am DONE and just want to get settled into the house, get some dinner and crash.

We get the keys, find the house and unload all of our junk. After the food is unpacked and put away, the next thing on my agenda is to make the beds. I go to make our bed, and the comforter they have on it is disgusting. I pull it off the bed and go to throw it in the washing machine, but it doesn’t fit, so I call the rental office and tell them about it. The girl asks what’s on the comforter and I tell her “Sorry, I left my CSI kit at home.” (You don’t even want to know.) They send the cleaning crew back to my house to get the comforter. As I am waiting for them to show up, I start looking around the place. The floors are a mess, the tub was not cleaned, the beds are sandy. OK, I can understand sand on the floors and the rugs. It is almost impossible to get the sand out when the house is in a beach town, but on the beds? The owner of the cleaning company shows up – what a sweet guy – I show him everything, and he immediately gets on the phone and arranges a crew to come over and clean again.

During this time we realize the AC is not working and we cannot get on to the internet. I am back on the phone with the rental agency. They say they will send over a computer guy and someone to fix the AC. She tells me a storm is rolling in, so things should cool down quickly and I should open the windows.

While I’m dealing with all of this, I send my husband and oldest daughter to the store and I wait for the various crews to show up and fix everything. I go to open the windows and find, except for two, the screens are either ripped, missing or filled with spiders so there was no way they were going to be opened.

The cleaning crew arrives and offers to clean everything, including the dishes which I have now discovered are all pretty gross. I told them I would just put everything through the dishwasher, and they could focus on the house. So the dishwasher is running, two vacuum cleaners are running, my youngest daughter has the TV going, and the computer guy and the owner of the cleaning company’s wife (another sweetie) show up. Now there are four extra people in the bungalow all working when Mother Nature decides to flex her muscles in the form of torrential rain, thunder and lightning. Of course the power goes out.

This is when my husband and daughter come back from the store. Did you know they only use paper bags in the stores down here? No plastic. Paper bags hold up so well during a downpour. Yup, you guessed it, groceries all over the driveway. You would think one of us would have thought to bring an umbrella. At this point, I don’t even want dinner, I just want to go to bed so I can wake up Sunday and all this would be over.

Power comes back on. The internet is now working. The cleaning crew finishes and promises to come back the next day with a clean comforter and extra dishwasher soap to replace what I used to clean what should have been cleaned before I got here. The AC guy shows up. Turns out the drainage lines were clogged, so the safety was shutting the unit down so the house wouldn’t flood. Easy fix, we are golden. My husband gets the grill assembled and cooks some burgers for dinner.

After dinner is cleaned up, I say I’m FINISHED and head for bed, the wonderful bed that squeaks so wonderfully with any slight movement you make. I try lying perfectly still so I don’t set off the bed and realize the bungalow has a pretty serious design flaw. All of the interior doors have louvers and are not solid. Not only do they not muffle sound within the house, somehow they manage to magnify the sound. So instead of sleeping, I am listing to the movie my family is watching in the living room.

Eventually I do manage to fall asleep, only to wake up at four a.m. (I misread the clock and thought it was six.) So this morning already I have emptied and reloaded the dishwasher, gone grocery shopping for items which were not purchased by my husband and daughter which we need – ie: half and half for the coffee - put everything away and have written this long-winded blog.

If find, at the moment, I am too tired and rather uninspired to tackle a writing challenge, so you have another day’s reprieve. Hopefully my husband has stopped snoring and I can go back to bed and get a few more hours of sleep. We will start up the writing challenges again tomorrow.

Have a wonderful day and happy writing!