Rented Summer Cottage Nightmare! | Humor
Yankee Plus Dec 2015
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A stay in a rented summer cottage always seems to start with a note from the owners that reads something like this.
Welcome to Bide-A-We!!
Before you and the gang rush out to the water, here are a few things you probably ought to know about our beloved home.
First of all, the plumber’s name is Pete, and he can be reached on Tuesday afternoons between 3 and 4 at 555-9907. Pete—a real “prince”—is the only one who really knows the toilet, so don’t try anyone else. If Pete can’t be reached or for some reason refuses to come (he’s a lobsterman on the side), you can take a stab at it yourself—but use caution. No one seems to be able to permanently stop the thing from running, but we enjoyed some success recently by having someone lightly tap the flush bar while someone else played “Chopsticks” on the old piano in the basement. Incidentally, Pete has also promised to take a look at the clothes dryer (which has been a little balky lately).
You will quickly find out that the telephone here operates on a party line. Welcome to the sticks!! Our signal is seven rings, then a pause, then six rings, then a pause, then seven rings. 7-6-7. We think you’ll find that it doesn’t take long to get used to the ringing (one of the 16 parties on the line is the pizza parlor).
Please treat the television gently. It’s an old set (obviously) and the vertical hold tends to slip every now and then, but it’s become a member of the family to us. And don’t bother monkeying with the rabbit ears—because of our location we can pick up only one channel, which for some reason repeatedly airs reruns of “The Match Game.”
The flag for the flagpole is in the closet by the front door, as is a booklet on flag etiquette. We suggest you read the booklet. Old Mr. Trout next door is quite a stickler on the proper use of the flag—he once called the police on our son Timmy when he inadvertently allowed a corner of the flag to brush against a hedge.
We should also tell you (caution you, would be more like it) about Benjy Bartlett, the young boy who lives next door on the other side. His parents, who have had trouble with Benjy for as long as we can remember, made the unwise decision to give him a motorboat last Christmas with the hope that it might help him mature. Unfortunately, such has not been the case. If he has the boat (it’s called “Headbanger”) out on the water, you stay on the shore. Just don’t go in the water when he’s out there.
Finally, a few wildlife notes. The snakes are harmless garter snakes—they may give you a start, but they shouldn’t hurt you. We advise you to keep the garbage in at all times—even on the hottest days—because the raccoons have become simply ingenious at prying the lids of the garbage cans. (Garbage pickup, by the way, is every other Tuesday morning.) Also, the locals say it was a wet spring—perfect for mosquitoes and ticks. You’ll find some repellents and a booklet on Lyme Disease symptoms in the medicine cabinet.
Stay away from the crawl space.
If you mind these few guidelines, we’re sure your stay at Bide-A-Wee will be a memorable one. We may pop in unexpectedly every now and then just to make sure that all is OK.
P.S. The roofers promised us they’d be through by May, but again, it was a wet spring. The remaining work they now tell us is mostly cleanup.
Excerpt from “Welcome to Bide-A-Wee!!” Yankee Magazine, August 1990.