Life in the Boomer Lane knows that a lot of you out there are searching for all kinds of vacation opportunities. You may be considering villas in the south of France or a certain Red Roof Inn outside Pittsburgh. As a public service, LBL will now advise you to cross one place off your list.
Some years ago, LBL and her friend Susan (yes, the one made famous from all those Sex and the Sixty-Year-Old posts, which, if you haven’t read, you should immediately, since they are funnier than this current post), decided to vacation at the Delaware shore for a few days.
Susan, the consummate researcher about any topic involving restaurants, travel, or finances, chose a B&B in Lewes, Delaware. When she and LBL pulled up in front of the place, LBL used her Realtor eagle eye to note that the building was in obvious disrepair. She also noted that she could smell the inside of the house from the front porch, before she and Susan had even knocked on the door. (Note to Readers: The smell was not that of a pie baking).
The owner answered the door and led them through the living room. A kind way to describe the odor was to call it “musty.” LBL could see a screen porch off to the side, with a picnic table heaped with those little individual-size cereal boxes that small children favor. One or two men were seated at the table, eating.
“We provide breakfast each morning,” their host explained.
At the top of the steps, LBL and Susan were shown their room. Again, LBL used her superior Realtor sense to realize that the “room” was actually a small hallway that had a door installed. A mattress and box springs was wedged into the space.
“We have new wall-to-wall carpeting in the room,” the owner cooed. LBL looked down and noted that the wall-to-wall carpeting was actually a large remnant that was sort of cut to approximate the room dimensions. But the remnant was too wide, so it continued up the wall for several inches, thereby preventing the closet door from opening.
“I’ll leave you two to enjoy your room,” their host said, and exited.
“I’m having an anxiety attack,” Susan said. “I can’t even sit on the bed.”
“I’m going to wash my hands,” LBL responded.
The bathroom was the size of a phone booth. Neither the window, nor the curtain on it, looked as though they had never been cleaned. On the window sill was a small basket with guest soaps. The soaps were all taken from various motel rooms in the area, used and then rewrapped. They were soggy and misshapen. LBL washed her hands with water and dried them on her shorts.
“I’m having an anxiety attack,” Susan announced when LBL came out of the bathroom. “And I itch.”
LBL, always rising to the occasion in emergency situations (most likely because she usually causes the emergencies) told Susan to calm down.
“We’ll leave our suitcases here and go out and find a new place to stay.”
“I’m still having an anxiety attack,” Susan offered.
LBL and Susan went downstairs and told their host they were going out for a while. Susan said they needed a key for their room.
“We don’t use room keys here,” their host replied. “We’re on the honor system.”
“I need a key,” Susan repeated. “I can’t just leave my suitcase here.”
The exchange was loud enough to make the tiny-cereal-box-eating men look up.
“You can ask our other guests if they feel the need for a room key,” our host suggested. “They will tell you how safe they feel here.”
Susan started to say something else, as LBL grabbed her arm and pulled her to the door.
They went into a women’s clothing boutique on the main street. LBL asked the store owner if she knew of any good places where they could stay. Susan tried on cute tops and then discovered that she had dated a guy who lived in the same town that the owner was from. The owner knew the guy. Susan paid for her purchase and took the owner’s number so they could get together for lunch. LBL wasn’t optimistic about the start of the search.
“I’m still having an anxiety attack,” Susan said. “but I think this top will look great with those new black pants I got the other day.”
There were a few more failures to procure a place to stay, coupled with a few more successes, buying-wise, as well as more promises to store owners to get together for lunch. Finally, Susan remembered that a good friend of hers owned a beautiful place in the area. She called and her friend said that she and LBL were welcome to stay at her place.
“Hurray, problem solved,” LBL said, “thanks to you.”
“No. We need our money back.”
“I’ll figure it out,” LBL said. “Can I help you carry those bags?”
Back at the B&B, Susan went up to the room to see if her suitcase was still there, and, if so, to see if she could fit all her new clothes inside. LBL went to look for the owner. She noted that a new group of men was seated at the picnic table eating little cereal boxes.
She called the owner aside. “I’m so sorry,” she said. We are having an emergency situation, here. My friend has asthma and allergies and something here has triggered an attack.”
“Oh no!” the concerned host said. “But you’ve come to the right place!” She ushered LBL into another room and pointed to a stack of boxes on the floor. “I sell HEPA air filters! They are the best on the market! Let me give you a brochure and demonstrate!”
LBL doesn’t remember much of the conversation after that, only that she watched the demo, took the brochure and explained that Susan would have to talk to her doctor first about any kind of remediation.
“So that means you will have to stay elsewhere,” their host replied. LBL said that, unfortunately, that would be the case.
Their host understood perfectly and offered to give them their money back.
LBL went upstairs and told Susan they were leaving. She added that they were getting all their money back.
“How did you do that?” Susan asked. “Did you blame me?”
“Would I do that?” LBL asked back. “Let’s go.”
The tiny-cereal-box-eating men waved as Susan and LBL left.