For the past 4 years we have escaped our home-based businesses and headed for a desert hideaway to re-charge. We have rented through a company called VRBO or Vacation Rentals by Owner. There are lots of photos and grand descriptions of the homes along with prices and local amenities.
The first 2 years we rented a divine single level house in a residential neighborhood on the south side of an airport and golf course and we watched flights land silently and gracefully and old men with golf carts wandering off to find lost balls. It was idyllic with a small office for Mr. Mole and huge dining table for sewing projects and a kitchen equipped with every imaginal gadget and cooking item. It was clean and quiet and had a shady back patio with a small reflection pool. Then the owner moved to Seattle and had to sell the rental house…bummer.
Ever since then we have been trying to find a comparable house to re-live those days. Last year, we ended up renting a 2 story condo in a huge complex with 8 pools and massive lawns that required a team of gardeners to come and mow or blow every other day. There was no privacy and lots of noise from carpenters and maintenance people and loud tourists coming for weekend parties. The owner had only owned the condo for 2 years but in the fridge were bottles of condiments from 2008…yes…7 year old ketchup and mustard…delightful. The dishwasher looked like it had never been wiped or scrubbed out and the dishes had so many cracks in them we could not use them in the microwave. We ended up having to buy a new wet mop unit as the one there broke the first time I used it to mop the tiny kitchen. So after a month there, we vowed to find a better place next time.
This year we opted to have another go near the airport (this time on the north end) and golf course closer into town and the owner told us you could only hear airplanes in the distance and it had been a celebrity neighborhood. He has only owned it for 2 years and supposedly we are the first renters since the painting and upgrading has been done. OK…really looking forward to the extensive entertainment center, large music collection and game/library area…well-equipped kitchen, excellent WiFi …what we got was something very different.
To start with it is a corner house and the street on one side runs parallel with a busy highway a block away and locals use this 2 lane back road as a shortcut…cement trucks, school buses and huge semi trucks roll past the front door 24 hours a day.
Overhead departing flights arching toward the heavens are screeching over the back patio. I checked the airport website and they only list commercial departing flights with private Lear jets not being counted but seem to be equally interspersed with the big jets. The flights number 46 in a 12 hour period, so with private jets it can double to over 90 and then adding an extra 6 hours it can total to 145 flights every day from 6 am to 10 pm. OK, so the owner cannot control this volume but what he can control is the generous/misleading description of the interior of the house.
Let’s start with the iron…circa 1960 and a victim of being dropped on the tile floor a few times. I filled it with water for steam and it just ran out the bottom. Then, there is the toaster…I have seen better and cleaner ones at the thrift stores.
Let’s get to that extensive video/reading library and music/games/entertainment center described in his advert. So far we have found no music or player, 5 old DVD movies and boxes of adult games. The DVD player is attached to the wall mounted TV with a collection of wires and sockets all strategically/tastefully hidden behind a vase. The fast internet connection reminds me of the dial-up days from 15 years ago. The only way a celebrity would be near this neighborhood would be to be flying over it in his Lear Jet to or from a celebrity golf tournament.
Moving to the kitchen we have a dishwasher that has to be reset after every wash by going outside to the garage to re-set the circuit breaker to keep it from locking and lighting up all the control lights. You can see it is not actually attached to anything under the counter, just shoved under there at an angle.
The pots and pans are certainly not just 2 years old since the house was listed for rent. These puppies have been found in the clearance box at the nearest Goodwill shop. The Teflon coating has been artfully scrapped off from people using metal tools and the underside has enough food baked on, a mouse would have a feast. How about cutlery…well there are 6 of each forks and knives and soup spoons but only 2 teaspoons. We found 4 small plates and 6 large ones and it makes you wonder how someone can advertise this place to accommodate 6-9 people?
These new faucets were installed so close to the backsplash that the levers cannot be pulled up at all…nice. And in the tub, the older faucet does not even have a lever to pull (notice the hole)…it must have been broken off years ago and the drain plug that was attached to it is just left sitting on the side which would not really seal the tub from draining…nice and check out the corroded drain edge..
Usually rental properties come with a roll or two of toilet paper and I just had to photograph this paper. Have you even been able to read fine print through your paper?
Oh, you might have noticed the scar on my index finger….
Before we arrived at our destination, I was rummaging through my overnight bag and my finger caught the edge of a new disposable razor that had lost it’s cover. It sheared off a layer of skin and there was blood all over the place. Now one week later you can see the length and width of the slash: Classy so far, no? How about holes in the walls…just patch them and hang a picture over them…oops…maybe you want to rehang this one more to the right?
It is supposed to be a Swiffer Wet Jet mop but most of the parts are missing and there is no pad on the bottom. I ended up buying a sponge mop so I could mop the tile floors as there are no carpets. One night after a bit of intoxication, I told Mr Mole that I should start a blog called VRBO-NO! or “Dumps I have stayed in” so people could submit their own experiences using this rental site.
Even though I have shared all the down sides of the house, it does have a nice backyard so that was the main reason for coming…to relax and read in peace with or without 100 jets flying overhead…ha ha.
Soon we will be heading home and in the weeks we have been here, the emails from brides have been stacking up and I know what is waiting for me…you can’t hide forever! Meanwhile my youngest daughter just moved to Washington, DC for a new job and she is awaiting the first big snow storm of the season in a basement apartment with her 2 cats… keeping my fingers crossed that her power does not get cut off!!!
Safe and happy sewing to all of you…stay warm!