This Giant Tabby Cat is the only photo I have from that rental house. It was the only photo I dared take.
But I do have the memories.
It was a Girl’s Trip last year – myself and three other moms.
I drove up first, along with one of my friends, who was quite pregnant at the time. The directions to get to the house, which happened to be way too near a town named Bugtussle for comfort, included many county roads, unmarked roads, strange landmarks, and an all caps “CALL ME” when you reach a certain point.
We made the call, rather unsure as to why, in fact, we needed to make this call. But he told us, in an Irish accent, that he would meet us <somewhere that I couldn’t understand due to his thick tongue.>
Wait. There are Irish people in Bugtussle?
Or was that a fake accent?
(I tend to assume all Irish accents are fake because I once worked with a fake Irishman who turned out to be a con man.)
Due to my inability to dissect what he said, I waited at the wrong place. He called back. “Where are ye?? I’m here waitin’ on ya!!”
Finally, we found him – in a beat-up Gator (think golf cart on rural Alabama steroids), wearing cut-off shorts and exceptionally muddy knee-high rubber boots, sporting a bit of a mullet and an arm around the massive dog in the passenger seat.
It was the least Irish ensemble I’d ever seen.
He saw us and waved for us to follow.
There was an extremely long tree-trimmer blade hanging out of the back of the gator, bouncing along and creating sparks as he drove on the gravel road. We looked at each other, wondering if this was intentional, praying that it didn’t fly off and smash my windshield.
He drove us to the rental house, hopped out of the cart, noticed the now beat-up blade, cursed at it, then shook our hands and said, “Let me give ye a tour of the house.”
This is not common. I have actually never met a VRBO owner. And the fact that we were down more no-name roads than I could count at a tiny lake inlet where there were no witnesses made it all the more Murder Mysteryesque.
But what were we to do except follow him, and his muddy waders, AND HIS BARKING DOGS (massive dog had now been joined by yipping tiny dog), into the house.
He felt the need to point out every appliance. And ceiling fan. And tell us that he installed them himself. He was also compelled to point out every dent and non-working appliance that “redneck guests” had added to his house. He continued to rail against rednecks, as he raked his hands through his mullet, stomped his knee-high muddy boots (which looked AWESOME with the cut-off shorts), and let his dogs bound through the rental house.
When we made it to the master bedroom, he caught a glimpse of my friend’s pregnant belly and decided it needed to be rubbed. Vigorously. While saying “eh, that’s a big boy in there!!”
After the excruciating tour, we made it back to the kitchen. I said, “Oh – you didn’t give us the keys?”
He looked confused. “Keys? We don’t use keys out here. Ye won’t need one.”
“But…if we go out to dinner?”
“Eh, just leave it unlocked. No one will mess with ye.”
My friend and I very conscientiously locked ourselves into the house and retreated to the upstairs living room, a bit wide-eyed and worried about our future.
Until ten minutes later, when we heard a knock.
I went back down the stairs, and there he was again.
“Did ye bring a lot of booze this weekend?”
I stared. ….is he asking to party with us? Or is this some sort of weird trap to see if we’re going to further “redneck” up his house?
He finished the thought.
“There’s ice in the shed back there if ye need it for your beer.”
“Um, no – we didn’t bring any alcohol. Thanks…”
“WHAT?! Ye didn’t bring any alcohol?!”
“Well, you saw my friend is pregnant…”
“YEAH! But YEER not!” He jabbed toward my belly.
“I’m good, thanks…”
“Okay, well there’s ice in the shed if ye need it.”
And, I know that this comes as a shock, but we did not get murdered that weekend.