Yesterday, I went to the pool as I often do. Not too many other people went to the pool, and so I decided to do some intervals. For the water geeks playing along at home, I started splashing my way through 5x200. Nothing too silly, just a little splishy splashy. There was no one else in my lane. It was quite glorious. I swam straight down the middle and didn't hit arms with anyone in the lanes next to me. I have very long arms, so swimming down the middle is a lovely luxury. Somewhere midway through the fourth 200, the water began to feel a little strange. Bubbles tickled my fingers. Somebody was in my lane, and she wasn't moving very fast. So much for glorious solitude. Well, I navigated around the intruder and went on my merry way. On to the final 200, only one left to go. After 50 meters of rolling along, a strange creature swam into my field of vision. I had encountered Accessory Man.
Now, I like swimming, because it's simple. I put on a few scraps of lycra, a ballon over the hair, and a pair of goggles. That's it. Jump in, go swimming. But Accessory Man, he's in love with the gadgets. He was wearing fins on his feet, paddles on his hands, a lycra shirt to avoid the sun, swim trunks to cover the um, stuff that swim trunks cover, a swim cap, swim goggles, and a snorkle. All at the same time. I couldn't help but wonder how he remembered it all and which part he put on first. Certainly, the paddles had to go last, since opposable thumbs come in rather handy in most situations. It was quite a stupendous sight. Waiter, waiter, there's a sea monster in my lap pool. He was moving rather quickly too. There's a reason fish have big flippers instead of feet and gills to breathe under water, you know. Accessory Man clearly has fish envy. Also, he looked like a dork. I was awed by the dorkitude and the vast collection of accessories. I felt lucky to escape with my life.
In other news, I've been looking for a new Shack lately. I'm a tad bored of the old Shack and it is lacking in certain useful features like a garage, washer and dryer, and well, lots of things really. So I make my daily pilgrimage to the classified ads and to Craigslist to see the Specials of the Day. During that ridiculous bubble thing, rents rose along with housing prices. Thanks to an elderly non-greedy owner, the Shack lagged far behind. This was very nice. Pop goes the bubble. Prices are slowly sinking, though rents are lagging behind as owners who wagered far beyond their means try desperately to find a renter to save their shirts. Newsflash, if I could pay your mortgage, I wouldn't be a renter.
Anyway, the Search for Shack Version 2.0 has led to some amusing episodes as the descriptions in the classified ads have a tendency to leave out many relevent and important details. Take the example of one house that showed up a month or so ago. Listed as a two bedroom with a large fenced yard, this Daily Special included a separate studio for office or storage and sat on a dead end street. Dead turned out to be the key word. After emailing for more information, I punched the address into the Googler and zoomed along street view until I found it. It was indeed a two bedroom house with a large fenced yard. It also neighbored the local cemetary. At least, it would be quiet. And we could throw a kickass Halloween party.
Beach cottage, new paint, off-street parking, washer dryer hook-ups. This sounded promising, though usually when I see beach cottage in the classifieds, I picture a tool shed with a curled photo of the beach on the wall located somewhere remote and dusty. So, I called up the owner Mike. (Name changed to protect the foolish.) Hi Mike, tell me about your beach cottage. Get the address, check the Googler. Mike's beach cottage is actually near the beach. This came as quite a surprise, I have to say. A Zillow check revealed that the lot was not currently up for sale, a key consideration in this day and age. So, we wound up the veedub - which recently got a mostly rebuilt engine, zoom! - and headed out to view Mike's beach cottage, which was actually a cottage near the beach.
Mike's beach cottage sat in the middle of a lot with two other beach cottages. It had a cute little yard and though it lacked a garage, the car port had ooodles of storage. Looking good so far. Venturing onward, we entered Mike's beach cottage. The door stuck on the carpet and required a solid push. Annoying, but not fatal. The kitchen offered counter space, good, but no refrigerator, bad. Very bad. Like, where's the refrigerator? Not only was there no fridge, but there was really no obvious spot to put one. Mike's beach cottage had a very small kitchen when it came right down to it. A door led from the very small kitchen to an even smaller porch with the advertised washer hook-ups. The porch was cute, with a cheerful red floor. Red floors are nice. Windows without glass are not so nice. The laundry porch had no door and no windows. Killer, I get to buy a fridge and put it, well, somewhere, and a washer and dryer and put it well, outside. This idea did not fill me with joy.
The large hole in the kitchen wall around the gas pipe also did not fill me with joy. Hello, Rodent Local #3201, we have a job for you. Yes, c'mon over, the wall's wide open. All you can eat, we'll leave the light on. The bathroom spanned the length of the bathtub and not a millimeter more. It also had no fan and no window and sat between the two bedrooms. Maybe the bed, which is not really so large as beds go, would fit in the bigger bedroom. Maybe. My beloved sectional couch would definitely not fit in the living room, at least without overlapping the wall heater which would lead to fire. Fire is bad. The walls bowed inward and outward at the same time. Single concave works well for surfboards, but not so well for walls. Just one layer of wood and siding separated the inside of the house from the outside and no insulation marred the imperfect fit of the windows in their frames. I could always burn my couch.
The sign outside showed the original offering price for Mike's Daily Special. $1800.00 per month, bring your own fridge, washer and dryer and a lot of wool socks. The price had dropped considerably by the time I encountered Mike's beach cottage, but it was still way over-priced for what amounted to a permanent camping trip. If I wanted to go camping, I'd buy a tent.
I don't really like tents, so here I am at the Shack still reading the classifieds. At least the roof doesn't leak, the walls aren't concave (or convex), and my couch fits. This is very important, the couch.
For those who'd like to play along at home, welcome to Craiglist. Roll the dice, see what you get. No pets? Lose a turn. House for sale? Do not pass go. Apartment listed as a condo? Go directly to jail. Ad that leads to a Nigerian email scam? Lose all your money. It's good wholesome fun for the whole family!
Alrighty, then, that's all the adventures for today. Next time I go looking at beach cottages and such, I promise to take my secret pocket camera, so I can bring you photos. Accessory Man, I leave to the imagination. I would not wish to confront my readers with such a frightening sight.
I'm NOT HERE, I just popped back in for a minute to tell you something. - While I'm still technically *away from this blog until Monday, January 23rd*, I just wanted to inform you, my loyal readers, that I've written an op-ed on ...
3 days ago