This is the sunset view from the deck of our three-bedroom duplex condo rental on Florida’s Emerald Coast. Yes, we are wintering in an upscale condo right on the coast’s sugar-white sands. I shot this pic from the condo’s huge wraparound deck.
You may wonder how Macho Guy and I managed to move on up from a boring dowdy old cottage to a sexy newer and modern condo on the beach. It’s quite a story with unexpected twists and turns.
It began in January of 2015. Macho Guy and I had just barely arrived at the drab old rental cottage in Florida for our winter vacation when the very secretive rental agents we had yet to meet contacted us to see if we wanted to book it again for 2016. These peculiar agents possessed the uncanny paranormal ability to get after us about rebooking for the following year the instant we unlocked the door to our ramshackle rental.
At that point in time, MG wasn’t sure he wanted to rebook or even winter in Florida’s Panhandle again for that matter. He wasn’t pleased with the chilly and rainy panhandle winter weather nor was he happy about the state of his golf game. While the rundown cottage was pet friendly—we always take Schnoodle Dog with us—and we had rented it two years running, the place was dated and kind of shabby. The wallpaper was coyote ugly and peeling. Appliances and fixtures needed either replacement or repair. [The refrigerator was leaking water.] The TV set was old, and on a good day the cable reception was somewhere between terrible and horrible.
When we contacted the low-profile agents by phone about the needed fixes, we were told that the owner wasn’t interested in investing any additional money in upkeep. Additional money? I glanced around the place. Except for the addition of a very small writing desk (that I so appreciated), I couldn’t see where he had invested much money in upkeep. The eerie agents, whom we never met in person and suspected they might be vampires, informed us by phone that they could only take care of one or two basic items on our list. They sent a couple of repair people out to fix them to make the crappy cottage more livable.
At that point, we learned that we lost a member of MG’s family to cancer. Grief-stricken, we loaded up the car again and travelled to the Midwest for the funeral, leaving the dilapidated cottage behind temporarily. We forgot all about responding to the two secluded rental agents’ query.
Upon returning to Florida, MG decided he wanted to rebook the ramshackle cottage after all. He sent an email to that effect to the two cloistered rental agents. The reply he received was a shocker. The tumbledown cottage was already booked for 2016—by someone else.
MG was rabid. We had worked with these two probable coven members as our rental agents for three years. Why hadn’t they notified us first before booking the crumbling cottage out from under us? Where was the consideration? Where was the loyalty? Their response was that since we made so many complaints about the condition of the decrepit cottage that January, they assumed we weren’t pleased with the accommodations and didn’t plan to rebook. Ha. So that was it. They didn’t want to deal with legitimate complaints.
Having been rendered rickety cottage-less for the 2016 snowbird season, we sadly informed our friends that they couldn’t count on us to join them in Florida next winter. They were as devastated as we were. They even checked with their own rental agents, non-coven members all, but were unable to come up with a pet-friendly rental for us for 2016. We checked with numerous rental agents ourselves. No joy was to be had.
One afternoon, we happened by a rental agency while out for a bike ride. Lo and behold, the agency had a pet-friendly rental available for 2016! Yowza! We drove out with an agent to inspect it. It was a much nicer cottage than the ghetto model we were currently in. We liked it and put a deposit on it for next year. We went back to the cruddy cottage and celebrated our good fortune.
Our joy lasted for a mere twenty-four hours. The following morning, the new rental agent called to inform us that the much nicer cottage was unavailable. The owner forgot to inform the agency that it was no longer for rent. He was creating a complex, building a much, much nicer and larger home beside it, and planned to remodel and add the much nicer cottage to the complex as a guesthouse.
We were devastated, doomed to resume our futile search again or give up entirely and winter up north. O joy.
Hold on. The new agent called with good news. The much nicer cottage’s owner felt responsible for inconveniencing us by not removing the much nicer cottage from the rental list. By way of apology, he offered us his other property nearby and would let us rent it for the same rental fee as the much nicer cottage. Would that be acceptable?
The new rental agent drove us out to inspect the much nicer cottage owner’s other property nearby. O wow. There must be some mistake. The agent pulled into the driveway of an extremely attractive duplex—an extremely attractive beachfront duplex.
On. The. Beach.
My jaw dropped. My pulse raced. I almost soiled my undies.
Would that be acceptable? Hell, yes!!! MG and I went through the motions of inspecting the little palace anyway and pronounced the unit’s accommodations acceptable. We booked it immediately, before the owner could rethink his remarkably generous offer.
In jubilation, we returned to the confines of the seedy cottage where we notified all our friends that the crisis had been resolved in our favor. Yay! I then dashed off an email to the two coven-member rental agents who betrayed us.
I informed the coven members that there were no hard feelings because everything turned out for the best after all. With unbridled glee, I revealed that we successfully booked a duplex condo unit for 2016 with another rental agency and at the same rate the two broom riders were charging us for the derelict cottage from hell. With blissful satisfaction, I revealed that unlike the humdrum cottage, the condo was located beachfront.
It was so rewarding to have the last laugh, and so refreshing that our karma turned out to be a lady instead of a bitch.