Spring Breakers in Florida, may your Airbnb checkout be satisfactory
You know how fun it is to clean someone else’s house and an absolute persecution to clean your own?
At home, your laundry knows the ceiling, the Tostitos are stuck in the crevices of the sofa, and your most prized art installation is a stack of Valpaks. Before you consider dusting off anything, you need to catch up with the guy who found shrimp tails in crispy cinnamon toast. I don’t make the rules.
But the second you visit another house, you’re Monica’s Friends. “Oh, let me take these dishes,” you say to yourself, as your partner watches in disgust. “I like to dry off.”
Now transfer this phenomenon to an Airbnb; this is where the real magic happens. It is peak tourist season in Tampa Bay. As we know, a lot of people who are not all Floridians are in Florida for spring break which makes us look bad on the national scene. It happens every other Thursday.
My family recently returned from some sort of spring break, or as we call it, “Oh, well, more time together.” We made three similar trips, all within four hours of Tampa Bay. Read about them here. The goal was to stay away from planes and hotels, visit parks and trails, and reduce our human footprint.
A good distance requires a good home base. Whether it’s Airbnb, VRBO, Glamping Hub, or Larry’s Giant Rentals, they have departure instructions ranging from “Just leave the door ajar” to “We’ll need three blood samples.”
One of our houses arrived with no other indication than a piece of duct tape on a switch. We asked the owner how to help clean up, and he said, “No, don’t worry about that. It was deflating! How could he do that? I always put all the towels in a satisfactory pile.
Rental owners, the more complicated the better. I want your payment package to be 50 pages, laminated. Bonus if it is in a filing cabinet, stacked on top of three other filing cabinets. I want to cleanse diligently, with no personal growth involved.
Tell me to remove each bed sheet and put them together near the washing machine. You can even tell me to put them IN the washing machine. I can be trusted with a Tide Pod, despite what you may have heard.
Every dish has to be washed and put back in its place, even that thing that could be a melon ball? Leave six soaps under the sink and ask me to use the “drops”. None of the soaps should be labeled “drops”. It’s part of the logic of the vacation and the skills test.
Remind me to clean the fridge. I must not, under any circumstances, give up food, unless it is ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper, olive oil, macaroni and cheese, a whole roasted turkey, chateaubriand, beef bulgogi or Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Don’t forget the thermostat, set a degree cooler than outside. In order to find the temperature, please leave a detailed map on a thermometer kept inside a squirrel statue on the porch. Draw it on the back of a local pizza menu.
To secure the key, direct I’m going to page 34, which will point me to page 38, to a paragraph with information about the history of the house and fun things to do in the area. If you take the first word of each sentence, assign each letter a numeric value and divide that number by seven, that will reveal the code, which is 1234.
All that’s left is to get home by the car, which smells faintly of McDonald’s fries and was last cleaned by the dealership. Will I transfer some of this new responsible energy into real life? Idiot. What kind of vacation would it be?
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