Monday, August 17, 2009

V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N... In the Summer Sun!

Sorry for the lull in writing, but I've been on vacation! Last Sunday I took my daughter and a friend of hers to Orange Beach for a few days of r&r. Of course, any parent of young teenagers knows that when you take the kids with you, there's very little time to actually relax because you are also responsible for the entertainment portion of the trip. And entertain, I did!

The trip was great, but it didn't go without incident. Within the first two hours of our arrival, we were faced with a situation.

And it stung.

We arrived Sunday at around 4pm. By the time 6pm had rolled around, we had already checked in and unloaded the car, shopped for groceries and organized the condo. The girls couldn't wait any longer to hit the waves with their boogie boards. So off we went.

They weren't in the water for 15 minutes before they came running toward me in pain. Both girls had been stung by what must have been a very large jellyfish. It was fierce. Emi's friend, bless her heart, was stung on her ankle, and my poor child... ugh. Apparently, the brutal ocean creature wrapped itself around Emi's arm, because the sting ran in circles around her elbow. And having extremely sensitive skin, Emily ended up with an arm swollen from her elbow to the tips of her fingers. It was not a pleasant situation for either girl.

I went into full nurse mode.

Out came the aloe gel, the vinegar and the Benadryl. And then, I pulled out the cooking utensils and made the girls some comfort food. So the wounds were doctored, the tummies were full and the Benadryl kicked in. The gals were out like lights by 10 o'clock, giving me a couple of hours to relax on the balcony.

Our second day was much more successful. Fun was had by all at the beach, sans stings. After our day in the sun, we headed inside to clean up and then hit the streets. I took the girls go-kart riding, and then we played the greatest game of putt putt EVER! Post-golf, the girls wanted to play in the arcade, so we did that, too. It was SO... MUCH... FUN!!!! I couldn't stop laughing at the girls, who were having the time of their lives. It was a wonderful day!

Day Three, however, started in a mighty strange and scary manner.

The girls slept pretty late, and at about 9:30am I decided to make use of the whirlpool bath in the master suite. So... I'm in the tub, jets going, doing my best to relax, when - OUT OF NOWHERE - I hear a man's voice hollering, "Hello! We're here to inspect the windows!"

He was INSIDE the condo. INSIDE THE CONDO!!!!!

I jumped up and yelled through the wall and the - Praise the Lord! - closed bathroom door, "Are you inside my condo?!?!"

"Yes, Ma'am. We're here to inspect the windows."

"Not right now you're not!!!!"

"OK, we'll come back later."

"Uh... OVER MY DEAD BODY!!!!" (Probably not the best thing to say at that particular moment, I realized, after the words had already come out of my mouth. I guess I'm not too great in panic situations.)

I heard the door close, and quickly dried off and got dressed. Shaking, I grabbed the phone and called the real estate company who managed the building to find out if they had been informed of any inspections, and if so, why I had not been forewarned. The girl I spoke to said they had not been told about any window inspection, and assured me they would handle it. But that still left me without answers. So I marched my little butt to the office downstairs to find out what the deal was.

Long story short... the homeowners' association is suing the building contractor for damages made to the building during Hurricane Ivan. I told the woman in the office to have the guys meet me back at the condo in 5 minutes, which they did. Included in the group were the maintenance guy, 5 lawyers and 2 engineers, all of whom walked leisurely into my condo with cameras and stayed for 20+ minutes to take pictures of the doors, windows and balcony. (Had I not heard them the first time, they would have been taking pictures of a whole lot more. What a peep show they would have seen! Grrrr...)

During the Unscheduled Tour of Condo 602, the phone rang. It was the owner of the unit who, I had been told by the maintenance guy, was on the board of directors of the homeowners' association and knew about this little intrusion way in advance.

She said she didn't understand "why no one contacted our management company" to let me know ahead of time that this group of men would be intruding on my vacation. Odd, I thought, since she was on the board of directors responsible for setting it up. Why didn't SHE call HER management company? Hmmm...

At any rate, I can laugh about it now. But when it happened it made me feel very unsafe. Here I was, a single mother with two teenage girls, staying in a place where a bunch of men just barged in with no prior notice. Once I found out that the whole thing was legit, even if handled poorly, I didn't feel as unsafe as I did immediately after it happened. But I did make a decision based on the situation: I will NEVER AGAIN stay at the Broadmoor Condominiums in Orange Beach, Alabama. I would advise you to stay away from there, as well. It's sad, really. I loved the place a couple of years ago, and would have enjoyed it this year. But since the folks who run the building (and own this particular unit) don't handle their business in a professional, decent manner, I won't be giving them any more of my hard-earned money.

Lesson learned.

After that little incident, the rest of the trip was fabulous. We ate well, shopped at my favorite outlet mall, and enjoyed each other's company. We all ended up with nicknames by the end of the trip; the girls started calling me Lynn Anne, since this is the newest way people have begun to butcher my first name. (Add it to Linnay, Linnear, Lynnette... the list goes on.)

All in all, the vacation was a huge success. We all had a really fun time, despite the jellyfish stings and the odd morning interruption. And because I planned the trip to be a Sunday through Thursday jaunt, I still had a few days to recoup at home before returning to work Monday.

I realized as I was bringing the suitcases into my home post-trip how proud I was of myself. It may not seem like a big deal to anyone who hasn't experienced single motherhood, but to actually plan a vacation, drive both ways, take care of and entertain a couple of young girls, pay for the whole thing and make it home safe and sound... well, it IS a big deal. And I'm a more confident human being because of it. Sure, there were some glitches. But I handled it! (I will admit I prayed a LOT, so I wasn't completely alone in the driver's seat. But I was the only adult human being around, so that counts for something, I think.)

I'll post a few pictures when I get them uploaded. But until then, have a great week!

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