Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The house that frat boys built

After a relaxing and enjoyable weekend in Alabama, AMEN woke up on Sunday morning and began the pilgrimmage made by bazillions of people every year--we started driving to Destin. It was only a 5 hour drive from Birmingham, which Mapquest had assured me was the case, but I didn't believe because I thought for sure traffic would be awful. Surprisingly we zipped right in.

We were going to Destin as part of a large group consisting of the kids' Aunt Patty and Uncle Jacob and their 3 kids, Uncle Michael and Aunt Siobhan and THEIR 3 kids, and for part of the time, Poppa D and Donnet. Since this makes a LOT of people, we rented a 5 bedroom house. We had had a great experience doing this when we went to Disney World, and saw no reason to change our methods. The pictures and online discription of the house made it sound and look perfect. It was within walking distance of the ocean and a neighborhood pool. It had 5 bedrooms. It had cable. We were set.

We beat my brothers' families to Destin by a couple of hours. We went to the house and used the key code to get in. Imagine my surprise when the door opened to the garage. Ohh, so you have to go up the outdoor stairs to get in the house. Okay, no prob. But wait, what's that door at the back of the garage? Is it a shop space? No, it's what those con artists were calling a bedroom. Check it out:

No windows. No house access. Stunk like cigarrettes. Gross carpet. Oh, and those couches counted as beds for 4 because they both pull out. Where, exactly, are you supposed to pull them out?



To get from this bedroom to the main house, you have to go through the garage, outside, up a flight of stairs, and through the real front door on the second floor. On your way, this is your view:


Once inside the main house, we were greeted with what appeared to be the site of twenty thousand keg parties. The place was just run down. The beds were falling apart, the walls were stained. Here's the dining room table, and I don't even want to think about what made these marks:
Also, the house was a mile from the beach, and while it was in walking distance of the pool, said pool was slightly smaller than my bathtub. Yeah, we were not pleased. A flurry of phone calls ensued. The story is long, frustrating and sordid, but the end is lovely. We got a full refund on the frat house, and managed to find a new house in Seacrest Beach, which is about 45 minutes east of Destin. This was fine with all of us, since we were not crazy about the packed Destin scene anyway. We headed down the highway, and imagine our surprise when we pulled up to our new home:
KIDDING! I wish this had been our place. Can you imagine? It was near ours though, and we gawked every time we had a chance. No, we had a much more normal place, but still quite enchanting.

Turns out Seacrest Beach is one of my favorite places in the world, only I never knew it. It is quaint and quiet and beautiful. People ride bicycles everywhere, there are little ice cream stands in the town center, and kids play catch with their grandpas next to the road, on the perfectly manicured public lawns. I kept looking for Jim Carrey and The Truman Show cast.
I have a few pictures of the interior of our little beach house.
Here are a majority of the kids at the lovely dining room table:

The don't-you-wish-your-porch-was-tricked-out-like-this outdoor area*:

* My brother Mike and the grill had an unfortunate disagreement, which ended up with Michael having to use blunt force in the form of a fire extinguisher to show it who was boss. It was NOT his fault, and he handled it beautifully.

The "tower room", where Abby and Jake (the only two kids over the age of 3) slept:


The view from our front porch:


The house was amazing. It was decorated beautifully and had all the comforts of home. Well, almost. We found the kitchen inexplicably lacking potholders, but the under-counter ice maker more than made up for it. Seriously, that thing spoiled me. You open the door, and you're face to face with all the little cubes of ice you could ever want, and a scooper. Heaven.
With all the house drama, it took us a full 24 hours of being in Florida before we were settled. Then the vacation began!
Up next: AMEN and Co. let loose in FL.



11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love it!! I see you writing a book someday!! I wouldn't be able to put it down!! LOL!!! Can't wait for the next stories...we all really need to get together this weekend!!!!

Kori "o)

Patty said...

I read this to Jacob and little Jake and we all had a big laugh! You do have a talent for writing. Can't wait to hear the rest of the story!

Patty said...

I read this to Jacob and little Jake and we all had a big laugh! You do have a talent for writing. Can't wait to hear the rest of the story!

Patty said...

I read this to Jacob and little Jake and we all had a big laugh! You do have a talent for writing. Can't wait to hear the rest of the story!

Sarah said...

That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen! But isn't it just KINDA worth it for the good story to tell? :)

LindaM said...

You shuld have just asked me about Seacrest! Been there numerous times- the only place better is SeaGrove Beach- it's wonderful! Next year, I want to go with you guys!

Katrenia said...

WOW! And how exactly did the "frat boys" get inviting pictures to post on the internet? They must be genius photographers!

Did you visit SeaSIDE? Where the Truman Show actually was filmed? We went there one morning, then watched the movie that night. Silly, I know.

So glad you had a fun time. I am jealous that we couldn't stay as long as you did!

Anonymous said...

I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.
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小小彬 said...

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