The Vibes Are In The Drips

[Editor’s note: Names and places wont be in there. Vague on purpose. Also, the precise circumstances of what started the thing has been changed]

Since the summer after the first year of the pandemic, we have found a place not too far from the house that is our big summer getaway. A chill little town where we can just hang out every day. One of those towns where its all vacation homes owned by local companies, was that way prior to the existence of AirBnB.

And for years we disappeared here. And did nothing. Didn’t have any plans. There is a tourist town not far from the place we are at…we go there I think once or twice a trip, mainly for dinner.

…Its been the only real chance we have to relax all year.

Hard cut to the first day of our most recent trip. Usually the lines of communication are open and active most of the day leading up to our arrival, but the company that manages the property is strangely silent.

This requires us to detour all the way to there main offices. Where we finally found out 1) a power surge hit the entire town over night, 2) the A/C and internet were blown out, 3) They wont be fixed till at least monday, 4) They didn’t find out about it until an hour and half before we got to town.

To be honest, I was completely ready to turn around and go home. We are in the middle of a giant fucking heatwave, but my son was too fucking stoked.

So, they tell us they have the maintenance crew making a temporary solution, and we could head to the property.

For the next five days, the following was the living conditions:

Lets get the easiest part out of the way, they gave us one of those giant portable hotspots. Worked great. No problems. Had internet. This wasn’t even an actual concern of mine. But it was the fix.

Now, I thought what they were going to do was window units. Cause….that seemed logical to me. I have lived in apartments where window units are the only A/C and those things work just fine.

Oh no, these are vertical units. They look like this:


A few problems with these fucking things.

  • They require a full seal around the hoses in order for the thing to actually work. Otherwise, it is blowing screaming hot air in the room. And the older they get, the more the hoses wont stay in. The maintenance team was there once a day to refix the hose on at least one of the units every day
  • The exhaust port is in a generic window size. So if you have any atypically size window, you have to cut the board or rig it up with another piece of wood. This again causes the exhaust to come out.
  • The older these things get, the faster they build up condensation. They put a giant fucking drip pan underneath each of these units that had to be drained at least 2-3 times a day (more on this in a minute).
  • They are only made for small rooms. So if you have a big ass open floor plan (like this place we are renting), all of the units in the world aren’t going to help.

The only comfortable room was the room we gave my son. Everything else was some degree of hot. My wife and I’s bedroom was in the low 80s the entire time. Even at night.

I also had to drain the fucking drip pans myself with a home depot bucket and a cup. Eventually, I found out about this device.

This does not go in your butt.

The official name of this device is a Liquid Transfer Pump. But its basically an electric straw that sucks water and the hose off to the side you stick in the thing you want to drain it into. Its a $20 device made for this purpose.

I spent most of my days with my brain shut off. Trying to spend as much time away from that house as we could. Every morning I dumped 3-4 Home Depot buckets of condensation outside from these fucking units. 2-4 more in the evening/during the day.

I could never get comfortable at night. Sweat all night long. If I fell asleep, it was out of exhaustion.

I learned something about myself this trip. I fucking am American. I need A/C. I fucking need it. I dont know how this Eurotrash survives without it, but I fucking need it.

It was so goddamn hot too. All I had was rage and more rage.

The management company lives on the first rule of acquisition. Once you have their money, you never give it back.

We didn’t get any kind of refund. Oh sure we got tons of other perks. Free meals at restaurants, free stuff from the local stores, but none of that was enough.

And they fucking dragged us along. First it was going to be fixed the next day. Then Monday. Then tuesday. All for dumbass reasons.

I was fucking done with all of it. I told my wife multiple times this is not why we come here. There is nothing about this that is vacation.

Halfway through our trip…finally had an A/C guy work on the units and blowers for like 4 hours and fixed it…

My world shifted. Thats literally all it took. They quickly got the drippy ass temp A/C units out cause they needed them on other properties and then they left us the fuck alone.

Finally, my stress went away and the 2nd half was the kind of vacation I was hoping to have in the firstplace.

At one point, we had friends visit who we gave the 2nd coldest room in the house (plus we gave them an out in advance). And there was an exchange of vacation horror stories.

It made me realize I don’t really have those. Sure my dad got sick for 2 days on one vacation. Another where my brother was an ass the entire time. But nothing that didn’t make me want to be on vacation.

Emptying buckets of loose ass condensation made me realize this is bottom (so far) for me. I should have just cut and run then, but then my wife and my son would have been pissed. So, we endure. Sometimes you got to I suppose.

I did get to have some relaxation in the 2nd half so that was nice.

Will we be back again? I mean its not the property’s fault the entire town got blasted. Bunch of places lost internet, some were like us and had their AC units blow out too. We may be back someday…but if we do, they are fucking checking that goddamn house the day before.

A Punk Rock Prom

For reasons that should be very obvious to our regular readership, I never cared for high school dances, and I made it my business not to go to one.

Now, this failed for a variety of reasons and during my full tenure at high school I went to 3 dances. This is the story of one of them.

So, I had made the decision earlier that year to not ask out anyone until college. To be fair, the girls in my class weren’t interested, but also, I had my mind totally fixated on the future. Getting the hell out of my small town and not looking back. As a result, I did not go to my junior prom. Instead, I hung out with a friend and watched a bunch of movies. This was a point of pride in that I skipped the cost of a tux, food, flowers, and limo (or whatever misc sundries kids did back then).

My plan leading into Senior Prom was exactly the same. I still hated my high school, and now I was even closer to the exit. Conditions on the ground had not changed (at least, as far as I was concerned). The biggest difference was that this time, I would be the only one not going. Literally everyone else who i would consider a friend was going.

In fact, my punk rock friends had a whole thing planned out. You see, starting senior year, our punk rock group had expanded to include girls from the high school the next town over. Many of them weren’t dating, but it was a think of, everyone wanted to go to everyone else’s prom. And the math worked except for one. My memory is fuzzy on the circumstances, but she wanted to go to hang with her friends….but couldn’t find anyone to take her. Didn’t go to our high school, so she couldn’t just crash. If anyone asked me, I don’t recall.

All of this mix of drama and stubbornness got resolved from the most unlikely of sources. And, I hate to speak ill of the source, but I’m going to do it.

You ever have those people who are just super stoked about the events of high school. Not that they wont move past it when they graduate, but the kind of person that is just REALLY happy about like being part of the high school. Well, this girl turned to me randomly and asked me if I would go to prom with her. I suppose Sadie Hawkins style, back when it was barely still a think.

I suppose I should be grateful of the phrasing, cause she could have asked what I was going for prom, and I would have said “Nothing.” Cause it would have never entered into my head that she was going to ask me out. Lucky for me, it wasn’t the case so I said, “Oh yeah boss. Taking a punk rock girl from [other high school]. You don’t know her”

Well, shit, I was stuck. I called punk-rock-girl-who-was-left-out as soon as I got home. She had a long term boyfriend, and I was like “Listen, you wanted to go. I gotta go now. Nothing is going to happen. I literally just need a date. You interested?”

And that was it. Done.

The actual night was just planned with the dance being something you had to attend. We would wear the appropriate attire (I did rent a last minute tux and got a corsage).

First, our dinner wouldn’t be at any kind of restaurant where you would have to spend big skrilla. Nope, we did fast food buffet at a friend of mine’s house. We had like a 24 piece of popeyes fried. McDonald’s fries, Wendy’s nuggs, a footlong subway sub. Onion rings from Burger King. And shit I cant even remember. I just remember the sight of all of us dressed fancy eating fucking burgers and shit.

Second, one of the group’s parents insisted on like legit prom stuff, and got us a limo. But we overstuffed it. Think like 20+ people in one limo.

The actual dance was meh. I just remember it being fucking hot. Like the A/C broke or some shit, and I was sweating balls. We all were.

But lastly, and more important than the dance, Mallrats had just come out on DVD. It was the only Kevin Smith movie we hadn’t seen (that at least was made at that point). Cause you couldn’t get it unless you knew someone that had the VHS (we didn’t).

So, we all crashed, sweaty as fuck, in my friends living room and watched Mallrats. And it was fucking awesome. I think there is some sort of preciousness that exists around prom, and maybe this story proves that, but I don’t think so. Definitely wasn’t about romance or wistful highschoolness. It was friends trying to make the best of a bad situation, and we did it our way.

To this day, I think thats why Mallrats holds a special place in my heart, cause of that night and the loud stupid.

Don’t get me wrong, I had other my friends who weren’t part of the punk rock group or weren’t dating girls who would be interested. They had like normal prom shit.

But, this was by far the best way to give the fuck you to high school. I didn’t have the high school romance, and I had nothing but hatred and contempt for anything that my high school tried to do.

That night though. That night, we made our own. And that is how I will remember it.

Zen and the Art of Flag Burning

The road leading to a small weekend camping trip with my son was filled with existential dread. I didn’t want him to join the cub scouts. For a combination of obvious reasons, lets just say the way I view reality and the way the scouting organization views reality differ.

But, he has friends in it. He’s stoked. He wants to go. Given how hard the pandemic was on his early friendship years, who am I to try to stop it.

So, I did what I always did leading up to some shit that fills me with existential dread. I overprepared. Bought a bunch of camping gear. Put up the tent in my yard twice so I don’t look like a fool trying to put it up for the first time out of the bag.

There were to be plenty of food, but I couldn’t trust that. So I bought my own rations, water. I could have sustained both of us enough to go home. Prepared like we were heading to the patagonia or some shit.

The campground in question is one of many owned by the scouting organization. Clean, maintained. Built for people who LARP being outdoorsmen. Not that I am to be sure, but put it this way, they have wood platforms for you to put your tent on, so that you aren’t sleeping on the ground.

The actual event was…mostly….like a chance for parents to hang out and let their kids just go ape shit in a place… Like there were in fact scout events, knot tying and all that. But, really the bulk of the time was straight chaos. I’m talking kids running around with open knives and a bare minimum of parent correction on these kids. Most of the parents just sat around and talked. No liquor cause scouts. But, like socializing.

Which is most definitely not for me. I hanged. The weather was kind in that it actually got hot. T-shirts ended up being the order of the day.

I am not going to say it was all terrible. I did enjoy some of the time. I found a bit of quiet among the chaos walking in the woods. But for like 30 min. Cause thats as much outdoors as I want.

But, I did think I was going to make it through the day with the minimum amount of stupid…

Then the sun set. And it started to get cold. Now i was stuck in the woods, sitting in a folding chair, waiting for the scout leaders to decide enough time had past to do smores. While that is going on. All the kids had flashlights now and decided to start wrestling with one another.

A parent and one of the scoutmasters tried to break it up verbally with no avail. At this point, I am fucking cold and done with this shit. I walk up and yell at these kids, “I don’t care who your parents are. If I have to get up again, you will each regret your decisions individually. Find something else to do.”

One of the parents goes, “Where did you learn how to do that?” I go, “my mom”

After the smores finally occurred, I assumed I get to figure out how to stay warm through the night in my fucking tent. Oh no. We were then informed we would have a flag retirement ceremony.

I did not know this was a fucking thing.

Apparently, my son’s elementary school gave the scouts a dozen fucking flags to retire. For those of you who don’t know what this is, this means you fucking burn it. So, he asked for volunteers from among the kids to put the flags over the fire. And dude was 10,000% serious. One kid started saluting the burning flags and he just goes “no, you are not dressed for that.”

Two of the flags were fucking plastic, and about six of them seemed like there was nothing wrong with them.

He then mentioned he was going to fish out the grommets to give to veterans.

Look, I grew up under the tutelage of George Carlin.

Timestamped for your convenience, but you should really watch Jammin In New York in full.

This is apparently a thing they do. When I got home and told my wife, she was fucking shocked. Now none of this phased my son, just sat there and watched it. Said nothing.

Look, at the end of the day, if this is how scouting feels they have contributions to the infrastructure of the great US suppression machine, that’s…you know…whatever man. But this is just more of, shit I dont want my son to deal with.

That night my only residing emotion was cold. I had long johns for him and good sleeping bags for the both of us. But it is fucking unpleasant sleeping in a tent, and I am old as shit.

I did not sleep well that night at all. Woke up at least 4-5 times shivering in the cold. I just kept thinking how this is not my world at all. I don’t want these sort of weird patriotism infiltrating my son’s perspectives in life.

Now, I don’t think that will happen. He is just much more outdoors than I am. His big takeaway from the weekend is that he loved being outside and playing with his friends. And all that is fine. I think the trappings of discipline don’t interest him very much.

And that’s fine. And, truthfully, I can deal with this kind of bullshit again in the future. Cause I will have to.

But it will come to a head at some point. Not sure when. I’m happy to kick the can down the road, but I want to avoid an Alex P Keaton scenario if possible. Maybe its not possible to avoid that. Maybe I’m just paranoid. Who knows. I don’t.

For now, I am just glad to have survived intact.

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