better than we found it

I received a lovely note from the owner of the beach-house we rented last month. He expressed that he’s very pleased with our feedback; I wonder whether he felt inundated by our thoroughness.

Because not only did we (I, in this case) craft a review of our stay for the booking website, but I sent him a fairly long direct email with our private feedback. Which included:

Things we’re sorry about:
* One dinner plate broken
* Puppy mug broken
* One dishwasher tine fell off

Things we could fix or correct, so we did:
* Fixed gate-closing spring on pool gate by front door
* Sharpened kitchen knives
* Tidied up the cigarette butts we could find (we don’t smoke, so we may have missed some)

Things our crew of engineer-types noticed that you might not have (things which I faithfully promised to share with you -!!)
* Main air filter (by kitchen, at head of stairs) looks like it needs to be changed
* Track on main upstairs sliding door (living room to porch) has issues. One handy-family-person is afraid the wood below the track is rotting away, causing the track to flex. Another thinks the door needs new rollers. Regardless, we found we needed to lift the door a little for the last 6” for it to close.

Regarding these last two comments: do know that we had a WONDERFUL time, and really enjoyed the home you shared with us. Including my engineers! You are free to ignore those comments; my mentioning those items is all that my exceptionally “helpful” people asked. (“Maybe he doesn’t know?” “Sure. Maybe he doesn’t.”)

We treat all our vacation rentals like this, actually. I would say it’s the [Girl] Scout ethos (“Leave a place better than you found it.”), but less than half of the crew of thirteen were/are long-time Scouts, and some of our best repair-persons have only the tiniest affiliation there.

Nevertheless, when we discover something amiss, we make it better. We wipe down, sweep up, put away, throw away.

I think it’s that wherever we are is Home, and home needs to be cared-for. It’s not of interest to us to make distinctions between home-for-a-week (or -weekend), or home-for-a-year… why retool our habits of mind? Why set up distinctions of “them and theirs” over against “ours”? It’s simpler to do what we usually do. (Which, frankly, could have included repairing the sliding door if there hadn’t been an abundance of other diversions, like dune-hiking and an aquarium. We’d already found the hardware store, though we didn’t go in.)

In an amusing aside, the electronic keypad lock to the house died just before we arrived, and the official handyperson was unable to fix it while we were there. We had a real key, and it didn’t make a ripple in our family goings-on…

…but I think at least five of us (myself included <blush>) spent a few minutes investigating it anyway. “Looks like something happened to the power.” “Maybe the battery drained?” “Bet the lead corroded away, because of the salt air.”


Oh, um, yeah. Fixing broken things is also everyone’s idea of a good time. At least for a little while!

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