If Only I Had a Goat

In honor of today’s trip to Charleston, I hereby bring you the story of last year’s trip.

About this time each year, Janet and I head two hours north to Charleston as a Christmas/Birthday present to each other. We typically stay in Downtown Charleston, but last year thought we ought to try to find something a bit more secluded and laid back. We were tired and were looking forward to a relaxing weekend of good books, food, and time together.

In preparation for our trip I headed to vrbo.com to find lodging and Janet headed to the library to find reading material.

After looking through most of the listings (I am a professional researcher), we settled for a quaint little place on the Awendaw River, about 20-30 minutes north of Charleston. On the river with a small dock, wifi, and a soaking tub. It was perfect.

We had dinner lined up for Seewee the first night followed by a day in Downtown and an early dinner at Poogan’s Porch for the second night.

Since we weren’t going to have breakfast like most of the hotels in Charleston, we even picked up a dozen Krispy Kreme’s on our way through.

We followed the directions just as they were written – seemed like it took forever to get there.

We find our landmarks, make our turn, and meander down towards the river.

The first thing we notice is a yellow house. The directions say pull past the yellow house and the cabin will be on the river.

Well – the cabin was on the river. And so was the yellow house. Matter of fact, the cabin was essentially an outbuilding to the yellow house. An outbuilding that was facing the screened porch of the yellow house. A screen porch containing a treadmill and bagged garbage.

We fought through our initial worries, put on a smile, and unloaded the van.

The cabin appeared to be missing a few things, like window treatments and an indoor shower. On the bright side, it did have a soaking tub – that needed to be soaked in Clorox.

Needless to say we were disappointed. We walked around for a few minutes hoping to have something change our mind. I’m not sure if it was the barking dogs, the pseudo screened porch gym, or the outdoor shower, but nothing made us stay.

We now had three options: stay, go home, or find new lodging.

I walked up to the yellow house to speak to the owners, trying to explain our situation. No one home.

I tried calling the number on the rental agreement. No one answered.

I even tried emailing the owners. No one responded.

We then realized we never formally paid for the cabin. We were to meet the owners and pay when we arrived.

We felt terrible. We decided to write a sincere note explaining our predicament along with the Krispy Kremes and head back into Charleston.

I hurriedly packed the van while Janet wrote the note. We paused to ponder the donuts – left them – and then left the cabin.

As we headed back toward Charleston, we again attempted to contact the owners. We felt bad and wanted to speak to them in person – and make anything right that needed to be made right. Again – no one answered or responded.

We decided to continue on our trip. We found a Downtown hotel at a reasonable rate and figured we’d learned our lesson.

Until the next morning.

When we decided to have a peaceful morning spent reading.

We couldn’t find the books. We checked the room. No luck. We checked the van. No luck. We checked the van again. No luck.

We then realized we left them in the cabin. Four of them.

Rather than head back out to Awendaw, and face the owners, we thought we would just replace them. Until the library wanted well over $50 per book.* We can’t afford that.

*Apparently there are stocking fees and administrative costs – you can’t just jump on half.com or amazon and grab new ones. Only they can order them. Racket.

We then swallow our pride once again and decide to attempt to contact the owners. Again, no response.

We were then debating whether or not to cut the trip short, thinking the hotel room and meals would offset the cost of the books, or just driving back out the cabin and grabbing them, hoping no one would see us.

As we are figuring this out, the phone rings. It’s the owners. Cold Sweat.

As we speak, I tell them of our plight. Weekend away from the kids. Christmas. Birthday. Disappointment. Too close. Not what we were expecting. Etc…

The owner blows it off like it is no big deal.* She then goes on a tangent about the property and the work needed to keep it up. Her mother-in-law then makes an appearance in the conversation.

*Thinking this is not her first experience with renters jumping ship

Then it really gets weird.

She proceeds to tell me about a bunch of goats they are currently keeping on their property and how these goats are eating everything (shocker). She’s clearly frustrated about her goats and is using me as her sounding board.

Then she offers me a goat. Would I like to have a goat? While you’re here picking up your library books, would you like to take a goat home with you? Your kids would love to have one. It would be awesome.

I politely declined by telling her that while my girls would love to have a goat, they aren’t really allowed in our neighborhood.

She says “Okay” rather nicely and we part ways. Never to cross paths again.

And that concludes the story of how our nice, peaceful weekend nearly ended with us taking home a goat.