Vacation hell...and back

For our 25th anniversary I planned a fabulous week in new England the highlight of which would be sitting under the starlit night sky of Nantucket on the 4th of July. On a budget. My daughters love to remind me "you get what you pay for!" And so we did.
You think Nantucket will be oh so Rockwellesque... instead you get Stepfordesque on Steroids.
Our hostess it seems was having a bad week. Joan Crawford has risen.
I imagine that's what happens when you come from a successful group of siblings and do nothing but mooch and freeload. And she's the queen at freeloading. Thus the summerhouse on Nantucket she ended up with.
Author's note: Having written this in an emotional hurricane, I begin with apologies to anyone who might take offense. Get over it.

I tried to be a good guest. I followed the appropriately grateful protocol.


On My Best Behavior

"Don't worry about me... all I need in the morning is a good cup of coffee and a beach."
"Is instant ok?"
"eh, no, I'd rather have the real stuff. But I can make it, don't trouble yourself at all."
"What's your Problem?" she snarled. "You can't drink instant? I don't have a machine. I don't have one of those, what do you call it, fancy cappuccino makers like YOU do..."
"um, ok," I reply, staring at the coffee maker on the counter wondering if she's lost her mind. I wouldn't know a cappuccino maker from a foreman grill...
Flash forward. Little island store with soda, essentials, and the centerpiece... Nantucket fresh roasted coffee.
"Too bad you don't have a machine," I remark. And then because I couldn't help myself, "What is that on the counter in the kitchen by the sink, anyway?"
"Oh. Yeah. I dont know. Maybe it's a coffee maker."
"So, then, maybe I'll get some coffee beans and we'll make some coffee at the house."
"Whatever."
Hey, curb your enthusiasm ditz-brain.
"I'll just grab some half and half too," I added for good measure.
You'd think I just slapped her.
"No! No no no. You can't buy that."
"Why not?"
"Because. I have 2% milk. Use that."
Hmmm. What does a good guest say to that?
"I don't want to, I want Half and Half." Ok. I'm not such a good guest anymore.
"Why? Isn't milk good enough? You can't have instant coffee and milk? You have to have fresh coffee and fancy milk?" Her voice became higher and grittier with every word. And, then, wait for it... "What's your Problem?" she shouted.
By now the various shoppers, all members of the ruling 1% are staring at her like she has two heads. Just the idea of instant coffee and milk is making them green around the gills. And I thought to myself I was having the most ridiculous conversation with one of the stupidest women I'd ever known.

Flashes of Brilliance

Watching the Boston Pops on TV... because that's what you'd expect us to do when it's the 4th of July and you're in Nantucket.....
Sorry, back on point now.
When the Fireworks started and the orchestra stopped, I asked "What happened to the pops?"
"They're over! The Fireworks are on now!"
"Yeah, I know, it was just a rhetorical question."
"So? I'm trying to answer it for you."
Guess she didn't hear me.
"I SAID IT'S A RHETORICAL QUESTION"
"I KNOW! WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM? I'M JUST TRYING TO HELP YOU OUT BY ANSWERING YOUR QUESTION"
By now I'm wondering, was she dropped on her head as a child?

Speeding down a narrow dark road I'm asked to open my door because her door light's on. I say no. Several times.  And each time she yells at me to open my door louder. Until she's screeching. Finally as a last ditch effort to make the screaming lunatic STOP, I tell her I did that once before when I was 6 and fell out. "You're 50... get over it!" she yells. "Besides, everyone does that. My brother did it." Oh yeah. That makes it normal.

The thing is, while I, it seems, was the two-headed monster come to invade her space... my husband could do no wrong. Anything he said or did was great. Just great. And because my husband just can't resist an opportunity, he was in his element.
My husband tries to fan the flames.
"Don't you love the competition that New York and Boston have every year over who has the best fireworks?" he asks.
"Macy's? or Ross?" I look over and glare. Don't stir the pot...
"Oh yeah!" she responds. "Right right right."
Ross? Really? Ross? Idiot.

Somehow the subject of Fort Huachuca comes up. An Army base here in Southern Arizona. Our hostess lives in Southern Arizona. How is it spelled she asks? So we spell it, then Doug says... no wait.... it's Wachuka. With a W. "No way, really?" she says. "Yup," he says, "it's a W.
I again glare at him, and then look over and see her nodding. "Right right right" she says.
Double super idiot.

Les Miserable


Over the course of those three miserable days, I actually came to appreciate some things about my life. Now I don't have a famous family. I don't have millions just sitting in a bank account to do with what I wish. I've raised kids. I have a great career. I have a fantastic husband. And my circle of friends isn't made up entirely of the hired help.
None of which applies to our hostess.
And I learned how much she resented me for it. No, she didn't say so, but her actions spoke volumes.

Island time only applies in the morning so she can sleep in while we sit on the couch and wait. And wait. And wait. 
There was a path to the beach... but she wouldn't show it to us.
There was no AC, because the open windows provided a nice breeze. Too bad our bedroom windows didn't open.
When I misplaced by medications for my diabetes, and it was 11am and I hadn't had any breakfast yet... I was feeling a little off. "What's your Problem?" she sneered. Then she gave me sugar packets to tide me over. 

In the window of a gallery is a split pair of whale paintings. Back half and front half.
She says "oh look... it's a whale." Really? "See... there's the front and there's the back!"
Holy shit. Now I'm beginning to worry about MY mental capacity.

We go into a Flower store...I actually didn't want to. Had no reason to. But she practically yanked me inside. "What's your Problem?" she growled at me again. Tells me it's a special place with special flowers.... and you can ship them anywhere. I suggested perhaps by anywhere she meant anywhere on the island... but no. She meant anywhere. And to prove it, she asked the owner. Who replied, um, no... they'd die. To which our dear hostess responded with "that's NOT the answer I wanted to hear from you."

She makes a dinner reservation for 7:30 when fireworks start at 9. Needless to day, instead of sitting under the stars on the sandy beaches of Nantucket... we ended up watching from a parking lot in the middle of town through the little crack between the trees.

And the coup de grรขce... the restaurant our first night was a bit cold for Doug. She asked how he liked it, and he told her perhaps they could provide Parkas for the guests. "Right right right" she says. "That's a great idea...wow Doug, you're so smart... I'll tell them next time I'm in there." 

So.What's my Problem? If we'd spent one more minute on that island, I'd have suggested a trip to the Cape for a little Seal watching. 

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