Yesterday evening's Braves game was just winding down when the phone rang. It was my friend J., wanting to know if I would come and keep her company while she moved some boxes and did some cleaning in her new house. There would be Gosling's Black Seal Rum, she hinted. And Pimm's. I hopped in the car.
There's some backstory to this. A few months before my Platonic Flirt Buddy left town, a friend of his had invited him to fill a vacancy in what surely must be the best and cheapest rental house in the entire state. But then both of them left town around the same time, and the PFB had the presence of mind to offer the house to J. and her fiance'.
I can't express to you how amazing this place is. First of all, there's the price. J. and her fiance' have been living in a similar-sized house--a small two-bedroom--and have been paying $275 more per month than this house costs. And their old place wasn't a bad value.
But beyond that, things get really surreal. This little house happens to be on the grounds of a local country club, and as such, a groundskeeper comes and mows the lawn every so often. There is armed security on call. But the house doesn't match its somewhat obnoxious surroundings because it was there before the country club was. It's a little shingled vacation cottage, tucked a little ways back from the road, that backs up to a large pond.
Both the living room and one of the upstairs bedrooms open up onto wooden decks via French doors. On the lower deck, there's a hot tub that needs a minor pipe repair before it'll be ready to use. (J. already has one of our handy male friends on task to fix it.) There are also a bunch of fishing poles, because the water is directly below. The house is owned by a fishing-bait magnate who stocks the pond with trout.
There's a working fireplace in the living room. There are 22 acres of woods on the part of the property that's not covered with water. Pine trees near the house provide privacy.
Not everything is perfect. First of all, the PFB and his roommate left the place in a big hurry, so it was a shambles. J. has been sweeping, gathering trash, and bleaching and scrubbing everything in sight. She had to have all the carpets steam-cleaned, and she found all kinds of mildewy untouchable things underneath the sinks. Also, in true rental-house fashion, a lot of the appliances and woodwork were installed and built in a rather ad hoc fashion. So she's had to buy some caulk and paint, too.
But it's still the greatest rental value I've ever seen. J. says she's glad it was recommended to her by people she knew, or she'd fear it was too good to be true. "I'd be worried it was infested with something really horrible," she said. "Like, I don't know, zombies."
The s.o. and I now have an open invitation to come and sit in the hot tub, fish, and hang around. J. says we might be having some work-related parties there now, too.
But enough of the backstory. J. and I had a great night last night. She wouldn't let me do much work; she just wanted me to chat with her, drink some drinks, change the CDs in the player, etc. We talked and talked. And when we finally looked at a clock, it was 4 a.m.!
On an unrelated note, I gave J. and her fiance' a big bag of fresh basil, sage, and yellow crookneck squash.