Saturday, May 12, 2012
Liz’s Lair: Living Life To The Fullest
I tell you this because my post next Monday will be an encore one, but I promise funny stories and pictures the following Monday. We’re flying into Miami on Saturday, picking up two rental cars, and heading to Key Largo. None of us have ever been there before, so we are really looking forward to it.
I found the house online and had several email conversations with the son of the owner. Seems his mother is 94 years old and has this great 5 bedroom house with a terrific pool in the back yard that’s to die for. Anyway, the conversations moved to the phone, and I got to know a little about Bill. Y’all know how I love to BS with strangers. Well, before long, I knew way more about Bill than a normal renter should. I persuaded him to buy a volleyball net for the pool so we wouldn’t have to bring ours. (Don’t laugh. We’re obsessed with water volleyball.) I even got him to agree to get all 10 of us passes at his country club for the week. Bill ended up singing me a made-up drinking song over the phone and promised to arrange a booze cruise around the island for us. He even went on my website to check out the Bunko Babes and was looking forward to partying with us, I think.
So, a few weeks ago, I decided to really give the contract a onceover, and lo and behold, there was a dealbreaker in there. It basically said that the thermostat would be kept on 76 and they would read the meter before we got there. Any usage over $100 would be charged to my credit card.
Hold the phone, Mr. Bill. We’re talking ten menopausal women from Texas. There is no way we’re coming to Florida to sweat our asses off..no matter how many bennies come with the house. So, I sent him an email explaining the dilemma and said that if we couldn’t get this issue resolved, we would have to back out of the house. A week went by and he never returned my email.
Now you have to know that Bill was a traveling, jet setting kind of guy who loved cruises and drinking with friends. He lived on a three bedroom houseboat, for godssake. I figured he was off having a great time and I would give him a week. Then I called and left a message on his cell phone. When I hadn’t heard from him a week later, I got angry. No matter how much I liked him, he should have called me back. When I picked up the phone last week to rip him a new one, a woman answered.
“Who are you?” she inquired when I asked for Bill. I figured it was a jealous girlfriend, and I quickly explained that I had rented a house from him. That’s when she told me.
Bill had died suddenly two weeks earlier. OMG! Tears formed in my eyes as I felt like I’d lost a friend even though I’d never met him. At 63, he’d died in his sleep in the arms of his current girlfriend. What a way to go.
Anyway it got me thinking about how fragile life really is. I’ve recently lost a 27 year old niece who had complications from a simple arthroscopy that turned into a full blown open knee surgery. I don’t want to leave this earth and have regrets about not doing something I really wanted to do. I want to go out like Bill. Every day was an adventure to him, every person a friend.
His sister in law and the caretaker have retracted from the clause in the contract—said they never used it anyway unless the pool is heated. They can’t get us into the country club because that required a lot of paperwork that Bill would have had to do. They did buy us a volleyball net and arrange a booze cruise for us.
I am disappointed I won’t get to meet Bill, but you can bet that somewhere on that booze cruise, all ten of us will raise a glass in his name. I wish I could remember that drinking song he made up.
Now quit reading this and go tell someone you love them and then hug your kids. As soon as I finish writing this, I’m going to make a bucket list. One of the things I will definitely put on that list is a vacation with only my grandkids (without their parents.) I never knew my grandparents, and I don’t want mine to miss out on that. Another thing is to visit Germany, part of my heritage. And of course, I have to be interviewed by the great Kelly Ripa as she talks about my books before I get to hear Bill sing that song again.
So tell me what would be on your bucket list. One lucky commenter will win a souvenir from Key Largo. You have the next three Mondays to comment as many times as you like for extra chances. I’ll announce the winner when I write about the vacation.