My Wife’s Idea of a Vacation, or, The Horror, The Horror: Part II

We arrived at the Bed and Breakfast.  It was an old Victorian house.  It was dusty and creaky and crumbling.  A review of it on Expedia would read like this:


There was no one inside.  Just a big statue of an elephant.  Not sure what that had to do with a Bed and Breakfast in the wine country, a place not renowned for its elephants, but I had bigger problems.

Like why had I paid $300 to be in the house from Psycho.

Staci looked over at me.

“What should we do?” she said.

“Steal the elephant and go home,” I said.

She noticed a bell on the dining room table.

“Ring the bell,” she said.

“No way,” I said.

“Ring the bell,” she said.

I rang the bell.

The proprietor greeted us.  Which is an elegant way of saying that a fat guy in a t-shirt got up from his recliner in the living room and said hi.

He looked surprised.  Surprised he had a guest.

I was surprised also.  Surprised he didn’t look more like Norman Bates.

“Follow me,” he said, “I’ll show you to your room.”

We walked outside.  It was 102 degrees.

We arrived at the room.  We went inside.  It was 102 degrees.

“How do we turn on the AC?” I asked.

“The what?” he said.

“Air-conditioning,” I said.

“Oh, we don’t have air-conditioning,” he said.

I think he went on to say we could open the double doors on either side of the room and get a pretty good breeze, but I’m not sure, because it was hard to hear him over all my sobbing.

All I knew at that point was that we had two six-packs of Sierra Nevada.  If I kept it all to myself and didn’t let Staci have any, I could drink all 12 bottles in quick succession and hope to pass out.

I looked for some place to chill the beer.

“Do you have a little refrigerator” I asked the man.

“Yeah,” he said, pointing over to it.  “It works pretty good.”

I opened the door of the refrigerator.  I put my hand inside.

It was 102 degrees.

His “pretty good” meant it was a good refrigerator to melt cheese over nachos.

“Maybe the cold’s not turned up,” he said.

He tried to turn a knob inside the refrigerator.

“Wait.  It is turned up.”  He closed the refrigerator door.  It wouldn’t stay closed.  He paused.

“Let me show you where the bathroom is.”

We walked down the hall.  He showed us the bathroom.  Yellow shag carpeting.  Cobwebs on the window.  A sulphuric smell.

“Do you have any questions?” he said.

“What’s your cancellation policy?” I replied.

Staci glared at me.  It’s a face I see a lot.

“He’s just kidding,” she said. “You mind showing us the pool?”

The pool was the only thing that looked decent in the brochure.  In real life, there was a bottle floating in it.  Along with a layer of leaves.

“I don’t remember the bottle from the brochure,” I said.

The fat man said nothing.  He just picked up the bottle.  He left the leaves.

In the brochure, there was a rock waterfall pouring water into the pool.  I saw that the rock formation was there, but there wasn’t any water coming out of it.

“Isn’t that a waterfall in the brochure?” I said, pointing at it.

“Yeah,” he said.  “You want it on?”

“Yeah,” I said, now realizing that I’d have to ask for each amenity one by one.

He turned it on.

That’s when I saw that this little Bed and Breakfast had 300 additional guests I didn’t know about.

All wasps.

And all even angrier than me.

Some vacations just get better and better.

Stay tuned for more joyous adventures from my romantic weekend.

39 thoughts on “My Wife’s Idea of a Vacation, or, The Horror, The Horror: Part II

  1. Don’t forget, Norman Bates in the original book was a heavyset guy. As for AC, the second ““Oh, we don’t have air-conditioning,” was muttered, I would have fled the place. I would have ran all the way home.

  2. I feel terrible that I am laughing my ass off reading this.

    Oh, wait, no I don’t. You are just that good a writer, and the wasps were the icing on the cake. Can’t wait for Part III.

  3. Oh gawd, stop, you’re giving me post traumatic stress related flashbacks to a horrible timeshare place we stayed at in Virginia. Our “private suite with kitchenette and bath” was smaller than a one car garage. The bathroom was a small closet (that’s being generous) and there was black mold over the shower that I *swear* growled at me. That was next to the part of the ceiling that was falling down. The whole place smelled bad. The kitchenette was a wall mounted breakfast counter, some stools, and a coffee pot. We asked for another room — they showed us what else was available, and the other choices were actually worse (unbelievable, I know!) than what we already had. We walked by the pool on the way back from the manager’s office; it was half drained and green and there was a formerly living furry thing the size of a gopher floating in it. It was a 6 hour drive to get home, and a big wedding had booked up the chain hotels in town, so we were stuck for the night. The next morning I stepped out the door for some air. It was raining, and I kid you not, large emerald colored beetles were evacuating the storm drains and dropped down on my head. *shudder*

  4. I forgot to add that the best way to see places like this is through your rear view mirror.

  5. Oh, I haven’t laughed so hard forever.

    I don’t know what I like better, “Pearls” or the blog.

    Don’t stop Stephen!

  6. Seriously, I would have killed the fat man and fed him to the wasps, then thrown him in the pool.

    If Staci was so KEEN on the place, she could stay there to rot…to her with her and her little getaways. It’s not like you don’t have REAL MONEY to stay at a REAL RESORT !

    For Christ’s sake woman…

  7. You are certainly a trooper. Had I known you were in such pain I would have gladly donated my collection of sierra nevada so we could be 100% certain that ud be out for the rest of the trip.

  8. OK, now I can see why Staci puts up with you-there’s give and take on both sides…
    And in case you hadn’t discovered it, cool beer bottles feel real nice against wasp stings.

    No advice on swimming in pools full of leaves, though-just hope there’s no fish.

  9. We stayed at a very expensive B&B in upstate NY one year. Four-star restaurant. Excellent wine list. Lovely ambiance on the first floor. Unfortunately, our room was on the third and top floor, under the roof, with no air conditioning, with windows painted shut, a shared bath halfway down the hall, and high heat and humidity outdoors (and in the room too). And all for $300 per night, dinner and drinks extra. Needless to say, we were too tired to drive back to the city, so we stayed and sweated. One night. Not the weekend we planned. And never again. Now, if our friends don’t recommend the B&B, we stay at the Hyatt!!!!

  10. given your extensive fanbase online i would imagine you could send out a pre-vacation SOS asking for Some Lucky Fan who would trade you a night’s lodging in return for a drawing of Rat & Pig on their refrigerator or something.

    contingency plans. they’re (apparently) a necessity.

  11. Eco-tourism obviously escapes you.

    At least you have indoor plumbing.

    B&B’s down here are double wides with a bush in the backyard.

  12. I just can’t find myself believing most of this story because I see the role reversal of you and Staci. I can’t see how 102 degrees and cobwebs and fat men is appealing to your wife.

  13. I love the blog and yet can’t help wondering if Staci has her own blog. Now that could get interesting!

  14. This reminds me of a tragic short story written by Hemingway. Maybe this is just preparing you for a career in writing novels.

  15. My husband rented us a beach house on the Texas coast that swayed (really from side to side scarily) in the wind when I was pregnant with our first child. I couldn’t decide if it was safer to sleep in the house or in the pick up below the house as I knew that the house would collapse in the norther’ that blew in (we know what “norther’s” are in TX). Pregnant women are quite rational, so I don’t know why it was such a tough decision. He has not been allowed to choose a beach house since. (Although the selection was seriously diminished in the summer of 2008…he might be given a second chance so I am not responsible for a bad decision!)

    He would retaliate with the story from our honeymoon when I took him on a mile plus hike up and down the Baja Peninsula in improper footwear. (I did not have a problem. He should have been prepared.) Citing his (questionable) American Indian heritage and his bloody feet, he declared that he was taken down the “Trail of Tears.” He should have just been glad that I was there to make sure that he did not quit!

    Unfortunately, the one who plans the vacation is responsible for all ensuing problems. I pity the husband who has recently booked trips to Samoa or Indonesia! You are responsible for all natural disasters at this point regardless of the paradise vacation that was booked! It is the nature of marriage. BTW, my husband would give my kids wet willies during weddings also. I am so appalled at both of you. Please give Staci my condolences….

    Just to let you know how romantic my husband is, I have some major heel pain (exclusive of what my husband causes from being a heel) from plantar faciaitis that has recently occurred. He informed me that it is no surprise that this happened as I happen to walk like a Clydesdale. I am gracious enough to note that this is in fact an insult to the Clydesdale….

  16. We had a last minute rental show up the other night. Some tool from SF and his wife drove through the pasture to get here while ignoring the paved exit off the highway. At that point; it seemed best to go slowly with these out-of-sort individuals. Imagine my surprise when they stopped at the staff house.
    If they had continued up the road they might have reached the real house but instead they just stopped. It was only from sheer self preservation instinct that we decided to humor them.

    They stayed one night and promptly left.

    In a Honda.

    Back through the pasture.

  17. i’m laughing like eric cartman when kenny put his ass where his face should bave been in his parka and they put that picture on the side of the milk carton, and then the ass-faced people showed up… sorry you have to deal with this experience, but this is hilarious. hahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahaHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. I can’t tell if Staci is a sadist or a masochist. How on earth can a woman put up with a place like that? Shouldn’t she be the one running screaming for the front door? How many puppies did you kick in a previous life to deserve this torture? I think I’d like to meet Staci, she has some grit.

  19. OH HELL NO!!!!!!!!! I’ve booked crappy places by accident…those pictures on websites are NEVER a true depiction! I don’t mind an adventure…but if I hear banjos…I ain’t staying!!! What about bed bugs….what about unwashed sheets…..what about smokey rooms…ok enough said. You should be able to at least chill your beer!!

  20. You “saw the elephant,” an expression used during the Civil War to describe extreme hardship. Guess it fits, huh?

  21. Well, that settles it. She IS making you go through horrible trips for the strip! All in the name of the strip! Because why else would she make you go to a place like that? I agree, steal the elephant and head for the hills!

  22. I just got back from a weeks vacation in Ruidoso, New Mexico. It was wonderful. The weather was great and so were the people. Not only that, OUR ROOM WAS TREMENDOUS! We stayed in almost new hotel that was just less then $90 per day. That’s my rule of thumb with motels/hotels. Find the newest one you can in a moderate price range. Not too low and not too high. So I laugh, ha ha, at your situation. You, apparently, went just for the bed and breakfast and got an adventure! We went for the adventure and got a great place to stay! Ain’t life funny. But of course, you know that. That’s why you write a comic strip. Now you’ve got material for Pig and Rat to go to a B&B run by Crocs.

  23. When we first got married, my wife kept trying to get me to go camping. I refused. Sleeping outdoors in a crude shelter that provides inadequate protection from the elements, like some kind of Bangladeshi goat herder, is not my idea of fun. After a couple years of steadfast refusals to go camping, she resigned herself to the fact that I would never do it. Similarly, I realize that she will never agree to go to a Star Trek convention, and I figure that never going to one is a small price to pay not to have to go camping. Give and take; it’s what marriage is all about.

  24. I know a lot better places to stay than this- like home ! There you have a bed and you can make any kind of breakfast you want.

    ; )

  25. Mr.Pastis,on saturday,october 31,i recieved the best birthday presents.i got 4 stuffed animals that are your creations.i got Rat,Pig,Larry the croc and about making the rest of your are by far the best comic i have ever all your books you!

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