As a child, I absolutely despised when my mother would behave in a manner she’d told me was wrong and justify it by saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
I’ve never said that to my children, but there has certainly been a time or two when I could have. Last week was one of those times.
I shared on Facebook several months ago that I would, until mid-August, be available to volunteer (yes, no pay) as a house- and/or pet-sitter for anyone . . . within reason. No trips any further north than I currently am during cold weather. No amphibians.
So far, nobody has taken me up on it. However, after checking with her mom, a friend very generously offered me the use of her mother’s Nashville-area condo while she (the mom) is wintering in Florida. I almost didn’t take her up on it, and the reason is what caused raise eyebrows from both of my children when I told them I was considering it.
You see, I’ve never met the woman whose condo I would be staying in. In truth, I don’t really know the woman who offered me the use of it. We’ve only met on Facebook! Now, that isn’t as bad as it seems. Her husband is a former high school classmate. But to be perfectly honest, we never had a class together.
Or even a conversation.
In fact, I’m pretty sure he didn’t even know I was one of the other 404 people in our graduating class! He was supremely popular — varsity baseball player, Prom King . . . you get the idea — and well, I was not.
If high school was Medieval England, he would have been in the royal class (Hello? He was Prom King!) and I would be a serf. Not a peasant, so it wasn’t all bad. But definitely a serf.
Looking at the situation logically, my son and daughter’s skepticism could be considered logical. For many, many years I gave dire reminders of the horrible things awaiting those who meet and become friends with people on the internet. And don’t even ask them what I told them would happen if they ever went off somewhere to meet one of those virtual “friends”!
Yet here I was, blithely heading off to spend a week in the condo of a woman I’ve never met at the invitation of a woman I’d never met who is married to a man I’d never met. Yes, this was the type of thing that absolutely-terrifying episodes of true-crime television shows retell by hush-voiced reporters accompanied by eerie music and cheesy reenactments.
But, of course, I’m the woman who rode with a coworker to a teachers’ conference and, when faced with a free evening and nothing to do, hitched (not literally) a ride in a florist-delivery van to an outlet mall 5 miles from my hotel with no planned way home. I’m not too sure my kids know about that, though.
They do know about the time I drove off to Kentucky to spend a weekend in a historic cabin with five or six ladies I’d only met on a farmgirl website.
Now that I think of it, both of those experiences would be great additions to the book I’m writing. But I digress.
I finally met my former classmate and his wife — they are wonderful people and not at all the axe murderers that are the basis of those true-crime shows — and I spent a wonderful week away from all the distractions that come with being at home.
No laundry or chores or television or internet (the latter two were available, I’m sure, but I never even attempted to use them). Just relaxing mornings spent exploring the area and late evenings reading.
The afternoons and early evenings were spent working on my novel. On day one, I wrote almost 4,000 words, and I continued that pace for the remainder of my stay. It was, in short, a wonderful and wonderfully-productive week.
So . . . if you need a pet- or house-sitter, let me know!