Ironically enough I was in the Caribbean last week on vacation and took the time to swing over to St. Thomas to meet with the landlord and pickup the keys.
The house is fully furnished as most St. Thomas homes are, and contains several peculiar items including, a ceramic and possibly life-sized leopard, a jukebox, a couple swords and last, but without a doubt not least...an inversion table. The contents of the home led me to be extremely anxious to meet my landlord, Bob.
As I pulled up to the house I was immediately greeted by a small, white, barking dog that seemed quite threatened by me, but harmless nonetheless. I walked to the door and knocked a couple of times, but there was no sign of Bob, except for what I presumed to be his car in the drive. Eventually, Bob appeared walking up the road at his own pace, and he introduced himself and his little white dog.
Bob started out by telling me all about the plants in the front yard, how long to water them and how often. He continued to confess that he rather enjoyed pouring himself a drink in the evenings and taking care of the yard. By the look of his round belly and red nose, I'm guessing Bob doesn't need the plants as an excuse for 'a' drink, but it sounded good to me.
Then, we proceeded to the other side of the house where Bob explained that if there is a hurricane, and it's bad enough, he will take responsibility for boarding up the house, which is a 10 hour affair. Apparently, Bob has been on the island for 30+ years, so he knows when a bad enough storm is coming, but to put things in perspective he told us that Hurricane Earl wasn't bad enough for him to board up the house. This seemed slightly alarming to me since the winds from that hurricane were blowing at 85 mph. I'm hoping that his gage for the force of a hurricane is as he said, based on experience, rather than based how hung over he may be that day.
Bob continued with this tutorial by explaining the water situation. In St. Thomas everyone uses stern water. To put it bluntly, I'm going to be using water that has come from the roof and made it's way down into a huge tank located underneath the house where it sits until it is needed. That's right, folks. As one person put it, there will be iguana poop in my water. However, that's not the least of my concern. Bob pointed out that while the tanks are large enough that the water shouldn't run out, I should be smart about water consumption in order to avoid having to order and pay for more water to be delivered. Bob further explained what he meant about conserving water by telling me that when showering we should rinse off, turn off the water, then lather, turn on the water and rinse again. This also means that we shouldn't flush for #1s, only for #2s. Meanwhile, Bob still has the garden hose running full blast on the same tree it was on when I arrived.
Next we moved into the house where Bob explained a few quirks with the refrigerator, the screen door and the jukebox. As a side, the jukebox isn't functioning, which was a complete disappointment to me. He also mentioned that the inversion table may not be staying in the house, so long as his 'lady friend's' health allowed her to use it in their home. Fine by me.
We wrapped things up with Bob's explanation about the generator. I'm guessing a lot of you have heard of these, but aren't really sure what they are and most of you have never used one. Basically, the generator is going to provide electricity/energy as a back up for when (not if) the electricity goes out. Apparently, the electricity goes out at any given moment for an unexpected amount of time. Bob seemed to think that the generator should suffice as long as we don't turn anything on.
Upon completing Bob's explanation of the house we have some small talk where Bob tells me that he lived on a sailboat for 5 years, has 3 sons and currently lives with the aforementioned 'lady friend'. He also reassured me that he is one of the island's better landlords, which I actually believe. He then hands me the keys and sends me on my way.