Posted by: deadmousediaries | May 27, 2013

News from the Path Valley Hotel – We’re Back in Business!

Note: It was one year ago this weekend that I announced my plans publicly to forgo a beach trip on Memorial Day weekend. Instead, we chose a woodsy stay-cation as we began rehab on our family cabin. Here we are, one year later, still in rehab. The good news is we continue to carve out our little slice of heaven and have come to call it affectionately the Path Valley Hotel (PVH).

   We have scrubbed, scoured, shooed, gnat-swatted and mosquito-slapped our way through two late springs, one summer and a fall and are now heading into prime stay-cation season once again. Last year we rose to every challenge as we battled bats and birds zooming through the house and garter snakes in the garbage. The incidents of the past year could keep any storyteller busy for a very long time. In fact, we have had so many encounters, that we’re now up to episode # 58 in my chronicles of the PVH news on my blog. I can’t wait to see what this summer holds.

    As I was flipping through a magazine shared by one of my beach-going friends, I ran across a succinct to-do list on the simple priorities for opening a beach house for the summer. Imagine my delight as I envisioned a work plan already laid out, a great guideline already set for prioritizing tasks at the Path Valley Hotel, too. How silly.  A cabin is not a beach house. Let me share a few examples.

    Priority #1 on the beach house list was: Let in the fresh air. Ha! I have contractors who do that. They are called squirrels and they have been grinding and gnawing their way under the eaves adding ventilation for some time. At night while we try to sleep, they play field hockey or lawn bowling with last year’s hickory nuts on the attic floor above us.  One night a squirrel (or chippie?) followed the vent pipe path into my closet. By the sounds of it, he was using my coat hangers as a personal fitness center. For the first time ever, I propped a security stick under a doorknob to prevent something inside the house from coming out.

    Task #3: Make sure your AC filter is clean. Air conditioning? Are you kidding? At the PVH that means dusting off the box fans and making sure the ice cube trays are filled.

    Task #4: Wipe down windows with a vinegar-soaked cloth. At the PVH, wiping down the windows starts with a good strong spray of Round-Up. The poison ivy vines and Virginia creeper never miss an opportunity in their quest to clamp down and digest the house like a giant Venus Fly Trap. We also need a brush and dustpan for the windowsills to remove the papery carcasses of the tiny insects that made their last flap there, lured by the hypnotic flickers of the microwave clock.

    Task #6 : Clean baths. Baths?? That implies there is more than one which of course there is not at the PVH. Our guests have to learn that intricate choreography of synchronized sharing that makes sure all needs get met, even the emergency ones. And, despite her good intentions, the author of the original article made absolutely no mention of how best to remove the giant wood spider lurking in the bathtub drain. (As I am no longer a squasher, I was left to my own devices on that.)

    Task #7 : Replenish your candle supply so you’ll be ready for impromptu dinner parties. No disrespect intended but an edit is needed there to specify citronella candles. Without citronella, any gathering at the PVH is already an impromptu dinner party–for the bugs.

    Task #8: Bring outdoor furniture and cushions out of storage. The essential missing instruction here is: First, pull on work gloves. You really shouldn’t be poking around storage at a cabin without a bit of a barrier between you and the little snakes, fuzzies and assorted creepy-crawlies that are also on stay-cation in your boxes and basement.

   There was also no mention anywhere of taking down the once-live Christmas tree that has been on the sun porch since last December — and sadly, no instructions for doing it.

O Poor Tannenbaum!

O Poor Tannenbaum!

Thankfully, that should be an easy task. It has slowly been undecorating itself for the past five months. A broom should be all that is needed to finish the job now. O poor Tannenbaum!

    The final item on the beach house list was task #10: Run the dishwasher. My question is: run the dishwasher where? Around the house? To the store?  Up and down the basement stairs a few more times? Here at the Path Valley Hotel, if the dishwasher is always running, the dishes will never get done!

    Stay tuned for new episodes of News from the Path Valley Hotel. If you want to get caught up in our saga before the new season starts, check out last year’s stories in the archives of this blog.  That’s where you’ll get the whole scoop through other episodes such as: Dancing Naked in the Moonlight; Itchy, Bitsy Spider; The Undress Rehearsal; Narrow Fellow in the Trash; and Strangers in the Night. It’s the beginning of the 99 days of summer countdown and the fun here has just begun!



  1. Yet another hit for Mitchell Kyd! Please keep them coming.

    • Thanks, Jane! Thanks, too, for your call. We WILL catch up soon!

  2. Can’t wait to follow along for another season at the PVH!!!

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