Luckily one of us remembered to put the trash out for pickup. They have those big plastic bins you roll to the curb, like here at home. The last occupants had obviously left on a non-pickup day, so we did it. Not complaining, just setting the scene. We had to go up and down the stairs with the dogs several times before bed anyway, so it was no big deal. I took Theo to sleep with me, and Stella and Ollie went in with Joyce.
In the middle of the night, ear-splitting crashes and grinding. The trash and recycle people showed up in the pitch dark, about 4 AM. The bedrooms face the street side of the house, of course. Remember, Theo doesn't like noise. Honestly, I don't, either. He became hysterical and we all jumped up in confusion while the dogs all barked frantically. Our house was in a cul-de-sac so they had about six pickups to make right there in that one small area.
Since we were all awake, we took the dogs out after the trucks left, so that once we got back to sleep, we could stay there. The underground parking had plenty of light for the yard so this, at least, was not a problem. We had brought, as we always do, loads of bread bags and newspaper sleeves and other small plastic bags to clean up after the dogs. However, this was how we discovered Theo likes to do his business in a nice, quiet private place. He chose the back hall after we got him back upstairs. Out with the cleaners, etc. again. Finally went back to bed.
Late morning before we got up, and decided we must go grocery shopping. Loaded up the dogs and drove up and down the coast road loooking for a place to shop. Nada. Went into a gas station. They told Joyce there was a Food Lion and we had driven past it several times. Found it, located behind mounds of contruction material and equipment. One tiny sign said. "We are OPEN! Entrance in rear." Good thing we asked. So Joyce shopped while I minded the dogs (which means I read a book, because they were in their crates).
Driving up and down a lot meant we got to see where the restaurants were, so after we put away the groceries, we hauled the crates up the steps and put them in the spare bedroom, corralled the kids and went to a place called Dirty Dick's for crab sandwiches. It's one of those places that sells a T-shirt that says, "I got my crabs at Dirty Dick's." Yeah, I will wear that if you GIVE it to me. I will not pay you to do your advertising.
The host called us "girls" and we pointed out that we are a total of 130 years old, so no girls present. Joyce got an extra beer for that. The sandwiches were great, just one of the reasons we went up there in the first place, for the food. They had a very large menu and many designer beers, our kind of place.
Later that day, when we returned to the Sandpiper slightly loopy, we devised a better way to walk the dogs, rather than go up and down three times per outing, or try to get them all down all at once. The Shuttle is when one of us (usually but not always me) goes to the foot of the stairs and the other sends down one dog at a time while waiting on the screened porch. The dogs cooperated by going up and down in turns as requested, and by carrying down additional shit bags if we ran out. This was totally new to them so I give them all the credit in the world for learning so fast. And I also learned that if I took Theo out at night (I mean the dead of night, not just in the dark) and gave him enough time, he would produce and save toilet paper. And since he eats and shits like a horse, it was well worth the extra effort.