When we stumbled up the steps into the living room, we discovered a big blue plastic tub. What can this be? we wondered. Why, it was our bedding, of course. Our beds were not made. We had to do it ourselves. Have never come across this in all our years of rentals. We pushed it aside and continued unpacking so we could get the dogs in.
Once everything but the dogs was up in the house, we got them out for a trot around the yard before taking them upstairs, and guess what we found? Cactus! Sand spurs! So we picked spurs out of their pads and made a note to locate something for dislodging cactus plants from the sandy soil, which may well have been illegal, but we really didn't give a shit.
Once they were empty, we got them upstairs, poured a couple of big drinks and made the beds. Decided cheese and crackers would make an excellent supper, as we had yet to locate a supermarket. Actually we weren't sure if there even was such a place, and wondered if we'd be shopping in convenience stores for two weeks.
Sat on the couch to have a look at the weather channel and discovered there was no VCR, DVR, or any other such equipment. This explained why the cabinet contained no DVDs, either. That isn't such a big deal to us, but it's pretty standard in beach rentals where we usually go.
While figuring out the TV, Joyce saw something on Stella's coat and brushed it to dislodge it, whereupon she let out a blood-curdling scream and began running around the room with her hand in the air. Joyce, I mean. A thing was stuck to Joyce's fingers, and she wouldn't hold still or shut up so I couldn't even see what it was. I chased her and the dogs bayed and ran around the house in confusion. I finally cornered her in the kitchen while she was screaming about spiders and bugs and waving her hand. I finally got hold of her hand, found a spiny thing on it, dragged her to the sink and got her hand under water, and while she screeched and struggled, I managed to dislodge the thing and about five spines, using my own bare hands. There was no time to hunt for tweezers.
She kept screaming it was alive, while I tried to reassure her it was from a plant, probably the cacti in the yard, all dried up and having blown to where it stuck on Stella, who was totally unharmed, by the way. I had to dig it back out of the trash and show her it wasn't a living thing.
Here it is when green:
See how the spines are long and black. When it breaks off, it dries to a light tan, which you can see starting to happen in the lower left corner, and blows around. It doesn't stick to fur but it does lodge in flesh. For the next twelve days, I dug that shit out of the yard with a slotted spoon and put it in a plastic bag to be hauled off by the ever-present Waste Management people.
This would probably be a good time to point out that Joyce is a highly-decorated combat veteran from the First Gulf War. I am not making this up. She has two rows of medals ALONE plus two more rows of ribbons. Probably a good thing they weren't lobbing cacti at her over there.