Ding! This story is weird, uncomfortable, and slightly unsettling. Best vacation ever!

This one takes a bit of explaining...
This one takes a bit of explaining...

This summer my friends I grew up with and I had the rare opportunity to take a vacation together.  Together with our partners we rented a house for a week in Fort Myers, Florida.  Actually, Adam had to work so I was flying solo.  Boo.

In my stupidity, trying to be logical and fair, when the lottery for bedrooms came up and my name was called near the beginning I decided to “just take the pull out couch in the living room since it didn’t make sense for me to get a whole bedroom, let alone one with a bathroom.”  Why, oh why would I say that?  Because all I did after that was complain about having my bedroom in the middle of the common area.  In fairness, I didn’t really care that much but that didn’t stop me from being vocal.  Sorry, guys.  But, dang-it, it did kind of suck, especially considering how much I like to sleep.  Overall it was cool and I did get my twenty fifty winks and it wasn’t that bad.  I’m pretty sure any of the couples who would have had to sleep on the pull out couch would have been worse about complaining than me anyway (zing!).

So that really had nothing to do with the cattoon but I thought it was funny and that you should know it, too.

So on to the story…

I was actually on the phone with Adam one day and stepped outside to chat with him.  As I was telling him all about the trip so far, this bare-footed, kind of pear-shaped woman probably in her late 50s or early 60s wearing a fanny pack and looking confused staggered/strolled (couldn’t tell which) close to the house from the road.  Luckily I was on the handicapped ramp for the house – it’s an accessible vacation, people! – which gave us a little distance because she was kind of creepy.

I tell Adam I’ll call him back to give my full attention to the situation.  I thought this lady had some issues or something and was wandering around the town away from her caregivers; it was that bizarre and unsettling, especially with her not wearing shoes from the road and her weird mannerisms.

Can I call my son?  He needs to know I’m ok.”  This was more fuel to the crazy fire but in my infinite stupidity again I was drawn in and concerned for this woman.  Maybe she was being searched for right now – her face planted onto a milk carton as we were speaking.

“What’s your son’s name and number?  I can call for you.”   I started to get suspicious at this point and like hell if I was going to let her use my phone and turn on her sprinter feet and run away with it.

You can call him at xxx-xxx-xxxx.  He needs to know I’m ok.

“Oooookkkkk, what’s his name again?  What do you want me to tell him?”  I’m dialing at this point, planning on saying something like, “Your mother is bare-footed and bothering me.  I think she might be cracked out.”

At this point, the lady reaches into her handily located fanny pack, worn to the front of course, and roots around in there for a minute.  Hey, no one ever claimed they weren’t practical.  After a while she hands me……

A STACK OF BUSINESS CARDS!!!  With her name on it.  Darlene.  They were red and had a microphone printed on it.  The sub-heading said, “Entertainer with a heart.”

As I grab the card she starts walking away, me still on the phone, confused and not getting any answer but still naively thinking that she really wanted to call her son.  In her last act of the show, she says to me, “I’ll be at the Lani Kai***.”

I finally get what she was doing there with the acting and the self-promotion and walk inside with that face Joey makes in Friends when he’s trying to look serious for the soap opera scenes.

At this point I’m retelling the story and sharing the cards with everyone inside and we immediately begin to think about going to the Lani Kai.  Damn, Darlene is good.

The next part of this story involves the “ding” in the cattoon and the cattoon itself.  We played lots of board games this trip and PIT was one of them.  Intense and loud that one is.  To win that game you need slam a bell, like the kind you see with a sign “ring for service”.  For some reason, ok well part of the reason is that a bell like that is fun to hit, I started to hit the bell to emphasize a one-liner or the punchline of a joke.  That became pretty popular with us the rest of the trip, especially when referring to our new friend, Darlene.

For our wedding, my friends were all at the same table and I decided to get them a special wedding favor in addition to the regular one everyone else got.  I bought each of them a little bell and in the package was this cattoon I made for each of them.

DING!  The joke that keeps on giving – thanks, Darlene.

*** I decided to put this note as a footer as not to interrupt the flow of the story.  I know, so kind of me (as if there wasn’t enough stream of consciousness happening all the time as it were).  I just wanted to add an additional tidbit as to why this story is even funnier to me.  One of my friends had been to the Lani Kai before and told us how it was pretty horrific.  Therefore, we immediately jumped onto the internet to see what the reviews had to say.  Don’t be persuaded by the 18 reviews stating it as an “excellent” hotel because there are 131 that classify it as “terrible.”   Take some time to read them – it’s pretty awful, haha.

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