Memories are magical

milkweed1amilkweed 1

Taking the free Blogging 101 class has already transformed my blog format with only half of the assignments completed. I’m pleased with the changes so far.

This morning I visited the blog, and responded to her question, “What games did you play as a child?” about my memories of the school playground on a warm spring day. Isn’t it impressive how easily we can ‘see’ details as accurately as a photograph, whether those details ever existed or not?  Reflecting on that playground image lead me to re-title my blog.

“Two tree trunks and a hammock” brings up a memory I don’t have — it belongs to my husband because I wasn’t even there. He’s laying in the hammock, quietly swinging back and forth, listening to water gently splashing against the rocks in the pond. It’s not quite twilight. Looking up, way up, is a ceiling of pine boughs from the remaining plantation pines that are over 40 years old.

What a surprise it must have been for him to see hundreds of monarch butterflies flutter toward him, land overhead on the trunks and limbs of those huge white pines and quietly close their wings together to camouflage their beauty and blend in with the bark. He was up early the next day to leave for work and the butterflies had already moved on as quickly as they arrived.

I have always envied my husband for having this one-in-a-lifetime experience.   Continue reading

$~£~€..What’s in your wallet? .. $~£~€~

On September 9, our Homeaway subscription expires and will not be renewing for another year. We are accepting reservations through October 31, 2016. If you are a previous guest or have referred our rental to someone, please contact us to see if we can accommodate reservations after November 1.

Until our subscription expires, guests can book through Homeaway and pay their service fee which based on our rates, is at their highest percentage, near 10%. Guests have the option to pay us directly from Paypal, by credit card, or personal check, with no service fee included.     

We’ve felt forced into this decision after the sale of Homeaway/VRBO by Expedia and the service fee added in February, which has been disastrous for vacation home owners. Hundreds of us have experienced a drastic drop in inquiries, and a significant decrease in bookings from prior years.  Constant changes to their policies and homeowner management website, implemented without advance notice, has been a frustrating, time-wasting effort.

Vacation rental owners receive no benefit or financial gain from this new service fee paid directly by our guests to Homeaway. To list on Homeaway, owners pay an annual subscription or a 10% commission, and now guests are expected to help contribute as well.

Homeaway/VRBO, without owner’s knowledge, allowed our listings to appear on the website, , an auction website like Priceline, to offer our homes at drastically reduced rates.

We have homes in communities, with neighbors, and may be subject to home association or municipal regulations.  We cannot, and will not, consider our home part of a commercial inventory to be reserved like a hotel room.