Two more trips to the island and it would be time to put the house on the rental market.
We couldn’t possibly be ready—but of course we’d have to be.
Late summer whizzed past in a blur of list-making.
We also talked with Jane an average of three times a week and Steve at least once, mainly about putting the finishing touches on the kitchen.
The new stove, which we’d bought earlier in the year from the same dusty furniture store in Isabel where Jane had ordered the air conditioner, finally arrived from wherever it had been languishing in back-order land.
Steve slotted it into the space where the old stove had served as a placeholder for the past few weeks.
Jane called us the next day, exultant. “It’s a real kitchen now!”
Meanwhile, back in D.C. we tentatively began emailing a few friends and colleagues photos of the house.
We hadn’t said much about our little Puerto Rican adventure to anyone except our families that whole first year (we hadn’t exactly planned to be tight-lipped; it just happened).
But as the house took shape and we began thinking about how we were going to roll it out to prospective renters, we started putting together a modest collection of photos to post online.
Nothing fancy, just an exterior shot or two, three or four photos of the great room, a couple of the kitchen, one of the bedroom.
The response from our circle of friends was sometimes puzzling.
“I always had you pegged as the European type,” one friend remarked. “Why didn’t you buy a house in France?’
It was tempting to give a smart-ass answer but I restrained myself. Instead I was deliberately vague.
“Oh, you know, the beach and all.”
“The beach? That’s so bad for your skin.”
“And the laid-back lifestyle,” I tossed in, trying to shore up my faltering case.
“If peace and quiet are what you want, why not move to West Virginia?”
Excuse me, did you say West Virginia? I mean, I know it’s a beautiful state and all…
But not exactly the exotic locale we were going for…
(Okay, calm down—I’m from Tennessee myself so I’m allowed to make hillbilly jokes.)
A handful of friends, though, immediately recognized the brilliance of our choice.
“Oh my god, that’s so great. I’ve always wanted to see Puerto Rico. Does the house have a guest room?”