Jersey Shore Fever Three – Fireworks and Rules
After 20 plus years spending summers in coastal community, I am shocked no longer at the antics of vacationers which defy common sense, courtesy and logic.
Every rental agreement contains the same laundry list of clauses or restrictions. Some of warnings are:
- 1) No barbequing on the deck
- 2) No shooting fireworks from the deck
- 3) No diving into pool from deck
- 4) No loud music played outside after 11PM
- 5) Please limit cars to 1 per bedroom
- 6) Please make every effort to leave home in same condition as you entered.
Most of these rules make you shake your head at and ask, “Why do those need inclusion in a rental agreement”? Well best I can tell vacationers leave their common sense on deposit with the rental agent as well as a cash deposit.
We affectionately nicknamed the house cattycorner from us the “House from Hell”. The owners are from the Philly area and usually draw folks from the Tri- state region on a regular basis. During this particular July 4th week the cars started rolling in on Friday night and did not stop until Sunday morning. Sitting on my upper deck with coffee in hand, I called out to my lovely wife, “Hey honey, are there fourteen bedrooms in hell house?”
“No, you know there are only six. Why?”
“Well by my count there are fourteen cars”
“That house does not have room for fourteen cars. Where are they parked?”
“Everywhere”, I responded. And I meant it, cars were everywhere. One the common area, which of course is off limits to cars, in the street, and off course up on the owners newly planted front yard.
This is going to be a long week my wife and I sighed in unison. And that was and understatement.
This house with its six bedrooms can comfortably sleep eighteen; you can push it to twenty. As best we could determine the fourteen vehicles delivered some forty two inhabitants. The house was certainly primed to live up to its nickname.
Sunday evening as the sun sunk to the west, with all the guests finally on hand the party began. At 11:45 PM a cacophonous serenade of the dueling F -150″s began. Rattling our bedroom windows were the vibrations from the very large speakers mounted in the each of the respective flatbeds. One blasting Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”; the other ACDC’s “You Shook me All Night Long.”
The heavy metal / southern rock battle waged war on our scheduled sleep for nearly an hour until our trusty county sheriff interrupted their party. Not however without substantial protests.
Walking to the beach the next morning we noticed all of the deck furniture and the pool furniture was deposited in into the pool. Without any ability to restrain myself from a comment I yelled over the fence to a dozing fellow face down in the small patch of grass adjacent to the concrete deck, “Morning neighbor! Must have been quite a party, how did all the furniture get in the pool.” The unexpected response, “Don’t know we found it like that!”
By Noon that same day the home owner’s association resident manager, having received a report for the sheriff’s office made her way over to Hell House. She informed them of the report she’d received and violations of the community rules and ordinances. She further instructed them to park seven of the cars in another area of the community designated for overflow; and if they continued to drive on the common ground the HOA would bill them for damages.
As is typical when there are police reports from homes she also did a walk around the house and was appalled to see the furniture inhabiting the pool. Of course the response to her was the same,” We found it like that” Of course being in charge of the cleaning service she knew that was not the case but offered to have a crew come out a put everything back in its place.
Things remained quiet and calm for the next two nights, then came July 4th. As is our custom we ventured out to the Whalehead Club to picnic on the lawn and watch the fireworks that begin at 9:15 PM. Generally, we are back home by 10:30PM. In years past there was there were always a minor fireworks show from the beach. Recently, due to several devastating fires that destroyed multiple homes in minutes, the county ban imposed a ban on fireworks. The dry conditions and warm breezes are the perfect condition for igniting and spreading flames. One stray cinder and watch out!
This year were returned home just as the fun was beginning.
As we pulled into our driveway we noticed on the middle deck of Hell House a Grill Chef was working overtime. He had flames shooting up about three feet threatening to catch at any moment, the very dry cedar siding. Whenever the flame got too high he poured a bit of beer on the burgers. On the top deck was the real action, a new duel. The Hell House assault team of three or four 20 something’s was armed with oversized Roman Candles. They were poised and ready for battle. On a countdown they lit, aimed and shot the fireball cannons s across the ten foot space between the houses. Their target a group of 30 something’s equipped with water balloons and giant sling shots. The fireballs were bouncing off the windows and the sliding doors harmlessly. Water balloon after water balloon whistled past their targets hitting the side of the house.
Just as I asked my wife about calling the sheriff, two patrol cars pulled up. The Grill Chef had replaced the beer in his hand with a hose and was watering down the eave which had evidently caught fire while we watched the battle. Luckily he got in under control.
The 30 something’s got off easy, I guess as there is no fine for launching water balloons. Hell House, well a fine for grilling too close to the house, and small fine for shooting fireworks. Our good buddy the sarge asked if anyone had any more fireworks of course, “No sir they all said”
The sarge responded, “Look, I do not want to come back out here again on a complaint. If I catch you in possession the fine is much larger. And a certainly do not want to pick your ashes out of the embers.”
“No officer, no more fireworks. We’ve learned our lesson. “
No sooner had the words rolled off their tongues when a there was a quick succession of pops, a blood curdling scream, footfalls heard running down the wooden steps and a splash.
“Now what,” the sarge exclaimed. Everyone, the 20 something’s, the by- standers such as my wife and I and the 30 something’s all took off to the rear of the house to check out what had happened.
One of the 20 something’s now climbing out of the pool, the arm of his shirt had been burned to the elbow. As he sees the crowd descend around him he commented, “Hey guys what’s up. By the way Paulie that box of Roman Candles is defective. The one I just light backfired right up by hand. I got lucky.”
Sarge quipped, “Well son you are not as lucky as you think. Several of you are going to take a trip to the main land for a little July 4th talk with our judge.”
The rest of the week was fairly quiet. On Friday morning as the caravan readied for departure I noticed as I walked back from the beach that a few of the 20 something’s were tossing chairs, tables footstools and everything else not bolted down into the pool.
I stopped at the fence and asked what they were doing, Paulie, who did spend one night in the pokey, said, “If it is any of your business: following the rules. We are putting things in back in the same condition as we found it. “