Over the New Year’s weekend a friend of mine organized a getaway to the Poconos Mountains in Pennsylvania. I have been there multiple times and it never gets old–fresh air, friendly people, blue skies, beautiful nature. What an excellent way to get away from our ordinary lives in the busy metropolis. There were 10 of us, including 3 restless children. When you go with a group like that, a vacation home is just no comparison to any other option available. So we rented a house–a beautiful three story house, open and closed terraces with three different types of grills, a lake view, and a fireplace to boot! That would be enough to please most people. However, the owner realized that a house that accommodates this many people would require leisure activities readily available. So they converted the garage into a game room–ping ping table, pool table, darts. Mini basketball hoops with 2 score counters side-by-side provided some healthy competition. My top score was 87 points in 30 seconds. I do have to admit, scoring was a little weird, but for the sake of argument let’s assume it was legitimate 🙂
As soon as I came into the house, I noticed index cards everywhere–attached to the fridge, walls, kitchen cabinets, and electronic devices. As I started reading them I realized what a brilliant idea it was–these index cards gave very brief, concrete instructions related to various aspects of living in the house. For example, since I’ve always lived in an apartment, I never knew what was required for an operational fireplace (don’t laugh at me, I feel bad enough already). A little index card explained that in order to use the fireplace I would need to open the chimney. It may sound trivial to you, but I didn’t realize that the chimney would need to be opened. I assumed it would just be ready for me. Chances are that I would have just started burning wood with the assumption that everything was already done for me.
Oranges make strange instructions sweeter © lukatoyboy
The homeowner predicated this practice on the notion that all kinds of people would visit and that these notes would be helpful. Other cards talked about the electricity, the boiler, and other essential parts of a comfortable stay. One thing I would recommend to the owners is to make the index cards a bit more inviting. The house was so beautiful but I felt that the white index cards took away a little bit of charm from the atmosphere. Perhaps a simple paper frame would do the trick. Either way, these notes are a much more direct way to get people’s attention than a lengthy manual. Or if you do opt for a manual perhaps it could have pictures. I always love to look at furniture assembly instruction that have some stick figures.… But that may be too much.
Have you noticed any interesting ways that homeowners communicate important messages that have made your stay a little easier? Or, if you’re a homeowner, do you have any tips to share?