It takes Erin 55 minutes (downhill) to walk to school. There's no school bus service or public transit, so she's on foot in the mornings. Her grandmother lives 2 minutes' walk from the school, so the plan was that Erin would finish up at school each day and then head to her grandmother's where she could use the spare room to do her violin practicing. Then she'd call for a ride home.
Everything's working well and going as planned. Grandma is actually out of the country for the first two weeks of school, though, so Erin has been going to an empty house. And quite enjoying the combination of the new adventure of school and basically having a house to herself for the afternoon. In amongst other e-mail correspondence between my mom and myself has been the following exchange:
Me: Erin is very much enjoying your house. Nothing personal, but she's wondering if you could find somewhere else to live when you return.
My mom: Tell Erin that she can have the house if she looks after cleaning and my laundry, provides all meals, tends the garden (including lawn cutting) and pays an exorbitant rent. I'll live in a tent on the lower lawn. (But I will need to come in and out to use the bathroom.)
Me: Erin is trying to figure out how to get a job so that she can pay you rent on your place while you live on the lower lawn in a tent. She will leave your meals and laundry at the top of the steps.
My mom: I really think the meals and laundry should be delivered to the bottom of the steps.
My mom is due back tomorrow. So this evening we went and put this on her lower lawn:
Yes, that's a tent. It looks rather diminutive amongst the trees in the dark, but in full daylight it will be quite obvious as she arrives home by driving right past the lower part of her property on her way to the parking area. We also placed a Bathroom Sign-up Schedule on her door, with 90% of it X'd off as "not available" and most of the remaining time marked as "Erin." There are four one-hour time slots still available. Alas, there is no time available on Sundays or Fridays. I guess she'll just have to manage.
Here's hoping she doesn't kill some airport time at an internet café and happen to check my blog on the way home. That would ruin all the fun of the surprise.