50 things that drive cottagers up the wall

Annoyed woman

It’s the middle of winter, and chances are you’re longing for the day when you can travel away from the city and hole up at the cottage once again. Green trees, peace and quiet, gently lapping waves, loons…ahhhh. Can you feel your shoulders lowering already?

Just so that summer cottage fantasy doesn’t drive you too crazy, we’ve come up with 50 things about the cottage that can drive you nuts. Maybe city life ain’t so bad after all…

1. Noise (however you define that) at inappropriate times (however you define that).

2. Neighbours who keep you up with their stereo playing until 2 a.m., sleep until noon, then complain that you woke them up when you started up your boat for a lunchtime fishing trip.

3. Lawnmowers before 8 a.m.

4. When your neighbour’s megawatt motion-sensitive exterior light is aimed right at your bedroom window.

5. The never-ending battle to keep the sand outside. (Try keeping a basin of water by the door and a strict “no shoes inside” policy.)

6. Finding space to hang yet another wet towel.

7. Guests who assume that there’s an endless supply of towels and toilet paper.

8. Guests who refuse to comply with the “If it’s yellow, let it mellow” guideline—or who otherwise insist on treating your delicate septic system as though it were a city toilet.

9. Guests who show up with no food or drinks.

10. Guests who wait until everyone’s sat down to a big spaghetti-and-meatballs dinner to inform you that they’re gluten-free vegetarians.

11. Guests who refuse to join your family’s cottage traditions, whether you hold bathtub regatta, crossword puzzle competitions, or cribbage marathons.

12. Guests who don’t offer to cook a meal, do a load of dishes, sweep the floor or make their own bed.

13. Guests who teach your kids how to make the ultimate loon call, which you then hear all day, every day—for the rest of the summer.

14. Guests.

15. “I’m bored.”

16. The mosquitoes that ruin bonfires, stargazing sessions, and midnight skinny dips.

17. The wasps that make it impossible to eat outside without haz-mat suits.

18. The squirrels that lay waste to your new birdfeeder (no matter how large the words “Squirrel-proof” were on the box).

19. A rainy day and a houseful of kids who can’t play board games for more than 10 minutes without starting World War III—and a cottage too small to put each of them in separate rooms.

20. A rainy day and a toddler.

21. A rainy day when the wine has run out.

22. Four consecutive rainy days during your one week of summer holidays.

23. The mucky, weedy ground you have to wade through to start swimming.

24. Trying to plan your holidays around everyone else, so you can enjoy a little quiet time at the family cottage.

25. The party-loving folks across the lake who don’t realize that sound travels better over water than over land (and don’t invite you to the party).

26. “What do you mean, the bathroom’s outside?”

27. The guest who guzzles your craft microbrews, then replaces them with cheap stuff.

28. Parents who smile indulgently at their screaming, destructive, unsupervised children and say, “Isn’t it nice that they’re expressing themselves?”

29. Pet owners who assume that you’d be happy to host their aging, incontinent, socially maladjusted gluten-free vegetarian St. Bernard in your one-room cabin.

30. ATVs tearing up the hiking trails.

31. Hikers who blissfully—and obliviously—amble along the ATV trails.

32. Snowmobilers who ruin groomed cross-country routes.

33. Cross-country skiers who won’t get out of the way of snowmobiles.

34. The (invited) guest who brings along their (uninvited) girlfriend/ne’er-do-well brother/newly single-and-despondent buddy.

35. The neighbours who allow their dog to roam free—and the dog who chooses your lawn as its bathroom.

36. The fishing boat that decides to dump its unused bait (or fish guts) eight feet from your dock.

37. Spending four (or six, or eight) hours to clear the snow from your driveway, stairs and roof, only to have it snow another four feet overnight.

38. The constant maintenance required just to keep the roof from leaking, the boat afloat, and the shed racoon-free

39. Spending the summer squirrel-proofing your cottage, only to arrive the next year to find they’ve stored a winter’s worth of nuts in your oven.

40. Anyone who hogs the binoculars/pool noodle/only unchipped coffee cup.

41. The neighbour from across the lake who insists on doing jet ski doughnuts eight feet from your beach.

42. The neighbours who set off firecrackers on random weekends.

43. Leeches (unless you’re hunting for bait).

44. Running out of supplies (allergy meds, hot dogs, wine) unexpectedly when the nearest store is an hour away.

45. Climbing out of the boat at your island cabin only to discover you left the front door keys in your car.

46. The limited beer selection at the local LCBO outlet.

47. Those guys who drop anchor a mere two metres away from the spot where you’re fishing.

48. Sitting in an endless drive-through line in order to sit in an endless traffic jam on your way out the city.

49. Getting to the end of a precious summer weekend and realizing that you spent it working harder than you do in the city.

50. Never feeling like you’ve spent enough time at the cottage.

Who are we kidding? We love the cottage!

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