• Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Okay, so I’ve gone several weeks — make that months, without too much bad luck. Amazing, since I’m usually the Ziggy-type, picture a black cloud over my head. However, all of that changed this past week.

Hub Russ and I went to the mountains for a week’s stay with another couple.
It was to be a leisurely vacation, meaning: no stress. In fact, we only had two definite things planned: a trip to Biltmore Estates and a day of golf for the guys.

The seven-hour trip was uneventful until the final thirty minutes.
We arrived in Banner Elk, N.C. to a severe snow blizzard in the form of Hurricane Sandy.
What started out as a few snow flurries changed in a matter of moments to strong winds, heavy snow, icy roads and two accidents: one that created a detour.

Somehow we ended up in the snow-covered parking lot at Food Lion.
We then backtracked about a quarter mile to the road to our condo, only to find out our two-wheel-drive Toyota would NOT go up the steep hill.
Our friends came down in their four-wheel drive Expedition and we followed them, alternately inching upward, then getting stuck.

Next our car flashed a “no traction” sign on the dash, with a photo of wavy car tracks.
Oh boy! We tried again but the final incline was too much.
Our tires spun, we sat and prayed hard and again, Russell slowly pushed the accelerator. Miraculously, we made it.
Our final test was trekking up two flights of snowy, icy steps to our condo with heavy luggage. Phew!

As luck would have it (or not have it), I had planned to finish proofing my column for Georgetown Times and send it that night, but we had no Internet service. I tried again the next morning, but could not connect.
Later in the week I could read e-mails, but not send them.  

Since we were totally snowed in the first day, we took advantage of doing nothing: lazing around, reading books, watching TV and taking naps.

Now THAT’S what I call a vacation!
The second day we milled around in the village, drove to Boone and shopped at Mast General Store.

Thankfully, on the third day, we were able to tour Biltmore Estates.
But, we no more than parked our car, rode the shuttle bus, and settled into a great toy store when, BING.
Something hit me on my right ear and it stung like crazy.
What the? A hornet? A wasp?
“Ouch!” I yelled.

Then I heard a woman behind me say, “Honey! I told you to be careful with that toy. This store is very crowded. Now, apologize to the nice lady.”
The part she had wrong was “nice lady.”
The kid sort of smirked at me.
But I asked,  “What was that from anyway? A ball?” She showed me her son’s “toy,” which resembled a rubber-band gun.
I just stared at her incredulously, rubbed my sore ear and stormed out of there, immediately telling this story to Russell, who was sitting outside on a bench.

When my friend came out from the store moments later, she told me that little twerp shot the next person as soon as I left. NO, HE DID NOT! (I wanted to find him and pinch his own ear a good one!)

The rest of the day was great.
We toured the entire estate, the gardens and greenhouses — my favorite — attended a wine tasting and shopped some more. Lunch at Cedric’s Tavern was exceptional.

The next day the guys played golf in Spruce Pines and Russell was only too happy to get away.
He wore his new “mountain” boots and his golf visor with the hair attached on top — y’all have seen them, right?
Our friend bought it as a joke, but Russell wore it quite a bit.
It actually looked kind of normal with the salt-and-pepper streaks, which matched the color of his own hair.
On our final day we had clear weather, but our “check engine” light stayed on.
What else could go wrong, I thought?
Actually, we arrived home safely and I looked forward to an accident-free week.

It’s not going to happen. Today I went to the gym, then drove to the grocery store.
I walked inside and poured myself a cup of  yummy pumpkin spice coffee.
But when I grabbed the wooden stirrer, I felt a strange pain — not on my ear, mind you, but on my finger.
Do what? A splinter!

After using tweezers, placing tape on top (I read that somewhere) and taking a hot shower — don’t ask me what that had to do with anything — I still have that dang splinter.

I guess bad luck on vacation follows me home.

Ann Ipock “Life is Short, I Wish I Was Taller” amipock@ec.rr.com www.annipock.com.

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