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Monday, August 01, 2005

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

I realized a couple of things:
1)In order to get a FUNNY story, something has to go just a little bit wrong. This account isn't going to be all that funny, because it was an incredibly good vacation!
2)I like taking pictures out the windshield while driving through tunnels (well, while Jif drives me through tunnels):

Go toward the light!

Taking pictures in the tunnels served as a very effective distraction from the claustrophobia that I might otherwise have felt.

Our little cottage was, according to the website and the brochure, an elegant place. The price of the place would have seemed to support this description. Our friends arrived there before we did, and when we called them on the cell, I asked the Dad of that family, "So . . . is it GREAT?" And he answered, "We're doing fine, having a good time . . . " Ruh-roh. OK, it wasn't elegant. It was over 100 years old, truly. It was rustic. Once we embraced rustic, we really did enjoy it, had no real complaints (except about the toilet paper, but I'll get to that in a minute).

We stayed on this road:

In this cottage:

We were with Jif's friend, who is LG's godfather. "Parran" is allegedly the cajun word for godfather, and since this friend married a girl from N'Orleans, we all are apparently cajun by association, so we now call this Maryland-born friend "Parran." And Jif is Parran to Parran's little girl, as well. You with me? We had two Parrans, two wives, and two little girls. In one 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom cottage in the mountains in southwestern North Carolina. Frankly, I was a little apprehensive. I need a considerable amount of personal space -- no, that's not another "ass crack," it's a crack, I mean a commentary, on my level of introversion, my need for privacy. I must say, though, that we blended wonderfully with these good people. There was no tension, no awkwardness, nothing at all unpleasant between the six of us. I think that's quite something. We would happily go on vacation with these people again. (And no, they don't know about the blog, so I'm not just blowing smoke up their chimneys.)

To describe our experience overall, the phrase that comes to mind, attributable to another blogger (I don't remember who said it first -- if it was you, by all means take credit here in the comments) is: "moist as a snack cake." The phrase was originally used in a sexual context I believe, but isn't it just an appealing combination of words? Oh, how did it apply to our vacation? Well, we went to the "cool" mountains, where the lowest daytime temperature most days was 94 humid freakin' degrees. That makes for a certain amount of "moist" right there. Add to that time in the pool, in the river, on the lake, and hiking in the heat to misty waterfalls -- moist, we were. As snack cakes.

We were all over Hendersonville, Flat Rock, Asheville, Brevard, Chimney Rock, and various points on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We met interesting, exotic critters:
These bears were among many that line the streets of Hendersonville, until they are auctioned on October 22. They're quite wonderful.
This guy stood guard outside the Biltmore House, the largest private home in the country, built by the Vanderbilts in 1895.

We relaxed a lot, in hammocks and swings . . .

We hiked to these beautiful waterfalls:

We had excellent food, wine, company, scenery, and daily arrangements of the loveliest flowers, freshly picked and masterfully arranged by the sweetest little girls:

We were doing just fine with everything until we ran low on toilet paper. We waited a bit to see if "housekeeping" at the resort would bring us some, but no one showed. So when we went to the office to mail our postcards, we asked for some. There was a failure to communicate, I believe. First, I handed over about 15 postcards to the young woman behind the desk. As I was saying, "Will you mail these for us, please?", she was saying, "I'll put these on your bill." I thought, "WTF?" And I said, "You're going to charge us for putting our postcards in the mail?"

It seems she didn't notice that our cards already had stamps on them; when she saw that she agreed not to put a postcard mailing charge on our bill. Then I said, "Oh, we'd like to pick up some bathroom tissue and some small wastebasket liners, please." She looked at me as though I were crazy (I know this look well). She said nothing. So I altered the vocabulary. "Some toilet paper and trash bags? Please?"

She says, "How long are you staying?" Now I was quiet for a moment. Did she have some formula about how much toilet paper or how many trash bags a guest is entitled to, per day? Per week?

Finally, I said, "Seven days. Why?"

"Oh, if you are staying for less than 7 days, we supply toilet paper. More than 7 days, we expect you to supply your own."

I thought, "WTF?" But I said, "We're staying for exactly 7 days." And I waited.

And she said, "Then we expect you to supply your own."

And I said, very pleasantly, "I called this office, twice, before we came, just to make sure we had everything we need. I would have been happy to bring toilet paper, except that both times when I specifically asked about that, I was told that it would be supplied. In fact, both times I called, I read down a list of 'will we need to bring...' and both times I was told that you supply -- among other things -- toilet paper and trash bags. In fact, both times I was told that ALL we needed to bring is dish detergent and laundry detergent. So we did."

"Well, our policy is to supply toilet paper to guests staying less than seven days..."

STOP. We've paid roughly 2 grand for this rustic/elegant place. And this chick is gonna stand here and go all TP Nazi on me? Uh . . . NO.

"Um, seriously, are you refusing to give me toilet paper?"

"Well . . . I could give you one roll . . . would you like for me to give you a roll?"

Would you like for me to give YOU a . . . "I would like that SO much. I really would appreciate that." So she gives me one roll. We told the story to the menfolk, who said they'd go over and tell the TP Nazi that they needed LOTS of TP, and they needed it NOW, implying some impending toilet crisis . . . they came back with two more rolls, so we were good. It's the principle of the thing, you know?

My very favorite part of the week was after we went to Chimney Rock Park, and stopped by the Rocky Broad River. I love rocks, as I've said here in blogworld many times. I love their history, their permanence, their evolution. The photo from yesterday was taken as I sat on a big rock in the middle of that river. We put our sneakers here:

And we went out to the middle of the river and climbed on large rocks and just sat there and watched the water rush around us:

Imagine how this feels:

OK, so they're dirty and have sneaker-dents, and the pedi could use a touch-up; I'm not showing you because they look good, I'm showing you because they feel good. Just imagine, after a long, hot hike, sitting on a rock chair resting your piggies on a rock ottoman in a cool river . . . aaahhhh . . .

Oh, I just remembered. Before the river and after the hike, I was sitting on a bench outside a little store, enjoying a bottle of Deer Park, when this little fellow comes up and sits down beside me. He's a cutie, Mexican, I believe, and chubby, about as wide as he was high, probably not quite 3 years old. He leans on my thigh to get a good look at my drink, jabs his finger at it and says, loudly and accusingly, "You got frekkin' donkey water!"

OK, first, why is a two-year-old using language like that, and second, what the frek? I look at him quizzically, and I hold my bottle up to the sunlight, cautiously inspecting it for evidence that it is, in fact "donkey water." I got nothing.

"Donkey water?"


"Show me." So he points to a picture on the label on the back of the water bottle, some kind of promotion that depicts . . . SHREK and DONKEY. I'm drinking "Shrek and Donkey water." Phew! That was a relief. "Ha. Yea, I guess it is Shrek and Donkey water. It has their picture, right?"


The only real "crisis" of the trip occurred when I got locked in the bathroom at the cottage. I was in mine and Jif's bathroom, which, I had discovered, had a broken lock. No worries, there were plenty of bathrooms in the place, and intruders weren't likely. But this one evening, after we returned from the day's adventures, I went in there and I locked the door automatically, out of habit. And the lock worked. OK, good. Until I went to unlock it. Uhohnowlook. It won't open. My companions are all outside, now. Remember, I'm claustrophobic. I was really OK, though. The fan was blowing (the switch to it was outside the door; had it been off, I would have been more anxious); there was a window; there was all the water I could ever need. And, to be blunt, if you're going to be locked in somewhere, a bathroom isn't the worst place to be . . . like, you know, the worry about "what if I need to go" is pretty much a non-issue. So, after I established that I was, in fact, calm, and giving myself credit for not freaking out, I started yelling and banging on the door until Jif came and picked the lock with one of those fancy "Leatherman" pocket tool things. I think that's what it was. Hakuna matata restored.

That night at a restaurant, we had to wait over an hour for a table that we were told would be ours in 20 minutes. We were uncomfortably tired and hungry by the time we were seated. My little bathroom incident only served as a reminder of how good my life was at that moment. While the others grumbled, I said, "I'm not going to complain. I'm just thankful I'm not locked in a bathroom anymore." Sometimes a little attitude adjustment makes all the difference.

On the way home, we stopped in one more NC town, Montreat. What a charming, lovely little place. A college town. And they liked me, too. I made such a splash there that they named the lake after me ;)

Well, that's purty much it. It was really nice. Thanks for your happy vacation wishes, and your "welcome backs." (Welcomes back?) And thank you for visiting and praying for Sarah. She's in trouble, now. Please don't stop praying. In fact, how about right now? THANK YOU :)

(Please pardon any wacky formatting here, I used blogger's pop-in-a-pic feature, and I clearly don't know how to do that very well.)

47 heads are better than one . . .

Blogger WILLIAM said...

I didn't read. I just wanted to be first.

Blogger Danius Maximus said...

I must say that is quite an epic my man...we can all only hope to have such adventures yeah?

Blogger WILLIAM said...

Okay now I read it. What lovely photos. It sounds and looks like a great retreat. Hope you had fun and I am glad you are back.

I have never heard of a resort being that protective of their TP. It must be hard to get in the middle of no where.

Blogger eclectic said...

Frekkin Donkey Water. I'm weeping, I laughed so hard! Maybe it's b/c I can hear LE saying it, but that just killed me. Next time you warn me that a post isn't going to be really funny, I'm sooo not believing you.

Blogger LadyBug said...

What a lovely vacation, Susie. Thanks for sharing it with us.

You were SO nice to the TP Nazi. I would've asked (through gritted teeth) to speak to the manager, and then demanded to know WHY they were so dang protective of the friggin' toilet paper.

And FREKKIN Donkey Water...*snork* Of course, this comes on the heels of Bucky's buffalo-piss obsession from last week, so you can only imagine what I was thinking.

I missed you, Susie. I'm glad you guys had such a nice time together, but I'm glad you're back.

Blogger LadyBug said...


P.S. I love what you did with the 'people' photos. I may have to try that myself, as an alternative to just NOT posting photos. That's a great idea.

And I really like the pics of all the sneakers on the rock. It made me smile.

Anonymous Sharkey said...

Ah, but did you have toilet paper when you were locked in the bathroom?

Also, I'm wondering how you managed to spend all that time with those people without mentioning the blogworld. It seems I'm always saying something like, "When Susie went on vacation she got locked in the bathroom and didn't have any toilet paper," when I hang out with real-world friends.

Blogger Closet Metro said...

Nice to hear about your vacation. Glad the trip was relaxing. I heard soemone say once that things have to go wrong on a trip in order to make it more of a bonding experience for the family, so thank the resort for being stingy with the toilet paper.

Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

"Moist as a snack cake" originated on the delightfully WRONG Tv show called Strangers With Candy and was uttered by the lovably grotesque heroine, Jeri Blank. As in, lookin' at the cute new boy in school: "I'm moist as a snack cake down there."

There are a lot of SWC fans in blogdom, but you likely heard it from Spoonleg, Girl.A, or me, as we've tended to go on about it more than most.

Oh, and great rest of the post too. But you just had to know I'd know somethin' about the snack cake, right?

Blogger Romani Heart said...

You were REAL close to my neck of the woods :) I'm about forty minutes west of Asheville (Big City)

Blogger dawn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Blogger Dawn said...

looks like you had a really good time

Blogger Susie said...

william, you tickle me, with your "first." There was a grocery store really close, that we were running to all the time, getting things and stuff; I was just being stubborn about wanting the Free TP.

d.m., well, yes, my man, an epic it was, then. And I would wish such an adventure on anyone.

eclectic, OK, frekkin' donkey water was pretty good, I'll admit. Glad you enjoyed :)

ladybug, well, that answers part of my "what'd I miss in blogworld last week?" Bucky and buffalo piss, you say? lordlord . . . I don't know how to Photoshop anything, but my "Camedia" software that came with my Olympus camera has an "edge" option that turns folks into cartoons like that. I did it once before for LG's b'day party post; I'm pushing it a little here, because LG and Jif are pretty close to recognizable, except HAAAA Jif's hair isn't attached in one straight line like that! heeheeee

sharkey, that is a very pertinent question. There happened to be plenty of TP in that particular bathroom at that time, yes. I wavered on whether to tell our friends about the blog at that time; I decided not to, just to reserve the option to write freely about whatever happened. It was a little difficult, some things "slipped out" from time to time about blogging, but without any context, no one picked up on anything. I talk about bloggers and blogworld all the time, too. After I checked online Sat. while we were on our way home, Jif knew I would have been checking on Sarah, and he saw from my face that it wasn't good news. He said, "Is your friend in trouble?" Which I thought was so sweet, and so true, even though I've never met her.

CM, I like your perspective. "Trauma bonding" is another term for that phenomenon. If I have to have a trauma, I'll take a TP trauma any day.

bucky, well, hell, why didn't I just KNOW right away that you would have the 411 on this? heeheeeee, yes, you're right, it was at dooce one day. I have never seen that show; I fear I would like it too much. That is a VERY useful expression, that moist one. It might be dangerous for me to watch it; you know how I was after I met those *&*(S^*%#$s on Deadwood!

romani heart, then you are a lucky girl. Very special place, there; I wondered if there were any bloggers about :)

blogaholic, we really did. Tough to come back to real world, after that.

Blogger Circus Kelli said...


I missed you a teensy bit. ;)

Good on you for getting the TP! Did you take home the stuff you didn't use? :)

I'm glad you had a good time.

Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Well, you coulda cut down some trees and made your own t.p. in awhile, I guess.

Fine report, Susie. Thanks, and for the pictures too. Lake Susan, huh? Not Susie?

Blogger SierraBella said...

Those bears in Hendersonville are darling!
We have the same thing going on up here- except it's frogs (in honor of Mark Twain's Jumping Frogs of Calaveras.)
I'm sorry, but no matter how 'cute' you paint 'em, large decorated frogs everywhere is pretty scary.
Glad to see you had a wonderful time.

Blogger Southern Fried Girl said...

Sounds like you had a really great, relaxing time. :)

Blogger Weetzie said...

welcome back!

Blogger Candace said...

(William, you're a dirty rotten cheater! ;-) )

We had bears, only they were pigs. Because, you know, Cincinnati used to be affectionately (?) called Porkopolis because of the...um...pig...um...processing that used to go on here. In spades.

Nothing like romaticizing slaughterhouses! Go Cincinnati!

Anonymous kalki said...

Welcome back Susie! And I think toilet paper is an inalienable right. I'm just saying.

Anonymous MrsDoF said...

Coming out of the tunnel picture is so neato....with any and all others elbowing for second place. Must have taken forever to get all those coded in. SPF about wears out my typing fingers!
The Frekkin Donkey kid story is sweet. I do miss having younguns around. College students jist ain't the same.

Blogger Nina said...

Well if you had to be locked in the bathroom, at least you had TP.
I have never heard of bring your own TP if you are staying 7 days, makes it seem like a better deal to stay 6 1/2 days instead.
Great pictures, glad you had a wonderful time!

Blogger Von Krankipantzen said...

So glad your trip was smooth and fun and even TP filled after a wrinkle or two to smooth out. And bathrooms enough for everybody!

Blogger Nina said...

BTW: frekkin' donkey water, had me spitting my water from the tap, on my computer screen. Thanks for the laugh!

Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

Oh, and one other question for Ms. Fairchild. As a therapist, can you explain to me why I feel all funny and tingly in my lady parts after I saw the pictures of the tunnel being driven through? And was it wrong that I wished the car was a train?

Blogger Greenthumb said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip. Thank you for the Tit action over at homo central by the way. Those were great! he he he

I'm so glad you're back. No william can get back to a normal routine instead of checking every minute to be first.

(Just kidding William)

Anonymous MistressMary said...

Heh. Moist as a snack cake. I'm stealing that line.

Sounds like a fab vacation. I love southwestern NC!

I visited Sarah's sisters' site. Man.

Blogger SassyFemme said...

Sounds like a great vacation. I, too, take pictures out the window of a moving car. TP Nazi story had me laughing. Geez, it's toilet paper, just hand some over already! Frekken Donkey Water - love it.

Anonymous lawbrat said...

Beautiful pictures. I love,love,love the waterfall. Very beautiful. I'm glad it was a good time.

Blogger KGrams said...

Welcome back, I'm g=lad you had a good vacation.

So, they really couldn't spare a square??? That is just too much TP Nazi. I really hope that you didn't leave any when you left, or at least hid it so that housekeeping didn't see it and return it to the storage cabinet.

The rock ottomon looked very cool and refreshing.

"frekkin' donkey water" This one had me ROFL.

Blogger momo said...

Wow, what a great vacation post!

You were in my neck of the woods...I live in Charlotte,NC. We've only lived here about 10 months and haven't successfully made it to the Blue Ridge Mountains yet. Love the pictures! I soooo want to head up that way after seeing your pictures.

Thanks for sharing the TP story. I'd have told her for what I was paying they'd better furnish a roll or two.
The guys were quite creative with the "toilet emergency". Glad to hear you had enough to make it though the week!

Loved the Frekkin Donkey water story too. LOL!

Glad you all had a good time and glad your back!

Blogger mrtl said...

Nothing beats a great vacation. Glad you got a chance to relax. And not one mention of blog withdrawal!

I got your postcard today. Thanks! It makes me want pie. It's only Monday. That's not good. I'll forgive the USPS.

Blogger Ern said...

Looks like a VERY relaxing vacation. Beautiful waterfalls, good friends, wildflowers, funny little towns. Glad to have you back though!

Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

Susie, you should definitely watch Strangers With Candy (it's out on DVD). Then you can play the "I got somethin' to say!" drinking game.

Blogger Susie said...

CK, I lug you! I also want you to pimp my ride. I saw your offer to -- was it Ern? -- and I am so gonna send you a pic of my old Saturn, for pimping!
Everyone wants to know if we took the TP home with us. We didn't! Consensus seems to be that we should have. Maybe next time.

hoss, yea, Lake Susie would have been too blogperfect. I'm mostly Susan in the realworld, so I still felt it was my lake.

sierrabella, yes, those bears were incredible. I'd love to buy some. Baltimore has crabs (!) and New Orleans has fish. Bears are the best street critters I've heard of. NYC's cows were pretty cool, too.

sfg, we really did. One of the best vacations I've had in a while.

thank you, weetzie, the hurricane traveler. I gotta come and see how your adventure turned out :)

misfit, ha! See comment to sierrabella. Pigs could be cute; yea, I could see that ;)

kalki, I thought so, too; plus the whole "customer is always right" thing. I couldn't believe that whole conversation.

mrsdof, I know; the little ones say such funny things. Using either "Hello" or blogger's pic feature, I didn't have to type much code, just retrieve and copy a bit. Still tedious, though, esp. when I don't know what the heck I'm doing most of the time.

nina, glad you enjoyed the water story. Yea, the 7-day rule has got to go; makes no sense at all :(

kranki, yep, the bathroom abundance was key to an enjoyable trip, I think!

bucky, I believe the remedy for that situation is to feed Jim more snack cake :0

ding! ding! ding! greenie, that is the bell indicating we have a winnah! You win the prize for most bizarre comment and/or combination of words never before typed on this here blog: "Thank you for the Tit action over at homo central"
Be proud, greenie :)

mistressmary, yes, that snack cake line comes in handy, you know'm sayin'.
Thanks for visiting at swlf; I hope everyone does, and sends love and prayers their way. It is an impossibly difficult time for those dear people.

sassyfemme, this was my first attempt out the car windows; it's really fun! I keep popping over and reading your site; I don't think I've commented yet, but I will. Am enjoying getting to know you :)

lawbrat, glad you like it. As always, steal one if you want one :)

kgrams, thanks. I guess we should have done something creative with the remaining TP; we sure worked hard enought to get it.

momo, thanks. I used to get to Charlotte pretty frequently. Jif and I went to Davidson College, not too far from you, there.

mrtl, I saved one of those postcards for myself, too. Let me know if you make the pie. Mmmmm, pie.

ern, thanks, it really was pretty special, no complaints here.

bucky, I'll give it a try, with some trepidation. I don't even drink enough to play drinking games, but that "cocksucker" one cracked me up. Can you imagine? You'd be passed out after ten minutes, playing that one.

Blogger marybishop said...

I'm not vacating until September, but your blog is so well written and the pictures so gorgeous I feel like I had a vacation just reading about yours!

Blogger Spurious Plum said...

The 'frekkin donkey water' buisiness had me cackling like a loon. Thanks!

We're so glad to you have you home, where you can enjoy all the modern conveniences. Like TP...

Anonymous Sub said...

Strangers with Candy was made into a movie and shown at the Sundance Festival. It was supposed to be released in Oct 2005. People that saw it said it was hilarious. The main character is Jerri Blank played by Amy Sedaris, sister of Dave Sedaris.
If you haven't read any of his books, you're missing a lot of humor from your life.
For some reason the movie may not be released. Send email to press@warnerindependent.com to tell them that you want Candy.

Blogger Squirl said...

Susie, you always know how to tell your story so well. I am with you on the need for privacy thing. Sharing an abode for a week with people, other than Ichabod, makes me cringe. I suppose I could hang out with Bucky. Question is, could she stand a vacation with me? :-)

My favorite picture was Lake Susan before I even read the words. I like the reflection.

I, too, am sooooo glad you're back.

Blogger laurenbove said...

Great pix! I'm glad you had a nice vaca. I'm certain it was much fun from the visuals. I love how you filtered the people pictures. Great idea.

Blogger Dawn said...

We have moose(how do you say moose in plural,meese maybe-anybody?) here in Toronto. I think it's neat that cities have their "mascots".

Blogger Hippo said...

Welcome back! I guess its back to work at the loony bin for you-see ya there.

Dr. H.O. Potamus

Blogger JessicaRabbit said...

So you were surround by rushing water, babbling brooks, soothing streams, just gushing and bursting and rushing and NO TP?


Sounds like a very leg crossing, foot tapping, hoppin from one foot to the other vacation.

Glad your back.

Blogger Amy said...

Lovely! Great pictures, sounds like you had an awesome time (save the chick holding out on you for tp).
I especially love the ones of the water and rocks, so cool and serene looking.

Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

The question is, Squirl, could you stand to be trapped in a hotel room with me again? I guess I could lay off the Mexican food next time, huh?

Blogger Squirl said...

Yes, Bucky, as long as there are separate beds and you keep the results of your Mexican food under your blankets.

Blogger little sister said...

I love that motion pic in the tunnel...good catch, Susie!

I laughed so hard at the TP police part of this post! And the Frekkin Donkey Water!

crack me up for the rest of the week!


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