Tag Archives: North Carolina

Vacations gone bad

During the course of a recent conversation, we started talking about vacations gone bad. Daughter / Writer Princess regaled the group with the story of her brother’s (Poolboy’s) first encounter with alcohol. It was the nadir of one of those weeks-from-hell vacations.

We had rented a cabin in the North Carolina mountains, and included Mrs. Poolman’s late father, sister and her two teenaged children in the plans. The week got off to a rough start when Father-in-law (FIL) fell and broke his shoulder when he and SIL stopped for gas on the way up from Florida. Rather than getting it attended to at that time, he insisted he was OK and so they continued the trip for another two hours up into the mountains. By the time he got to the cabin, he had changed his tune and was in considerable discomfort. We spent our first night of vacation driving back to civilization, and two different hospitals to have FIL’s fractured shoulder X-rayed and treated.

The docs recommended FIL not travel for at least a week, so that dispelled any notions of just cancelling the “vacation.” We spent the week in a small cottage, caring for FIL and trying to come up with enough activities to keep the four teen-agers busy.

As hinted above, one evening, Poolboy and “B”, his male cousin, found their amusement in a bottle of Jim Beam that B had smuggled along on the trip. They kept it quiet. We didn’t discover the indulgence until Mrs. Poolman got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. She wondered why she couldn’t open the bathroom door. It seems that Poolboy was passed out on the floor while hugging the “porcelain queen.” As you might imagine, the next day both Poolboy and B felt like they would die. We had no sympathy.

That was as close as Mrs. Poolman ever got to killing and eating her children.

Part II of Awkward Vacations still to come.

Quiet weekends and hurricane season

We had a fairly quiet weekend, which was just great. I slept late on Saturday and then spent most of the rest of the day running errands on the far side of town. Saturday evening mass and then off to eat some seafood at a casual beach restaurant with two other couples. Sunday was spent cleaning up the yard and the pool, doing laundry and other equally exciting chores. We have such an interesting life.

As the summer winds down in this part of the country, there is a mix of emotions. You hate the see the summer end, but on the other hand the college football season is right around the corner. Around here, that is about as exciting as Christmas is to a small child.

Here on the coast, there is another issue that raises its head this time of year – hurricane season. Every day, people who for the rest of the year, are only casually interested in the weather make sure they check in on the Weather Channel or Weather Underground every day. Although they are thousands of miles away, cloud formations off the west coast of Africa are the topic of conversations in the aisles of the grocery stores. There is a little edge — a little anxiety — that sticks with you all the time.

When a storm actually does hit somewhere else, you have mixed emotions. “Gee, I’m really sorry you were hit by a hurricane, but I’m even happier it didn’t hit me!

Hurricane Floyd September 1999

Hurricane Floyd September 1999

It’s been ten years since Hurricane Floyd threatened this part of the coast before making one of those famous right hand turns and heading north to North Carolina.  The evacuation is legendary among Savannahians. It is fortunate we weren’t hit by a major storm in the ensuing couple of years. I know many people, Mrs. Poolman included, who said, “I’d rather sit here and suffer through a hurricane than spend another 23 hours stuck on the road to Atlanta.”

There is a local myth that Savannah is protected from hurricanes by the curvature of the coast. There is actually a little truth to the legend, but it certainly isn’t a bullet-proof shield. The rotation of the Earth tends to make hurricanes curve to the right (north.) They also feed off of warm water, and the north-flowing Gulf Stream runs about 100 miles off shore here. Both of those will give a storm a tendency to turn to the north, but they are only two of lots of other factors, most of which  I do not understand.

So as of this evening, we have a tropical storm in the Gulf that appears to be heading for Alabama, and another out in the Atlantic, heading who-knows-where.

I guess I’ll be joining everyone else watching the Weather Channel for the next two and a half months.

A little mountain get-away

Well, we’re back from our short mini-vacation/family get together with some elements of my side of the clan. Mrs. Poolman and I headed to the North Carolina mountains near Waynesville to meet up with my sister and brother-in-law, and my father. Mrs. Poolman’s sister and her husband built a second home on Cold Mountain, of book and movie fame, several years ago, and she graciously offered it to us for the visit. It’s a great house and perfect for multi-family gatherings. House

The view from the deck.

The view from the deck.

They also rent it out. If interested, check out their Web site.   The plug is a way of thanking SIL for the use of her house.

In any case, we had a great time. Although we drove from coastal Georgia to Western North Carolina, we took the long way there. We passed through Denmark…

DenmarkNorway…

Norwayand Scotland (aka Scotia).

Scotia

We call it the Northern Europe route through South Carolina and are always sure to pack our passports.

We spent one afternoon cruising “downtown” Waynesville.Waynesville

The next day, we took a drive to see some of the countryside, including…

A waterfall...

A waterfall...

A water slide...

A water slide...

And the view from the Blue Ridge Parkway.Mountain

The rest of the time, we hung around the house, doing what my sister claims our family does best, eating, drinking and talking.

Sister and BIL introduced us to a new card game, “Hand and Foot,” and I have to confess, we spent entirely too much time playing cards at the kitchen table.

I did run into one issue. We stopped at a local farm and bought some fresh vegetables. I love summer tomatoes, but I really had trouble getting my taste buds around these heirloom tomatoes.

Purple and orange tomatoes???

Purple and orange tomatoes???

I guess they tasted great, but I couldn’t get the image of orange and purple tomatoes out of my brain. They are supposed to be RED!

It was a nice late-summer break. We have three “off weekends” before the fall football season begins along with lots of additional activities. Back to work!