My (brief) Vacation – the end

July 13, 2008

 

When last I bored you I had spent the evening playing sucking at pool. I think I would have been better with alcohol.

I’m not really a big drinker. In fact, I haven’t had any alcohol in over 4-1/2 years. It would just be nice to have a drink more than once a half-decade. One of the reasons I don’t currently drink is because I’m always working. Another is that I live in a dry county. If you don’t know what that means, please take a look. In Tiny Town it means that if you go to the store to buy alcohol, your only choice is beer. Not even wine coolers. Although they do have a substitute that could probably be called a malt cooler. That’s basically a beer with fruit. Or a wine cooler made with beer. I have tried a few different kinds of beer and have actually only ever finished 1 can. I was pretty darn thirsty. The only thing beer-like that I could drink was Chimay Ale, which is actually known as a Trappist beer, even though I remember the label saying Ale. I don’t know the difference but I do know that I really liked it. In my CA days we used to frequent a Brewery that had several pool tables, but only served beer. This was the only thing I drank there. Eventually they started serving mixed drinks. They should have stuck to beer.

me=tangent line

We arrived back at the hotel about 1 a.m. and I slept for 5 hours, woke up, and slept for another hour until I couldn’t sleep anymore. Which was fine because I woke up to this:

looking left

looking left

 

and

looking right

looking right

and

across the river

across the river

 

Yes, that is a river. The hotel room itself was just OK, but the view was the highlight of my trip (other than the wedding, of course). Unless I was asleep, my time at the hotel was spent either on the balcony, or pacing back and forth to the balcony, or down on the patio area which was 1 story closer. You might be able to see in the photos that the hotel was right on the river, and I mean unless you wanted to stand in the foliage on the bank, you couldn’t walk between the hotel and the river.

That morning I spent a lot of time on the patio and coordinated the day with Brother via cell. I was watching them

I cant remember if they were fly fishing but there were a few fly fisherman out earlier that morning

I can't remember if they were fly fishing but there were a few fly fisherman out earlier that morning

 

and I looked at this

looks cool and refreshing?

 

I say, “I don’t think dad is… oh, snake”. Brother, “Snake? Where!?!”

little snake

little snake

So while I spent a lot of time enjoying the view, I also spent that time looking for more:

blurry snake

blurry snake

 

Blurry snakes! I had several other photos but these were the only 2 that looked like they included something that resembled a snake. My 7 year old digital camera doesn’t zoom a 1 to 2-story distance.

To finish the rest of the trip:

Morning: I walked for 2 hours while looking for a Smiley Face store (which hadn’t opened yet) and for a place to eat (all of which were either closed before 11 or had about a 1/2 hour wait time). Blisters. But had Silver Dollar pancakes. FYI: Much of Main Street Gatlinburg does not open before 11 a.m. on a Friday morning during June, especially if you want to eat or shop. But every little attraction is open and you will not pass one without someone begging you to come in and see their amazing shit.

Afternoon: Wedding. We weren’t allowed to take any photos inside or outside the chapel. Photos were taken before, during, and after the ceremony by the staff photographer. So you have to buy their photos, of course. The inside was nice and the outside was beautiful with a gazebo and stream. The ceremony was beautiful, of course. I’m an involuntary crier and was trying very hard not to cry about my baby brother getting married. Until he started getting choked up while saying his vows. I haven’t seen him cry in years so that’s when my eyes filled with tears. My baby niece (9 months old yesterday) was standing between my sister and I on the pew (both of us had 2 hands on her). My brother finished his vows and his bride was about to start hers. And that’s when baby niece farted. Very loud. But only loud enough that my sister and I could hear her. For the rest of the ceremony we could barely contain our laughter. Looking at each other or baby niece just made it more difficult. But it could have been worse. I had noticed while we were sitting there before the ceremony that sometimes when she passed gas she would then blow a raspberry with her lips. So it would go *fart* *raspberry*. If she had followed up that time I’m sure we would have had to leave. I did warn my brother later because there were 4 video cameras in the chapel and I’m our hysterics were caught on at least one of them.

After the ceremony there were more pictures inside and out and then we lined up and blew bubbles until we almost passed out.

Evening: The reception. Beautiful restaurant, especially outside. Very dark inside. I was the only one who took photos so I spent most of the time with that. I saw several people with alcohol but I was too busy to find out where they got their drinks. It took a half hour for the wait staff to take our orders and another hour to get our food. Mine was wrong (mine is always wrong) but I’m not complaining because I only had time to eat the baked potato anyway. And then they rushed us out about 20 minutes after we got our food.

Night: Dad, Sister and her 3 kids, and I went to Ripley’s Aquarium. Amazing. The best part for me was the tunnel, which seemed like 5 miles long, and was on a moving sidewalk. It reminded me of the underwater tunnel in JAWS, except the sharks weren’t that big. Thousands and thousands of fish. My 15-year-old nephew got lost on purpose and we spent half out time there trying to find him. Which was a waste of time because he had gone back to their hotel.

Final morning: Most of us that were leaving that day met with the newlyweds for breakfast. Sister and her kids spent the day at Dollywood. After breakfast we walked to the Smiley Face store, checked out and drove home.

Then I worked for the next 36 hours straight. Not really, but close. No alcohol but I was very glad they were married there and that I could attend. And that I could finally have a freaking day off.


My (brief) Vacation

July 10, 2008

Almost 2 weeks ago my Brother got married! Which is pretty exciting anyway, but for the first time in over 4-1/2 years I was able to have more than 24 hours work free! This also means that for the first time in almost exactly 4 years I was able to leave the house for more than 48 hours!

The drive took almost 7 hours, and thankfully I had to drive exactly 0 of those hours. I am the only one in the family who had not been to Gatlinburg. Dad, Brother, and Sister went about 20 years ago, but I did not for many reasons. One of them a big reason, which no one seems to remember but me. I may talk about that another time. That was the only family trip, in our entire history of family trips, that I did not participate. Of course in our family no one, but me, can remember more than 2 minutes in the past so several times a week I would be asked “Remember when we went to Gatlinburg and we…?” and I would say “No, for the 86,000 time I DO NOT remember because I DID NOT GO.” Or “I have been to 21 states but none of them were Tennessee”. On the drive down I was asked THAT question at least twice an hour (by that time it was mostly on purpose) until I finally said to my father “If you ask me THAT again I am going to punch you in the face”. We both laughed because we both knew that I wouldn’t punch him. I’ve never hit anyone in my life. (Except for the one time I hit my sister. I was 10 and she hit me first. Twice. And no way was I getting in trouble for her hitting me without getting one in myself.) But it felt really good to say it. And he quit asking. I’ll just say it was a freaking long-ass ride – I brought the portable DVD player and several miniseries for the drive down and back and got to see a total of 1 hour.

After we finally arrived at the hotel, (after getting briefly lost because the map in the guidebook was upside down), and checked in, we I coordinated with Brother to meet and have dinner (great pizza!). The bride-to-be and bridesmaids were staying in the future honeymoon cabin that night, while Brother and his 2 Best Men were staying in a separate cabin. Brother, Dad and I went to the bachelor cabin after dinner and played pool. It was a beautiful 3-story cabin with a jacuzzi, whirlpool, full kitchen, and a loft with a pool table. The Best Men arrived in town and joined us about 9 or so and we played pool until after midnight.

I LOVE pool. In direct proportion to my suckyness at playing pool. While I have played on much worse tables, the wear on this one did not help my game, or lack of. Plus 2 of the balls were missing, one of which was the cue ball. And of the 6 cues, only 3 had tips. Still not the worst table I’ve played.

The girls had gone shopping at Target so Brother asked them to pick up a ball set (AKA a set of balls) and they brought over a complete set with just about everything pool related. Then we started losing those balls. Brother and I took half the pool table apart and found all of the missing balls, including those from the original set.

Even though I am horribly bad at pool, I usually win more than half my games because the other player or team scratches on the 8. I’m like a jinx, but in a good way.

To be continued … (not because it’s particularly interesting, but because my Benadryl kicked in a little while ago)