I’m not going to lie to you. Vacation* was awesome. Here is the Reader’s Digest version of tidbits.
Photograph courtesy of Mrs. Abyss. I keep telling her she needs her own name. She shouldn’t be Mrs. to anything. It’s like, “Please allow me to introduce Mrs. Tom B. Taker.” Yeah, right. The ultimate in humiliation! Let us pray for her own name.
The wife wanted to spend some time in a 3,000 foot clime. So off we went. We were so worried about the trip that we were checking the highway cams to see if they were passable or covered in snow. Not to worry. The three days of our journey were beautiful, sunny, and all the roads were free of snow. But everywhere we went plowed snow 6-12 feet in height was all around us.
I vowed to think of every detail. As we pulled away from our home I knew I had thought of every conceivable thing. It wasn’t until bedtime that I found the flaw in my plan. Toothbrush. Dammit!
We both packed books hoping to catch up on our reading just in case we had free time. Ha! I packed Buddhism For Beginners and The Brethren by John Grisham. I never read a single word.
The Thrift Store
Are you shittin’ me? We roll into town and my wife says, “Hey. Let’s visit the thrift store.” Isn’t there any place around here, like The Iron Forge, that can poke my eyes with hot steel instead? Oh God.
We did score a find, though. As I looked around I noticed that the prices were jacked up on everything of remote interest. My wife found the America’s Test Kitchen’s Baking Cookbook. I already own the non-baking version. These things are not cheap. The book was brand new. The index tabs hadn’t even been placed. The thing originally sold for $35. We decided to ask. I figured the owner would want at least $20. My wife and I huddled together and formulated strategy. $10 was as high as we’d go. It’s not like we want another book on baking that bad. I was shocked when the owner said $5, clearly not knowing the value of what she had. I told my wife we should still pay the $10 just to be nice. I got shot down.
Now I see the thrill of American Pickers.
I’m Going To The Liquor Stores
We were in a quiet little town at the base of a mountain with a population that had exploded to about 3,500 people which just about matched the elevation. I began to notice something a bit odd. There was a liquor store. Neat. And then another. And there’s one that’s also a bait and tackle. And yet another one! In all I counted four liquor stores. This town has got it all going on, I decided.
The lights in our hotel room were wonky. We quickly realized the lights had been unplugged to make way for the coffee maker. I couldn’t argue with that logic. Electrical sockets were in short supply. Settling in for the night, I lovingly tucked in the iPad. It was in desperate need of charge. In the morning I was like, “WTF?” My wife had flipped a wall switch that apparently controlled the outlet. No charge for you!
The first morning we got an early start. We had an appointment for a tour at a Buddhist Monastery. We removed my shoes and met with a robed woman who began instructing us in the ways of the Transfer of Merit ceremony. Excuse me? I’m not participating in any ceremony.
Next thing I knew I was in the Buddhist temple about to transfer my merit. After a brief explanation in all the ways of gesturing, bowing, sitting, rotating clockwise, kneeling, and some of the meanings involved, I decided that I would be offering my teachings in gratitude to the boss. Yes, you read that right. The boss. I figured I’d start at the Master level and work my way down.
Lake Of Ice
I know a thing or two about the Lake of Fire. (It’s where bad folks go when they die.) But I know remarkably little about a lake of ice. How does that fit in? We were out exploring and my wife spied a sign that said there was a mountain lake. We decided to take the frightening windy road as high as it would go. Along the way we got some picturesque views of the mountain and the town were were staying at the base. Then we crested the final hill and came upon beautiful sight: A mountain lake completely covered in ice.
Hardcore snowboarders had a geodesic dome tent and were climbing hills just to briefly ride back down. Carefully we made our way out to the lake. It really was beautiful. The sun wasn’t in the right position to get optimum shots, though, but we did our best. I’d never been on a frozen lake before and the urge to get out there was overwhelming. But, as we safely stood on the shore, there was a ring of water and slush. Clearly it wasn’t safe.
But then, off to the left, I noticed people were out there, on snow skies and such. Dammit. But then I saw people walking. That’s it! I’m going, too. I made my way around a bit and found a spot that appeared to be solid. No slushy edge. I made my way out.
I was about half-way out there and things were going fine. I hadn’t exactly planned on exploring ice lakes and was wearing my standard guru black velcro shoes. Then I heard one of the fancy snowboarder dudes talking about how the ice was giving way and large cracks were starting to form. Anyone out on the ice, he said loudly, was a remarkable dumbass.
So, with great fear, I decided to head back. But not until my wife snapped a few shots of me making snow angels in my black shoes for Blogdramedy. (See above.)
Luckily I lived. But I feel pretty stupid about the stunt. Guru sometimes has to live on the fine edge between life and death.
I was very careful with my stuff. I develop a system to not lose things while vacationing. It works pretty well. I don’t think I lost or forgot anything. I wasn’t totally successful, though. I own one pair of eyeglasses. I’ve had them at least 20 years. When I got my eyes checked recently, the opthamologist said my eyes had changed so little in decades no new prescription was necessary. Yeah! Then, during the trip, I put on my coat and reached in my pocket. What was there? The eyeglasses, practically bent in half. Dammit!
Icy Hot Tub
My wife had an idea. Let’s use the hotel’s hot tub. I was tepid about the idea, but since my middle name is Adventure we gave it a try. We were in luck! The area was completely empty. My wife ripped off the cover and I fired the thing up. This was gonna be legendary.
Then we waited. And waited. And waited some more. Did I mention it was about 30 degrees out? The water was steaming and if you felt it with your hand it seemed like it was getting warmer. But if you put your foot in, the temperature was more like, “Holy shit baskets!!!” Yes, I think that is what I said.
As we turned into blocks of ice we waited some more. Then we were trying to dangle our legs in front of jets to see if there was any warmth. We could detect none. Finally after giving our best Herculean efforts for 45 minutes we gave up and went back inside.
The moral of this story is that I wanted to share the Guru on Ice photograph and that I was thinking about Blogdramedy while only a bit of slightly frozen water kept me from plunging to certain death or, even worse, ruining the iPod in my shirt pocket.
* The word “vacation” is used here in it’s traditional three-day weekend context. As a sub-human life form, guru never receives actual vacations.