My views on The Great Outdoors are a very poorly kept secret. But Woman wanted to get away and Woman loves the Mountains and the Prairies (whereas I reserve my love primarily for the Oceans, White with Foam) and a friend offered their cabin in the Blowing Rock area. She said yes, immediately, and then told me that I was to say yes.
Then she started circulating the news of this cabin's availability to our family circle, suggesting A Family Vacation would be a delight, and how we didn't see these people but once a year (somewhat inconveniently forgetting there just might be a really good reason therefor) and wouldn't it be lovely? A cynical person would think this was a classic, textbook definition of a passive-aggressive gambit.
Not I, obviously, but a cynical person.
She didn't know I had an ace up my sleeve. The lovely and gracious Karen Hall lives, like, RIGHT THERE. And for whatever my views on winter wonderlands in the provinces, Karen is on the very short list of people who'd get a kidney from me. I also had - for reasons well afield of this post - to send Karen a cubic acre of books (the presence of which have been rather a point of friction within the Home) and for what it'd cost to UPS them there, I might as well spend it on fuel and hand-deliver them. I also have a bottle of weird Scotch for which Karen had a special need (which did not involve her drinking it) and a bottle of bourbon (which did).
Besides, Karen is delightful company and we have much to go over which'd spare me having to be in ceaseless, close proximity to some members of my gene pool who, by the 12th hour, begin to test my family history of hypertension. Color me reactionary, but I am of the antiquated school of thought which holds that what little leisure time I have left is really not to be spent acquiring a facial tic.
Karen, having insider knowledge, would be someone ideally suited to point out activities that would engage and delight our roving mob of Iberics (by now numbering ten, with a stray Celts or two) in a manner that'd prove cheap, time consuming and fun.
Because - and sorry I didn't point this out sooner - but here are the instructions we got in an email re. the cabin:
"I think there is a DVD player in the tv but no cable. Bring cards, games,digi players etc. Internet wifi is available around 10 minutes away at Fred's general store. We have books just poke around. Cell phone service is hit and miss from the chalet. Starting at Fred's and almost everywhere else there is service." This, as the more astute among you might've surmised, isn't exactly, y'know, selling it to me.
After some deliberation I willingly volunteered (in my family that is not an oxymoron) to do all the cooking. Everyone puts in $X per head, and I cook. That keeps me in the kitchen a good chunk of the time, instead of wandering around like a visually impaired zombie, looking for cellphone reception. One of those evenings will be Fabada Night to which the lovely and gracious Karen will be the guest of honor.
Besides, she may be inspired to put digit to keyboard after meeting this zoo, given her penchant for dark comedy.