Since when did a spontaneous overnight trip out of town require so much planning and preparation?

The Wife and I took yesterday and today off. Yesterday may have been one of the more stressfull days off I have taken in a long time.

See, the air conditioner is broken (again) and the HVAC repair guy was supposed to come between 8:00 and noon. We’d planned on running our errands after he had fixed the air conditioner. But, we got a call at about 10:00 saying that they had some scheduling problems and they’d have someone out after lunch.

So we got The Wife’s hair cut and I got my allergy shots and we picked up a few things at Target and washed the car and had to get back by 1:00 because that was when we were told the guy would come. But later that day, The Wife had her paralegal class, and I had to go to my relative’s home to take care of her dogs (she’s still in the hospital, but at least she’s talking and conscious most of the time now). And the opotometrist still didn’t have my replacement contact lenses that I’d ordered two weeks ago.

In addition, today is my birthday. So we had planned on getting away for a short time — both The Wife and I have been complaining of cabin fever. The last time The Wife and I were out of Knox or Blount Counties together was when we visited my parents in Connecticut. And as I mused Wednesday, it feels like my world is shrinking, so I want to get out and see something new and different to combat that.

So, it being my birthday and all, we agreed to do one of my favorite things — wine-tasting. A look about the net reveals several wineries in the Blue Ridge region of Virginia and North Carolina. So I wanted to set up a wine trail and find us a nice B&B to stay in overnight while we were out and about. Having been to North Carolina this winter, we picked Virginia as a new place to be.

At least from a road map perspective, Virginia is at least as confusing as Tennessee for navigation. Neither Yahoo nor Google maps can identify anything on the Blue Ridge Parkway since there are no addresses on the Parkway — only mile-markers. I tried calculating where the mile-markers would be on the AAA maps I found, but discovered halfway through the process that the map includes both the Shenandoah Skyline Trial as well as the Blue Ridge Parkway depicted as a continuous road, so all my calculations were about 120 miles off. And, to top it all off, the Hokies are playing Georgia Tech at home tomorrow, so every hotel room in and around Roanoke and Christiansburg — the ideal places to stay for the wine trail I identified — is booked solid.

And going away for the night means making arrangements for the doggies. The Wife’s friend from work Sharon said she’d watch them and that meant driving the doggies over to Sharon’s house, which is in a typically labyrinthe Knoxhell neighborhood. And both times I’ve been over to visit her, I’ve wound up fixing something on her computer.

It appears to be working out now, but for a long time nothing was falling in to place. I did eventually figure out where things are in western Virginia, I did eventually find us a B&B to stay in, and we got both the air conditioner and the dogs squared away. The optometrist found the lenses and I can pick them up on our way out of town today.

I also got my grades for my recently-concluded class posted this morning, and picked up a new class to start in a couple weeks. This will be a critical thinking class, the first one of its kind that I’ve taught. So that will be a new and different challenge, too.

But for the time being, I’m going to worry only about what music to listen to in the car and what wines we’re going to sample today and tomorrow. It’s my birthday, damnit, and I’ll have fun if I want to.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.


  1. Happy Birthday! I forgot the 23rd was your birthday. Remember when we went to King King, I think it is back.

  2. The word is spelled “dammit,” Niles. If you’re going to insist on propriety, damn it, then you might as well abandon all pretense that your rarified sensibilities can tolerate slang, and spell it out as two words. Try not to poke your eye out with that raised pinky while you type.Oh, and happy birthday, damn your eyes.

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