Monday, January 17, 2011

Welcome to the Country - Kentucky Style

Welcome to the Country- Kentucky Style
So normally, my little humor column would start something like this….
So you’ve decided to move to the country where cows aren’t what they seem….or something as silly as that, but today I’m simply going to tell you of my Christmas vacation…Kentucky style.

Being a wise and thrifty traveler I always look for the cheapest tickets to my destination. That being said, apparently the cheapest tickets for travel over the Christmas break are on Christmas day. That’s right, when everyone else was ripping open their presents, plundering their stockings and hugging their loved ones, I was waiting in a security line at an airport full of people that were not jolly. Hohoho, was not uttered, not once. I had made sure to double check my carry-on prior to arrival for fear of the public humiliation at being pulled aside into that secret room made of four glass walls for possession of a deadly fingernail file. However, my diligence seemed to have gone unnoticed by mini Wyatt, for he had the felonious plan of sneaking a Gatorade onto the plane. Not just any Gatorade, one of those 24 oz Gatorades. I guess he figured if he was going to enter a life of crime he better start out big.

My first thought was to pretend I didn’t know him, but when he called out “Mom!” with concern, my identity was compromised and I quickly became an accessory to a crime. I was pretty sure we were going to be on those highly secretive “no fly” lists and our mug shots sent to Interpol within seconds, all for a bottle of Gatorade. Mini Wyatt even had the tell tale purple mustache from previous consumption of some of the contraband.

Unlike most of my flights, this one was without further incident, no lost luggage, no plane delay for a day halfway to my destination, nope nothing like that. The fun began when we landed.

Feeling pretty smug about the smooth flight, I found the rental car stand and much to mini Wyatt’s embarrassment, made fast friends with the lady behind the counter. Amazingly the Ford Focus that I had reserved turned into an H3 Hummer. The benefits of being kind.

As we got closer to our destination it was clear that snow was going to be an issue. I was on a state highway with little to no visibility at approximately 1:00 am the day after Christmas, only 10:00 pm our time. I was rapidly clicking my heels together to no avail. I managed to find the way to the bottom of our long winding driveway and started the slow 4 wheel drive trek up, but halfway up the driveway slid into the bank was a Ford Focus. Yep, I rented one of those for Wyatt too whose flight arrived 4 hours earlier, guess he doesn’t know how to schmooze and turn his into a hummer. I didn’t know this but I guess if you stop on a hill in six inches of snow even a 4 wheel drive won’t help you. I slid backwards, down the hill, thankfully into the bank and not into the holler full of saplings sporting a freezing cold creek at the bottom. The outside temperature was reading 2 degrees. Yup. 2 whole degrees. Mini Wyatt and I grabbed our bags and started the bone chilling trek up the steep hill through the snow. The house came into view and we saw smoke coming from the chimney. We picked up the pace anticipating the warmth of the fire.

Stomping into the house we were rewarded with warmth…51 degrees. The heater was broken. Not wanting to seem like a sissy I headed to the kitchen to run warm water over my frozen fingers. No water. I took a deep breath in lieu of screaming. Wyatt calls to me, “Look in the fridge.” I open the refrigerator door and I swear I heard angels singing, it could have been just the ringing in my ears from freezing, but before my eyes sat four, count ‘em four, mason jars filled with apple butter moonshine! Inner heat!!! Moonshine is Kentucky’s snowbound form of Brandy. I didn’t need a Saint Bernard to help open one of those jars, I could do this on my own.
The following day, I watched as Wyatt and my oldest son (we’ll call him Virgil) crawled under the house. I heard a multitude of swear words from somewhere beneath my feet, some I have not heard before. Before long they emerged damning raccoons, squirrels, and any other four legged forest creature. Evidently they were wise little forest creatures and had made a nest in our heating ducts. Mini Wyatt and I knew better than to get in the way and just watched the show. We watched as Wyatt and Virgil, both volunteer firefighters, pulled insulation from behind the water heater, grabbed a roll of duct tape and crawled back under the house. Can you say fire hazard? Within minutes I felt heat, not from within like from moonshine, but external from the heating ducts!

Now to battle the water issue. But I guess one mountain per day was Wyatt’s limit. That day we melted snow and ice for water.

What to do, what to do? Snowed in, no water, minimal heat….”I know!” says Virgil, “Let’s go hiking in the snow!” This is what happens when you blend a high IQ with boredom. So off we go, tromping through what we have spent over a day trying to get away from in search of the perfect Christmas tree. Did we bring a saw? Noooo, Virgil, aka McGuyver, is going to use two twigs wrapped at the end of a long piece of metal twine. What could have taken 2 minutes tops with a saw took 20 minutes in the bone chilling snow. Are we having fun yet? Add salt to the wound, we bring our prized tree into the house and Wyatt asks in all seriousness, “What…Charlie Brown gave you his tree?” Ha, ha, ha. While I decorate all five limbs the kids break out the hillbilly toboggan…you know, the little blue kiddie swimming pool. That and a can of spray oil and they were downhill toboggan racers. All this fun and frivolity occurred while Wyatt cursed at the frozen pipes.

The remainder of the vacation was without incident, well the chocolate syrup blowing up in the microwave was interesting and the dog that sat on a bar stool at the bar, oh and the exploding gas can, but I will save those for another story.

Until next time…welcome to the country.

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