What in the World is Going on in the World?

via 123rf

I have a pathetic confession, I have absolutely no idea what the latest, serious news stories are. This is usually not like me. I used to teach school and I know the importance of keeping up with current events. My normal “first thing in the morning” routine is to drink coffee (lots of coffee), read the news on my computer while I watch it on television; perfect multimedia multitasking. The truth is, from around the time the last Harry Potter was released, I haven’t paid one iota of attention to serious news. I’m not blaming this on Harry. Lord knows, the poor guy has had enough on his plate, with defeating “You-know-who” and restoring the wizarding world to normalcy, to shoulder any of my burdens. It is solely my doing, or the doing of my mid-life crisis, that has caused me to delve into the world of escapism. So, for the fun of it, I’ll share with you the few things that I’ve discovered during my six week hiatus from reality.

First off, I know exactly what’s happening on True Blood, and may I share that I wasn’t thrilled with episodes eight, nine, or ten. C’mon, Alan Ball, can’t you at least pretend to have read the

He's the man! (Photo via Wikipedia)

books? Next, I’ll confess that I wish I would have started watching Boardwalk Empire last season. I’ve watched the first seven episodes online and it is AMAZING!! You go Steve Buscemi! I’ve also been delving into documentaries more often than usual. I watched Supersize Me for the third time. I developed an appreciation for street art after my youngest recommended Exit through the Gift Shop and I surprised myself by enjoying Beyond the Mat, a film about the lives of several professional wrestlers.

It’s not just the high quality entertainment that premium channels have to offer that’s been making me forget stuff like who our president is or whether we’re allies with Libya, it’s the less costly, trashier channels that have been keeping me occupied, as well. Have I watched a women reenacting giving birth in a toilet, because she didn’t know she was pregnant? Yes. Have I observed housewives from New Jersey forgetting to follow the golden rule? You know it. Have I tuned in to Joey Greco showing hidden camera footage to woman who is ready to kick her cheating boyfriend’s ass? Yep. Do I know whether or not Eden Wood won the “Rumble in the Jungle” beauty pageant? That would also be a yes. Do I feel guilty for watching any of these low quality programs? Oddly, I don’t.

Picture via Amazon

Before you judge me too harshly, I also read. Like a champ, I read all of the blogs that I subscribe to almost every, single day. I’m also reading several books at once. My bedtime book is The Sea of Monsters; book two of the Percy Jackson series. My living room forwhentheTVgetsboring book is currently Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina Brooks, and my bathroom book is David Haviland’s Why You Should Store Your Farts in a Jar & Other Oddball or Gross Maladies, Afflictions, Remedies, and “Cures” (and, no, I didn’t make that up). I’ll admit, none of these are on the classics list, but if their subjects were too heady I wouldn’t be escaping.

As superiorly pleasurable as escapism is, I feel that it may be time to return to the world of the living. So, now I’m left wondering about the happenings of the world while I was “out-to-lunch.” Should I be learning Russian? Has the Zombie Apocalypse occurred? Have scientists discovered a cure for chronic flatulence? Only time, and a few Google searches, will tell.

How do you “escape,” dear readers?

Forest Fires, Phantoms, and Fender Benders, Oh, My!

Our rental by the sea!

Yesterday was our final day in beautiful Nag’s Head, North Carolina. All day Saturday, as I basked in the sun and ate a mermaid’s share of seafood, you could hear me whimpering, “I don’t wanna go home.” This phrase was accompanied by my saddest of pouty faces. Apparently, my occasional grumblings angered the vacation gods, because our Sunday was thick with woe, and this ever-so-long account proves it. Sit back; grab a beverage or a snack, and read my wretched tale. I find reading it with a pirate’s voice during some parts greatly enhances the story.

Our troubles started with a wind shift. Sometime, after midnight the winds began a SSW journey causing the smoke from an ongoing forest fire in Pain’s Bay to drift our way. At first it was tolerable, but sometime around 3:00 a.m. the entire third floor of the house, where hubby and I were sleeping, became hazy with the acrid smell. Never one to let anything disturb our slumber, the spouse and I drowsily descended the stairs to the second level where we crashed in the unoccupied children’s room. I had just settled into a top bunk, (for the first time since 4H camp 30 years ago), and was about to begin my second journey to Slumber land when I was jolted awake by an ear-splitting composition. “Who would be listening to Cradle of Filth at 4:00 a.m.?” I asked my sleeping husband. He snored in response. He was out cold, leaving me forced to investigate the unwelcomed cacophony alone. The small window in our room yielded only murky darkness and no partying college students, so I moved into the open hallway. The music sounded like it was coming from the first floor game room. The doors to our kids’ rooms were closed and the space beneath them was dark. Knowing that they all like their sleep WAY too much to be up at four in the morning listening to music, a creepy feeling swept over me as I slowly descended the stairs to the first level. Any sane person sleuthing down the steps might expect to catch rogue teenagers, who had jumped our fence and jimmied the door, playing pool or foosball and drinking the last of our beer, but in my smoke induced, sleep deprived brain, I fully expected to be faced with the ghosts of pirates or worse. “I’m coming down there!” I yelled with a shaky voice. “Leave while you can. I’ve got a gun,” I added. I quickly reminded myself that ghosts would not fear my imaginary gun. “I’ve got holy water, and I know spells, too,” I said hoping that a line from Harry Potter would be enough to ward away the evil that awaited me. I descended the last step that placed me in the dark game room. There, in the corner I met my foe. A monster was hissing, roaring and glaring at me with its large, green, glowing eye! Alright, it wasn’t exactly a monster, it was the stereo, and its green, lighted display proved it was on. Only slightly relieved, I pulled the plug, not wanting to fumble for the off button, but the music DIDN’T STOP! In a dark, dark basement, an unplugged stereo that refuses to silence its music can mean only one thing; GHOSTS!! This is when I full-on lost it and screamed bloody murder. Actually, I screamed “Help!” which is not always the best thing to scream in a houseful of sleeping people. Terrified, my groggy family rushed to my aid. My oldest daughter found the off button. My youngest showed me where the battery back-up was, and my eldest’s boyfriend said he must have accidentally turned on the alarm feature when he was figuring out how to turn on the stereo early Saturday evening.

I was pretty sure this dude was waiting for me! (photo via: http://hercxena.wikia.com/wiki/File:Green-eyed_monster_close_up.jpg)

After a hearty laugh at my foolishness and a few reassuring hugs, I ascended the stairs for my third attempt at sleep, but the sandman would not find me. The smoke was intolerable and we decided to abandon our home by the sea a few hours early. Covering our mouths and noses we carried the rest of our belongings to our car and drove caravan style to the realtor’s office to drop off the keys. This is when the vacation gods decided to get one last lick in. As we pulled out of the realtor’s parking lot, my youngest daughter’s boyfriend somehow managed to rear end my oldest daughter’s car. Thankfully, the hit wasn’t hard enough for her airbag to deploy, but it was hard enough for my daughter’s neck to feel jerked out of whack. A quick (and, yes, I really do mean quick—props to Outer Banks Hospital’s emergency department) trip to the emergency room revealed a slightly sprained neck, but no serious damage. After many rest stops, some complaining and a wrong turn or two, we arrived home around 8:00 last night no worse for the wear.

Today when I look back on our “wretched” Sunday, I have to smile, because despite the smoke, the “spirits,” the fender bender and the lack of sleep, it really wasn’t the worst possible day that a family could share together. Perhaps the vacation gods were gently reminding me to not spend the last day of a nearly perfect vacation complaining!