, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Some days on vacation are better than others.

Some days you awaken alongside a sun just beginning to send its rays above a horizon arrayed in palm trees. With a yawn and a stretch, you give the marmalade sunbeam streaming through your window a smile as you take great care not to awaken your bride still cozied in the fading dimness. A peak through the bedroom door proving the children are still fast asleep in their bedrooms, you make your way to the kitchen where the already-prepped coffee maker needs nothing more than a button press. And so you do.

As your coffee cup begins to fill, sending tiny swirls of steam up and around the technological wonder, it takes you barely a moment to prepare a bowl of Frosted Flakes, retrieve a spoon, and set them beside the laptop computer upon which you’ll spend the next hour or so tapping whatever comes to mind.

This is your routine—your wonderfully therapeutic routine. You reach for your coffee and the day truly begins.

Other days on vacation aren’t exactly this way.

Other days you awaken beside that same sun, give a yawn and a stretch, and discover a cockroach (oh, I’m sorry—Floridians respectfully refer to them as “palmetto bugs”) scurrying through the marmalade sunbeam on the floor. The next few minutes are spent doing everything possible to stalk, catch, and kill the thing without waking the beautiful woman resting peacefully in bed. If she does stir from her slumber to discover the current scene, most assuredly the whole neighborhood will be awakened with her.

After a few exhilarating minutes, the palmetto bug is delivered to the toilet and the vacationer resumes his morning ritual.

Peering through the bedroom door reveals the kids are still sleeping—and another palmetto bug crossing the kitchen floor. Like a cheetah fading back into the thicket while spying an antelope, the vacationer shrinks back into the bedroom to retrieve a wad of toilet paper from the bathroom for capturing the insect. After a few minutes, the intruder, like his former friend in the bedroom, is riding the toilet’s waves into oblivion.

And so, the vacationer once again resumes his course.

Pressing the button on the coffee maker, he crosses to the sink for a post-hunt washing of hands. But the only trickling to be heard comes from the sink. The coffee maker is unresponsive. A moment of investigation reveals there’s no power to the coffee maker. Further examination reveals that all of the countertop sockets are powerless. Of course, this gent understands the probability of a faulted GFCI socket somewhere in the vicinity, and so he sets out to discover it. Along the way, he notices microscopic motion on the countertop behind the coffee maker.

Sugar ants.

Not many, but enough to bring him to the edge of swearing as he stubs his toe against the stove in surprise.

A momentary glancing across the countertop’s vista, and the troublesome outlet is discovered. The reset button is pressed and the sockets regain their usefulness. The vacationer pokes at the coffee maker’s ignition, the brewing begins, and he sets out to murder each ant one by one with his thumb. The massacre and the coffee machine’s brewing end simultaneously. Another washing of hands, and the vacationer begins cleaning the countertop with disinfectant spray.

Believing he has regained control of his routine, he opens the refrigerator door intent on fetching milk for his cereal. As he does, an opened box of Frosted Flakes put into the appliance by the children (because they were told to do so by their parents for the purpose of preventing trouble with bugs) spills to the floor, spreading its sugary contents for what seems like miles. Of course, the vacationer’s instinct was to catch the box mid-fall, but this only served to cause a far bigger mess.

Crouching, he scans the devastation. Giving a sigh, he rises to his feet and somehow manages to clip the handle of the freezer door with his head, resulting in an excruciating ricochet that sends him back to his knees and nearly into the open refrigerator below.

Taking a moment to rest at the base of the open appliance, he picks at the cereal flakes stuck to his knees and feet while giving his head a rub. There on the floor, he reconsiders his current pursuit of this particular morning’s routine.

“Maybe if I sit very still, I’ll be okay,” he whispers, concerned that things have grown exponentially worse with each passing moment. From the floor, he can see the open bottle of Aberlour 12-year-old Double Cask he purchased two nights ago to marinate his salmon fillets.

“It’s after five o’clock somewhere,” he whispers, appearing to have embraced defeat. But his surrender is almost immediately dissuaded by the thought of one of his four children emerging from his or her room to find Dad sitting atop a mess of Frosted Flakes beside an open refrigerator door and holding a bottle of whisky.

“Never mind,” he replies.

He continues on. Grateful to his Lord that the cereal cleanup was accomplished without further injuries, he takes hold of his cold coffee and sips. He’s no longer interested in eating, but only taking to his usual chair and doing what he can to create something of value from the morning.

Still, he spies the Aberlour. Having already tried it, he knows how it could’ve soothed those turbulent moments on the floor. The nose alone—one heralding a rich cabernet and milk chocolate—would’ve stirred a moment’s peace and the opportunity for catching one’s breath. A sip—sweet, honeyed peaches stippled with cinnamon—truly a warming delight while nursing a wound at the base of any major appliance. And the finish—a medium dance of allspice and oak. By these, the courage to continue would’ve been assured.

Okay, I suppose I should provide some transparency here.

Knowing all of these charming details about the Aberlour 12-year-old while removing shards of Frosted Flakes from my knees, I’ll confess that I didn’t refrain from imbibing because of concern for what my children might discover. They know their father well enough not to wonder at his whisky-reviewing activities. In fact, had they discovered me on the floor in my disaster, I’m pretty sure they would’ve greeted me with a “Good morning, Daddy” as they reached around my head for the milk, scraped some cereal from the floor into a bowl, and proceeded to eat breakfast at the kitchen nook a few feet from my despair.

Honestly, the only reason I didn’t go for the whisky is because I hadn’t eaten in ten hours and the rest of my morning routine—which I fully intended to pursue—involved getting into the pool immediately after writing. Trust me, whisky and swimming on an empty stomach is a bad idea, and had I done it, I’m guessing I’d have had more to add to this tragedy.