The dreaded vacation curse continues

When a friend voiced her desire to vacation in Paris, I eagerly announced I'd like to go, too.

She quickly kicked me to the curb.

"I want to go to Paris with anyone but you," she said. "Because I know what your vacations are like."

Girlfriend has a point.

Major and minor dramas always seem to curse my vacations. Last week was no exception.

Thankfully no one died or got seriously ill, which has been known to happen. Instead, this vacation was filled with lesser dramas — home repairs, gas leaks and cooking disasters. It was like being nibbled to death by ducks.

As plans to paint watercolor masterpieces and scribe the world's most entertaining summer read were derailed by daily doses of aggravation, I took my frustrations to Facebook. Why should I suffer alone?

"Why are my vacations always plagued with non-vacation crappola?" I whined. "Today's fun? Gas leak."

I'd already wasted an entire day effecting repairs to the deck's lattice. It blew across the yard in the first stiff breeze that wafted my way after said lattice was installed a few months ago. Color me cranky. Power tools and I are not pals. As I attempted to re-screw the entire project, I must have dropped each drywall screw at least six times before managing to send them squealing into the rotting wood.

"You're too short," said my not-so-helpful and excessively tall beau, The Englishman. "Climb up on a ladder so you can get better leverage. And stop cussing. Rude monkey."

Later that evening, The Englishman mentioned he thought he smelled gas. Since he'd been tinkering with one of his infernal four-wheeled contraptions just moments before announcing this alarming bit of info, I wrote him off as being downwind to himself.

But the next evening, after another fun day spent putting my bedroom closet back together, I caught a faint whiff of the noxious stinkeroo chemical they put in natural gas. Drat!

I knew the gas leak wouldn't be anywhere but in the heat pump, up in the attic. After all, I'm on vacation.

Faithful readers may remember a recent column about a broken heat pump — and how the only way into said attic where the heat beast dwells is through the closet. I'd waited two weeks before reinstalling the closet's poles and contents.

I called Avista. The gas man arrived quickly, and dutifully checked the basement and the exterior of my home. He even installed a new gas meter. But he didn't find any leaks.

"Maybe you just thought you smelled gas," he suggested.

Clearly the poor man didn't want to climb into the attic. Can't say I blame him. But I also didn't want to die of asphyxiation or in a ball of fire.

"I have to think of the parrots and the cat," I said.

After a bit more cajoling, up he went. Leak found. Leak fixed.

Meanwhile, another day down. And my carefully arranged closet was once again in chaos. I took to the kitchen to soothe my soul — and reported my success on Facebook.

"Baked a chocolate torte — thinking it might help me feel better about today. It worked."

The torte was a thing of beauty. Triple chocolate and bathed in a rich, creamy ganache icing. It took every ounce of my willpower not to eat it on the spot. Instead, I carefully placed it in the refrigerator to await the return of The Englishman.

Guess I should have been more careful when I opened the fridge later that day. My Facebook friends felt my pain.

"You are not going to believe this. But the whole danged chocolate torte just FELL ON THE FLOOR!!!! ARRRGH! The "vacation curse" continues ..."

Friends encouraged me to remember the five-second rule. The Englishman would never know the difference. Besides, he's English. He'll eat anything, said one friend.

The torte became a trifle and was a huge hit with my beau. I decided the chopped chocolate and heavy cream icing provided a protective coating between the floor and the cake. At least what was left of it. I'm still cleaning ganache off of Worcestershire sauce, pickle jars and mustard bottles. It's everywhere.

My next post shows the curse was ongoing.

"Just shoot me. Headed to Charter and Petco. Cable gone wonky and fish tank filter buzzing ominously."

A few hours later, Petco was off my list. But the curse continued.

"Figured out why fish tank was buzzing. Fish ate a snail that must have hitched home on new aquatic plant. Spit his shell into the sucker part of the filter. Speaking of sucker, my vacuum just croaked. Spit kitty litter all over the kitchen floor. SOMEONE LIFT THIS CURSE!

"Did I mention my hairdryer just quit on me — mid-job? Frizzies. I hate frizzies."

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail

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