Tag Archives: vacation

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So I've just returned from Cancun, Mexico. What a week it was.

And I don't mean just the vacation itself, which was beautiful and relaxing.

See, somehow, the universe has this weird way of knowing just when to drop a ton on your head right when you don't/do need it. You know how sometimes things happen and you're unsure if it's a blessing or a curse? Well, I've come up with the perfect word for this:

FLUCK.

It started at 3:00 a.m. on Thursday morning, two days before we were to fly out. My cat, Smartikus, became deathly ill. My husband and I took him to the 24-hour vet and discovered he had a blocked bladder, and would require emergency surgery. It got progressively worse and worse as the day went on. The results of his blood tests were "incompatible with life" as my vet put it. I was preparing for the worst. If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know I was an emotional wreck that day.

We debated whether or not to cancel our trip, except that we wouldn't have gotten any refund, and we couldn't postpone the trip, either. But Smarty pulled through, and by Friday, the vet assured us he would be well cared for, that they would keep him for the week, that we were very fortunate to have taken him in when we did. Smartikus is fine now, recovering well and happily at home.

Just imagine: if he hadn't shown symptoms while we were here, and if he had gotten sick while we were away, things would have been so, so much worse. So we got really FLUCKY that day.

Our FLUCK doesn't end there.

On Saturday (St. Patrick's Day!), when we arrived at the airport, we discovered to our horror that we were supposed to arrive 3 hours before departure. We'd arrived 1 hour before, and were told they'd already boarded. But there was still time: we checked in and went through security at record speed, then made a mad dash through the airport. My lungs burned, my knees nearly gave out, but after the two days I'd had with my cat's ordeal, I couldn't allow myself to stop.

We arrived at the gate, me wheezing, my husband begging the attendants to open the door.

"Sorry! The plane already left!" The cheerful woman paused, then laughed. "I'm kidding! Fog has delayed the flight. It'll be at least another hour before we can even board! Ha-ha!"

My legs wobbled. I swallowed back tears of relief to help my parched throat, then promptly crumpled into a seat and apologized profusely to my husband for not reading the check-in instructions properly. He was very forgiving.

Fog made everyone else who'd been waiting cranky, but if it hadn't been for that, our whole vacation would have been ruined. SHEER. DUMB. FLUCK.

But wait. There's more!

In Cancun, with gorgeous weather, white-sand beaches and all you can eat and drink... It should have been paradise. It was paradise. In fact, I worked to make sure it would be because my history of stomach problems has not been kind when travelling. I'd taken Dukoral, and was mostly vigilant about what I ate and drank. Alas, on the first full day, I was stuck in bed with what I can only assume was mild food poisoning. By the evening, it had passed, and I was fine...until right before we got on the shuttle to the airport heading home, when I suddenly grew extremely nauseous and started shaking.

"But book-ending your vacation with illness is better than being sick throughout it, right?" my husband cajoled as I sat in misery and waited for the Gravol to kick in, scratching at fresh mosquito bites that, fortunately or not, I only got right then, in the lobby, just before our flight home.

But who's complaining, really? We had a wonderful time. Our cat is healthy, and while we're in the hole for his vet bills, we have what's most important--each other.

So really, FLUCK is all about blessings in disguise, about seeing the bright side of a bad deal. Shit happens, but sometimes it happens for the best.

Have you ever gone through a FLUCKY time, where bad things kept happening that either could have been worse or saved you from further hardship?

I'd love to hear your comments!

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Just had a lovely 4-day vacation with the hubby in beautiful Quebec City (aka Honeymoon, part 2). What a wonderful and fantastic metropolis. As one of the oldest walled cities in North America, Quebec has everything: a rich history, vibrant culture, terrific tourism, strategic importance in the defense of Canada from invasion from the U.S.... I'm sure it would offend someone to say this, but it was like a taste of Paris right in Canada.

Me and Bonhomme de Neige, celebrity extraordinaire!

We stayed at the Best Western in the Old City. The room was clean and comfortable, and at a discounted rate on Expedia, we got a nice King size upgrade. (Don't bother with the in-hotel restaurant--there's way better food not too far away.) The only real downside was that while everything was within walking distance, the elevation differences heading toward the St. Lawrence River meant lots and lots of steep hills. On the upside, I got a great workout every day.

We did a walking tour of the city, which was educational and entertaining despite the high winds and chilly temps. The one Australian visitor in the group got about halfway through before declaring "I wasn't made for this! And hour is about all I can stand!" She made it through, though.

Some wonderful facts I learned: Samuel de Champlain, father of New France, as we see him in books, statues, paintings and such is a fake. When they went to build a statue and make his portrait, there were no references. For all we know, the dashing hero could be some fat slob.

We also visited the Citadelle, the still active fort for the 22nd Regiment just beyond the Plains d'Abraham where the famous battle between Wolfe and Montcalm was fought. Though the tour was offered bilingually, the hubby and I had enough French to actually understand everything the guide was talking about, and as the only Anglophones, we proudly nodded along. (Thanks to my high school French teacher, M. Machado!)

Food! My God, we ate so much. I had a duck club sandwich. Poutine with spaghetti sauce. Real French onion soup. Escargots. And on out last night there, we ate at the infamous Aux Anciens Canadiens, a restaurant that serves authentic Quebec cuisine in the oldest building in the city. The food was to die for. I had a grilled pheasant breast served with smoked bison on a bed of spinach and cheese (Suck on that, Double Down) and maple syrup pie for dessert. I can't even begin to describe how good it was. I'm drooling right now.

Me and the river (and the Chateau Frontenac, left)

It's hard not to get sucked in my the magnificence of the place; despite the tourist buzz, the residents within the walls, numbering only a few thousand, live a sedate but metropolitan life. History breathes in and out of those walls. Just passing through the enormous stone gates gave me a glimpse into what life in a medieval walled city might have been like. If ever you get a chance to go, I highly recommend it.