I turned 41 last Tuesday. FORTY-ONE!!! Where the hell does the time go?! My sweetie had done really well remembering my birthday … right up until Tuesday … when he promptly got distracted & stressed by work and forgot all about it. I think it’s a Leo thing, Stace can never seem to remember her hon’s birthday either 🙂
I knew he forgot because there was no “Happy Birthday!” kiss first thing, we just had our regular morning routine. There was also no mention of it when he called throughout the day. I didn’t say anything to remind him, wanted to see how long it would take for him to clue in. When he got home he kissed me hello and finally told me happy birthday, followed quickly by, “Sorry babe, I spaced out.” He hadn’t remembered until just a few minutes before when he stopped at the store and he said to John, “Oh shit! It’s Kellie’s birthday today!” He had wanted to stop on the way home and buy me flowers or something, but by then he was practically here already and it was too late. So instead he decided to take me out to dinner.
While he showered to get ready I opened the big envelope that Mom had sent filled with cards and letters and the latest BnM. She threw in just about everything but the kitchen sink! lol There were Christmas cards I had never got and letters the kids wrote ages ago. I teared up reading everything and especially when I opened Grammie Underhill’s and Mom & Dad’s cards to find a crisp new $10 and $20 American bill 😦 Made me homesick to say the least. But happy too.
We went to Mama Maria’s (http://www.mamamariasitaliangrill.com/) just down the road. We’d only been there one other time, and because I’d already declared my birthday week as a “eat whatever you want, carbs be damned!” kind of week, pasta and other good stuff was not off limits! Jay ordered the Mama’s Trio (lasagna, chicken parmesan & spaghetti) and I opted to go Greek with the chicken souvlaki. They came with large salads to begin (caesar for him, Greek for me) plus a basket of garlic bread. I had two glasses of wine and he had two (pretty expensive) drinks. We had more left-overs than we knew what to do with! It was a bit more expensive dinner than what we usually do, $63.25 with tip, and Jay wasn’t too impressed with his food so we probably won’t go there again for a good long while, but it was a nice relaxing and romantic way to start my birthday week celebrations.
We had a booth right by the window so we could watch the crazy lightning and torrential downpour that had been happening off and on all through the late afternoon and early evening. The lightning here is always pretty wicked, like something you’d see in a movie or on tv. The chains bolt straight down out of the clouds two and three at the same time. They never seem to streak across without striking the ground like they do at home. When we eat out, Jay usually sits beside me instead of across the table. I’ve never been with anyone who did that before. In the beginning it kind of freaked me out, lol, like what is he doing?! This looks odd! But I like it. The longer we’re together, the more often we sit facing each other, but he still sits beside me for special occasions and when he’s feeling particularly romantic. I think it’s kind of sweet and old-fashioned 🙂
The rest of the week was hectic because I was trying to finish BnM in time to go away for the weekend. I wanted to have most of Friday clear in order to pack, do laundry, clean up the house, etc. And this worked out pretty well. I got everything I needed to get done, done in time. I was pretty organized. Sweetie says I’m the most organized woman he’s ever been with … yeah! ME! Imagine that! 😀 The other chickies must’ve been hella disorganized!
Because we were going away for the weekend, I wanted to take care of the week’s grocery shopping before we left, rather than wait for Sunday when we usually do it. We really didn’t need much because I’ve been stocking up on sales so well, but I wanted a few special birthday treats and saw they had some good sales at Publix this week, so I decided we’d just go there and pay a bit more for bottled water than normal, buying just enough to get us through to Monday night when we’d go to Kroger and get the cheap water. I totally forgot that there is a Kroger over by the Publix store that we could stop in on our way home without going out of our way until hun reminded me. So we ended up going to two stores.
Coupon-wise, it was not the greatest excursion. I only used one for $1 off 2 pints of Ben & Jerry’s. Luckily the ice cream was on sale, BOGO for $3.79, so with my coupon I ended up scoring them about $1.40 each. Now that’s a good deal! I got Americone Dream, which is vanilla based but like a drumstick with pieces of sugar cone, chocolate, caramel, and nuts mixed in, and I got peanut butter cup which is peanut butter ice cream with huge chunks of peanut butter cups. Can you say yummy?!!
I got a big bag of tortilla chips to go with all my Newman’s Own salsas that I’ve been hoarding in the cupboard, thought we might need some munchies at the cabin, two 1.5L bottles of my cheap wine that’s STILL on sale, a family pack of 5 huge split chicken breasts (bone-in), a 7″ cake for my birthday, head of romaine, 2 baking potatoes, 2 ears of corn, 2 lobster tails, and 2 ribeye steaks. Total cost $60.98, with $16.08 in savings.
From there we went to Kroger where we bought a gallon of skim milk, a loaf of garlic bread and 3 cases of water (cuz 2 isn’t stretching as far as it used to now that it’s so freaking hot & John and Brad have started dipping into Jay’s cooler at work). Total cost $13.96, with only 69 cents in savings.
I was tickled pink to think that we’d only spend $75 on groceries this week … but you’ll see later on that this isn’t exactly what happened, lol.
Friday was an insanely busy day full of proofing bnm, writing photo cutlines, doing laundry, making lists, checking them twice, washing dishes, vacuuming, scrubbing, cleaning the bathroom, hanging a new shower curtain, packing, etc. all before Jay got home from work around 4:30pm. I had promised him I’d be ready to roll when he arrived and by God I was ready! And I only forgot two things, his spatula for flipping steaks on the barby and my camera cord so I could post pictures while we were there.
Because he got home pretty early we should have been able to leave earlier than we thought (6pm) but traffic was backed up on I-20 clean from downtown Atlanta to Covington, so we took our time getting out of here hoping it might be cleared up by the time we left. I went over to Grammie’s to tell her we were going away and ask if she’d feed the cat, which she did with pleasure, and while we were gone she even took it upon herself to clean up our dooryard some, emptying the outside ashtray and putting the board that had blown off the sinkhole in the storms last week back over it to cover it up, etc, little things we probably wouldn’t have had time to get to until next weekend. Very much appreciated! She’s a sweetheart.
Finally it was time to hit the road!
If you want to enlarge any of the pics to see them better, I think you just click on them. Apologies to peeps on dial-up if you can’t get these things to load, I don’t have any software here to make pics more web friendly.
I had Google-mapped directions to the place, which said it would take us 2 hours to get there, but these directions were slightly different than the ones I got from the Forrest Hills Resort, so having had Google directions lead us astray to a washed out bridge before I decided to use the ones from the facility.
Jay was really concerned about traffic, especially on the 400 where we had to travel for about 45 miles. He said it’s always screwed up, bumper to bumper, barely moving, and it would be especially bad on a Friday evening with all the people in Atlanta and suburbs going to the cottage for the weekend. Traffic to the 400 was great though (to my sweetie’s amazement) and he took advantage in order to hopefully gain some time for when we hit the 400 stall.
I kept saying things to him like don’t worry about it, I think we’re going to get lucky, watch and see tonight will be the only night in the history of the 400 that it’s actually moving … and to myself in my head I kept repeating, “We’re going to get there in record time! We’re zipping along the highway without a thought or a care!” My hun just kept rolling his eyes at me and saying, “You’ll see. I KNOW what it’s going to be like, you’ve never been on that highway before.”
Before we even got to the on-ramp you could see the brake lights and Jay started cursing. When we merged on it was obvious what the problem was, all along we were travelling on 12-16 lane freeways and now we were going down to four lanes. But while my hun was cursing and saying, “Told ya so! We’ll be here all freaking night!” I just kept smiling and saying, “Don’t worry about it, I’m sure it’s going to thin out.” AND IT DID! We were backed up maybe five minutes max and then we were zipping right along again. Then it was my turn to say, “Told ya so! That’s the power of positive thinking for ya!” 🙂
Eventually we turned off the 400 onto a two-lane road which pretty much had the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere. This is where navigating got a little trickier because Jay had never been there before so we were relying completely on my notes and not real sure of distances as far as where we were supposed to turn next, etc.
Along the road we passed, of all things, a kangaroo conservation center … truly bizarre! We were supposed to stop on our way and grab a quick bite to eat, but before we could even decide what kind of food we wanted, BAM! We had arrived! And it only took an hour and 40 minutes 🙂 Yes folks, that IS the power of positive thinking for ya!
The woman who checked us in was a bit older and in a motorized wheelchair. She seemed friendly and was very helpful about showing us on a map where our cabin was located, where the dining room was that we’d take breakfast, directions into town so we could grab supper since we hadn’t on the drive etc.
Still, check-in was a little bizarre, nothing like I’ve ever encountered before. We had two contracts to read and sign, which basically listed all the things that they would charge us extra for if they happened. All weekend I kept saying to Jay, “Be careful! That’ll be an extra $75 if you spill that wine! That’ll be an extra $20 if you lose that key!” And it was stated repeatedly that there would be absolutely no chance of a refund, no matter what! My mind immediately went back to some of the less stellar reviews I’d read online, about how the state of their rooms didn’t suit and refunds were refused. I tried not to worry about Jay signing this thing before we’d actually seen the cabin.
After Jay signed his life away we went into the back where the gift shop was to pick up a couple of movies. They were free rentals for all guests. The cabins were equipped with tv but no cable and the lady at the desk said you might get one channel on the antenna if the wind was blowing the right way. My hun wasn’t too impressed with the gift shop, I think he was expecting more of a store with snacks and things, but it was mostly souvenirs, and not even a lot of those. They had a small cooler with drinks, an ice cream cooler, and a few bars and candy. They had some sample sized toiletries in case you forgot something (we didn’t!) but that was about it. We picked out two movies (which we never watched & I don’t even remember which ones they were) and then we went to find our cabin and unload our stuff.
We didn’t have to go far, it was just up the hill from the main office, first cabin on the right.
They left the outside light on for us. When we went in the lights were on low, the table was set for dinner for two and they’d turned on the stereo to an easy listening radio station. Nice touches!
The check-in lady had explained that they’d drained, cleaned and then filled the hot tub with mountain spring water just for us, so it would be cool and need to heat up about 90 minutes before we used it the first time. There were instructions on how to heat it in the sheaf of papers she gave us that included a copy of all the stuff we’d signed in the contract. We think she lied about the mountain spring water though, based on the chlorine smell (which wasn’t overpowering, but just there) but that was okay. I think we both felt more comfortable knowing there was at least some chemical in there to keep any straggling germs at bay, even though it did seem really clean and well maintained. We’re not the type to have sex in a jacuzzi that isn’t ours and ours alone, but based on some of the guest book entries I read in the albums they have on the coffee table, I’m not so sure other people have this particular quirk …
Beds are more our baby-making style! 🙂
The cabin was all one big room with cathedral type ceilings, except for the bathroom which was in between the kitchen/dining and sleeping areas. Made it seem larger and more roomier than if they had it all partitioned off. I didn’t take any pics of the bathroom but it also had a full bathtub with shower, not just a shower stall like I had expected, and was complete with plenty of towels and face cloths, toiletries (tho we brought our own), hair dryer etc.
Our stuff is kind of cluttering the table and counter space but you can see that the table was set for two and we had everything we needed like microwave, full fridge, coffee maker, toaster, etc.
It was a helluva lot cooler in the mountains than it has been in the Atlanta area these past few weeks, but still not so cool that we’d ever have a reason to use the fireplace. Temperatures dipped into the 70’s at night, still warm enough to go outside and sit on the porch in your jammies and watch the fireflies in the trees.
Once we got everything unloaded we used the directions the check-in lady gave us to find our way to the nearest town (15-20 min drive), Dahlongena. We needed milk, diesel fuel, cigarettes and something to eat for dinner. It was starting to get a little dark and with a foggy mist lying in the trees, the place looked spooky. Kind of felt like we were in one of those horror movies where some people on a trip stumble into a town full of psychos who trap them, won’t let them leave and eventually kill them. I also thought that if Sasquatch is living in Georgia, this is most likely where he’s at.
As towns go it’s kind of one-horse, with lots of red necks out doing the Friday night trip into town thing. Everyone was white, which was weird and totally noticeable. Jay liked this so much he immediately called John to tell him he found where the white girls at! Cuz you know they’ve been looking for them for a long time now 🙂
With very limited food choices we settled on our old weekend standby, Zaxby’s and got a 10-pack of chicken fingers, large order of fried pickles and I splurged and got the first chocolate milkshake I’ve had since Christ was a cowboy! It was very good! The big Chevron station didn’t sell diesel, but Jay got a half-gallon of milk (they didn’t have skim or even 2% so he had to go full fat) and since his usual brand of cigarettes were an outrageous $6/pack, he got some apparently nasty-assed cheaper ones that raunch his throat out (so maybe he’ll get sickened on smoking & quit this week, he said, but I won’t hold my breath). Then we had to back-track to this little hole in the wall mom & pop type gas station who are apparently the only ones in town who sell diesel fuel. They must be! Cuz they charge an arm and a leg at $3.10/gallon (we normally pay $2.60) but it turned out they had skim milk and cigarettes that were both a helluva lot cheaper than what he had just paid at Chevron. Damn the luck, he said afterward.
Finding our way back to the cabin in the early dark was interesting, considering my hunny’s eyes have been so burned up with weld flares over the years that he can’t hardly see anymore to drive after dark. And it was DARK! No cars, no lights, Barnettville is brighter than this place. The only light going on was hundreds and hundreds of fireflies. They were really pretty.
We found our way though and once we were settled in for the night we nibbled on our Zaxby’s, had drinks, listened to the radio, danced (he’s trying to teach me to two-step, country swing and all these terrible things that I’m not very good at), sat on the back porch, and just enjoyed the moon, the quiet and each other.
We had a really nice night, spent some time in the hot tub, and stayed up WAY WAY WAY past our bedtime until almost 2am! When we finally went to bed, we were both out instantly.
I was worried we might sleep in and miss breakfast. They wouldn’t let us book on the weekend without getting at least one meal in the package, so we opted for breakfast because it was cheaper and we wanted to cook our own dinner anyway. Luckily we still woke at a good time and got to breakfast in plenty of time. The resort is laid out so families are on one side and couples on the other, couples even have their own separate dining room called The Secret Garden. It’s all tables for two with lots of mini-lights draped in vines along the ceiling, soft romantic music and all that. It was nice. In the evening they have candles and live acoustic music, but the morning was good too. There are windows all the way around so it’s bright and cheery, but not hot because there’s a roofed deck all the way around the outside that keeps the sun from getting right in and heating the place up. The food was buffet style complete with scrambled eggs, biscuits & gravy, grits, home fries, bacon, sausage rounds, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, etc. The waitress was really good about greeting you right at the door and making sure your drinks were filled.
We walked to and from breakfast. It wasn’t far at all, but very hilly! Killer on the thighs! I wished I had those Skecher Shape-ups!
…to be continued…