Slipping Through The Crack(s)

Every now and then when life gets too stressful, my friends and I head for the mountains.  Our day trips always include good food, window-shopping, a soak in the mineral hot springs, and, of course, gut-busting laughter.

A couple of weeks ago we made another jaunt to Banff, a day I cherished since I know I’ll miss my friends and our road trips after Hubby and I move to the coast.  We managed to complete the hour-and-a-half drive acting like actual adults:  Chatting and exclaiming over the scenery that remains spectacular no matter how often we visit.

But then (as it frequently seems to happen when I’m involved) we reverted to the mental age of thirteen.  To protect the guilty, I’ll identify my companions only as J, L, and Swamp Butt.  Yes, there’s a good reason for that nickname.

Here’s how it started:  In the restaurant at lunch, Swamp Butt and I claimed the banquette seat with our backs to the wall while J and L chose chairs across from us.  I had just settled in when a sudden movement made me glance over toward Swamp Butt… who was canted away from me at a steep angle, ass pointing in my direction while she muttered something about ‘the crack’.

Apparently the look on my face was priceless, because J and L burst into uproarious laughter.  By the time Swamp Butt managed to explain that she was only scooting over on the bench because she’d been sitting on ‘the crack’ between the banquette cushions, we were all in tears of hilarity.

Which primed us nicely for what happened later.

After a lunch of rich food and beer followed later by a gigantic dinner and more beer, Swamp Butt was living up to her nickname.  We managed to maintain a semblance of composure while she walked along crop dusting the streets of Banff, but just as we got into J’s vehicle for the drive home she cracked off another fart that clung like a vile cloak when she got into the vehicle.

Gasping, gagging, and giggling, we all powered down our windows and rode out the stink.

It was late, and we subsided into tired but happy silence on the drive home… until halfway back to Calgary when the quiet was broken by the sound of Swamp Butt’s window powering down.

In the next instant the rest of us simultaneously slammed our windows open, causing another paroxysm of laughter; especially when the sudden burst of highway-speed turbulence sucked an unsecured shopping bag up from the floor.  I snagged it just before it soared out the window, generating a volley of badinage about what a ‘crack’ team we are.

Swamp Butt didn’t let any more slip and we all made it home unscathed, but it’s a testament to the power of aversive conditioning how quickly our reflexes developed.

And it’s a testament to the power of friendship that our day will become yet another funny shared memory that binds us together regardless of geographic distance.

These precious friendships will never slip through the cracks… despite anything else that may slip through ‘the crack’!


Last week I got together with four friends for our annual overnight in Banff, the most beautiful tourist trap in the Canadian Rockies. We had a great time as always… but I couldn’t decide whether my luck was good or bad.

I was still fighting this rotten cold, so that was bad luck. But I’m certainly lucky to have friends who like me enough to put up with me even when I’m diseased!

At the Douglas Fir Resort, we checked into our giant 3-bedroom, 5-bed suite. For a while we sat on our balcony with drinks, enjoying the spectacular mountain view. Then, since I was likely to wake everybody by coughing up a lung in the middle of the night, I moved into one of the private queen rooms with an ensuite bathroom.

Lucky, right? Well, yes… until I realized there was no window, only a skylight. Not so lucky if you’re claustrophobic. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that the first thing I did was clamber up on the vanity to see if the skylight would open.

Nope. Bolted shut.

I comforted myself with the thought that if I was sufficiently motivated (say, by flames licking up the crack of my ass), I could smash the glass with the wrought-iron lamp and hoist myself up and out of the skylight. But luckily I wasn’t forced to test my escape plan.

Next stop was the Grizzly House for fondue. Pricey but delicious, it’s an evening’s entertainment as well as a meal. Unluckily, one of our fondue burners began to belch gouts of flame like a deranged dragon, but luckily one of the heroic waiters swooped in to save us before the flames reached the paper placemats. Those guys have nerves of steel and fingers of asbestos – he reached through the flames, turned the burner off, and whisked it away; all within seconds and without a change of expression. Wow.

The next day we went to the Banff Upper Hot Springs. I made a potty stop in the changing room, and just as I sat down my sunglasses slipped over the back of my head. I felt them hit my back. Then I felt them hit my butt. Then… *clink*

I thought, “Oh, please, tell me they didn’t fall into the toilet!”

Yep, they did.

But luckily I hadn’t used the toilet yet.

So I squeamishly fished the glasses out and scrubbed them with copious amounts of soap. Settling them back on my face still seemed a bit gross, but I got over it. But their run of bad luck wasn’t over yet. After we got back from the pool, they fell again… onto the concrete floor of the changing room.

Smash. Frames go one way, a lens goes the other.

But the lens didn’t scratch or break and I picked it up and pressed it back into the frame, where it has stayed ever since.  So that seemed like good luck.

And speaking of good luck, the food was amazing! Buttermilk pancakes with apple compote, candied walnuts, and vanilla cream for breakfast at the Buffalo Mountain Lodge; cheese fondue, bagna cauda, prawns, lobster, scallops, elk, ostrich, and alligator at the Grizzly House with a fruit-and-chocolate fondue for dessert (yes, I was in pain afterward); and even a BeaverTail (I managed to fit that in between my ice cream cone and my candied apple). Yum!

And driving back to Calgary in the eastbound lane of the TransCanada Highway on Friday afternoon, we considered ourselves supremely lucky to not be part of the bumper-to-bumper westbound traffic.

So in the end I had just enough bad luck to make my good luck seem even better. And that makes me feel lucky indeed!

How was your week?