Domestic Bliss: Aunt Robbie’s Weekend Survival Saga

October 21st, 2012

If you’ve read through a few posts, you may have noticed that I sometimes stretch the term “wine trips” for some of my entries.  However, every post is indeed “wine-oriented” and definitely an “experience.”  Such is the case of this post. Stay with me, as I explain…

Long before year 2012, it has been very common (at least for my family) for us to be strewn all of the U.S. My folks live in Canton, Georgia.  My husband Tim’s parents in Winnebago, Illinois. Tim’s sister – Memphis. I have two sisters — Amy lives in Cincinnati and Wendy lives in Pinehurst, North Carolina with her family. So, with the exception of Amy, any family visit requires taking a few “vacation” days off from work, finding subs to teach the Jazzercise classes I’ll miss, packing and hopping flights — all of which, I’m sure you’d agree, constitute a “trip.” And unlike actual vacation trips with Tim or my girlfriends where wine would be part of the fun and rabble-rousing…wine serves a slightly different purpose with family. Are you with me?!?

I’m on one of these family “trips” right now. A 4-day, 4-night stay at my sister’s house in NC to serve as caregiver to my niece Elizabeth (15.75), nephew Chase (11.5) and nephew Ethan (5.25). Okay, so how does a very content, child-less aunt get “roped” into such a gig?  Well, it’s my sister and brother-in-law’s 20th anniversary and since my brother-in-law had a race (running) in Washington, DC — it seemed like the perfect weekend getaway for them. Yes! Every four years, two weeks before a presidential election, D.C. becomes the hottest, most romantic city in the U.S. — now YOU know!  Anyhow, my sister’s mother-in-law (who lives in Huntsville, Alabama — BTW) was the first draft pick, but she broke her ankle and had to cancel — so wanting to visit he kids and finding an inexpensive direct flight from CVG to Raleigh-Durham, I volunteered and here I am!

On the flight, I was really, really questioning, “what the heck was I about to do?” And “why, why did I ever agree to do this?” I mean, the longest I’ve EVER taken care of any of my precious sisters’ off-springs is about 24 hours and that’s been my two Cincinnati nieces, in my own house, in my own surroundings and on a weekend-so nothing was on the schedule but fun Aunt Robbie time! What the heck was I going to do with THREE kids in a place I’d never been before in my life? Staying in a house I’ve never visited? Driving a MINI-VAN? Taking them to/from THREE different schools? Making sure they were fed, clean, safe and happy? On the plane trip, my heart-rate was really starting to dance, and then an idea struck — WINE!  I can purchase a bottle (or four) of North Carolina wine and relax and recharge after the kids are in bed. Wine will help me get through this weekend! And I can sample some local wine and post on winetripchick about it! YES! A ray of sunshine in an otherwise scary storm!

My sister picked me up Thursday at the airport and we drove the hour or so to back towards her home for lunch at one of her favorite places the the so quaint community of Southern Pines. Wendy pointed out different things as we drove including the wine shop downtown — how kismet! I shared my weekend survival plan with her and after lunch we swung by The Wine Cellar & Tasting Room. A very nice lady directed me to the North Carolina wines and I picked up two bottles — not wanting to look like a complete wino in front of my sister.

The remainder of Thursday afternoon was spent picking up each of the kids at three different schools spread poles apart (or rather traffic roundabouts apart), stopping by the grocery store and preparing dinner. Luckily, it took very little prompting for me to convince my brother-in-law to open one of the wine bottles and enjoy a glass or two with me (they were leaving for D.C. at 6am Friday morning – LUCKILY! So, I was able to visit a bit with my sis and be shown the ropes).

We opened a bottle of Three White Table Wine from Childress Vineyards in Lexington, NC. When I asked the lady at the wine shop if the “Three” represented three grape varietals used to make the wine, she thought yes, but the bottle didn’t say which three. When I told my brother-in-law this story, he chuckled and said the name “Three” represented the legendary number 3 car driven by Dale Earnhardt. Later on Friday, my nephew Chase who is a huge NASCAR fan gave me more to the story by explaining to me that Dale Earnhardt’s number 3 car was owned by Richard Childress Racing. He told me how in 2001 (the same year Chase was born — BTW), in the last turn of the last lap at Daytona Beach, Earnhardt who didn’t wear a harness died instantly in the infamous crash. Chase then said that the use of “Three” is always in remembrance of Dale Earnhardt. How about that! I picked up a wine that my nephew could tell me the meaning behind! So cool!

Sharing with you a bit about the wine itself…I would describe it as very drinkable. The alcohol content was only 12.5%, so I was able to enjoy two glasses easily Friday night before the kids went to bed!  I can agree with the label’s statement of the wine having a “light acidity”and that it would “please any palate,” but I didn’t really get the “tropical flavors” although it had a very mild and pleasant flavor. It only cost $12 or $13, so between the NASCAR education it spurred from my nephew and its simple, uncomplicated taste — I was thoroughly pleased!

How appropriate, here it is end of Day Three of my “trip,” and I’ve finished the Childress “Three.” So, I opened the other bottle I bought, another white — this time a 2009 Viognier from Black Rock Vineyards in Carthage, NC. What drew me to choose the Black Rock was the Viognier and my great experiences with this varietal last year at the 2010 North American Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia. I was curious what a North Carolina Viognier would taste like. True to most Viogniers, the Black Rock has an oily taste quality I want describe as a little fishy in this wine. The aroma is also very floral which is common to this varietal. It’s not a bad wine, but unlike the Childress Three, this one I kind of need some food or nibbly-bit like nuts to go along with it — something salty. What’s pretty cool is that Black Rock is a very new vineyard which is trying out five white varietals (and nine reds) to see which one works best with their soils, climate, etc. So, one should keep track of this vineyard to see how it matures with time especially if you’re nearby.

With the kids, a trip to these vineyards wasn’t practical. However, so far, I think I’m doing pretty darn good. Most of Friday was spent at school, then Mellow Mushroom for dinner and lots of Wii Mario Kart back at home. Today (Saturday), I learned that  a trip to C-Cup Cupcakes and Game Stop really makes all three of them extra happy! Also, thank you Red Box for Puss in Boots and Breaking Dawn Part One which I rewatched with Elizabeth, so we’re both all set for mid-November and the release of Part Two (not that it matters, but she’s Team Jacob and I’m, of course, Team Edward)!

Tomorrow is my last day and night of duty before I catch a flight back to Cincinnati on Monday. As anyone who knows me suspected, it feels like I’ve been away from home for weeks and I can’t wait to return! But I’ve truly enjoyed my visit so far and I expect another fun, bonding-day with the kids tomorrow. And although I have not had to rely on it…I do still have 3/4ths of a bottle of the Black Rock left to look forward to tomorrow night…just in case my domestic bliss takes a horribly-bad turn!



2 Responses to “Domestic Bliss: Aunt Robbie’s Weekend Survival Saga”

  1. Chuck says:

    I am not sure I would describe DC “the hottest, most romantic city in the U.S.” but the Army 10 miler was great. Wendy and I really say a big THANK YOU for coming down and watching the kids so we could go together. Elizabeth says you should write a book after reading this post and she adds she is 15.75 (I think she was upset she didn’t get a decimal.

    Anyway With the one glass of Three I had before we left I must say your description is dead on and I did not get any tropical flavors out of it either.

    Thanks again


    • robyn says:

      Chuck, Thank you! it was great to spend time with the kids in your home and have a quickie visit with you and car trip chats in the car to/from airport with Wen. I will go in and edit Elizabeth’s age RIGHT NOW! 😉 Tell her to start typing that book! I know she’s got lots of things to share! Love you guys! –R

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