The Maelstrom

My kid stepped on a screw last week. He went through the garage barefoot to take out the trash and started hollering. When I answered his warbles, he calmly asked me to unscrew the screw sticking out of his heel. To do this properly, you have to turn it ‘Lefty Lucy’.

Later, after a trip to urgent care, some X-rays, a new Darth Vader boot, and a tetanus shot, he rode the whole way home updating his social media accounts.

“Seriously kid?”

“If I don’t post it,” he said, “it didn’t happen.”

“Oh, it happened. It was disgusting.”

Silence. More tapping.

A long, long time ago, somewhere off the northwest coast of Norway, a Viking discovered a swirling vortex of death, a tornado made out of ocean, and just said no to the maelstrom. Have you seen the movie, Sharknado“? This is how I feel when surrounded with social media. My kid was sucked in willingly and I never heard from him again. The kraken got him.

It’s his own fault.

In the meantime, I’ve created accounts on Instagram, YouTube, Goodreads, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and three – count em, three – Facebook thingys. One of which is a Private Group called Jolie Tunnell’s Earlybirds“, which is basically a book club. I’ve got a website, a business, a blog, and a book to maintain.

So, I’ve set my own vortex into motion, spinning in happy little currents, and as the tide goes in and out, I wonder how much time I have left before it traps me. At its center is my newsletter. Everything else is attached to it in some way and that feels like the right direction for this year. Lefty Lucy. If you want to know what happened to Jolie, read the newsletter.

Which, by the way, I may have accidentally on purpose signed you up for already. I knew you wouldn’t mind. But if you do, there’s this cool button called “Unsubscribe” at the bottom of it that will make it all go away. It has adorable palm trees in the title so you can find it in your inbox but I think most of them landed in your trash. You’d best go dive in there and save it from last month.

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Loonies and Tunies

The dust is starting to settle from our road trip to Victoria, British Colombia and in one fell swoop, I would like to tell everyone all about it and how much fun we had and how I almost died.

If you followed my new Instagram during those two weeks, you already know what I’m talking about, but running that little social media experiment taught me a few things:

  1. If you’re on Instagram, you are under the age of 20 or (ahem) you are just trying to monitor your child under 20’s selfies. So you don’t care if I almost died, because your selfies are of you, yourself, trying to do it deliberately.
  2. If you’re on Facebook, you are over 20, heavily caffeinated and keeping up with the Kardashians. They seem like a nice family. According to what they choose to post. So you also don’t care if I almost died unless there’s a video of it happening, and maybe an interactive game that tells you your personality afterwards.
  3. If you’re still reading email, you’re getting older. But at least you can still read something longer than five words strung together, covered in hashtags and destroyed by third-grade spelling skills. You are fairly interested in my death if it involves plot twists and a fascinating setting, such as India.
  4. If you just started in on the new Pokemon craze, it was nice knowing you. I’m sorry you stepped in front of the bus while searching for a Pokemon gym, *sad face emoji* but face it, your death will be pretty boring because it did not involve the following real life stuff:

The first week was spent toodling through Oregon and Washington. We visited redwoods and Paul Bunyon and beaches and lighthouses and dunes and ended up along the Columbia River Gorge. We went jet-boating down the Rogue River and saw bald eagles everywhere. We drove past Mt. St. Helens and several other volcanoes in disguise.

Crater Lake lived up to it’s reputation: fascinating and gorgeous.

We loved the Tillamook cheese factory (because we are nerds) and spent half a day at the Bonneville dam waiting for something to go through the locks (because we are engineering nerds) and I found out this abomination exists:

Lamprays: long as your arm, living in rivers, and trying to give you the kiss of death.

However, the beauty of the pacific northwest will knock your socks off. I highly recommend the trip. Just stay out of the water.

Waterfalls everywhere.

Bridges everywhere. This one is six miles long, connecting Oregon and Washington. We drove it just for the shrieking fun of it.

Chuhily Glass Museum. A Seattle “must see”. I have so many photos from this!

Seattle from the Space Needle. That “cloud” on the right is Mt. Ranier. Honest.

Once we were in Canada, we packed even more into our days. We went tubing down the Cowichan and built driftwood forts on beaches and enjoyed bellinis on the bay and wandered farmers markets and rode ferries and camped on a deserted sand spit like Robinson Caruso.

Because a tent is inadequate…

We stared at First Nations totem poles and inhaled Butchart Gardens and hiked past radioactive green slugs. We listened to marimba bands.

But the place I almost died was called WildPlay. My boys got wind of this adventure and demanded we all do it. When it was over, they said it was the best part of our trip. Hmm.

 

My fam was pretty much in paradise. Each obstacle got higher and harder as you worked your way up between treetops. Zip-lines delivered you to the next terror. Er, challenge.

I understood that, as long as I was clipping my carabiner correctly, the mechanism would catch me if I slipped, a thousand feet up.

I was afraid of the first ten inches of free-falling until it caught. Maybe.

I was afraid of being “that guy”. The guy who slipped and had to hang in space like a pinata until the ten-year-old gymnast employee rescued me in front of everybody.

WildPlay Victoria: where the crazy people play.

The steps wobbled, the trees swayed, I focussed on breathing. I did not once look down.

I was most of the way through and proud of myself for neither throwing up nor freezing with my arms around a tree crying, “Hold me!”

But the bicycle handles were my Alamo.

I had to grip them and swing across the abyss to another tree but I couldn’t. My palms were too sweaty and my arms were so tired and I. Looked. Down.

It was the longest ten minutes of my life as my mind fought my body over certain death. Aloud, I insisted I would rather have a root canal. I would rather give birth unmedicated. I would rather do anything than trust my grip on those handlebars. Where’s the elevator? I’m DONE!

I did it.

There was kicking and screaming and denial and possibly tears, and when I finally got back to terra firma I was ready to kiss the sweet ground.

I’d like to see THAT featured in a Pokemon game.

I’m leaving you with one last photo. I like to photograph heights, not be in them.

 

Mt. Shasta on the drive home left us breathless in the best possible way.

I know this was long, thank you for sharing our trip. Ask me anything else in the comment box, and I will try to fill in the gaps. *happy face emoji*