Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Storing fat for Alaska


This good girl doesn't know
we're fixin' to leave her for three-and-a-half weeks.

I'm eating, sleeping and breathing Alaska to plan our upcoming road trip. So much to know to plot the route and plan the itinerary, so many internet searches like, "Is such-and-such a road safe to drive in an RV or is it another Tiller Trail?" There are also novels to read to get into the spirit of the place, tour companies to contact, and purchases to make such as bear spray and warm lined rain boots and mosquito nets that cover your whole head. Do you know how many ways there are to die up there?? Hundreds!

The kids are using my intense road trip focus against me. I found Lucien eating a secret bag of potato chips in the TV room this past week. He looked guilty for a second but thought fast and said, "I'm storing fat for Alaska." I took the chips away and said, "You know there is plenty of food in Alaska..." but he followed me out of the room saying, "No! We're gonna have to craft our own bows and arrows to shoot deer, and do you know how to cut down a tree yet? We're also gonna have to fish, lay traps, and forage for berries!"

He was on a roll then. He entertains himself thoroughly when he thinks he's onto a juicy joke. (apple, meet tree...)

".... but we'll have Coco taste the berries first, obviously, to make sure they're not poisonous!" I gave him a severe "Mom look" after that comment and he said, "She's the youngest, Mom, if anyone's gotta die out there in the nothingness of our summer vacation, it's gotta be her. And if anyone's gonna live, it's going to be me, because of the chips!"

Lucien is now, at this very moment, musing aloud we may have to resort to cannibalism. I guess anything less than that will be considered a smashing success of a trip.

I took the Winnie B into the RV shop to fix everything that needs fixing. There's always a lot on such a complicated vehicle but as of now, all seems to be in good working order. I pretty much told the guy, "We're driving to Alaska, just replace everything with new things." I'm being extra cautious because I can't imagine much worse of a disappointment than suffering RV failure in the middle of the Yukon.


Good luck, us.
(Good girl still doesn't know...)

In these few weeks remaining before we drive off towards the Arctic Circle, we are caught up in the whirlwind of end-of-school-year chaos. The performances, presentation nights, carnivals, etc. are really stacking up but we're knocking them down one by one with rapidly fatiguing fists.

Lucien's big end-of-year Humanities project involved an in-depth report on biodiversity's role in healthy ecosystems, a subject for which he organically feels much passion so it was a natural choice. As part of his project, he had to take an "action step." For his action step, he decided to print up flyers and educate the public by handing them out and starting conversations one-on-one and in small groups. His original plan was to do that at the beach on a sunny day but we're a little tired here at the end of the school year so instead it took place at a friend's party the day before the project was due. Our closest friends were all there, and had been drinking beer and eating tacos for hours.

I had to document the action step to include in his PowerPoint presentation. I told this group of friends to look natural, as if Lucien was educating them about the alarming rate of loss of species at that very second and it was the first they'd heard of it.


Nailed it. 
Totally natural.
(I love this photo, and you bet we used it.)

I volunteered to work a couple booths at Coco's school carnival this past weekend. First shift was at the Fish Pond game, where Coco acted as assistant by sitting hidden behind the screen and attaching toys to the end of the fishing pole whenever some little tyke tossed his line over the side. The prizes were mostly very small so came grouped together in Ziploc grab bags. Coco didn't understand the entire bag was the prize and instead opened all the bags and began attaching teeny tiny toys one at a time.

You should have seen that four-year-old carnival enthusiast's face when he handed me his ticket, threw his line over the booth, and received a mini doll shoe the size of his pinkie nail. His eyes were big sad adorable question marks when he looked up at me and I said, "Oh hell no, not on my watch," threw his line back over the side and whispered around the corner to Coco, "Give him the whole bag, give him the whole bag, for the love of God!!" The volunteer working next door at the "Dig in the Hay" game had a good laugh about that one.

Not sure what she's laughing at, that volunteer had her own questionable game going on. The "Dig in the Hay" game is usually a big pile of hay kids dig through until they find a prize. But this year, to the confusion of many, there was no hay, only a small inflatable pool filled with plastic balls. The "Dig in the Hay" sign still stood boldly behind the pool, which left many scratching their heads. I guess carnival organizers didn't feel compelled to rename "Dig in the Hay" to "Dig in the Balls" and who can blame them for that.

I worked the ticket booth second shift with two of my favorite friends. We thought it would be fun to do it together because we could chat and catch up during lulls. That's a laugh of an idea; there are no lulls at school carnival ticket booths. The ticket booth is mayhem with people swarming you constantly waving fistfuls of money and asking questions like, "why can't I use this food ticket to play games?" As you tried to explain the intricacy of the school's ticketing system, some errant wanderer would inevitably walk up and order a cotton candy. I'd be like, "Does it look like I got cotton candy back here, buddy?" while punching furiously at iPad buttons because I was three reported ticket sales behind.

I'm still around for a bit but for the record, I'm hoping to post some short blog updates during our weeks of driving through the mountainous abyss of the great North. Not surprisingly, I hear there's not a whole lot of WiFi nor cell phone service in Northern British Columbia and the Yukon. We may have better luck once in Alaska, but by then we may have eaten each other so there may not be much to post about.

If the grizzlies don't get ya, the other grizzlies will.
MJ

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