Reading a book in the sun? Exploring an underground ruin with a flashlight taped to my head? A week in the basement playing World of Tanks or writing about serial killers?
It could be all of the above, but taking a trip to Oregon to spend a week with a whole group of people I barely know was a vacation that filled me with dread. Like a rabbit feels before it’s dropped in to play with the lions.
But Oregon itself is lovely this time of year. Not too hot. Lots of waves, at least on the beaches, and we’d found a few amazing things to do. As well, we’d been booked into what can only be described as a mansion overlooking the beach. The mansion had about 20 rooms, a HUGE kitchen, a coffee bar and entertainment room downstairs (with pool table and foosball), and… AND a theater room that sat, like, a thousand people. Or something like that.
The boys salivated when they heard about that theater room. How cool would SpongeBob be if he was on a 120” screen? How loud would the gunfire be in a Terminator movie when we were surrounded by surround sound? How comfy would the chairs be, all leathery and soft and with built in drink holders?
So, ah, how bad could it be?
Well, for starters, we had an 8 hour drive down. With 2 boys, that could spell trouble. It would be 50/50 that someone, somewhere would be murdered.
Then there was the whole meeting-Joe thing. All of the people coming to the mansion had heard about me, but only a few had met me – and if I’ve learned one thing in life it’s that I’m way better in myth than reality.
Just like I’m way better in writing than in person.
There’s nothing like hearing how awesome I am, then meeting me and learning I stare off into space a lot (I call it deep thinking, others call it looking like a zombie), or finding out I cannot make a coherent sentence first thing in the morning, pre-coffee (and all of that without me drinking too much). Or, God forbid, discovering that I am, in fact, not 6’3” and do not look like Ryan Reynolds.
It’s sort of like seeing a Kardashian without make-up. It’s kinda sobering.
But no matter. This was our big family trip and dammit, I was going to make the best of it.
It would be a great chance to get to know the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world’s extended family. I would talk to everyone down there and learn a little more about them. I would not get drunk and dance on any tables (a sordid tale from my youth I’d rather forget). I would walk the beach and breathe in the cold, sea air. I would watch a few sunsets, feel the sand between my toes, listen to the sounds of waves.
And, knowing about how the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world’s family loved to cook amazing dinners, I would likely also come back about 20lbs heavier.
So, we loaded up the car, triple checked we hadn’t forgotten anything, and drove off, the Oldest armed with a phone-full of trivia he meant to challenge us with. We had snacks. The boys had games to play. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world had about a zillion songs on her iphone. We were ready to do this.
There were plans for the beach, plans for suppers, a plan to go on a dunebuggy ride (OMG how cool), plans to watch movies on the big screen. There were plans to do crafts, plans to see glass being blown, and plans to make plans.
I do love a good plan.
So, let the adventure begin. Joe meets Oregon and the family. How hard could it be?