What I Did With My Summer Vacation

Well, the rest of it, anyway, since my last post derived from our Ashland trip.  Most years, the Ashland trip in late June IS my summer vacation, because I’m forced to plan it in November; similarly ambitious ventures for the rest of the summer remain figments of my imagination due to lack of focus and total inability to plan, and Labor Day hits me like a wrong-way drunk on the interstate.

This summer, however, events contrived to afford me several additional adventures.  That’s owing in no small part to the fact that I’m not flying to Milwaukee a week a month any more, due to a persistent downturn in my client’s business.  I’d been making that trek for the last 11 or 12 years, and the rhythm and routine of travel, the Road Warrior’s mentality, has been a huge part of my life.  That monthly trip would pretty much take out two weekends, as I’d fly out on Sunday morning and land at SeaTac around midnight on Friday night.  I had become far too wrapped up in the Frequent Flyer mindset of whether I’d get upgraded, and scheming about how to squeeze in enough miles in a year (75k) to make Platinum, instead of lowly Gold (50k).  My last trip to Milwaukee was in December, and I haven’t checked into Flyertalk.com, where “elites” bitch endlessly about every little imagined indignity the airlines are visiting on them, in months.  If you’ve seen Up In The Air, you’ve gotten a whiff of that mindset.

I still work with my client remotely, and I can’t say I don’t miss that full week’s revenue, but so much stress has slaked off of my life this year since I don’t have to screw myself up to slog through TSA, and hole up in hotels furtively practicing my trumpet and making serially bad dietary decisions.  I’m Gold on Delta for the rest of the year, but I’m resigned to being mere Silver next year, and permanently consigned to steerage thereafter.

So, on to the rest of the summer.  One benefit of not traveling was that I got to participate fully in my band’s  marching season.  We played some really fun music, and played in parades in Seattle, Bellingham, Kirkland and Vancouver, BC.  The jewel in the marching season’s crown, however, was the wedding of two dear bandmates on a San Francisco-esque foggy August day in West Seattle.  We were commissioned to play the processional and recessional, but the wedding guests were digging it enough that we played a few more numbers, and I was grateful, as it was our last performance and I really didn’t want to let go of the summer’s music. The video begins with nieces of the brides waving rainbow streamers in lieu of carrying flowers. You might consider, in the future, why your wedding shouldn’t include a marching band. (password is “RCB” in caps):

(video here)

Check out the brides’ private moshpit as the Black-Eyed Peas recessional draws to a close.

I’m not a crier, generally, and I’ve probably attended fewer than 10 weddings.  My record is still clean, but it was very affecting to observe the joy of the brides, and their parents and families.  If possible, it was more moving to observe the couples in my band as the ceremony, so emblematic of their struggle - our struggle - progressed, sniffling, holding hands so tightly that their entwined arms evoked a metaphor of nothing so much as a wishbone.  Can you tell me with a straight face that marriage needs protection from people who yearn for it this fervently?

The brides still needed to drive to Iowa to become completely legal.  Fucking Iowa.

Well, what else did I do?  Oh, yeah, there was that 6-day, 5-night kayak-camping trip in Desolation Sound, BC.  I think it needs its own post. Watch this space (click to enlarge).


  1. Glad to read that you had more time for everything this summer. All that good living really can make up for the revenue downturn. Wish I could see the enlarged pic of Desolation Sound. It won’t let me.

  2. Anonymous:

    Phil! I owe you an apology!!! For some reason, when I transferred stuff over to a new machine, I bookmarked what turns out to have been the kink to just a single post (from August 2010!) instead of your home page. (doh!) I’ve been checking back from time to time and figured you must have just stopped blogging. (clonking head against nearby Formica counter as we speak) All fixed now, and will scroll back through to catch up ASAP. Apologies if you thought I had completely abandoned you!

  3. “Anonymous”? What?? That was me (Carroll)

  4. Hi Phil,

    Just checking in to wish you guys a happy 2012. I’m back to blogging. You knew I couldn’t stay away long, right? Cheers, Beth

  5. You haven’t blogged in even longer than I haven’t blogged.

Leave a comment