Fireside Chats with Julia are stories I share that are unrelated to my regular recipe posts. They are my way of sharing bits and pieces of my life experiences, thoughts, and general ridiculousness. Spoiler alert: I use the F-Word in this episode.
It’s been a while since our first fireside chat. Because I’m spending the weekend sitting around a campfire, I thought it appropriate to have another fireside chat with you. So for this episode, we can crack open some beers, roast up some ‘mallows and enjoy some gooey s’mores while we chat about falling off a bunk bed.
A few weeks ago, I went in Breckenridge, CO for my long-time friend, Kristin’s wedding. Kristin and I have been friends since khaki mini skirts and the Thong Song (read: 8th grade), and over the years we mingled with the same group of friends. Since our high school friends (including myself) were coming from out of town for the wedding, we arranged our accommodations in advance through a string of emails. We all would be staying in the same house, and I was assigned the bunk room. I blame this on being 5’3”. Short people always get assigned the bunk room. But I happen to love bunking, so the height thing is a moot point.
Once I found out I’d be sleeping in a bunk bed, I immediately called top bunk. Who wouldn’t? Especially if you have prior experience top bunking.
Let’s back up a smidge. I grew up with two brothers and a sister, which means there was a lot of Indian giving, dead-arm punching, and room sharing when I was a kid. My sister and I had bunk beds for years and you can imagine who dwelled top bunk. Moi. And I was a pro. I was a pro at sleeping, eating, and playing Tetris on my Game Boy on the top bunk. For this reason, I at no point questioned my ability to sleep for 4 nights on the top bunk at my friend’s wedding. I thought I’d be a top bunk maven, per ush.
Fast forward, and I’m squirming with excitement on my flight to Denver. I get to see my Kristin, I get to see my buds from high school, I get to get drunk…for like days…, and I get the top bunk. Life is going to be rad.
Once everyone has arrived in Denver, my buddies from high school immediately start a game of Ice. If you’re unfamiliar with the game, it’s simple. Some bastard hides a bunch of Smirnoff Ice around the house and whoever finds the Smirnoff, drinks the Smirnoff.
My version of participating in this game is hoarding the Smirnoff I find (as opposed to drinking it) and strategically re-hiding it to target certain individuals. A game of Ice is always made better by re-icing, in my opinion.
So I do some Smirnoff Ice hoarding, and we all drive to Breckenridge the next day.
Upon arrival to the bunk room, I immediately observe how otherworldly this bunk bed is. First, the frame is made out of logs, and I’m 98% sure Paul Bunyan built it with his bare hands. Second, the height of the bunk is like none I have seen. It’s 20 feet tall. Third, the bunk room has no windows and is situated on a concrete floor with a single fancy rug, which leads me to believe this was once some sort of utility room. If you know me at all, you know this outfit is straight up my alley. In essence, the bunk room is my jam.
In spite of my doe-eyed I’m-going-to-bunk-the-crap-out-of-this-bed attitude, there are two problems I observe. Problem #1: the elevation. The bed is really freaking tall, and I’m not. It practically has its own atmosphere. Will there be rain? Should I have packed my poncho? I wish my legs were longer. Problem #2: Lack of ladder. Because this bunk is a straight up badass and was built by the behemoth known as Paul Bunyan, it comes with no ladder. Unless you consider the horizontal logs that are 10 feet apart at the foot-end of the bed a ladder. But no worries, I shall overcome. I’m a mountain person, so I’ll adjust quickly to high-elevation bunk. I’m also fairly fit when I’m sober, so I already know I can hop, skip, and jump my way up the non-ladder ladder. No prob.
I hide one of the Smirnoff Ices that I had hoarded under my bunk mate’s pillow and get on with my day. The buds and I wander the town of Breck, get ourselves some crepes, and collectively decide this wedding needs a shot ski. Have you heard of a shot ski?
Here’s how a shot ski works:
- You get yourself an old ass ski (preferably 1980’s or older)
- You glue or skrew shot glasses to it.
- You fill said shot glasses up with booze.
- You, plus your gang of shot skiers, collectively take shots off of the ski.
This is what it looks like to shot ski:
Photo by Happy Confetti Photography
If you are one of those people who went “on vacation” in a mountain town, and “never left,” this is why. The shot ski.
Anyhoo, we need to find ourselves a single ski, so we poke around ski shops. One of the employees of a ski shop is bemused by our enthusiasm and tells us we can have one of his skis (The other ski had done broke itself in some sort of shredding-the-gnar cliff-hucking hoorah, so he only had one ski left from the pair. No one needs only one ski unless it is to shot ski).
We secure ourselves the ski, shot glasses, and super glue. Badabing badaboom, we have ourselves a shot ski. This shall serve as entertainment and wedding present. This is a twofer. This is crafty, thoughtful, practical, economical, and dope.
That evening, we’re all playing Cards Against Humanity whilst hounding the booze. If you’ve never played Cards Against Humanity, it’s an ahhhdult version of Apples to Apples. Each round, someone reads a question or fill-in-the blank from a black card and the rest of the players respond with their most amusing white card.
For instance, one may read, “Coming soon to Broadway: ______ the Musical.” In your hand, you may have cards that read, “a slightly shittier parallel universe,” “some douche with an acoustic guitar,” “Dick Cheney,” “BATMAN!!!” “Edible underpants,” “Stephen Hawking talking dirty,” or “the Virginia Tech Massacre.”
You may (if you’re me), choose the latter so that when put together, the cards read “Coming soon to Broadway, Virginia Tech Massacre the Musical.” You will most certainly win the round, but your friends may think you’re an asshole. They will look at you like you’re crazy. Clearly, you should have directed your friends to your first Fireside Chat (On Being an Asshole) so that they would have acclimated themselves to your assholiness prior to the trip.
Anyhoo. Booze. Cards. Bed.
Like the old lady I am, I go to bed early and the boys stay up to get drunker and hang in the hot tub. I clamber up the non-ladder ladder of Paul Bunyan Bunk and plop myself in bed for some shut eye. Just as I’m about to fall asleep, my phone chimes, signifying a text message.
This is when shit gets real.
It’s pitch black, alcohol has been consumed, I’m sleepy McSleepsalot, and this sans-ladder bunk is the one thing that stands between me and a text message. I employ a bunk de-mounting method I used frequently as a child. It’s called Shimmying off the Bunk with the Grace of a Disney Princess. Okay, that’s a lie. It’s called throwing yourself off the bunk.
This method works when a.) you’re 8 and you’re made out of bricks. II.) your bunk bed is standard height 3.) you’re sober, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. D.) It’s not pitch fucking black in your room with no windows. V.) The floor isn’t made out of concrete. Translation: throwing myself off the bunk did not work this time around.
My left foot hits the log bed frame before I collapse straight onto my side on the concrete floor. And lay there. Forever. Whimpering like a ninny. What happens next is a total mind blow. As I lay there, I begin questioning everything as though this was a life-changing event. My toe’s broken = my life’s broken. What led me to falling off the bunk? Why did I reaaaaaally fall off the bunk? Should I stop drinking (the answer is no)? Is my life in shambles? My life is in shambles.
After I conclude that falling off a bunk = I need to figure my life’s shit out immediately, I put myself back together and hobble to my phone.
This is what I discover on my phone:
With a message from my bunk mate that says, “There’s a fox in the house!”
Thanks. My life’s now broken because of the damn fox and Paul Bunyan.
What feels like hours later, my bunk mate comes in and says “Hey! Hey, Julia! Julia, we’re feeding a fox!” to which I respond, “what kind of fucking bunk bed doesn’t have a laaaaaader?”
He giggles awkwardly and walks out to continue feeding Bear Dog (which is the name of the fox). Hours later again, bunk mate comes back, discovers the Smirnoff Ice under his pillow, curses, laughs, then passes out.
The next morning, I shamefully limp into the kitchen. Luckily in this crowd of winners who have far more shit together than I do (I’m still in my-life-is-in-shambles mode at this point, mind you), there is a nurse and a physical therapist. I whine, we determine one of my toes is sprained or broken, I get taped up. I limp along. Business as usual.
The wedding is beautiful, we take all the shot skis, we dance to all the songs, and enjoy the remainder of our trip. And I don’t fall out of the bunk bed anymore.
That’s the story of falling off the top bunk, but haste: there is something to be learned. There always is.
Lessons that can be learned from this story:
- No text message is worth getting out of bed for. Ladies, I’m talking to you. Don’t text and bunk. It just ain’t worth it. When inebriated on a bunk bed built by Paul Bunyan in a dark ass room with a concrete floor, you can wait until morning to look at your phone. There’s really no reason to throw yourself off of a bunk bed. Not ever.
- Just because you fell off the bunk doesn’t mean your whole life is in shambles.
- Alternatively, just because your whole life is in shambles doesn’t mean you need to throw yourself off of a bunk.
- Upon falling off a bunk bed, you should work on your dismount. Practice makes perfect and there’s always room for improvement.
Enjoy your holiday weekend, and if you’re going to fall off anything, don’t let it be a bunk bed that was built by Paul Bunyan.