Last year I came up with this brillaint idea that we should take a family vacation to Hawaii every year; Taylor and I got married there in 2009 and in 2010 the three of us spent an awesome week getting sweet sunburns. I figured we had the whole Maui thing down pat- we’d done the volcano and the road to Hana, so the next time we went our itinerary would be something like…
day 1: beach
day 2: beach
day 3: beach
day 4: beach
day 5: beach
day 6: Maui Ocean Center because Sym is obsessed with aquariums
Unfortunately, a certain member of our family cough*Taylor*cough made the painful observation that we couldn’t really afford to go to Hawaii this year. Flights + condo rental + car rental was just out of our financial reach. Ugh. LAME. I was looking down the barrel of a vacation-free spring, which was just unacceptable. I needed something to look forward to! The solution? Memphis, Tennessee!
Now, when I told people we were going to Memphis, everyone made weird faces and asked “What? Memphis? Why?” The answer to that question is something that outs me as being super uncool, so prepare to have all your illusions shattered. There are two parts to it: livejournal, and Sweet Valley High.
So. Back in aught two, I was on livejournal. I mean, who wasn’t? And if you were on livejournal back then you might remember the whole thing with “unique interests.” If not, here’s a primer: in your userinfo you could list a bunch of stuff you were into and people could search through interests to find your journal. If a bunch of people liked the same interest it would show up as a link that when clicked, would take you to a list of all the people who liked that same thing, and then you could be internet friends with them! What fun! However, if only ONE person listed something as an interest, it wasn’t a link. At some point I decided to add “sweet valley high” as an interest (more on that later) only to see it wasn’t a link, it was a unique interest. I WAS THE FIRST PERSON ON LIVEJOURNAL TO BE INTERESTED IN SWEET VALLEY HIGH. I know, it’s a real badge of honour.
A bit about SVH & me: when I was in the seventh grade, SVH books were the absolute coolest thing. We’d all share them and read them during class (our classes were 45 minutes long, exactly the right amount of time to read one book). Now, my parents did not think SVH books were good books, and would not buy me any. As a result, I only had two: #5 Dear Sister and #39 Secret Admirer. My friend Dana, whose parents were rich and spoiled her, had fifty. FIFTY. And I was like, her fifth best friend so I didn’t get to read her books until after all her better friends had. I know, so unfair, right?
One day around my 25th birthday I started thinking about the universal unfairness of it all, and realized that hey, I was a grown up; nothing could stop me from buying all the SVH books now (except for shame)! Plus they were easy to find at thrift stores for about 25¢, so I took the bus out to Value Village and started collecting. Here’s the thing though: back in the seventh grade there was about 50 SVH books. When I started collecting them there were almost 200 (not counting all the spin-off series). My collection is actually still ongoing- I’m about ten books away from completing the series.
Back to livejournal: at some point I was looking at my userinfo page when I noticed something had changed: the “sweet valley high” in my interests had become a link. SOMEONE ELSE WAS INTERESTED IN IT. I quickly clicked over to that person’s journal, and that’s how I met Amy.
From her journal posts, Amy seemed really funny and cool (or uncool the way I was uncool) and over the next few years we became good e-friends. After she and her husband Zach moved to Memphis a few years ago, she totally got on my case about visiting them. When my dream of a third Hawaiian vacation fell through, I sent Amy a quick message on facebook which received an enthusiastic reply.
We went on to discuss travel arrangements and dates- I suggested March 26th to April 2nd, in part because I wanted a spring vacation, but mostly because of this:
Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later, the HIGHLY ANTICIPATED sequel to the Sweet Valley series, is coming out on next week. A few years ago Amy and I had an extensive commentversation on my livejournal detailing what would happen in a SVH sequel if we wrote it, so it seemed only fitting that we get together for the real, actual, Francine-sanctioned sequel! It was either this or wait for the Diablo Cody-penned movie, which better not suck or istg I’m crackin’ skulls.
I told you I was super uncool.
Of course we’re going to do other things while we’re there: see a Grizzlies game (the Memphis Grizzlies used to be the Vancouver Grizzlies so it’s fitting somehow), check out Graceland, have Amy show us (by which I mean me) the seamy underbelly of the Memphis thrifting scene, maybe see the Grey Gardens musical (idk if I can sell Taylor on that one), and eat all kinds of delicious food! I’m also really excited to see such a different part of America; I’ve never been to a state that didn’t directly touch the Pacific Ocean. In fact, the furthest east I’ve been in the US is Seattle, Washington, although the Puget Sound is PART of the Pacific so I don’t think that really counts.
Symphony isn’t coming with us on this trip; she’s going to stay home and her dad and stepmom are going to stay here with her and all the pets. She’ll still be on spring break so her dad took the week off work and they’ll get to spend lots of daddy-daughter time while I’m away. Actually more like daddy-daughter-dozens-of-dogs time, haha.