Jousting With the Universe

Tortola Universe
Yeah. That’ll do just fine.

If I could script my life the way I’ve penned my screenplays I’d live in a little bungalow somewhere on the west coast, right on the beach, anywhere between Del Mar and Carmel (I’m not picky). I’d be paid a boatload of money to write funny novels that big studios would then turn into blockbuster movies. And most importantly, I’d be crazy in love with a man who gets me, adores my quirkiness, and understands that outspoken, funny women who dance dangerously outside the boundaries of mediocrity are infinitely more interesting than a “Perfect 10” who thinks Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park is a documentary.

But instead, I’m a single, liberal, humor writer, who lives at 7,000 feet in one of the most conservative landlocked states in the Union, sweeping up after a metaphoric herd of elephants that just stampeded through my life.

The Universe Has a Sick Sense of Humor

Without getting too deeply into the gory details, suffice it to say that in the last 14 months I’ve had my share of unwelcome, unexpected, and unpleasant life upheavals. However, I can’t exactly wallow in a pigsty of self-pity. Quite honestly, my life was pretty charmed up until the shit storm touched down last year. And even though I feel like I’ve been threaded through the eye of a needle (finally just now coming out the other end), I’m reluctant to complain too much. My kids are healthy, and except for the occasional toe cramp and migraine headache, so am I.

Tortola universe
Yes, UM’s in the Top 10. How the heck is my kid going to get anything done?

Nevertheless, in less than two weeks I have another big change coming up. I’m taking my oldest kid to college at the University of Miami in Florida. Just he and I, getting on a plane, heading to South Beach. And even though this is the natural progression of things, the timing somewhat sucks, given I just put the finishing touches on a divorce that was final last November. Thus finally flipping the big red switch on a 20-plus-year marriage that had been on life support for some time. Which came to a volcanic head right after my 14-year-old dog died. Which kicked off my dad getting seriously ill and led to him being hospitalized for five months.

I also have to face the fact that the kid leaving the nest has inherited the same wanderlust that continually tugs at my heart. As a result, once that Miami-bound plane leaves SLC soil, I’m pretty sure Kid #1 will never move back to Park City (or even Utah). And as much as it pains me to type those words (because doing so somehow turns a hypothetical in to a reality) I have to admit it’s best if he doesn’t. He’s destined for things that go beyond the bounds of a sleepy ski resort town whose greatest claim to fame is playing host to a crazy 10-day party that’s a cross between Mardi Gras and The Oscars.

In short, the things to which I’ve devoted my life, the things I love the most—my family, my marriage, my kids, and even my pets—are systematically leaving me all at once. And frankly, I’m getting a little sick of it.

Running Home to Tortola

Universe tortola
My parents’ house (this is where I’ll stay)

One set of parents (my family tree is a whole other story unto itself) lives in Tortola, which is in the British Virgin Islands. After I drop off my son in Miami, I’m taking a plane to St. Thomas, and then hopping a boat to Road Town. Once there I’m going to meditate, vegetate, and self-medicate until I finally decompress enough to realize that if I must go looking for my heart’s desire, I need go no further than my own backyard.

But hell, I already know that, even before I leave. However, my backyard doesn’t have frothy rum drinks, mushroom tea, flying fish sandwiches, and steel drum bands that play until the wee hours of the morning, keeping a beat with the surf as it lazily laps up on a white sandy beach. My backyard also lacks that sensual warm island breeze that counteracts the BVI’s midnight mugginess long after the sun goes down. On the contrary, my backyard is full of dog poop and weeds. Need I say more?

Tortola universe
A view of their house from the water (it’s that collection of little yellow bungalows above the big house)

I guess you can say I’m running away. And in a sense I am. I’m running away from the fact that at some point in Miami I have to give my son one final hug, fake a big smile, turn around, and leave him. I’m running away from the reality of flying back to SLC, getting off that plane alone, and driving back up to Park City to a house in which I raised two kids, but now there’s only one. But most of all, I’m running away from the idea of having to start over at a point in my life when I thought I could coast.

Yeah, I admit, I’m a bit of a weenie. I’m fully aware that everything I’m looking for is right here in Park City. And at some point after lounging around the Caribbean for a while I have to come back and face my demons in order to untangle myself. Blah, blah, blah, yeah, I get it. I may be wimpy, but I’m not stupid.

But before I come back and go through the motions of being a grown-up, I’ll have one hell of a time catering to all my neuroses in a tropical paradise with people who love me, and who will welcome me and baby me without judgment, even though I’m temporarily sidestepping my issues. Once I get to Tortola my folks will crack open a good bottle of wine and together we’ll simultaneously toast and disparage all those shit balls the Universe has been lobbing at me for the better part of two years.

And at some point while I’m there another switch will flip. And then, finally, I’ll be ready to come back home and whack those shit balls right back into oblivion.

Tortola universe
Derrick gigging in beach bars when he was in the 8th grade
Tortola universe
My office while I’m in Tortola
Tortola universe
The view from my office


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Stacy Dymalski is the host of the hilarious TV talk show “Mother Bloggers” on She’s also an award winning keynote speaker and stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.

For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in bookstores and on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.