Sunday, January 21, 2018


A while ago Matt asked me and Skylar if we wanted to go to a place called Lava Hot Springs with him because his friends have a cabin there and they had invited him to go for a weekend and had told him to invite a couple of friends.

Lava Hot Springs is a few hours north of Salt Lake City and it's this very strange town nestled in some mountains. Only like 500 people live there so they report sneezes in the town newspaper. And its claim to fame is that it has a bunch of natural hot pools that stay warm during the wretchedly cold winter as a sort of warning about the supervolcano that is going to destroy us all.

We took off on Friday afternoon in Skylar's car. I drove it because it had started snowing and you're welcome everyone between Salt Lake City and Lava Hot Springs for taking the wheel.

By the time we rolled into town it was dark. Matt's friends were about ten minutes behind us so we pulled up to the cabin and jumped out of the car to give Ollie and Duncan a chance to go potty while we stretched out from the drive.

The cabin sits up on a huge hill that descends down into the town in a sort of Grinch-Who-Stole-Christmas kind of way.

It was cold in Lava Hot Springs and the entire town was coated in a thick layer of ice. Which is why it was SO INCREDIBLY STUPID of me, Eli Whishington McCann, to park that freaking Subaru on the very steep street.

You already know most of the rest of this story but I'ma just go ahead and tell it to you anyway.

There we were. Taking in the fresh air. Watching Duncan and Ollie run laps around the cabin. Pure joy on their faces. Even Matt seemed happy and he pretty much never seems happy.


Then suddenly.

Out of the corner of my eye.

I saw an empty Subaru start moving. Down. The. Street.

Matt and I both saw it at the same time and we both instantly screamed so many swearwords that we can't get into heaven now.

The car was sliding on the ice at about 5 miles per hour. The steep hill was about 3/4 mile long, ending on Main Street in the center of town, and there was nothing between us and Main Street to stop it from its increasingly-rapid descent.

We started running after it, but this was difficult to do because we were running on ice and downhill.

It was about this point that Skylar came around the cabin and saw two frantic grown men sliding down a dark street, screaming profanities that haven't even been invented yet, as his vehicle disappeared off into the distance.

Note that this car-tastrophe was not even one week after the car-break-in debacle in San Francisco.

Something you should know about Skylar is that he is, how do we say this politely, a total freaking disaster in crisis situations.

Skylar is the opposite of me. I panic and suffer from crippling anxiety in anticipation of a problem but then once the problem happens I actually feel some relief and then I can step in and pretty competently work through the problem.

Skylar is calm as a summer's breeze, totally confused about why I'm obsessing over something that hasn't even happened yet and may never happen, but then as soon as disaster strikes he turns into a damsel in distress from every old sexist movie.

For example, last year when we were in Hungary we had had a very difficult time booking accommodations at various places because of a national holiday that coincided with our trip.

Skylar had booked a rental car in advance that we planned to use to start a cross-country drive. For several days before we were supposed to pick up the car, I had repeatedly asked Skylar if we should call the rental company to make sure they got our booking request because what if they didn't and what if we couldn't get the car when we wanted to and the place we had booked to stay in some other city might not work out and then where would we stay because we would be stranded in the city where we were supposed to get the car and every hotel in the whole city was booked and then this would ruin our plans for the next six days AND WE WOULD PROBABLY DIE FROM THIS.

Skylar told me to calm the hell down about six hundred times during those days, asking me over and over again why I was ruining my present over a future event that probably wouldn't even happen.

And then, just before it was time to pick up our car, Skylar discovered that there had been a mistake in the booking, that we couldn't get the car until a day or two later, and that there was nothing the car rental place could do for us.

It was a Freaky Friday situation. Suddenly Skylar descended into a nervous breakdown as I felt complete relief at being released from the anticipation of the bad thing happening. And so, finally calm, I was able to make an immediate plan B that actually ended up being better than our plan A was anyway.

This obviously means that we are a good pair.

And this also means that when crisis strikes I am usually in a calm enough state to comprehend and purposefully remember Skylar's insane responses.

Which is what happened in that exact moment when Skylar turned the corner and saw two grown men sliding down an icy hill chasing after his disappearing Subaru.

By this point, Matt and I knew that we were going to catch this thing. That we would get in and stop it somehow. And we knew that we just needed to hustle.

As we got within about ten feet of the vehicle we suddenly heard, from the top of the hill, the blood-curdling scream of a 28-year-old-he's-going-to-be-someone's-doctor-some-day man, followed by:


I have no idea what "gone" meant to him. I don't know why his initial response to his car sliding down a paved street at a brisk walking pace was "it shall never been seen again."

All I know is that my immediate response was to yell back up to the top of the hill, "NO. JUST PLAY WITH THE PUPPIES WHILE WE HANDLE THIS."

I caught the car, like a superhero. You know, one who can catch vehicles that are moving at a crawl.

And Matt and I are already using "Is that it?! Is my car gone?!" as code for "stop overreacting."

The rest of the weekend was lovely. We even played community Bingo. Everything you need to know about that experience can be found in the below video, which I had uploaded to Instagram as several videos throughout the night.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. Did you eat in the good Thai restaurant that's in an old gas station on the hill just above the public hot springs? I love that place.

    1. I don't think I've ever heard anyone recommend that I eat in "the good" place "that's in an old gas station" before.

    2. Oh come on, live dangerously. I've never gotten tetanus, or hepatitis, or food poisoning there.

    3. The best Indian food is in Logan in a Sinclair gas station. Tandoori Oven.

    4. The Suzzz, will you please adopt me? I’m available, only 39.5 years old, housebroken and up for shenanigans. Also I like to iron and bake if that helps sway your vote. I await your decision.

    5. Sandy I'm 38.5, so I think I can officially adopt someone older than me, but if you bake AND iron you can come be a crazy cat lady with me...except replace cat with dog. You had me at shenanigans, since I've been accused of being a "dirty little fun haver".

      Anonymous, you are correct. I love that place! And they just remodeled and it's much nicer than it was before. I still miss Mundo's that was in the Tesoro station at the North end of the USU campus, best tacos in the valley.

    6. The Suzzzzz: I will start the paperwork. Also yes to crazy dog ladies. I’m in.

  2. Trying to imagine which response type I would fall into. I have never been faced with his exact scenario, phew, but I can see myself being a mix of bravado Eli style, I can get that car, and then halfway down the street feeling my confidence waver and the Skylar “my car is gone” feelings take over. Then, depending on who was at my side I would either resume running and save the day laughing all the way, or sadly shake my head and wave goodbye to my car. I am oddly tempted to set up a run through of this to see how I really would react. Thanks for being awesome, Eli and Friends. (#skylarstillmyfavorite)

  3. Best part of the video: "tell us what happened last night" "I don't remember..." "at Bingo." "oh, we lost"
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA dying here.

  4. Please do a 'Waiting for Brunch' video reenactment of this scene! Strangers everywhere will rejoice! #Oscarworthy

  5. I feel like Matt's speech got progressively slurred but I don't see anything but Shasta on the table...

    1. Hahaha. We had the EXACT same comment when we watched the video. I guess we kept him up way too late.

  6. I hate to admit it, but I’m an exact combination of you and Skylar. I worry myself to death over a hypothetical crisis, and then when it actually happens, I’m too panicked to do anything about it. I can’t go anywhere or do anything.

  7. I'm beginning to wonder about you being allowed near cars of any kind, at this point, Eli. I am so glad you caught that car!!!

  8. The imagery on this post is amazing.

  9. If only you had gotten the car chase on film .... I think perhaps a movie of your life is in order, or a TV series a'la Seinfeld or Wonder Years. You could make millions. And, Bingo is a lot of fun but just a warning: regular Bingo players are hard-core. You don't take the game *lightly* or do anything to mess up their mojo (i.e. don't touch their lucky charms/talismans, or mock their bingo marker bags.) If you decide to play again, to increase your luck, you need to bring a photo of Duncan, assorted troll dolls, or other special items to set up near your cards, and you need multiple colors of Bingo markers. Sometimes a certain color feels luckier than others--options are important. A lucky shirt or socks also helps. May the odds ever be in your favor. :)

  10. When did you change your middle name?