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WOLF: Desperately seeking suggestions for sweet summer relaxation

COLUMN: What’s your go-to stress reliever?
A fine setting for some summer relaxation. (Philip Wolf photo)

I need your help.

Well, at least some suggestions.

For most of my adult life, summer vacation relaxation has been a breeze (no wind even required, though it’s sometimes a bonus).

Mostly, it involved sports, travel, a vehicle and a body of water to float atop or splash about in.

As recovery continues from some intrusive surgery, the options have been reduced.

Year-round, I’ve been able to unload my stress and relax in a few ways.

First, is driving. Especially on a sunny day. (Car) tarps off, ’80s hair band tunes playing, all stress evaporating.

Instantly feel like a kid again, until I step out of the car and my body gives me a harsh dose of creaky reality.

But for now, I can’t drive too far. Maybe two Guns N’ Roses tunes, a Skid Row throwback and a Metallica banger before I have to take a break.

Interrupts the flow of relaxation.

And yes, relaxation is still possible if the rotation includes Dexy’s Midnight Runners or Cutting Crew.

But, aside from short snippets, that’s out for a while.

Second was sports. Not watching, but participating.

At this point, most lower-half stretching is verboten. Mini golf or Chexx bubble hockey is about all that’s left. It’ll do in a pinch, I guess.

Sadly, my number one, guaranteed to relieve every remote scintilla of stress, never fails method is also out.

Each summer, I sit in the (above ground) pool on a large floatie, baking in the sun, surrounding trees swaying slowly in the breeze while listening to said old tunes at near full volume with the Airpods and reading (that’s right, actually reading) a book.

In the old days, the smell of freshly mown grass in the springtime meant ball season was approaching.

Now, it means I’m ever-closer to the four- or five-day sweet spot on the calendar where I could just shut everything out, float, roast and read.

READ MORE: WOLF: 50 years is quite the long coffee break for Qualicum Beach man

One year, I’ll get some video footage, because it’s always an adventure. Especially when there’s no one around to hand me my phone and my book.

All greased up with sunscreen, I do a little jump from the ladder to the floatie (picture a giant floating easy chair). Inevitably, I slide right off and/or flip the entire thing several times, soaking myself and leaving a film of sunscreen in the pool.

Having overestimated my own balancing skills and dunking a couple of books, I now leave the phone and book in plastic bags on the pool ladder.

The phone went in once but (and this was the fasted I’ve ever moved in my life), my rapier-like reflexes allowed me to grab it before it hit the pool bottom and I threw it out onto the grass.

Was out of the pool faster than an enhanced Ben Johnson and had the thing in a bowl of rice in no time. It still worked for years after that.

Once I finally settle safely on to the floatie, I grab the book and phone, get the tunes cranked, start reading and slip into bliss.

I’m there right now in my mind but it’s not the same.

This year, I can’t get wet, so the pool is out.

I don’t enjoy listening to music nearly as much without the car or the pool, so that’s out.

So is reading without the noted accoutrements, since without them I get screentime withdrawals.

So… what do I do?

With my endless downtime the last year or so, I’ve watched so many Love Boat reruns on YouTube I’m pretty much Captain Stubing.

I need something else to fill that relaxation vibe.

What would be terrific is your help.

What’s your all-time go-to stress reliever? Where’s your happy place? What activities might I try to replace my floating fortress of relaxation? What always works for you?

Send me your suggestions.

I’ll try to work them into the framework of what I can and can’t do and if any are a success, I’ll share any and all credit.

Help a fella relax.

PQB News/VI Free Daily editor Philip Wolf welcomes your questions, comments and story ideas. He can be reached at 250-905-0029 or via email at

Philip Wolf

About the Author: Philip Wolf

I’ve been involved with journalism on Vancouver Island for more than 30 years, beginning as a teenage holiday fill-in at the old Cowichan News Leader.
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