Boy, did it feel good to get out of town for a couple of days! And the kids didn't even notice we were gone (ba-da-dum). But seriously, folks, just a short(?) 3-hour drive and we left those blood-sucking mosquitoes (whoops, redundant) behind. It was worth the $100 in gasoline (2 vans, remember?). We were relieved to find that our accommodations were decent. We had reserved, sight unseen, a 3-bedroom, 2-bath trailer on a National Guard base for only $60 a night (your tax dollars at work - thanks!); so we were a tad apprehensive as to what we were going to find when we got there. Good beds, clean bathrooms, complete kitchen - well, almost complete. As we were sitting around the table eating our lunch, one of the children asked, "Hey, where's the dishwasher?" Larry didn't miss a beat - "You're looking at them," he replied.
The beach was great. The surf on Monday was so high that none of the children could get beyond the first set of breakers, which suited me just fine. Rachel was repeatedly knocked over by the waves, but she would bounce right back up again like one of those blow-up punching clowns we used to play with as kids. It was very windy, so it reminded me of
But I digress. I noticed a woman about a quarter-century older than me staring at us as we arrived and set up all our beach paraphernalia. I figured we had ruined her day and she'd get up and move, but she stayed to talk. Turns out she had raised 6 kids with the same age spacing as ours, but her youngest is 25 now. I'm not quite sure if she was getting nostalgic or if she stuck around to remind herself how glad she is that they're all grown-up.
The second day, we drove a few miles up the road to a state park beach - it was all natural (sand dunes, no buildings), but with bathrooms - who could ask for more? We saw porpoises (dolphins?) swimming just offshore, and we were jumping up and down and yelling and pointing to show them to the kids. Everyone else on the beach was a local, as it was the day after Labor Day, and we realized that they were looking at us funny, so we settled down. After a few hours the baby was fussy, so I took her back to our trailer early and left Larry to gather up all the beach stuff and shower/de-sand five kids. I would have felt guilty, had I not done it myself all the time 2 summers ago in
I can be unbelievably petty at times.
Larry took the kids out boating Tuesday afternoon. There was a huge salt-water pond on base and we could rent a rowboat for a mere $3 an hour (again, your tax dollars at work). There was also a playground next to the pond where Larry attempted to injure himself by showing the kids that he could do a flip on the rings. Brian told him he was too old to do that. My thoughts, exactly. Disability insurance is expensive, you know.
We packed up the cars Wednesday morning for the return trip (by the way, both going and returning, we hit the road at 9:50 AM - we figure that must be our set point for departures) and we couldn't understand why Rachel was so anxious to get in the van. Turns out no one had explained to her that we were going home. So, after several hours of riding and, I guess, great anticipation, she burst into tears when she realized that our final destination was not, in fact, the beach.
There's no place like home.