Where you going this summer? It’s the biggest issue to be dealt with once the school bus stops rolling and global warming (formerly called summer) arrives for a couple of months. Overseas for some culture expansion? Up north to take in New England’s charm? A cruise? African safari? Maybe a walk out the front or back door to relax at veranda beach or on the deck? Options abound.
Or maybe you want to go extreme. Two of my friends with four young children left and never came back. Well almost. Gone for 42 days or so. Gave their kids the experience of a lifetime going from coast to coast and seeing just about everything. An APB would have been in order except they posted on social media much of their trip. Word has it they were welcomed home once their identification papers had been confirmed and retina scans had been processed.
Or maybe there’s no issue. We’re more regular than Taylor Swift’s announcement of a new boyfriend. It’s the beach every year. Heck the week doesn’t even change – first week of August. Sun, sand and suds and we’re there. Anything else we do or any other place we go is an add-on.
Like the 42-day trip there is a load of enjoyment to be found in our beach days or daze. Why else would we go? To get another sunburn? To enjoy another bout of sand in every orifice God created? Nah. We enjoy the lazy days on the beach. The freedom from the clock where there is no schedule. The whole family thing.
But, challenges abound. There are obstacles to overcome or survive or both. Here’s just a baker’s half dozen.
1. Loading the car – Confession, my wife does this. I am spatially challenged. If I packed the old Mazda CX-9 complete with turbo charger, we would look like the Beverly Hillbillies rolling down the old interstate with chairs and boogie boards on top along with cooler and me in the rocking chair. Still I’m wondering why we have enough stuff to furnish Shaq’s 78,000 foot square foot house. Do we really need a lawn mower? I don’t ask.
2. Using the outdoor shower – Mostly everybody loves the great outdoors. Something about feeling the wind on the back side of your front I guess. You almost have to make an appointment or leave the beach at 1 p.m. to find a spot in the rotation. Kind of like trying to get an early Saturday morning tee-time. Woe is to those who don’t get there early because then you have to wait sometimes long enough for high tide to become low tide. And then there are those who seemingly are looking for every grain of sand while they are in there.
3. Keeping the bathing suit up – Probably more of a male thing. Jersey waves can be a rough thing. Enough to produce the moon in the early afternoon. Going to the beach is not supposed to be a celestial experience. You keep retying and adjusting but the waves are a relentless foe. I heard one kid remark that he didn’t realize full moons were daily and lasted weeks. Education comes in many forms.
4. Hauling the goods to the beach. – Let’s see, a 72 pound cooler, beach chairs, towels, books and backpacks, umbrellas and beach tents, newspapers, sun tan lotion. We bought a cart this year which helped but still needed two oxen to pull it across the sands and a special parking permit for location. We had to hire a person to direct traffic. Our cart weighed more than a gassy hippo.
5. Watching what you eat – Okay it’s vacation so you aren’t really on a food watch. But at what point do you say uhh, maybe not or somebody might think you are a hot air balloon and tether you to the ground. After the 72nd nightly two-pound hot fudge sundae, the seventh ear of corn, the 14 pancakes at breakfast, the third five-pound bag of chips at the beach, the daily dose of cheese sticks at Happy Hour or otherwise when do you say no. When your gastrointestinal conditional starts feeling like one of those 20-car NASCAR pileups may it’s time. At some point you might get tired of sitting somewhere else besides your beach chair. But it ain’t easy, it’s vacation.
6. Navigating Happy Hour – When does it begin? After all it’s always 5 p.m. somewhere in the world. At 11 a.m. on the beach? It’s not wrong to think that the coffee needs some help in getting the blood to stop moving like the sludge from your septic tank. Maybe lunch time. Nothing like washing down the old ham and cheese sandwich or in my wife’s case last night’s barbecued ribs with a cold steamweiser. Maybe you wait until you walk off the beach and pass the first bar with an official Happy Hour. Out of the sun and into heaven cheaply. All they want is you $4 or so not a confession.
7. Finding a place to stay – It’s a seller’s market and beach renters all think we’re one great pod of Bill Gates or Elan Musk’s relatives. The house we rented the last two years went up $4,000 dollars. May his portfolio wither like an 80-year old arm. So unless I was willing to mortgage the house or become a prospector and go mine for gold in the old West we had to look elsewhere. Size is important except you don’t always know who’s coming. Distance from the beach is important. If I have to get in a car to go to the beach I’m staying home in the bathtub. If the house is too far from the beach we need a third oxen to pull the cart. Is there an outdoor area or are you stuffed in the house like heavyweight in a speedo. It ain’t easy.
So you’re thinking if there are all these concerns why go. Once you get to the beach all is right with the world except for the damn sea gulls who stole my pistachio nuts. I’m packing heat next year. Other than that wouldn’t trade my beach daze for more hair or any hair for that matter. I still have memories of rocking the fro you know.