Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Turberville Boys Seaside Gentleman's Club, and also: Me =)

I always seem to have the hardest time writing about family vacations. . .

It just always seems like there's so MUCH that happens, and then I need to get home, get everything put away, take a couple of days to decompress. . . and  by the time I get around to actually trying to write about it. . . everything's just gone.


Straight outta my head.

And I'm left sitting here thinking:  . . . what did we DO??

Which is why, even though nothing earth-shattering or remarkable happened on our 2014 Family Beach Trip this year, I am writing about it NOW.  While it's still fresh.

I make no promises that this is going to be interesting.

It is merely a log.


First log-point.

We left in the early morning (early-ISH), Sunday before last.

Got up early and loaded up the truck, sat out the water and feeders for the cat, and were out of the house by about 7 a.m.

From my perch in the front passenger seat of Crystal Gale (Mister's truck's name), I had everything I needed:  a bag full of Pull-Ups, wipes, gummies and Hot Wheels to keep Took pacified, and also a bag filled with books, magazines, assorted reading glasses, a small afghan, and snuggy travel-socks.

To keep ME occupied.


Getting out of the house that morning was quick and easy, as we only had one Turbo-offspring with us, the Grey Took.  Our plan was to pick up other Turbo-offsprings as we made our way south.

First stop was to collect Padawan.

His mother had him for the weekend, and assured us that she would meet us as 7:30 SHARP, at the agreed-upon site.

. . . I will just admit right now that I had serious doubts about this.  NOT because I have any problems with his mother, but simply because there are people in this world that are almost always on time, and there are people in this world that are reliably late (almost always).  I am not making judgements about right or wrong here. . . I am just saying that we all know people that we can pretty much count on to be late.

And she is pretty much consistently one of those.

But lo and behold. . . we pulled into the gas station at 7:26. . . and she was pulling in right in front of us.

And then I felt guilty.


I mentally apologized to the universe in general for my shameful lack of faith, we collected our monster, and moved on to McDonald's for sausage biscuits, to be consumed on the road.

****Sidenote:  This is one of my favorite things EVER.

Eating in the car!!!!

Sausage biscuits, in particular.

It is a near-divine delight that only happens every-so-often.  (Usually when we are en route to some exotic-ish location.)
The scarcity of this enjoyable event is what makes it so beautiful.

Sausage biscuits.  On the road.  Eaten in the passenger seat, propped up on napkins on the travel pillow in my lap.

Heavenly.  =)

So we got the Padawan, and moved on to Montgomery to collect the larger Spawn, who would be following us, with his girlfriend, in her car.

. . . As another sidenote, our youngest son is possibly/most certainly in love with Spawn's girlfriend (much as he is, INSTANTLY, with pretty much any lovely girl that takes the time to talk to him and allows him to hold her hand).  He is utterly shameless in his attempts for her affection, and it was something we witnessed again and again over the several days that she was able to stay with us.

Up until this point, Took has merely referred to her as "Friend", as he has been unable to pronounce her name correctly, and has been loathe to embarrass himself with any failed attempts.  Near the end of our trip, however, he came really, REALLY close, with a drunk-sounding drawl of:
"Mewwy Awe-nnnnn."  

We were all very impressed, and he received many high-fives, and a blueberry Yoplait yogurt, for his efforts.  =)

(Regaling Friend with tales of his exploits.)

And so, aside from several not-entirely-veiled threats to visit bodily harm upon the occupants of the backseat unless they ZIPPED IT RIGHT NOW. . . it was an uneventful ride down.


(Seriously, I was ready to sedate them.  But just about the time I started looking for the Children's Benadryl in earnest. . . we started seeing sand on the side of the road.)


My children are my joy.

But don't take that to mean that they can't SUCK THE JOY RIGHT OUT of Crystal Gale after several hours.

. . .because they CAN.


Me (after several hours of this):  

"I.  DO NOT.  CARE.  . . . I do not care who gets hit.  I do not care who touches whom.  I do not care if you BLUDGEON each other, as long as you DO IT QUIETLY!!!!"

"But he won't stop touching me!!!"

"AM I SPEAKING GERMAN??  . . . what part of 'I DON'T CARE' was unclear??!  I want you BOTH to sit still, and just pretend like the other one does not exist.  Do not speak to each other, do NOT touch each other in any way, do not acknowledge each other in ANY WAY.  From this point forward. . . each of you is an only child."


Shortly after that we stopped for some fries and drinks, and then passed Padawan on to his older brother, to complete the ride down in THEIR car.  It was pretty quiet after that.  =)

So we eventually arrived, and, after a quick grocery run, we were camped out on the beach under our EZ Up.

(This was our first time taking the EZ Up to the beach.  It was definitely a good decision.  We just put it up on the first day, and it served as Base Camp for the rest of the week.)

Mister had reservations about taking it. . . because it was so heavy.  But I thought it was a GRAND idea.

. . .

Just in case that was too subtle:






As family beach trips go, I suppose it was standard fare.

We sat on the beach, and drank cokes, and Capri Suns, and pre-mixed slushy-fruity alcohol drinks.

I got sand in mine.


The boys played in the sand,

and Spawn dug a huge hole, that was both an enticement to the younger boys and, in my mind, a death-trap to anyone that might happen by.

My family.
Perched on the edge of The Death Trap.

On our second or third day, we decided on Bahama Bob's for lunch (which, thanks to Took, shall heretofore be referred to as 'Bob's Burders').  As Bob's is only a few blocks from where we were staying, we decided to walk over for lunch.

And for some idiotic reason, I thought it would be a GREAT idea if we just walked down the beach.  (It is situated ON the beach.  You can walk right up.  Great idea, right?)

Wrong.  Because I'm an idiot.

By the time we got there, Padawan was pretty much soaked with seawater (because he doesn't understand the concept of "just walk in the EDGE of the water"), and Took was panting and whining like we'd just made him walk to Disney World by way of Downtown Birmingham.

So we got a seat, ordered a table full of appetizers for all of us to share, and Mister, Spawn, Friend and I made short work of the wings, fries, shrimp and AMAZING fried crab claws. . . while Took drank his Coke with great zest and refused to touch anything even resembling food, and Padawan stared sullenly at his plate of chicken fingers.


Those wings were GOOD.


In the evenings, Mister made Low Country Boil, and Jambalaya, and other assorted delights (because even a ham sandwich tastes GREAT if you're at the BEACH), and we watched The Simpsons together (and Michael and I watched Supernatural, after the kids were in bed), and we even played a few games of cards.

("No, Took.  We said we're gonna play 'CARDS', not 'cars.'"
Sidenote:  He is nearly impossible to play cars with anyway.  He never lets you have the cars you want, and always complains that you're parking them wrong.)

A few days into the vacation, we got up early and arrived at Lulu's just as they were opening for lunch.

We sat right beside the water (even saw a DOLPHIN!!!), and the view was GREAT.  =)

And while I usually don't make it a point to plug restaurants. . .

. . .that was probably THE BEST cheeseburger I've ever had.

. . .

I'm just gonna need you to take my word on this one.

I have consumed a LOT of cheeseburgers.

And I mean:  A.  LOT.

And this one. . . THIS ONE was. . . 

This one was the cheeseburger equivalent of Westley and Buttercup's happy-ending kiss at the end of The Princess Bride.

In the history of the cheeseburger, there have been five cheeseburgers that have been deemed the most passionate, the most pure.

. . . This one blew them all out of the water.

. . . medium rare, pineapple, jalapenos, cheddar, and bacon.

MMMMMMmmmmmmm. . . .  =)


I saved my second half, JUST SO I could enjoy it on the beach, with my toes in the sand.  (Note:  It was even good cold.)

. . .

So I've just realized that I've spent more time talking about this cheeseburger than I have spent talking about anything else. . . 

But honestly:  It WAS that good. 

It was a treasure.


Also, Took thought the cokes at Lulu's were just top-notch.

(SRSLY.  Dat coke tho.)

So, in conclusion, I guess we did all the normal things that people do on family vacations.

. . .And I guess what makes it difficult to write about is that I'm trying to write about it in a linear way ("We did this, and then on the second day, we did THAT", etc.), and memories don't HAPPEN in a linear way.

So here's my ACTUAL take-away from our trip:

I remember sitting under the EZ Up, reading my new Dean Koontz book and drinking a coke that my offspring kept sneaking sips from when he thought I wasn't looking.

I remember Padawan and Took playing in the edge of the water, running away from the waves and screeching and squealing with an audible delight that echoed down the beach.

I remember Spawn digging an enormous hole, and his exquisite attention to detail, and I remember him spotting and catching a sand crab that Padawan ultimately (accidentally) set free.

I remember my husband dancing on the beach, and asking me every few hours if he was doing or saying anything that might embarrass Spawn TOO MUCH in front of his girlfriend.

I remember Friend patiently playing with her little constant Took-shadow, and I remember the look of SUPREME DELIGHT on his face when she offered to take him to the pool.

I remember the boys making a pillow fort on the couch.

I remember Spawn playing frisbee with Pad and Took, even though both of them suck at frisbee.

I remember climbing in bed at night, and that sweet-sleepy feeling you have after spending all day on the beach, and the UNBELIEVABLE amount of sand in the sheets at the foot of the bed.

I remember asking my husband, after he'd made a run to the convenience store across the street, did he happen to notice if they still sold those little individually wrapped pralines?  And turning around to find him holding out TWO of them for me.

I remember the day Mister took the boys down to the beach after lunch, and just let me NAP.  =D

I remember little boys jumping in sand-piles, and saying "Mama, watch THIS!", and doing jumps and tumbles like their bones were made out of well-cooked pasta.

I remember taking the boys to spend their Lemonade Stand money on souvenirs, and not being a BIT surprised when Took selected two cars, and Pad chose a shark tooth and a severed alligator head.  (Pad. . . whose mom is a vegetarian.  . . . Hell, I'll eat any animal that happens to be delicious, and I still wouldn't want that thing in MY house.  But we told them they could buy what they wanted with their money, and that's what we stuck to.  
**Pornographic material and hermit crabs excluded.)

I remember little boys BEGGING to go to the pool, and trying to explain to them that we HAD a pool at HOME, but we did NOT have a beach at home.

. . . and then I remembered my mom trying to explain the same thing to me, many, many years ago.  =)

I remember going out for ice cream, and Pad and Took deciding on the "Crazy Colors" flavor. . . 

. . . and I remember the excitement and delight when, the next day, both boys discovered that Crazy Colors ice cream results in. . . OTHER things being crazy-colored.  =D

. . . I remember THAT being a topic of conversation for a WHILE.

I remember my husband playing with three different-aged boys, with three very different personalities, and the consideration and time he tried to give to all three.

. . . I remember swimming in the ocean.

Just me and my Grey Took.

I remember him saying:  "Mama, this SO FUN!!!" and grinning at me.

And I remember thinking that it was pretty much the greatest thing that I had ever experienced.


I remember snacks on the beach, and constantly discovering what appeared to be fistfuls of sand in my beverage.

And then we came home.

And OH!!!!




. . . I always KNEW I was a home-body. . .

But I don't think there has ever been a girl in the history of EVER that has been so very, very glad to get back to her own home.



Where things are like you like them.


Where the cats missed you, and are still alive, thanks to plastic feeders and the attention and care of great neighbors.  =)


Where the bed feels like it's supposed to, and there's no sand at the bottom.  =)


It's not a huge place, and it's not overly fancy or impressive.

But dear GOD. . . I LOVE THIS PLACE.

. . . . . . . . . . .

Mister and I were talking about it, the night we got back.

We were both giggling and grinning from ear to ear, and pointing out this and that that we were happy to get back to.

And we were just sitting on the back porch, lazily wondering about WHY we were so glad to be back. . .

"It wasn't a bad vacation. . . I had a really good time.  Why do you think we're so glad to be back home?"

". . . Because this is the first time in my life that I've had a home that I wanted to get back to so much."


Wherever you go. . . there you are.

Beach, or back yard.

We've made a concerted effort to fill this place up with Happy.

. . . and Happy is what was there to greet us when we all returned home, again.

So here's all I really wanted to say:  

I'm grateful.

For beach trips, and for returning home.

For the threat of Time-Outs, and for Waffle Houses, and for people who don't judge you for putting sugar in your grits.

For pillow-forts, and sunburnt noses.

For cheeseburgers that make you want to slap your mama.

And always, always, always:

For Dean Winchester, his tireless battle against the forces of evil, and his endless quest for pie.


Because I DO deserve pie.

I really, really do.


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