Friday, July 3, 2009

Vacation Conversations

Every year, my family, along with my friend Robin and her family venture off on a joint vacation to the beach. While this started very small, as a girl's weekend away, it has evolved into a larger gathering that includes friends of children and significant others.

Our requirements for accommodations have evolved also. We require a house due to the number of people. And now . . . after various experiences . . . we require a house ON the beach. Right on the beach. Not a cheap proposition.

This year's trip came close to not happening. About a month ago, Robin's boyfriend of 5 years, Matt, had a motorcycle accident and broke his clavicle. Then two weeks later he fell, re-breaking it, requiring surgery to repair the damage. The next day he notified his employer of the need for surgery and that afternoon they called to tell him he was laid off. There was quite a lot of drama swirling around this trip, money issues, emotional outbursts and such. But, in the end, we were able to work it out and everyone piled into the vehicles and we started out on the 9 hour drive.

As we arrived, this was the conversation:

Them: There is nothing around here.
Me: Exactly!
Them: It's like 6 miles from the back door to the beach.
Me: Wow, that's a lot farther than it looked in the picture.
Them: Cool, we can build a fire on the beach at night!

And they did just that. And during the evening around the fire, the mosquitoes were horrible, biting feet and ankles the whole time. We vowed to get bug spray the next day. Except that the bites were horrible during the night and why did they only bite around the ankles and feet? Robin's boyfriend and my daughter's boyfriend's feet swelled up due to the number of bites and itching. My daughter got on the internet. Sand fleas? Or Yellow Biting Flies? Either way, we might be in hell. Baking soda and water, a locally recommended anti-septic, and leaving socks and shoes on at night were the solution but the bites and itching lasted all week.

We have to have a canopy on the beach. Some of us, those with Irish ancestry, cannot take the direct sun for long periods. And some of us, those who take medication, simply burn right through the 50 spf sunscreen. We have been borrowing other people's shade canopies for the last few years but I decided to splurge and buy one this year. A good one. Good ones cost money. But it would be worth it.

We enjoyed the canopy. Lots of space, great shade. The second night, the wind got a little rough and turned the canopy over. The boys caught it and set it upright, not noticing that there seemed to be some damage to one of the supports. And also not thinking to put the stakes in so that wouldn't happen again. The next morning, Robin, my daughter, and I headed for the beach and noticed that the tent was sagging a little on one side. As we examined it, we found that one of the supports was bent. My daughter pushed on it. It snapped. Ummmmmmmm, really? $200 and this is what I get? We got some packing tape and rigged the side back together but it was obvious that it would not last.

Later that afternoon, the wind picked up. Then it picked up some more. We were surprised by a gust of wind that picked up the canopy, turned it over and danced it down the beach. It looked like a gymnast doing floor exercises during the Olympics. It flipped and rolled at least 10 times, followed by us and some of our neighbors yelling and chasing after it. When we finally got it stopped, it was a tangled, twisted mess, suitable only for the dumpster, to which we quickly dragged it. My conversation:

Me: Really??? Did that really just happen to my $200 canopy? The one that was supposed to last 10 years?
Them: We really should have put the stakes in it.
Me: You think? I have to have a canopy.
The Neighbor Guy: We got ours for $70 at Piggly Wiggly in St. Joe.
Me: I'm leaving now. $70 huh? It will probably last forever.

So I bought another canopy. For $70. And when they put it together, they put the stakes in it. And it lasted all week and will probably last forever.

Sooooo . . . anytime you put 11 different personalities and ages and lifestyles in a house there are bound to be conflicts. That is to be expected and was anticipated. And we had our share of minor conflicts but they were resolved easily. But Robin's boyfriend had a hard time. I think it all boiled down to the fact that nothing in his life was in his control. So he tried to control the vacation.

I'm not sure if you realize this from reading my blog but . . . I am NOT easily controlled. While I was understanding of his situation, it was wearing on my nerves. It wasn't any one thing that got to me, just a lot of little minor things. Along about Wednesday, this conversation took place:

Me: What is wrong with him?
Robin: I am going crazy. He is making everyone crazy.
Me: He did NOT act like this last year.
Robin: I think I might hate him right now.
Me: You, me, and everyone else. But we will be nice, I promise.

Later that afternoon, I went up to start making the hamburger patties for dinner. When I got there, Boyfriend had made them and put big hunks of onion in them. About half the people with us hate onions and won't eat them. I told him that. He said "They'll be okay" and he walked outside. I started to load the dishwasher to take my mind of the fact that I really wanted to rip out his jugular. I reached into the bottom rack and was stabbed in the finger by the tip of a knife. Boyfriend obviously doesn't understand dishwasher etiquette and now I was bleeding! I couldn't help it. I started to cry. How embarrassing. I couldn't stop. So the conversation went something like this:

Robin and my Daughter: Oh my gosh, what's wrong? Are you hurt?
Me: No. Nothing's wrong. Nothing! NOTHING!
Robin and Daughter: Tell me!
Me: NO! Somebody make me a drink. With . . . THIS . . . much rum and . . . this . . . much diet coke.

After that, I just stayed away from him. I tried to remember what he was going through. Everyone was having a good time despite the sand fleas/yellow biting flies, the long walk to the beach, the canopy disaster, the 100 degree heat, and Boyfriend's obstinance. So I had a good time too. But the girls made a decision. This is how the conversation went:

Me: I miss the girl's weekends.
Robin and Daughter: We do too.
Me: I don't want to give up these weeks with the whole family and friends but it doesn't have the magic that the girl's weekends did. So why can't we do the girl's weekends too?
It would be cheaper and less stressful.
Robin and Daughter: We could. We could do a 4 day weekend, just the girls, in addition to the week in the summer with everyone.

So that's what we will do. That was my favorite conversation all week.


Ruth D~ said...

Hmmmm . . . before I even got to the end of this post I was thinking that you should go back to the good old girls' weekend next year. But then again, in a month when the memories soften, it's the good things that will rise to your mind ... maybe ... and you'll remember it as a really good time.

But there is nothing like a simple girls only event.

AC Service Brea CA said...

haha good/funny post!!

<3 Lindsay