Monday, August 9, 2010

Report from the Shore

Seagull with Pioneer Woman "Vintage" Action
We arrived home around noon on Sunday and I honestly feel like I haven't stopped moving since then. Our schedules for the next two weeks are HECTIC (driving the girls to the "Behind the Wheel" portion of drivers ed - which started today - is a big part of it).  In the meantime, I have so many thoughts swirling around in my head that I want to blog about, but with limited time, I'm giving you a few highlights of topics that I need to get out of my head so I can concentrate on other things (like laundry). Speaking of which...

1. Laundry.  Since our arrival home I have been, as Sian so aptly put it, "communing with the laundry." Already completed - two loads of sheets, a load of bath towels, a load of beach towels, a load of whites, a large load of delicates, and a load of light colored shorts and capri pants. In progress - another load of sheets (in the dryer) and a load of darks (in the washer).  Still to go - a load of light colors, a load of bright colors, and a load of jean shorts. For those of you that lost count - it is TWELVE loads! Does it ever end? Silly question. I know it doesn't. And this is how the Universe gets even with me for having the audacity to take a vacation in the first place. :)

2. Bathing Suits. I may be the only person I know who spends an entire week at the beach and never once dons a swimsuit.  Yes, I am just that self-conscious about how I look in spandex. I did pay attention and saw women easily twice my size who appeared (at least outwardly) perfectly comfortable in suits that let it all hang out - some even in two piece numbers with exposed bellies. I actually envy those women the level of self-confidence that it must take to appear on a public beach attired in clothing that leaves nothing to the imagination. But honestly, the only ones on the beach who actually look GOOD in bikinis are the teen and twenty-something crowd with their toned abs and skinny legs. I spent the week in tank tops and capri pants and was quite happy with my choice. And quite thankful that I didn't see a single guy in a speedo! (Sorry men, but unless you are an olympic swimmer you have no business wearing one of those - ever.)
Becca (L), friend Kerry (C) and Rachel (R).

3. A Step Above Camping.  We have been privileged to have stayed in some very nice beach-front hotels and condos in past years. My eight years in the scrapbooking "biz" provided enough extra cash to do vacations in style. Between no longer having that extra income, the sorry state of the economy, and the expenses related to Sarah's college education, we no longer have that luxury. Last year we did the "stay-cation" thing. This year we did vacation on the cheap.

We rented a beach home that was three and a half blocks from the beach and six blocks from the boardwalk shops. Our home had three small bedrooms, one tiny bathroom, and an open living room, dining room, kitchen area. Small, but adequate. Well, almost. The living room only sat three and was the only room with a working television which was tiny. That took a bit of getting used to.  When you rent a beach home, you have to supply everything - your own bed linens, towels, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc. There are NO amenities - no maid service, no pool, no fitness center, no concierge. You don't get clean towels every day. You have to make your own bed. We also ate at home for breakfast and lunch, so I did cooking and dishes too. And then when you leave, you have to clean the house for the next tenant - so my last day of vacation was spent scrubbing a bathroom, vacuuming, dusting, mopping - all in someone else's house! In a better economy, my idea of vacation involves being waited on and NOT doing any cleaning! But hey, I'll take what I can get. Besides, the house rental thing beats camping! You get to sleep in a real bed, and you have hot and cold running water and air conditioning. The advantage over a hotel is strictly in the pricing. We got a whole week at the beach for what we would have spent for four nights in a cheap motel.

4. Doing Nothing. Well, almost nothing. Forgetting the cooking, dishes, and house chores, I spent my days on the beach under a sun umbrella sitting on my ample backside. Like this:
Umbrellas on the beach.

We are all fair - me the most of all. So I really did stay in the shade the entire time. Just the walk from the house to the beach was enough to cause me to burn (even with SPF 70 sunscreen)! Luckily I kept it minimal. I enjoyed watching the waves and watching the people from the comfort of my beach chair.  Becca must have got an extra dose of the American Indian from her father's ancestry - she tans quite nicely.

And I got to READ - yes, a NOVEL! That is a pleasure I am largely forbidden at home because of my tendency to get lost in a book and not surface until I'm finished. But I managed to read both "The Lucky One" by  Nicholas Sparks (totally sappy and predictable, but I love his books) and then this one:

It was hard for me to get started because the author (being Swedish) set the action in Sweden which involved a lot of names and places that I couldn't begin to pronounce. And the use of words like "anon" that we here in America just don't use. So it was a bit like trying to read Shakespeare because of the language issue. But I did ultimately get into the story line and was quite surprised by how it all turned out. I am now hooked and will likely read the entire trilogy. I just ordered "The Girl Who Played With Fire" from Amazon.

We had great weather except for the two days when it was so windy the umbrellas wouldn't stay put. I got to completely relax. I got to take some nice photos and play with them in Photoshop. I got to read novels, eat Mack & Manco pizza (only available at the shore and worth the trip!), and indulge in a couple of ice cream splurges. I walked so much that my ankles hurt. I need new sneakers. I didn't gain any weight! Hurray to making as many healthy choices as I could. I tried to keep up with reading blogs, but didn't comment much (sorry guys) as I really didn't want to spend my vacation on the computer! When all is said and done, it was definitely worth the pile of laundry.


quiltingfool said...

Been waiting and waiting for your blog about the beach. Not disappointed! Glad you got to relax and enjoy it, even if it does create mountains of work at home. Given the girls ages, there won't be many more whole family vacations. Enjoy them while you still have them. Looking forward to more frequent blogging now that you're home!

quiltingfool said...

August 10th, Happy 25th anniversary to you & Jay! Hope you have 25 more great ones! Love you both.

Unknown said...

Sounds like a perfectly yummy vacation, Cheri... welcome home! I haven't been on vacation (yet) and I have THAT much laundry just sitting around the house for me. UGH!

Sian said...

Is it your anniversary today? Many congratulations x

Now, that laundry, it's a killer isn't it? My reasons for not appearing in a swimsuit are to do with the freezing cold weather round daughter got in to swim this year but I didn't!

Roll on next summer, eh?

scrappyjacky said...

Yep, the laundry is the real downside...but definately worth it!! Sounds like a great vacation...even if you weren't waited on!!!

Christi said...

Now that is my kind of vacation. Food, reading and photography! Yippee!

humel said...

I can so relate to the laundry issue, having got back from holiday yesterday.... And I can also relate to staying in the shade and covering up even on a beach! Glad you had a good time, and I love your photos - especially the vintage seagull xx