There are times in your life when it just doesn’t pay to be right. This beach vacation has been one of those times. I’m sitting here on the 4th floor of this massive house while most everyone else is on the beach playing. I’m here, not because I’m being anti-social, but because as always happens, when everyone else is having fun, you have to watch the baby. The baby is asleep, but with three baby monitors going around (and only 2 available frequencies), when you hear a baby crying, you can’t be sure it’s yours. So rather than having to trek back and forth to and from the beach to see if the screaming you’re hearing over the static, wind and waves, is actually your child, I’m opting to sit in the A/C and blog.
I think the best way to do this is just to give a day by day of the events, sprinkled with my own brand of insight along the way. Do enjoy…
We got up Saturday morning, skipped the gym and instead, packed the car. We have one of those car-top carrier things and it holds nearly as much as the back of our little SUV. It’s been really hot, so rather than let Ethan run around at the beach, we went to Monkey Joe’s, an indoor inflatable play area that he likes. Stayed there perhaps an hour and Ethan was done. Like me, he’s not much of a crowd kinda guy and once the birthday parties started up, there were just too many folks. So we left, grabbed a sub at the nearby Quizno’s and hit the road. Oh, and note to Quizno’s: Getting rid of the little bag of Cheeto’s in the kid’s meal, and instead, making the cookie twice as large, isn’t really what parents want for their kids.
The drive started out OK. Both boys were happily occupied, but then somewhere around the 3 hour mark, Aiden developed a new sound. It’s something between a poopy push, and a closed-mouth groan “Unnnnnggggh, Unnnnngggghhh…” and this went on just about until we got to Florence, SC, (2.5 hours total). Nothing poor Megan did in the back seat helped. I even had her (gasp!) break the law and take him out of the car seat after promising that I would not wreck and that if I did, I’d be sure and kill us all so neither of us would go to jail for involuntary manslaughter for having our child out of his car seat (I swear, safety groups telling me that a car seat is the best thing for my child on an 8-hour car trip can just kiss my butt!). It helped a tiny bit…but not much.
Finally got to our hotel that Megan had gotten using “Perk Points” from work (these are points they get for being good little corporate boys and girls). The inside of the hotel was better than the outside, and we got two rooms; one for Megan and Aiden and one for me and Ethan. After unpacking in the rain, Ethan and I went and played in the pool for a while. Got out…showered and then we all headed over to the nearby Outback Steakhouse. Everything was hunky dory until the food came and Ethan announced he needed to go poop. The timing is really amazing. Every night, at home or on the road…never fails. While she’s gone, Aiden starts his weird noise again and then just starts screaming, so when they get back, I call for a to-go box and head outside.
Let me stress that at this point, I’m pretty much OVER IT! I’ve listened to this noise for nigh on 3 hours now and it’s not helping my mood.
We get back to our hotel room and I pretty much immediately head over to my room for some R&R. Go get Ethan and we go to bed. We sleep good, Megan…not so much.
Next morning, we get up, have some breakfast and hit the road. We have roughly 3 hours ahead of us before getting to the beach and this morning Aiden is having none of it. The “noise” starts up again almost immediately and doesn’t stop. On top of that, Ethan is repeatedly saying, “It’s taking a long time, It’s taking a long time…” YES, WE ARE WELL AWARE OF THIS FACT.
By the time we get to the beach house, I am once again in a pretty foul mood, but fortunately, most the family has bowed to religious peer pressure and headed out to the local church (Catholic…no thanks!) where it turns out, the service was outside in the sweltering heat. Oh…that’s rich!
We get the swing set up in our room and try to put Aiden down for a while, but he was not happy. So, I let Megan deal with him whilst I unload the car. Finally got everything unpacked and Ethan and I headed out to the beach while Megan tried to calm Aiden down. That afternoon was fun. The waves were kind of high, but Ethan mostly likes running up to the water’s edge and then out-racing the waves as they come in. He ran his tail off and I got a sunburn. Yaaay!
Dinner that night was done by Megan and me, and her brother and his wife. We did burgers and chicken and I had my mouth set on a chicken breast sammich, but by the time we ate, they were all gone. Oh well. After dinner we cleaned up and by then it was probably about 8:30, so we headed down to our room to put the boys to bed.
Let me paint the picture: One king sized bed, which as it turns out, had a vinyl-topped mattress pad on it. Now, whoever came up with this particular brand of hell should be shot. It crinkles when you move, and it doesn’t breath…so you feel like you do when you’re sitting under the barber’s apron..sweaty all night! Now yes, I could have removed it, but then my phobia’s kicked in and I thought, “What if there are bedbugs? Do I really wanna sleep on the same mattress as countless others who did Lord knows what on it?” So I left it there.
We also brought up a single mattress for Ethan and we rented a crib for Aiden, but instead of a regular mattress in it, it came with a Pack-n-Play style mattress, which is about as thick as my thumb and about as comfortable as lying on plywood. I padded it as best I could, but was unable to recreate that “at home” feel. I prayed it would suffice.
Luckily, Ethan went right to sleep, but Aiden did not. At first, we just thought the trip in the car seat had messed him up, but in retrospect, I don’t think he felt good. He’d been healthy for 4 months, then the day we leave for vacation he gets sick. Go figure right? We knew from earlier that there are three baby monitors going, and we were picking up each other’s kids crying, so we pretty much had to stay in the room with the boys. Unfortunately, there was no bedside lamp-so no reading-and we couldn’t turn the TV on because then Aiden would focus on it and wake up…he’s just like that. So, it’s an early 9 p.m. (on vacation) and Megan and I are lying in bed. She was tired anyway so it wasn’t as bad as it may seem.
But wait, there’s more. Our room was on the third floor, unfortunately, also directly under the kitchen/dining room area upstairs. Which means that every time one of Megan’s family walked through the kitchen (which was constantly) or someone scooched their chair on the tile floor, it sounded like a herd of elephants in our room. Now maybe it’s because I read spy novels and stuff that I know how to walk quietly (let the balls of your feet hit first…not your heels), or perhaps it’s because when I was growing up, I preferred to have the house to myself in the morning so I’d be as quiet as possible; whatever, but Megan’s family (herself included) are heel walkers. They are stompers…so much so in fact that it made the recessed lights in our room vibrate. We finally went up and asked people to be a little quieter, but that’s like asking trailer park residents to move away from the river…wasn’t happenin’! Finally, about 10:30 things quietened down and we had both boys asleep. Aaaaghhh, maybe now we can sleep.
Phhhhhhhhhheeeeeesssssshhhh…..BAM! Fireworks! The next door neighbors decided to put on a fireworks show, which not only kept us from going to sleep, but also woke Aiden up. This went on for about 30 minutes. Finally got Aiden back down, settled down to sleep.
Honk! Honk! Honk! Honk! Honk!….someone set off their car alarm! At this point, I had to laugh…it was really all I could do. As it turns out, I got 2.5 hours of sleep that night due to Aiden not sleeping, and Megan got about 1.5 hours of sleep for the same reason.
The next day, I had a fishing trip scheduled. Needed to get up at 5:30 but when the time came, I told her, “I’m not going…I’m exhausted.” She says, “Honey, it’s the only thing you wanted to do on this trip…I’m going to be upset if you don’t go.” Whatre ya gonna do? I went fishing.
Due to my father in law driving, we were dead last to arrive, which also means we got the front of the boat, because veteran boat fisher-people know that the back of the boat is the calmest, while the front of the boat pitches and moves around a lot more. The trip was scheduled from 7-12:30 and it took us nearly 2 hours to get out to the first fishing hole. Along the way, we saw a dolphin jump once (big whoop!) and drove through a nasty rain squall that soaked everyone on board. Unfortunately, the wind also whipped up and I heard one of the mates tell someone, “Ya’ll were only supposed to have 10 mph winds, but this is more like 25 mph.” It was getting nasty out there.
Got to the first hole and started fishing. Now if you’ve ever seen the TV show, “Deadliest Catch,” then you’ll appreciate how bad the waves were. The swells and wind were getting so bad that it was next to impossible to fish because you had to hold onto the boat rails to keep from falling overboard. I started getting a little motion sick, so I opted to put my pole up for a while and head to the back of the boat till my tummy settled. Famous last words…
An hour later, I’m sitting in the middle of a bench seat in the back, staring at a spot on the wall trying to ignore how sea sick I’ve gotten. But, I have company. My brother in law is right beside me. He said “I’m hyperventilating trying not to puke. And my hands and feet have gone all tingly and I feel like I’m going to pass out.”
My bladder finally gets the best of me, and knowing it will be very tough because of the motion of the ocean, I head to the bathroom to pee. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. On the way back, I kept walking right past my seat and headed to the back where nobody was fishing and I fed the sea my Pop-Tart and coffee. I was the first to throw up…but Oh…I was NOT the last. I threw up again about an hour later…by then it was all dry heaves. By the end of the boat ride, I counted at least 8 others. The only people not puking, were the ones smart enough to take Dramamine before leaving.
Needless to say, the next 3.5 hours were possibly the worst I’ve ever lived through. I didn’t talk…I didn’t move around…I didn’t dare close my eyes and try to sleep. All I did was lie there and try not to puke any more.
The boat finally docked and it was a quiet bunch of us (6 of us “men” went) on the way home. Walked into the house and they took one look at us and knew it had been bad.
That’s it for today….I’ll try and finish this off sometime this weekend.