Not a Shore Thing

Last Friday:

Back home from vacation, a day early. My husband and the boys actually ended their vacation yesterday, and Gemma and I followed today. Work issues compelled my husband home; the boys tagged along, saying they were bored and missed the house, their friends, and… their Xbox. I guess I should be happy that they like their life so much that they wanted to get back to it, but I don’t like the pull of that Xbox and I don’t understand how kids can get tired of the Shore. Like, what? I cannot comprehend. I guess we won’t spend a week there next year, or at least not without bringing the Xbox and/or a friend for Aidan.

So they’re happy to be home and I’m sad and bitter. They wanted to go out to eat for dinner tonight, and I was all, “sorry, you ended vacation early, remember? Back to normal life. Eat some cereal.” I’m mature.

Gemma and I had a nice 18 hours down there without them, but even she was begging to come home this morning. I couldn’t send them all back with my husband because he had too much work to do, so I couldn’t stay down there without forcing her to stay (which would have involved too much bribing).

We did pack a lot into five and a half days, though. We were at the beach, in the water, for five days straight starting Saturday. We rode the waves on boogie boards and in big blow-up boats. We bodysurfed. We came back to the beach at night to hunt “ghost crabs,” and hubs and Sebastian took some 6 am beach walks as well. Nighttime walks also led to the discovery of many small frogs in the grass. We even got out the metal detectors and went treasure hunting. Monday night was rides and pizza in nearby Ocean City, and on Thursday, we hit the water park on that same boardwalk for a few hours.

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So excited to be at the new, giant Manco and Manco’s! (Well, I was.)

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In the midst of this there were also several meals out, several ice cream parlor visits, and a visit from the cousins. Plus a trip to urgent care for an ear infection, of course!

Overall, though, the mood was chill. We stayed in a little town whose name I don’t even want to mention because I want it to stay unknown. (Many people didn’t recognize the town when I would say where we were going, before the trip.) No boardwalk, no downtown. Not much besides houses, beach and bay. Our house was close enough to the beach to hear the surf. The nights were quiet, dark and full of stars. Hubs and I sat out on the porch drinking beer, star-gazing and discussing other galaxies.

I got in the habit of having my coffee on the back porch in the morning (where the shade was), gazing out at the little grassy yard and over into the lot next door, which appeared to belong to the house behind it, on the next street. This lot was filled with flowers and shrubs, some short scrubby pines, bird feeders and a bird bath, and surrounded by a low wooden fence. A little rabbit seemed to call it home, and all kinds of birds flocked to the amenities.

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It was so peaceful out there, with the light ocean breezes and the deep sweet saltiness in the air. Ahhhhhh. Best part of the trip.

In fact I became a little obsessed with this yard and this vista. The big bay kitchen window looked out on it too, so I really couldn’t help looking at it.

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Aaand my bedroom was on that side of the house as well. So at night when I was falling asleep, I’d listen to the crickets and think of the little rabbit and how safe it was here — no gangs of stray cats, like at home, no hawks that I could see — and then I’d feel so safe and cozy and then zzzzzzzzzzz.

This is me trying to get Gemma to pose in front of some of the flowers curling so prettily along the fence, her refusing and then Sebastian making her smile:

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Although I could have burbled over the little yard all day, and thrilled equally so to the perfect proportions of our tiny yellow cottage, the kids and hubs were less enthused, and therein may have lain the problem. Oh well. Can’t win ’em all.

Gemma and I had a nice quiet night by ourselves, Thursday night. When the boys went home, we hit the rides and used up the rest of our tickets — I even went on the log flume. After some disappointing expensive dinners out, I was happy to go back to the cottage and make some spaghetti with alfredo sauce (store-bought) and added in some extra sauteed garlic and the remains of the rotisserie chicken I bought at the beginning of the week. Gemma liked it too. Then I packed and did wash and we watched TV. In the morning, she and I walked a few blocks to the pancake house, then we finished packing/cleaning and hit the road.

***

Part of the reason I came home early was that we had a birthday party for Gemma on Sunday. We had a lot of cleaning up to do, especially of the backyard. I also did a lot of house cleaning in the days before we left for the Shore. Saturday, we did a massive run to Target and the party store, and Sunday a.m. I hit the grocery store.

Overall, I didn’t spend too much. I was able to use up a few food items that I had bought at the Shore, and friends and family brought a few dishes and drinks. The only “catered” item was the birthday cake, after I decided that it was madness to try to squeeze cake baking into the schedule, and some pizza and wings. I got a lot of summer items like water guns on clearance at Target, and I will be able to return a few things that we ended up not needing. And we’ve had plenty of leftovers to eat.

I was happy that I was able to use up a bunch of my basil in the caprese sandwiches I made, and I had a homegrown watermelon to serve too (more on the melon madness later). I also served the nectarine desserts I had frozen, and my family seemed to really enjoy them.

On the green side, I used our own plates instead of disposable ones (except for the cake). I could have eschewed water bottles and had a water pitcher and reusable glasses. I also could have bought more of the food locally or at the farmer’s market. Next time… I just ran out of time.

Most importantly, Gemma had a blast!

This week: shopping for school supplies and sneakers, and dentist appointments. Boo!

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