Now, that I've been home a week, I need to share the second part of our vacation. We arrived in Ocean City on Monday, July 6th. We used the Glympse app once again so that my dad and stepmom could keep an eye on our travel and arrival. It always gives me a bit of a thrill to pull into a beach town. I love how you can look down each street and each one abruptly ends because, well, the ocean is right there. I love hearing the waves. I love the ocean breeze. I even love the sand. Mostly, I love being on vacation and not going to work.
Shortly after we arrived and got unpacked, my dad invited us to walk on the boardwalk with him. The boardwalk starts at 27th Street. My stepmom has some physical issues, so she can't walk with him. She drops him off and then waits for him at Marty's Playland at the end of the boardwalk. They both like to play this Wizard of Oz game (with the goal to collect colored poker-type chips and character cards and exchange them for prizes at some point). They have experienced great frustration over the shortage of Toto game cards.
Anyway, the four of us walked down the boardwalk and had a great time. My dad does it for health and exercise, which is enhanced by the fact that he stops every few blocks to smoke a cigarette. Then he sometimes has an ice cream cone or some Thrasher's fries at the end of the boardwalk, but he still got his walking in, dammit!
We walked to Marty's Playland (I think it takes close to an hour to walk the full length of the boardwalk in one direction) and played a few games. My daughter is obsessed with those claw machines and gets so mad when she doesn't win. I have tried to explain to her that almost no one wins - that's how these companies make money. She finally played a claw machine that dispensed candy, where she won a Tootsie Roll . . . which she cannot eat because she has braces and her orthodontist would kill her.
The next day, I got up and walked on the beach for a couple miles. I love being on the beach in the morning before the crowds come. Later in the day, the three of us returned to the beach and hung out for a while. Thirty seconds after our arrival, the kid befriended a stranger and the next thing we knew, she and this other girl were running into the waves hand in hand. I love that about her. Can you imagine me turning to some random mom sitting under the next umbrella, grabbing her hand, and saying, "Let's do this!"
Here's a little side story for you. As you may recall, our daughter killed her iPad. We decided she could just live without having one and then at Christmastime, we would decide if she deserved a new one or not. I also thought maybe she should do some chores and try to help earn one. Anyway, my dad and stepmom went shopping on Tuesday afternoon while the three of us hung out in air-conditioned comfort. When they came home, they handed my daughter a white box containing, of course, a brand new iPad. They got her a case, too. Grandparents, I tell ya. May I just add that the man who bought my daughter an iPad is the same guy who, when I was little, would only buy me the smallest size Slurpee at 7-11 because the next size up was TOO EXTRAVAGANT and TOO EXPENSIVE.
On Wednesday, we couldn't decide what to do but we knew it was going to be hot. I flipped through a tourist guide and did some digging online. We decided to hit a water park and beat the heat. I am not one to be seen in public in a swimsuit but since I was several states from home, I figured the odds of me running into someone I knew were pretty slim. The water park turned out to be a lot of fun. It was huge! It was actually pretty confusing because you could spot a fun-looking slide in the distance and have no idea a) what the slide was called and b) where to find the entrance. We managed to ride them all eventually, though. Or at least I think we rode them all. I broke out of my comfort zone a little by riding something called The Aqua Loop. The super fun part? They weigh you at the bottom of the tower because you have to be at least 100 pounds. Even though it's pretty darned clear that I easily meet that requirement, they weigh every soul no matter what. Then, after you climb the tower (many, many stairs) they weigh you again at the top. So, yes, it was every girl's dream come true: to wear a swimsuit in public and to be weighed - twice. The ride was pretty crazy, although I guess I can't give you a lot of details because my eyes were squeezed shut. They even made me take off my diamond wedding ring, which was a challenge because it's slightly possible that I have gained a couple of pounds since my wedding day. P rode the Aqua Loop later in the day. The kid only weighs 60-something pounds so she was definitely out of the running. I suspect that she'll need to be married with at least two kids before she hits 100 pounds.
Later that day, my sister and her family arrived in Ocean City. The rented a condo about a mile or so away from where we were staying (with my dad and stepmom). So, we headed over to visit them and then the kids went swimming in the pool.
On Thursday, we were scheduled to meet my friend Rachel and her family in Chincoteague. I invited my dad and stepmom to join us but when I told them we were leaving at 8:30 a.m., they acted like that was just crazy talk. Retired people don't go places at 8:30 a.m., I guess. Anyway, I was excited to see my friend so we hit the road as scheduled. Rachel lives in New Jersey and we have been friends since the sixth grade. She, her husband, and two of their three boys were spending a few days in Chincoteague. You may have heard of Chincoteague (Virginia side) and Assateague (Maryland side) because of the wild horses that live there. We were hoping to see some horses but we didn't have any luck. Also, it was about a thousand degrees with one million percent humidity that day, so we mostly stayed indoors at various visitor centers and such. Then we all went out to eat. At lunch, my husband started complaining of a headache. Rachel, who is always more prepared for such things than I am, gave him some Advil. I thought maybe he was feeling crappy because of the heat but also because he had not consumed any coffee that day. He didn't drink coffee when I met him but now he is apparently heavily addicted. After lunch, we went out for ice cream and I was surprised to see that my husband and daughter only ate a few bites before throwing theirs away. My fourteen-year-old Godson, on the other hand, ate enough ice cream to knock out one of those wild horses. Gotta love a teenage boy's metabolism.
From there, the three of us headed back towards Ocean City, which is about an hour away. My husband slumped over in the passenger seat and would not lift his head. It started to become obvious that he was pretty sick, but didn't know why. The kid was in the back seat and seemed okay. P said that his head hurt and he felt like he might vomit. When we got back to the condo, the retirees were not there (they were out with one of my sister's kids). P went straight to the bedroom where we were staying, turned out the light, and stayed there for the next 14 hours. At about the same time, the kid asked me to pull out the sofa bed because she was sick, too. Oh no! I put her in her pajamas and tried to figure out what to do with myself. By then, my dad and stepmom had returned. I decided to head down to the boardwalk by myself. I desperately wanted to go to my sister's place and visit, but I was afraid that I was carrying some sort of virus and that I was likely to pass it along. She is pregnant and has three kids so it seemed like passing along the mystery germs would be a jerky thing to do.
I parked my car and then walked down the boardwalk. I was looking for a particular shop that I thought I remembered from last year, but I think it has been replaced by a "vape" shop. So, I just took my time and walked all the way to the end, stopping to watch some of the street performers as I walked. I kept thinking, "Am I sick? I don't think I'm sick?" Every little twinge in my abdomen would make me think, "Here it comes!" But, I never got sick. I think we have mostly concluded that A and P picked up some sort of virus at the water park the day before. I don't know how I dodged the bullet.
On Friday, P was feeling better but the kid was not. She stayed behind while her dad and I went to the beach with my sister and her family. They were already set up on the beach. "Look for a blue canopy and a whiny pre-schooler," said the text from my sister. We spent a fun morning/afternoon on the beach before heading back to see how our kid was. I even got my husband to swim with me - I thought he might be a little weird about it because of all the recent shark sightings up and down the eastern seaboard.
The kid still wasn't feeling great but had perked up some by early evening. We decided to go to Rehoboth Beach to have dinner at Dog Fish Head Brewery. P and I had eaten there years before (and, in case you think getting older is fun, let me just confess right now that neither of us can remember what year we were in Rehoboth or even WHY we were in Rehoboth - we just know that we were there) and had liked it. The kid didn't really eat dinner but at least she was sitting upright and wasn't still wearing her pajamas. After dinner, we all went to my sister's place for one last hurrah - a chocolate fountain party.
On Saturday morning, P and I packed up and started the long journey back home, leaving our sassy kid behind with her grandparents. When we first asked how her how long she wanted to stay at the beach after her dad and I were gone, she said "two weeks." So, we purchased a return plane ticket accordingly. She's been a little homesick here and there, but daily Facetime sessions seem to help. Plus, she's too busy go-kart-riding and rock-climbing and sandcastle-making to be too homesick. She will return this coming Saturday. She's pretty nervous. Not because of the flight but because she knows I've been cleaning her room while she's gone. I could tell you about some of the stuff I've found, but that would be a whole other blog entry.
(Side note: I barely have any beach photos of my three-year-old nephew because every time I tried, he raised his hand and screamed "no" at me. So, enjoy the one of the back of his head.)