The temps sky rocketed this week which means we were obligated to go to the beach. But, now that the kids are a bit older, the logistics are changing. An updated look at a day trip to the beach in seven.
1. Convince Addie that she does indeed want to come to the beach with us and not stay home and work on school work and read manga. I point out all the other time she has to work on school work, even with finals next week, and hype up the great weather! the fun! the memories! conveniently leaving out the parts when she’ll be needed to help haul around the 294 lbs of stuff we need to take for this “spontaneous” trip. The only downside is because she has other teachers now, we can’t leave until after her morning classes. Ugh.
2. Convince Byron that there is lots of stuff to do on the beach, even for a 13-year-old. Why, you can entertain Teddy, or entertain Fulton or not make Edie cry! Together you and Addie can bicker over who wasn’t throwing sand! Finally the offers of arcade money and candy (but only from the dollar store!!!) win him over.
3. When the older three were younger, we could sit on the beach any time of year and they would run around enthusiastically burning energy for hours, insuring a quiet car ride home and early bedtime. Now, I need to negotiate the amount of time I will make them sit on the beach, while trying to convince them a day trip is just as much fun when we don’t invest in overpriced pizza and french fries. And the car rides there and back will be punctuated by screams dictating the music selection, most of which will make at least a third of us unhappy.
4. Let’s pack up the van! Because the ocean is still to cold for the little boys (or any sane person), I don’t take Fulton’s beach chair because it’s great for the water, but lousy for playing with sand. Even when I carefully balance a plastic tub of sand on his lap and happily fill it with army men he gives me a chastising look and demands to be placed on the beach with Teddy. So, for off-season trips, we take an activity chair and a garden spade. We also got a new sand-proof beach blanket (life changing!!!). Finally I load up the boys backpacks with everything else we might need forgetting only 29,293 essential items. …including the fact that Fulton’s wheelchair battery is not fully charged.
5. Let’s look for parking where I can unload a lift!! This is always my favorite part and it’s why my children can identify all the major curse words. We quickly pull up to the boardwalk, and commence the unloading process whilst only blocking two driveways. I give quick instructions as to where we will meet once I find a place to park the van. Once the kids are on the boardwalk, I try to quickly turn around only to realize one of the kids didn’t fully close a passenger side door and it swings open as I start to drive, meaning I have to stop and get out of my seat to reach across, shut the door and quickly try to keep moving now that I’ve got two cars trying to get into said driveways. Now the hunt is on! How far will I have to drive to find a spot??? How long will the kids have to wait for me to return?? Will they be picked up for presumed truancy in the mean time?? Will Teddy speed off and run over some sea gulls? I can only hope. Thankfully, I manage to find a spot close by and within a few minutes we meet in the arcade.”No I don’t have any more quarters! All that’s left is dimes for Skee Ball. What do you mean Skee Ball is lame? I love Skee Ball! More dimes for Mama!”
6. Time to hit the beach! We park the wheelchairs by the ramp and I designate jobs. EDIE! Take the blanket and spade! Hurry out there and lay that blanket down STAT! ADDIE! Carry the activity chair! Put it in the sand near the blanket! BYRON! Carry Teddy out to the blanket and sit him on it! FULTON! You’re coming with me! And out we go across the sand; Fulton and Teddy reminding Byron and I how heavy they are and I panicking because I don’t see Edie. Wait there she is! Byron sets Teddy down and I lay Fulton on the blanket. I position the activity chair so Fulton won’t face the sun and proceed to dig a hole for his feet and legs. Edie has situated the blanket uncomfortably close to a group of college girls despite a fairly open beach so I try to really focus on digging and not make eye contact. “This is going to be the best foot hole ever, yessirreebob!” Now to place Fulton in his seat with his legs in the hole. He proceeds to scream that he wants to keep his socks on. I ignore him so he changes his request to getting in the 53 degree water. No. Finally he asks for water to put in the hole. Edie grabs the plastic bag the beach blanket came in and runs to fill it with water (because beach toys didn’t fit in the backpacks).
After several trips in which the bag finally sprung a leak, a kindly women offered Edie the use of her child’s bucket. (“Thank you for taking pity on these poor children I brought to the beach with no sand toys!” ) Teddy and Byron attempted to film a stop motion in the sand (Teddy as director, producer, and writer with Byron as the opinionated camera operator) entitled ‘Godzilla vs The World Part 5’, but the sun glare made filming difficult. Finally everyone resorted to building around the hole of water.
7. There were moments of peace. Addie actually read some of the 3,845,368 page book she lugged along. I got to lay back on our new blanket and just rest, enjoy the Bob Marly music playing nearby (college kids still listen to Bob Marly! I feel slightly less old!) while ignoring the screams of “Put water on my feet! AAAAA! Stop putting water on my feet! Put sand on my feet! AAAAAAA! Stop putting sand on my feet!” x100 We all spent plenty of time just dumping sand on the new blanket and watching it sift through!!
And after an hour, we carried everything back to the boardwalk, strapping it all down strategically on the wheelchairs, and got snacks (and I proved they could share two bottles of Gatorade.) Fulton’s wheelchair battery did not die, but the bright red warning signs helped increase my heart rate to make this trip more fat burning. Yes, we brought a lot of sand home, along with a touch of sunburn in awkward streaks, those aspects of a visit never change. Thankfully the number of broken seashells I need to feign interest in and bring home has significantly decreased. And I no longer need to scream or worry when someone wanders a bit too far. Now I’m usually yelling at someone to wander off and do something. “How can you be bored? It’s the beach! Enjoy God’s majesty damnit!”
How are you enjoying warmer weather? Write it down then link it up below! Be sure to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Quick Takes. I look forward to reading your posts!