On to the beach! We made it down the shore in record time, stopping only for gas and hard liquor. SOBUMD wanted to make sure there was some vodka for her cucumber vodka martini, and when I mentioned this to the lady ringing me up at the Jersey Liquor Store (everyone talks to the hat – in New Jersey, I’m the most interesting man in the world), she recommended that I get her the Cucumber Vodka on which they were running a special. Knowing that we could put it to good use one way or another, I concurred on the cucumber and we motored on.
We arrived at the Shore House at the precise moment I intended, which was Gin and Tonic o’clock – my scheduling skills are excelled only by my driving. Following a settling in and unpacking period that lasted approximately 14 seconds, the Reigning Queen of Pink and the Human Tape Recorder were in the water, and Number One Son had retreated into a room with the iPad, not to be seen again until dinner. We commenced relaxing immediately.
We relaxed all day and into the evening, and picked right up relaxing the next morning where we’d left off, but with Scrapple on the grill, eaten on the deck with coffee and crumb cake. It’s hard not to be relaxed in the face of an early morning ocean breeze, facing a lagoon, while munching on hot grilled meat product and crumb cake.
The relaxation came to a screeching halt when we realized we were nearly out of beer. A trip to Long Beach Island was planned, conceived, and executed in short order, leaving many of the tribe at home in the water. Once on Long Beach Island, we found fudge, tee-shirts, bracelets, and beer. Unfortunately, while putting the beer in the back of SOBUMD’s minivan, the handle that opens the hatch in the back snapped and broke in my hand.
This would not be a big deal, but for the fact that you can’t open the hatch from the inside, and that the van’s power door not only isn’t ‘power’ any more but also does not open from the inside, and that the struts need work, and that the horn only functions on alternate Wednesdays while Mercury is in retrograde, and that it’s an 11 year old van with more than a few dings in it. Without a simple way to get things into and out of the van, its utility is greatly diminished and its days numbered.
We returned with our loot, sending the brilliantly diminutive RQoP into the back of the van to pass things over the seats to us. Beer was consumed, new cars were researched, and relaxation recommenced.
Next up was a trip to Wildwoods, NJ, evidently an icon of beach life on the Jersey Shore that I’d never heard of, but since my experience with the Jersey Shore has been heretofore limited to last year’s situation and Snooki’s tan, that was hardly surprising. We loaded kids, aunts, uncles, and towels into vehicles – some easier, some harder – and headed to the beach.
Once in the water, we found dolphins swimming just offshore with us. Number One Son, who does not usually like to get his head, hair, or face wet, decided that he liked the waves once he was past the point where they broke over his head. He pulled me with him to this point - the fact that we were halfway to the continental shelf bothered him not at all. The Human Tape Recorder and the RQoP also reaquainted themselves with their inner barracudas. My response to a wave coming up that’s 5 feet over my head is to duck and cover. Theirs is to dive into it headfirst.
The beach rolled on for a few hours, after which we moved the party to the Wildwoods Boardwalk. This is a magical place, by which I mean “very likely to remove your money from your wallet.” We enjoyed the local cuisine, such as battered, deep fried Oreo cookies, along with a few life-restoring and badly needed pints of Guinness and the Snow White diner. We were served by a few of the local Olgas – all the wait staff at the beach seem to be imports from Eastern Europe. They make great roast beast hogies, command of the English language notwithstanding.
I also noticed that after two days in New Jersey, my every other word to the kids is “fuhgeddaboudit.” Perhaps I should keep my commentary concerning commands of the English language to my self.
The other thing we noticed was the price of the rides – remember what magical means? Some of the children wanted to ride a roller coaster, some others wanted to walk through a haunted ship. Since the cost for these two activities came to more than $120, we had to explain that this roller coaster and SOBUMD’s next car had just became an either or proposition.
In lieu of rides, the kids played some of the “everybody wins a prize” arcades; they seemed particularly drawn to the “Throw Darts and Pop Balloons” event. Number One Son took a particular delight in the opportunity for wanton destruction, popping two out of three of his targets. Since everyone wins a prize, the lady in the booth showed him his prize options for hitting two balloons – to which he replied, “No thanks; I’m only in it for the popping.” The RQoP stepped up and declared that she’d add his two pops to whatever she got, and then of course pulled a Katniss and drilled three for three, walking off with a bear the size of her head.
Once full of fried gooey goodness and tired from the waves and water, we started the long boardwalk back to the car. On the way, we ran into one more example concerning one’s command of the English language. Really? The Department of Love? Can you get a job there?
Driving back to the Shore House, we contemplated the Cheshire sunset as the sun slipped from the clouds and back to the Earth, through a hole in the pocket of the sky, accompanied by the strains of the new Green Day song on the radio. It was a wonderful end to the day, and we looked forward to seeing if there was dessert waiting in the crab trap we’d baited before we left.
There was, but he was too small and we had to throw him back. Some days, everybody lives.
Next up, a drive through the marshes! In the meantime, I’ll leave you with that new Green Day song everyone’s talking about.