[This is my third installment of my Vacation Series of blog posts. For Day One, click here; for Day Two, click here. FYI, Day Three was Monday, July 18th.]

This Vacation Just Keeps Getting Better And Better

So today is my 19th anniversary.  Guess what I’m doing (besides the obvious, blogging)?  Vacationing!  With all my relatives!  And all our kids – and theirs!  

So we got to the condo yesterday and Brad and I got the room with two twin beds and a tiny adjoining bathroom. This condo is, well, old.  It’s not really so much dirty as it is just old.  So I woke up this morning alone, since Brad had gone fishing at around 6am.  I had a nice card from Brad waiting for me so I opened it, then stumbled into the kitchen  – only to find the coffee had all been drunk.  But my sweet mother made another pot for me while I started trying to discern all the questions/demands my kids were making of me.

Our view from the balcony. That ain't bad, folks!

I was just starting to become fully conscious when someone spotted a roach crawling across the living room floor and stepped on it. (It was probably my sister who killed it. She’s brave like that.) In case you don’t know me, I have a deep and abiding fear of cockroaches. Even typing the name here makes me want to scream and run away. It’s a long and complicated story, but let’s just say that seeing that roach did not bode well for my week at the coast. Instantly, I was sure they were crawling behind all the walls and waiting to crawl out onto my shoulder while I was showering like they did to Goldie Hawn in that movie where she becomes the mother to those terrible kids and eventually falls in love with their dad – you know the one with the shower scene? It’s a whole lot scarier than anything from Psycho.

So of course, what did I decide to do next? Yeah. Go have a long shower. Because the thing is, I LOVE long quiet showers. It’s the only place I can get any peace in my world. And since it was my anniversary, and since my mother and sister and sister-in-law were willing to keep an eye on the kids, I braved it.

The shower was small, and I did keep an eye open the whole time, but I thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet and the lukewarm water.

Then I tried to turn off the water but it wouldn’t shut off.  It was like some kind of trick handle. I would push it into the wall and the pipes behind the wall would retreat as well. I yelled for my sister – who besides being brave is also among the handiest women in our family (which isn’t really saying much) and she agreed that yep, it was broken. So we called the rental company to send someone over while I threw on some clothes and towel dried my hair.

I have to say that they were nothing if not quick. Within 15 minutes a couple arrived, small daughter in tow, and started working on it.

Now, in order to understand the rest of this story, you must know that there is a small closet adjacent to the shower. However, Brad opened it when we arrived, quickly closed it and stated “It’s smells like something died in there.” So naturally, I didn’t bother opening it again. The husband and wife fix-it team must not have known about the smell because they did open it and lo and behold, the drywall had already been removed so that, as they explained after they were able to turn off the water, the next time I took a shower, all I had to do was get out of the shower, hold the pipes with one hand and reach around with the other to push in the knob.

Yeah.  This place screams “CLASS”.

But the thing is, having that opening in the wall is, to my way of thinking, like having a portal for cockroaches. I mean, they could go in anywhere but when it comes time to come out, our closet is screaming “Hey! Here’s a great big hole in the wall! There’s even a water source nearby!”

Here I am after my shower. (I know! I can state the obvious with the best of them!)

[To be fair, we didn’t see any roaches in our room – or anywhere else, for that matter – that week. But after worrying about it and being so careful to always wear shoes, etc., the morning after we got home, I walked into our kitchen barefoot and stepped right on a half-dead cricket. So yeah, that was poetic justice. And time to call my pest control hero, whose name just happens to be Shawn Cassidy. Seriously. You can’t make this stuff up.]

So now that the Shower Event of 2011 was over and done with, I decided it was a good time to get on my iPad and do a few things I enjoy, like check Facebook, etc.  That’s when I experienced what may have been one of the biggest shocks I have ever had in my life.

Because not only was there no WIFI there, THERE WAS NO CELL SERVICE THERE!  I mean, the phone part would work sometimes, but the data part was completely non-existent!!!!  I couldn’t schedule to record shows on our DVR, check our bank balance, pay bills, Google anything, look at a map or even – horrors – tweet!!!!  And they call this a vacation location???? (No, actually they call it a fishing town, a “port” actually, where people come to get away from their phones and devices. People like my husband, who was thrilled we couldn’t access the internet.)

So while my husband was out doing something he dreams of doing all year long – fishing for Redfish and Trout – I stayed back at the condo with the women, watching whatever cartoons the kids selected (mostly SpongeBob Square pants) and – wait for it – catching up with my family! Ding ding ding! That was number 7 on my list of things I wanted to do while on vacation: Enjoy my family. In fact, if I had not slept so late, I might have also accomplished number 8: Drink coffee on the balcony and watch the sun rise. But funny thing about watching the sun rise. You have actually wake up before it rises. So while I had coffee on the balcony that morning, I missed the sunrise.

The kids and I went swimming Monday, too. That would be number 4 on my list: swim. If you're keeping track, that makes 2 things on my list - and it's only the 3rd day!!!

But hey, I was given the chance to get up at 5:40 and go stand on a boat with a fishing rod and smelly men, casting over and over again in the hopes of catching something I won’t even eat when it’s deep fried and wrapped in bacon.  And everyone knows that if you wrap something in bacon, it instantly becomes palatable. And if that’s not bad enough, about 30 minutes after you get out there, the sun comes up and instantly the temperature shoots through the roof and as it reflects off the water, it burns through your eyeballs, no matter how expensive your sunglasses.  And if that’s not enough of a draw, the men are such avid fishermen, they don’t care what extreme conditions occur during those hours on the boat. Even if you beg with tears falling to please please please take you back to the condo, they’ll ignore you.  You could be bleeding from your ears or worse – needing to pee – and they will still continue fishing.

[At least, that’s the way I remember it. The last time I actually went fishing was, oh, 16 years ago? I can’t remember exactly. In my defense, I was a newlywed and someone told me it was necessary for Brad and I to share hobbies.  Idiot.  The last time I gave that advice any credence was the year that, on our anniversary, I generously said, “Let’s do something you like this year, dear!” and Brad took me to a Rangers Game.  Since baseball is my husband’s passion, I tried – really really tried to like it. But the bottom line is that I hate baseball.  HATE IT.  It’s like fishing.  Only with bathrooms.]

My man of 19 years, still as good-looking as the day we married! I love that face!!!

So now that I have the kids “resting”, I’m in my bed, doing the same.  Because if I am honest, a nap is the best anniversary gift anyone could give me.  Well, that and WIFI.  But I’ll settle for the nap.

Vacation Day Two Or Three Or So

[This was actually a post from the same day – I just started to get confused about which day it was and if I had already written anything that day.  So consider this a bonus!  Score!]

Fish from Monday (Dad's boat)

Well Brad, Dad & Will went out this morning on Dad’s boat while Sadie, Truitt & Shan went with the guide. Shan’s crew had caught their limit (whatever that means) of Redfish & Trout by 10:30am. Meanwhile, no sign of the other boat. Then around 12:30 or 1, Brad showed up – I had just put myself & the kids down for rest time – just to tell me Happy Anniversary and that they were picking up some bait then going back out again. They had caught 4 Redfish at that point. When they came back, they had more fish (dad caught a flounder) but Brad only caught 1 more fish I think, so he was bummed. That was around 2:30 or 3, I think. I slept for an hour before Peter woke me up to ask if I knew where his crocks were (Crocks meaning his slip-on shoes. Not actual crocodiles.). They were walking to get ice cream and he had no shoes. Since I had no idea where they were, he ended up wearing my mom’s sandals. I guess if you’re a ten year old boy and you have to choose between humiliation and ice cream, ice cream’s going to win every time.

Gotta go. The Windjammer awaits!

Windjammer, party of…15? 13? I never could figure out how many of us there were.

I like Samuel's expression in this picture. If I had to guess, I would say he was probably arguing with Uncle Shan about the Sea Monster hanging on the wall in the previous picture.

And here is a little foreshadowing of tomorrow's post…just imagine Samuel on the side of the gate where Matthew is sitting, needing to climb over but unable to reach that step without a little help. Over and over and over again. Can you say "back pain"?