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(Step 4) Vacation: Beach Bummin’ and Bonfires; Jaws

15 Jul

We spent the vast majority of our time at the beach…

We did some evening swimming the first two nights (although, I opted out of that…) and pretty much became the epitome of beach bums. You could have asked me what day it was or what time it was, but I’d have had no clue. Just the way vacation is supposed to be.

Thanks to Riley, Chloe’s older sister, Zach, Andrew and I learned how to boogie board. And despite a few minor mishaps (read: Mother Nature ripping my bikini bottoms off in a wave and exposing my extremely white arse to the entire eastern seaboard;losing my sweet D&G knock off sun glasses) the whole boogie boarding gig was pretty awesome. Prior to Riley teaching us the ole’ “Superman Trick” though, we were all scrapped up and bleeding from the ocean floor. Apparently any experienced boogie boarder knows that you have to pull your legs up (like you’re doing a superman) and then you won’t get your shins ripped off.

But other than boogie boarding, we pretty much just caught some rays. Well, that’s what I did anyway. Zach and Andrew tried to catch some girls…

And because my life is never normal, we couldn’t just go to the Atlantic Ocean without a little extra somethin-somethin going on… Perhaps you heard about the shark sightings on Cape Cod. You know, the 16 foot great white(s)? Naturally, there are sharks in the ocean; however, during the course of our trip there were multiple shark sightings just off the coast… like, within 150 yards of the beach.

According to the local newspapers, sharks follow seals and there had recently been an influx for seals in the area. In order to maintain everyone’s safety, helicopters and planes consistently flew over the beaches scanning the waters for Jaws himself and this what they saw…

(Image borrowed from cbsnews.com)

…just 15-20 miles from where I was loosing my drawers/sunglasses and we were boogie boarding to our hearts desire. And although we were close to this not-so-snuggly-sealife, we never got this close…


Cape Cod Online Newspaper
Contrary to what you’d probably think, we didn’t let the shark ruin our beach time. One of the nights we were on Cape Cod we spent on the beach roasting s’mores over a fire in the sand… just like those Hershey’s commercials you always see starting in mid-May.

Unlike what you see in those glamourous commercials though, we had to scale down the side of a small mountainous sand dune… some of us rolled… some of us sprinted… some of us side-stepped, but regardless we made it.

Looking back at the trip, I’d have to say that this bonfire was probably my favorite moment on the trip. Heck, it is probably going to be one of my fondest memories from the summer. Being from backwoods, PA I’ve had my fair share of bonfires but this one was so different; the waves crashing, sand under my feet. We got to watch a full moon rise over the water and then naturally we had to take 500 pictures using that as the backdrop.

In between photo-ops Andrew started digging a massive hole in the sand, that of which we were told we would have to fill in upon leaving because apparently it posses a safety issue. This hole was more of a Civil War bunker than a hole in the sand and it was complete with a moat and an emergency exit. All of the youngsters diligently assisted the architect, Andrew, in assembling the world’s most extensive hole in the sand.

We stayed late enough for high tide to wash away all of their hard work and then we packed up and retreated up the Grand Canyon massive sand dune, working off the s’mores we indulged in. And even though the massive hole was demolished after a few high-tide waves, we made some pretty awesome memories that even the biggest waves couldn’t ruin.

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(Step Three) Vacation: Actually Being On Vacation

11 Jul

This has little, if nothing, to do with this post but I need to say it for my own peace of mind… I’ll admit that prior to visiting Cape Cod, I always got annoyed when people referred to it as “The Cape.” However, within the first 10 minutes of experiencing Cape Code, I quickly realized Cape Cod is affectionately called The Cape by people who come from all over the world to enjoy one of our country’s most beautiful and serene landscapes. So I’ve since jumped on “The Cape” bandwagon. (Dad, that paragraph is for you, so stop making fun of me for finally saying “The Cape.” haha)

So, we reached The Cape and we were all slap-happy/cranky from the long drive. We jumped out of the car and high-tailed it to the ocean… this n’ that… you already know that from the previous post…

Unfortunately (or fortunately)–depends on how you look at it– the main house we were going to be staying at was under construction and was not finished.

Attached to the back of the main house is an apartment that of which is also under construction despite the fact that it was intended to be finished by now. Which, really… I mean, construction never goes as planned! That’s just kind of how it is. Behind the 4 bedroom, 5 bathroom main house and the apartment is a cottage, with three bedrooms and nice big deck.

And as you might have guessed, we all moved into the 3 bedroom cottage… all 17 of us: Mom, Dad, Zach, Andrew, Myself, Zoonie, Scott, Kian, Michelle, Colleen, Lowry (Colleen’s husband), Riley (Colleen and Lowry’s daughter), Chloe (Colleen and Lawry’s daughter), Shamus (Scott’s bro), Jodi (Shamus’ wife), Talia (Shamus and Jodi’s daughter), and Owen (Shamus and Jodi’s son).

I’ll admit, my pre-Madonna attitude got the best of me upon receiving the news that we were all living in one house… but then I realized how damn lucky I was to even be at The Cape with such awesome people and I got over my I-have-to-share-a-room-?! issues. I had some pretty decent roommates too…

After checking out the beach and unloading everything we ever owned out of my dad’s truck, it was nap time. We took a solid 4 hour nap and then it was time to vacation.

Zach and Andrew quickly discovered bikes that they could use to explore The Cape on and, of course, “scope out chicks.” (I’m rolling my eyes.)

Of course, we had to got back down to the bay, which was literally footsteps from where we stayed…

The bay has a ton of things living in it… crabs, horse shoe crabs, snails, muscles… fish… And Chloe, Scott’s 8-year-old niece, was more than poised to teach me about them. The girl has no fear; she’d come sprinting up the beach with some wild animal in tow screaming in her Boston accent with excitement… and I’d do best not squirm and flip out.

Chloe, with her Bostonian accent and infectious giggle, was my lil’ side kick during the course of vacation… and without her, I wouldn’t have learned a dang thing about marine life on The Cape.

Another lil’ something I learned while on vacation–well, relearned– was how caring and compassionate my brothers are.

I sneakily took this picture of Zach holding Kian’s hand in the water and it immediately became one of my favorite pictures of all time. Andrew did a lot of really adorable, caring things too but I just didn’t manage to get a good shot of em’ on camera. I love my brothers.

But enough of the sappy crap.

After chilling on the beach and what not, we went to a flea market just down the street from where we were staying. It was here where the must have spring/summer fashion accessory was born: THE FEDORA. You might be thinking that the fedora has been around a long time; however, never has it ever had a detachable strobing light. Yah. Zoonie purchased his fedora–made of 98% paper product–as well as a 5 light bulb attachment for under $5.

And thank goodness he splurged for that dang fedora because later that night the fridge was not keeping the adult beverages at an acceptable cool temperature and he was able to fix that minor dilemma…

The fedora managed to serve many other purposes over the course of the trip. But I certainly can’t divulge all of my vacay stories in just one post… plus this is getting way too long…

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Up Next: Ocean Living, Jaws Sighting, Bonfire on the Beach…

(Step Two) Vacation: Getting There

9 Jul

Shortly after stocking our car with everything and anything we could possibly need for an 8 day vacation…

…we pulled out of our driveway and hit the highway. We drove in two cars, as I may or may not have mentioned in the previous post. Clearly, we had too much crap in our car to fit all five of us so I graciously accepted the honors of riding in “Uncle” Zoonie’s car with my Uncle Scott, Aunt Michelle and cousin Kian. Note: Zoonie (whose real name is Tim–don’t ask) is my Uncle Scott’s brother… my Uncle Scott married my dad’s sister, Michelle. End family tree review, but do realize there is going to be a lot of family to digest in the next several posts… perhaps I will create a visual to demonstrate all of the relations…

Anyway, we pulled out at roughly 6PM and endured the 11.5 hour trip to Cape Cod–Mom, Dad, Zach and Andrew in my dad’s car (somewhere amongst all the crap we packed) and then myself, Aunt Michelle, Scott, Kian and Zoonie in Zoonie’s car. Our plan of attack for this obnoxiously long, butt numbing car ride was to drive through the night as to avoid massive 4th of July traffic. But also, considering we had a 2-year-old in tow (Kian) we thought he’d sleep most of the ride; thought* being the key word.

45 minutes into the trip we had to stop at a Walmart in order to buy a new in-car-DVD-player because the one we had basically fizzed out and became nonfunctional. Being that we had a two-year old strapped into a car seat for what was about to be an 11.5 hour drive, we had to stop to replace it. If for nothing else, to maintain our sanity.

So our small caravan stops in Dunkirk, NY for an emergency DVD purchase…

And naturally, we couldn’t just be “regular” people who are stopping at the store on their way to spend a week at the beach… oh no. Zoonie, in his forest green, 1998 Buick pulls up to the nicest car in the parking lot, leans out the window, nods his head several times and proceeds to ask the driver of the car’s wife, “What’s that baby got under the hood?” The classic car drove off into the humid summer night, but not before Zoonie could ask them to, “LIGHT IT UP!!!” Which is a Zoonie-ism for let’s hear the engine at work.

Anyway, $100 later, we had a top of line in-car-DVD-player and we were ready roll. Zoonie lit up the 98’s engine and purred right back onto I90. The next several hours were seemingly uneventful… until we hit a toll booth in Massachusetts that had one toll booth operator working both sides. At this point it was roughly midnight/1am and everyone was getting tired. We sat in line at the toll booth, with honking semi’s and swearing New York drivers for a solid twenty minutes. We speculated that perhaps the other toll booth workers called off? Zoonie was certain there was going to be a ,”$%^#ing riot!” But there wasn’t. After a long, honk-filled wait, it was our turn to pay the $0.85 toll and we were back in business.

Shortly after this toll booth, we arrived at another toll booth. Rob (dad) was having a fit because 1.) he hates stopping when he is driving and 2.) “The roads are a freaking mess here anyway; what are all these tolls going to?! This is a flipping conspiracy!!!” However, this toll booth had no operator and no funnel to stick your money in either. So for a solid 2 minutes my dad sat at the toll booth, getting more furious with each second, waiting for my mom to tell him what to do. The convo went something like this:

;

Dad: Sue, how much is this toll? I can’t read that damn tiny writing!

Mom: ….

Dad: SUE! How much is this toll? Zoonie is way out ahead of us now!

Mom: ….

Dad: SUSAN!!!! What are you doing!!?? What do I do!? There is no worker here!!! We need to pay the stupid toll, what am I doing!?

Mom: (zoned into her iPhone) What? What’s happening? Hold on, I only have thirty seconds left on my game…

Dad: SUE! This is no time for a game! What do I do? Tell me what I am supposed to do? Where do I put the toll? There is no worker… I don’t know how flipping much this toll is, probably $50..those sons a…, and Zoonie is long gone, we are going to be lost…

Mom: Oh, just throw a twenty out the window and we will call it even!

Dad: WHAT!? I AM NOT THROWING MONEY OUT THE WINDOW! THERE IS NO WHERE TO PUT IT!!! SOMEONE CALL MICHELLE AND ASK HER WHAT TO DO

Mom: Okay, only 10 seconds left on my game! Then I’ll call.

After her game was over, Mom called and Aunt Michelle said that they just drove through the booth… no fees, no questions, and no police chased them down. So Dad put the pedal to the metal and caught up to Zoonie, toll-free. My Uncle Scott claims that people who are ambitious enough to be driving at 3 am are spared the toll booth expenses as a gift for their tenacity. I guess we will really never know why no one was at that booth…

Once we actually managed to make it to Cape Cod, the sun was already starting to rise. It was shortly after 4 am and I had since switched places with Andrew in the car. Cape Cod is actually a really long peninsula, much longer than I had really realized just looking at the map. We drove on Cape Cod for over an hour to reach our house and the whole entire way Zach had his head hanging out the window. Meanwhile, my dad kept telling him to roll up the window because the air conditioning was on… but according to Zach, you can only sight see with the windows down. At this point we were all deliriously tired and everything was hysterical. Zach and Andrew have never truly seen the Atlantic Ocean until this week, so they were pretty pumped to have an opportunity to experience it. Therefore, every time we passed an accumulation of water–I’m talking, puddles, ponds, kiddie pools–Zach was like, “Oh man! I almost thought that was the Atlantic Ocean for a second!” (Needless to say, when he actually saw the ocean, he was elated.)

At 4:45am, we pulled into the house that we would be staying at for the next 8 glorious days… we were greeted by my Uncle Scott’s sister, Colleen, and her two daughters, Chloe and Riley, who had already spent one night on The Cape. We walked down to the beach before we even set foot in the house and watched the sunrise.

It was the perfect start to an awesome eight days…

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Next Up: Living Arrangements, Cape Cod’s Flea Market births a Fedora with lights, and ocean living…