In a family vacation nutty enough to require two posts (and also because Iâ€™m condensing the whole week into these posts), the saga continues. We arrived at Uncle Paulâ€™s house. He lives on the beach. Not kidding.
Like the clown car that we were, the five of us piled out of the MomMobile (Jon is back home holding down the fort, in much calmer waters). Uncle Paul, Aunt Steph and Yoshi the attack Labradoodle puppy came bounding down the entryway to greet us.
To be honest, I was a little surprised they were so happy to see us. The only other time my little family visited the oceanside abode was February of last year â€“ mere days after the almost-newlyweds acquired a swanky new white microfiber couch. Which Search promptly initiated by barfing a copious amount of carrots upon. (In what Iâ€™m sure was only a coincidence, the couch was covered with an old sheet for this visit.)
â€œDo you want to go to the beach?â€ I asked trying to drum up excitement about our sandy adventure.
â€œYeah,â€ agreed Destroy. â€œDumb bitch.â€
Uncle Paul and Aunt Steph made eye contact and held each otherâ€™s gaze for approximately 1.3 seconds before collapsing into peals of child-free hysterical laugher.
â€œThatâ€™s right sweetie!â€ I exclaimed, glaring at the couple who were now doubled over gasping for air. â€œThe beach!â€
It was time to go.
Remember that list of beach supplies we toted down for our National Lampoonâ€™s Family Vacation? Papa decided it would be much simpler to walk rather than drive.
We clearly need to have a conversation about what constitutes â€œsimple.â€
Boys, beach mats, towels, tents, tables and coolers were piled into a wagon. Chairs were strapped to backs and bags were slung over open shoulders. And our gypsy caravan began trooping downhill.
When we finally reached the sun-soaked shores of the Pacific, we plucked the muppets from amid the beach supplies, kicked off our shoes and headed toward the water. Destroyâ€™s eyes LIT up, widened to the size of dinner plates.
We began unloading and setting up the Stream Compound. Search followed everyone around with a shovel, depositing fistfuls of sand on any item a beachgoer may want to sit on. He paused just long enough to let out a maniacal laugh.
When I looked over, Aunt Steph was frantically retying her bikini bottoms. It wouldnâ€™t be a trip to the beach without a wardrobe malfunction. (I also wore a bikini, so for anyone within a 50-mile radius of us, apologies for the blinding white light â€“ it was likely the reflection off my legs.)
Search, having just experienced a â€œdiaper issueâ€ for his own wardrobe malfunction, was marching around sans pants (but stylinâ€™ with GrammaJâ€™s red sun hat to shade his little person). This was short-lived, however, as Destroy quickly appeared behind him with Searchâ€™s red swim pants clutched tightly in his toddler hands.
â€œBrother. Pants ON!â€ he said exasperatedly.
Finally, while Uncle Paul madly typed away on his ziplock-baggie encased iPhone (sometimes the best solutions are the simplest. See Papa? Simple.) We set up for lunch.
Destroy took a large bit of his string cheese. Straight from his sandy hands. â€œYeauchh!â€ he spit that cheese right back out. We took the offending dairy product away and flung it down the shoreline.
The seagulls swooped in en masse. OH MY GOD! ALFRED HITCHCOCKâ€™S THE BIRDS HAVE COME TO THE BEACH. WEâ€™RE ALL GOING TO DIE! (I was ignored.)
Unfortunately, the muppets thought this was hilarious. So did Papa, who then encouraged his grandsons to put a banana on their head and see what happens.
â€œPapa, no,â€ scolding GrammaJ. â€œWeâ€™d rather not have one of the children carried away by a seagull.â€
What did happen was the table I was sitting at collapsed, sending all plates and drinks shooting down on top of me. Search was standing next to me. I looked at him. He looked at me. And then screamed bloody murder.
We interrupt this blog post for an important request. Whoâ€™s going to be my hardcore workout buddy? When you can take down a table while surrounded by LAâ€™s pretty people â€“ itâ€™s time to get your butt to the gym. ASAP. (Side note: Turns out not all people who to go the beach wearing beach attire are pretty people.)
After several more hours of chasing waves, building sand castles and demanding grandparents take them to go see TRUCKS (construction vehicles parked near the lifeguard station, and quite frankly, the highlight of the trip), it was time to go.
We played a zone defense: wrangling toddlers, packing up the small city of equipment and Papa dragging the tent back to the walkway to shower it off and fold it back up to carrying size.
Papa was still struggling long after we finished breaking down our goods. Six of us stood on the beach, our backs to the waves, staring at Papa and the tent. The tent was winning.
â€œUhOh Papa,â€ proffered Search.
â€œHe looks like heâ€™s about to be airborne. Like soon,â€ observed Aunt Steph.
â€œHeâ€™s never going to get that thing folded properly, is he?â€ I asked with visions of a dead grandpa strapped to the roof of the MomMobile. (National Lampoon reference. Donâ€™t freak out on me.)
â€œNo,â€ replied Uncle Paul. â€œHow long should we stand her watching before we go rescue him?â€
GrammaJ just shook her head sadly. After 34 years together, this didnâ€™t really come as a big surprise.
Exhausted and hungry, our motley sunburned crew headed back up the hill.
â€œBye bye fishies!â€ sang Destroy.
â€œBye bye Nemo!â€ called Search over GrammaJâ€™s shoulder.
I felt like it was a success.
And if not, we can do it all again tomorrow since we brought half the beach back home with us in shoes and various other unpleasant places.