Griswolds Go To the Beach Pt. 1

Grab your towels and hang on tight folks.

The muppets and I headed south for a last minute vacation to my childhood home. (Ideally for some relaxation – for mommy anyway, since Search would undoubtedly deposit himself in GrammaJ’s lap for the duration and Destroy would…well destroy things.)

It’s in the mid-90s weather wise. My brother lives on the beach. I put these two nuggets of wisdom together and thought, “You know what seems like a good idea?! Let’s take the boys on their very first beach trip.”

Let’s take a step back. Remember when you and I were small peoples? Those hot summer days we’d be up at 8 a.m., in the pool by 9, and not dragged out until dinner. (Bonus points for now being an adult and successfully demanding s’mores, but I digress…)

Attire: The well-worn and oft-washed ratty bathing suit from Mervyns (it was like a Target for clothes only, now defunct – although the Mervyns Plaza near our house has a great Chinese restaurant). Girls: One-piece suit, may have ruffles at the hips. Boys: Shorts.

Today, in an effort to avoid any vitamin D absorption whatsoever, the little ones have been clad in (from top to bottom here) a UV-proof rashgaurd shirt, board “short” swim pants and snug watershoes to protect their little tootsies from the heat of…summer/earth/hot air from a parents mind.

Sunglasses and hats are also applied – they last approximately 37 seconds at best before getting ripped off (these would be the moments before brother gets his version and thinks they are desired objects). Then both children are hosed down with SPF 1,983 (to be reapplied every 15 minutes).

The morning arrived. BEACH DAY! The muppets and I rolled ourselves upstairs for some vittles. (Yes, the kitchen is upstairs. If I had a dime for every time I reassured someone of that fact during my 17-year residential stint here, I’d presently own beachfront property of my own. Likely in Hawaii.)

Papa (aka GrandpaStavo but redubbed Papa by muppets) poured me a cup of coffee. Clutch move there, Dad.

I went for the creamer. But, as lessons have been learned, I acutely examined expiration dates before imbibing any. Apparently disposing of expired substances is not high on my parents’ priority list. Items previously discovered include MarshMallow Whip from 1988, yogurt seven years expired and vintage ice cream.

Luckily the creamer only expired in January, so it was probably still safe. (I actually think it was the creamer AuntJ and I bought when we came down for G.G’s FUNeral.)

However, it was this adventure that distracted me momentarily. After several healthy sips, I looked over and realized GrammaJ was also drinking a cup. GrammaJ can’t have caffeine. (I know, tragic, right?)

Papa began to excitedly chatter about the sand toys and small tent city he was planning to bring to the beach. I could not be bothered with such mundane things like preventing an overzealous excited grandfather from going overboard. The. Coffee. Was. Decaf.

That shit is unacceptable, man.

One double espresso later, and we were back on track. And by on track I mean GrammaJ had left to get her hair done, the muppets were doing their best to give an overwhelmed Papa a heart attack and I was packing.

Interestingly enough, I have also since discovered that my parents are not schedule sticklers. They’re more “around-ish” time planners. I have twins. Guess what doesn’t work.

Do you have your swimsuits? Do you need to bring snacks? Did you remember your shoes? Well, what do you want to play with when we get there; did you remember to put it all in the car? Do you know what time it is? Are you ready yet? Don’t make me leave without you.

And not a single question above was asked of my children. Is this what it’s like to be an adult?

Finally, an hour later than I’d planned, the car was loaded:

  • Swimpants, rashguard, swimshoes
  • Sandals, walking sneakers
  • Diaper bag with swim diapers and regular diapers
  • Change of clothes (two extra sets of shorts and tees)
  • Toddler snacks: bananas, strawberries, string cheese, graham crackers, Ritz crackers
  • 5 towels
  • 4 beachmats
  • 3 folding chairs
  • 2 person tent
  • Umbrella stroller
  • Sunscreen
  • Cooler with water bottles
  • GrammaJ, Papa
  • 2 muppets
  • Waterproof camera
  • And very likely a partridge in a pear tree somewhere. (This is not out of the blue as Papa had Celine Dion Christmas carols blasting through the outdoor speakers to the pool when we arrived. I am not making this up.)

I clamored into the backseat between the car seats, gave a brief tutorial on how to work the car’s AC system (push AC, no – not that button the one that says AC). Papa lurched the car forward, then back, discovered the parking brake – and we were off.

If we were able to survive the expansive stretch of the 405 Freeway in front of us, where being a carpool means you get to 5mph vs. 2, there was a chance we might actually see sand in our future.

[To be continued…]


Filed under Family Stories, Vacation

4 Responses to Griswolds Go To the Beach Pt. 1

  1. Megan

    Ohmygod, I love your family. Seriously. Can’t wait for part two. We just tried the beach trip up here, probably took about as long to get there with two less people and way farther to go, but hey, I got my toes in the sand (that was it, it was too cold to remove any other article of clothing…) Ahh, northern California.

  2. Ah! What a riot! Yes, we too spent entire days in pools. I recall that sometimes the babysitter would come outside at like 4:00 and spread white goopy sunscreen all over our pool-wet skin. Good timing.

  3. Joanne Hamann

    OMG – I feel like I am there – I can visualize it all!! No fair about Part 2 – I want it now! And, for the record, that’s NOT the creamer from GG’s funeral – I stayed in Bell Canyon the beginning of June and there was no creamer, so you either hunted more successfully than me, or they purchased it special for YOU! The Griswold’s go to the beach… Love it!!

  4. Pingback: Starfish Swim School and the Five Points of Panic | Stream of the Conscious

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