The Beach

This past weekend, a friend, Virginia, and her daughter, Lucia, visited from Akron, Ohio. I know Virginia from Toledo because we used to work together. Our families would get together periodically for dinner or go bowling/mini-golfing/etc.

Virginia and I planned on having them come to visit us back in February.

Friday night, around 9pm, I get a call.

“I think I just passed the place I was supopsed to get off… but the exit number didn’t match up.”

Turns out she had most likely misread one of the signs and was still coming the right way. About another hour later, she called again.

“Ok, I’m on the road that runs in front of your apartments, where do I turn?”

So, I go outside with a flashlight to guide them in. As I open the door, a little wet frog jumps in, bouncing off my leg. Did you know it’s hard to continue a conversation with a wet, cold, slimey frog jumping around at your ankles?

“Uhhh… you wanna… yuck…. uhhh…. turn at the….. uhhhh….ummm…..uhhhhh… at the……uhhh…..”

As bad as I am with directions, that’s pretty much what it would sound like anyway, even without the frog.

She managed to find the place and Lucia, now eight years old and looking much bigger to me than the last time I saw her, climbed out of their SUV and said, “I think I’m ready to go to bed.”

No kidding. After five or six hours of riding in the back seat, I would be too…. sleepy and having to pee like a race horse. (What does that phrase really mean, anyway?)

After about an hour of catching up, we all went to bed and looked forward to a day of fun in the sun. We were all smiles… all but one of us: Lenny, our cat. He was hiding under our bed because a child had entered our home.

Saturday came and fun we had. Natalie packed some super-yummy sandwiches and fresh mixed fruit consisting of grapes, apples, pineapple and watermelon.

It was an incredible day: warm with a slight breeze, bright and oh-so sunny!

We stopped at the local Toys R Us for some sand toys and headed off to the beach with our cooler, filled with wonderful eats.

Once there, we found a spot, parked ourselves and watched Lucia as she skipped around in the water. I’ve found that kids lack the ability to sense temperature when water is involved. 65-degree water is not something that I am willing to subject myself to, but Lucia jumped in and swam around like it was a relaxing hot-tub. Her actions were compelling, so I kicked off my sandals and stepped in.

Upon stepping into the water, my body, which was sufficiently toasty and warm, was immediately shocked into the reality that this water was not fit for human enjoyment. It was evident by a number of things:

My already-skinny body became even skinnier; my back arched; and my toes, which are normally all facing forward, shot out like a starfish as if they were trying to evacuate the foot, controlled by a mind that was obviously not fit to be in control.

I stiffly walked back to our beach towels and sat down as the warm sun beat down on my body, returning my feet, now with opposable thumbs, back to normal.

A few moments later, we broke out the food and enjoyed the lunch that Natalie had packed. I had gone back to the vending area to purchase some bottles of lemonade for everyone. Generally, a bottle of lemonade runs around 75 cents… maybe even a dollar. At the beach, they know you’re going to be thirsty and charge you accordingly. I paid $6 for four bottles of lemonade that day.

$6 for four little drinks sounds a bit steep, but in light of things, $6 for four people and a day in the sun isn’t all that bad.

After eating, we grabbed our sand-toys and ran to the water ledge to begin our sand-castle masterpeice.

Minutes into it, it was clear that I had no idea what I was doing. My laziness took over as I analyzed the situation. I saw the others digging up wet sand to build the castle. In my mind, Water + Sand = wet sand. However, Digging = work. There’s got to be an easier way.

Idea: I’ll fill the bucket with about a quarter of water from the beach, risking the cold water actually touching my body, and then just fill the top of the bucket with dry sand, which is easily skimmed off the surface of the beach. No digging necessary, but I still get wet sand. I’m a genius.

Well, as most of you know by now, whenever I say, “I’m a genius,” it means that somewhere, my plan fails miserably and once again I am taught a lesson in humility. Such was the case with my wet-sand effort.

I took my pail of mud and dumped it right in the middle of our sand castle in an attempt to create a huge center-column. The end-result resembled more of a…. well, “disaster” is probably the best word to describe it.

After much chastizing and glares from the others, including Lucia, I began digging and we ended up building a pretty respectable sand-castle.

As soon as we were done, we adults went back to the comfort of our warm beach towels and let Lucia continue to play in the sand/water.

People would walk by and see our impressive-looking monument and then look at Lucia, eyebrows raised.

It was pretty entertaining.

What was not entertaining was realizing at the end of the day that I, being of Chinese descent and having never sun-burned in my life, probably SHOULD have worn sun-tan lotion like everyone else.

Normally, when I’m out in the sun too long, my skin turns a little pink, then the pink becomes a nice brown tan, and everyone envies me and my genes.

In this case, my pink became red, then my red became painful and I envied everyone else’s forethought for having put sun-tan lotion on.

Eventually, the weekend came to a close, and Virginia and Lucia were packed and ready to go home. Predictably (and understandably), Lucia was sulky about having to leave after having such a good time playing games, enjoying the beach and Natalie’s famous cooking all weekend.

To add insult to injury, Lucia’s stuffed rabbit, Limey, went missing. We all spent an additional 15 or 20 minutes to go through the house and find him, but alas, Limey was nowhere to be found.

We hugged and promised to send Limey when/if we found him and watched as Lucia and Virginia pulled away. Everyone had such a good time. I believe, if you had seen us all, you’d be able to see in our sad expressions that we’d all had a wonderful time together. Four frowny sad faces….

…and one happy smile. Lenny’s…. as he watched through the window as the company drove away. His weekend was finally about to begin.

2 responses to “The Beach”

  1. …or Lenny’s smile could have something to do with satisfaction – and a missing rabbit?

    and having to pee like a race horse. (What does that phrase really mean, anyway?)

    I take it you’ve never seen a race horse pee? *heh*

    Oh – and what happened to the frog?

  2. Two weeks ago we took the kids to the beach in St. Joseph, MI.

    For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how their tiny, skinny little bodies tolerated the seemingly icy water. They waded out waist-deep, when I wouldn’t even moisten my ankles in the frigid Lake Michigan waters.

    Kids…they have no sense of complacency.