Saturday, July 15, 2017

Beach Week 2017 in the books

Beach Week 2017 is in the books. We made it back in a reasonable amount of time, despite the side trip to the Norfolk Airport to drop Patrick off. A few delays, but no interminable backups. Lucy was pleased to see us, and intrigued by all of the new smells and beguiling aromas we brought back with us.

It was a good week. I enjoyed being with my family. I only gained 4 pounds, probably because of the 15 miles of road work I put in for the week. Had I not done that, I would be on the north side of 200 once again!

One thing is disturbingly clear...Maine has ruined me. Spending a month up there last summer has flat out ruined the beach for me. Let me try to explain.

Our weather over the past seven days was very good for the Outer Banks in July. The only rain we got was at night. Five out of the seven days were mostly sunny. But...man was it hot. The presence of a brisk breeze on the beach almost nonstop didn't help in the slightest. It was like being in the sauna at the gym, only every few minutes you could get up and walk down to the surf to cool off. But, dang was it hot out there. Although Hatteras Island, compared to most beaches on the East coast, is not overrun with vacationers, there were still a lot of other people on the beach. Again, nothing wrong with that at all...but did I mention how hot it was?

By contrast, our month in Maine in July of 2016, featured a gorgeous fresh water lake with our own private dock and float. There was a neighbor on the float next to ours, roughly a football field away, but our only communication with her was a lazy wave of the hand as we kayaked by. Unlike the quarter mile hike up the hot sand mountain required to reach the beach in Waves, the walk to our lake dock was maybe a hundred feet. And although there were a few nights early on that were uncomfortably warm in an air-condition-free house, most nights felt like heaven with the fresh breeze  from the lake drifting through the opened windows. The morning's were actually a bit chilly.

Whenever it rained, which thankfully wasn't often, we would just hop in the car and drive the 15 minutes into Camden and tool around in that fabulous little seaside village, grab some blueberries pancakes, or shop for hidden treasures at the Smiling Cow. We could take a ride on a lobster boat, or take in a play at the local theatre. One thing we never had to do was...make dinner for 18 people on a gas grill that didn't work!

Of course, the Dunnevant Beach Week isn't the same thing as a month in Maine, so it's not fair to compare the two. But, fair or not, once you go there, you can't help but measure everything else that comes afterwards to its standard.

One very cool thing about our Beach Week vacation is the fact that because it only happens every two years, it's fascinating to see how much of a difference those two years makes in the little ones. In 2015 little Evelyn was just a baby, this year she was an adorable princess. Two years ago Ezra would freak out whenever anyone stated singing. This year he was making requests during singing night! Darcy shocked us by how tall she had grown in two short years, and Bennett wore his baseball uniform one night after dinner...is it possible that he is old enough to play baseball?? Generally, it was amazing to watch how well all of them played with each other this year, no where near as many fights and arguments as in years past. They are all growing up and maturing. Two years makes a big difference. We grown ups change too over two years. We are all older, maybe a bit slower. Two years hence we might need more bedrooms. There might be new members added to the family, perhaps a new grandchild. Our beach week vacations serve as measuring sticks, a chance to take pictures and compare them to the ones in the picture albums from 1999 and 2009. But, honestly...someone in this family needs to win the lottery so we can afford to have the thing catered. If I'm asked to make dinner for 21 people on a strange grill again, I might revolt.

In 54 days, Pam, Lucy and I will make the drive to Quantabacook Lake in Searsmont, Maine.

I'm counting the days...