Archive for the ‘Vacations’ Category


You have reached your mid-thirties. You have found the woman of your dreams, and after a brief courtship of two years, you have achieved wedded bliss. You never thought this would happen since her older brother, the Nebraska lineman, threatened to beat the crap out of you each time you went to pick her up for a date. “You lay a hand on my sister, I’ll grind you inta cow chow,” was one of his favorite descriptions of how you would be treated. Her mother always referred to you as a “nice boy,” but her father gave you the steely stare that Superman used just before his x-ray vision destroyed the bad guys in their supposedly indestructible hideout.

Following the wedding reception, you received a big welcome-to-the-family hug from the brother, prompting you to wonder if a honeymoon would even be possible – crushed spines do not for a pleasant honeymoon make – a lovely and sloppy kiss from your mother-in-law who was well into her cups, and that steely stare from your father-in-law that Superman used…well, you get the picture.

You have a wonderful job and a boss who is terrific…on the third day of your new employment at $80K per year – after all, you do have an MBA – he told you that if you played ball with him, he’d shove the bat up your butt, prompting an immediate posting of several resumes to many other firms. You later learned that he says this to all the new hires, thereby endearing him to you for never, but you’ve found him to be truly supportive over the past five years and you’re not certain you’d wish to ever work for anyone else [big mistake].

You have two kids and the wife is five months pregnant with your third. You have been working your proverbial butt off and finally, finally, you’re taking your first real vacation. Two weeks of sun and sand on Olde Cape of Cod. The weather to date has been absolutely gorgeous, prompting you to look forward to a little body surfing, a lot of sun tan lotion, and a few nights out with the bride, sucking down raw oysters and feasting on boiled lobster. Being the considerate husband that you are, you’ve even hired a 16-year-old local high-school girl to accompany the family and babysit the younger ones.

The house you’ve rented is spic ‘n span when you move in late Saturday morning. You’re within walking distance of the beach; the sun is shining; the sky is blue, and; it looks like the start of a great vacation. After slathering the youngsters with SPF 5000, off you, the kids, and the babysitter head for the beach, leaving your soon-to-be-mother-again to get some rest. It’s a glorious afternoon. The teenager takes great care of the kids, although her bikini seems to attract the attention of some of the teenage boys – have to speak to her about that; mmm, maybe ask the wife to do that. You all watch a beautiful sunset, but by the time you walk back to the cottage, everyone is exhausted and just a bit cranky. “I know,” you say, “How about I get some pizza?” That seems to please everyone, even the babysitter who is madly texting on her phone after taking care of the kids.

The pizza is a smash hit, but your skin is feeling a bit tight and sitting back bothers your back…too late you realize that you forgot to slather yourself with SPF 5000, and it looks like the sun was a bit too strong for you. By midnight, when everyone else is sleeping, you are in what the lifeguards call “agony.” You will not be going to the beach tomorrow.

It’s now Wednesday. The past several days have been fantastic. The kids are turning a lovely shade of tan; your wife is well rested and has joined the family at the beach while you hide out at the cottage, wearing a white shirt buttoned to the neck and wrists, long pants, and a beach hat that makes you look, well, rather a bit less than masculine. The pain is nearly gone, and you figure that by the weekend, you’ll be back in the water…remembering that this time, you will cover yourself with sunscreen before doing anything else.

On Thursday, you feel well enough to take the wife out for dinner at the local hot spot…a restaurant where reservations are a must…and you have them for 8 pm. The teenager promises that she’ll get the kids to bed on time, and off the two of you go to enjoy your first vacation meal on your own.

The meal is wonderful; the ambience perfect; your wife is lovely; and even the mild stinging on your body is not a bother. The sunset could have been better but what the hell, the rest of the evening was fantastic.

Arriving home, the cottage is fairly dark. Trotting up the stairs your wife precedes you to find the babysitter and one of the teenage boys from the beach engaged in what could only be defined as a compromising position on the living room couch. This is followed by some yelling and screaming as you totally lose it; the boy doesn’t even use the front stairs as he jumps from top to bottom while you wave a golf club – a nine iron actually, for plenty of loft – threatening to send a portion of his anatomy into orbit…which we all know is impossible with a nine iron.

The babysitter has run crying to her room to call her parents. Your wife is crying in the bedroom, shocked that a 16-year-old would be doing such things – her memory of what she did with you at 16 a vague and distant memory; the children have waked, wondering what the hell is happening; and you’re standing in the living room with a nine iron in your hand looking somewhat the fool because your face has cracked from your sunburn and the heat on your back has gone back to feeling like the Gates of Hell!

By 3 am, the babysitter has been whisked away by her parents with little or no explanations about why the departure is so sudden; the children have gone back to bed; against doctor’s orders, your wife has passed out from consuming half a bottle of scotch, and you are sitting on the front porch wondering just what the hell happened…and then your worst fears are realized…

The days have been so sunny and despite your personal tragedy of the sunburn and the in flagrante of the previous evening, your family has enjoyed nearly a week of sun, sand, and surf…but now this. The first sign of the horror to come sounds from out of the dark…the foghorn…this is followed by the white mist flowing over you like a clammy ghost. It’s the dreaded Cape Cod fog. It may last a day, a week, or even longer, but it has arrived and you can only pray to Poseidon that he will take it with him when the morning dawns.

He doesn’t. It stays…and for the next eight days, you and your family are trapped. The cottage has no heat. The fog and mist seep into everything, sheets, blankets, upholstered furniture, the rugs, even the breakfast cereal which becomes mush on its way to the bowls. The blasted foghorn is a constant reminder that the sun may never shine again. Tempers grow short…children yelling at one another about nothing to do; parents yelling at children to play games or read; children yelling back or crying until finally, the Saturday of departure arrives. As you pack up the car, the glorious sun makes its appearance, taunting you. The fog has lifted; the sky turns a brilliant shade of blue; tempers no longer flare, and as you drive home, window down and watching your skin peel away, you think to yourself…”damn, but I’m happy to be going back to work!”

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