Last Sunday morning DOB and I were lying in bed, feeling uninspired about getting up and about life in general. That classic motivational question, "What gets you out of bed every morning?" could by us only be answered, "Someone standing outside our door screaming, "I'm WET!"
As we lay there, thinking of all the things we didn't want to do but had to, and all the things we wanted to do, but couldn't, we finally thought--why not just do one of them? So we decided to spend the Veteran's Day weekend at the coast. Now, we knew the chances were in favor of terrible weather. However, terrible weather on a weekend getaway is not so bad. It gives you the chance to go out and say to yourself, "Wow, big waves. Brr, cold wind. I think I'll go back in and read a book."
So we found a $70 suite with a kitchen attached and packed up the kids and the food and went for it. After all, the worst that could happen was that we would have a horrible time, in which case the return to humdrum life would come as a welcome reprieve.
The town we had happened upon was just remote enough not to pull enough money for modernizing into condominiums, but not so little as to become run-down, so instead it had an old-fashioned, One-Morning-in-Maine sort of vacationy feel, and our motel was simple but cozy and beachy with cement block walls stenciled with shells and extra towels labeled "DOG" for use on small furry or non-furry creatures coming off the beach.
The weather was lousy--the only time the wind didn't blow so hard we couldn't see was the unnatural calm that came when we took the kite down to the beach--but we had The Princess Bride to watch and The Phantom Tollbooth to read and plenty of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. (I'm terribly indecisive in cookie making; I tend to just throw it all in.) We found two free museums, one of which gave the kids the sand dollars and shells they didn't have the opportunity to collect. We only had one emergency load of laundry and one nosebleed, which, considering our odds, was pretty good.
We live so close to the Sound that it is easy to think we know all about salt water and forget what a great difference there is between our tame little beaches and tidy little whitecaps disrupted by the passing foot ferries and the roaring Pacific. It was worth the drive just to feel and hear the power of the ocean. Although after reflecting upon it and observing the ubiquitous Tsunami Evacuation Route signs, DOB has scratched "beach house" off the fantasy list and is replacing it with a cabin in the mountains.
On the way back DOB tried rerouting us with his Blackberry (much more exciting than GPS, though we did miss one road that apparently had taken up the wrong name) and we found our way up into the rain forest, which after the beach felt mild and dry, so we had a lovely hike and admired the massive trees that had fallen down when Laura and Mary were little girls. (As far as our kids are concerned, there are three basic eras to history: Bible Times, Robin Hood, and Little House).
The biggest hit of all, of course, was nowhere so far and exotic, but the town about an hour away with a climbing structure built like a castle. We will undoubtedly have to take more trips to it.
I learned a few things to make the next trip smoother: Don't pack the oranges on top of the cookies. Take warmer coats than you think you'll need. Don't serve fish the night before you leave and then forget to take out the garbage. (The house stank when we got back, but I remembered a tip I had read and put cinnamon sticks and cloves in a pan of water on the burner. This worked great, as the smell of whatever it was that had stuck to the burner the last time I cooked quickly overpowered the fish.)
Sure enough, it is nicer to be home now. We'll have to do it again.