Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Beach

Official Group Photo of the First Annual Gulf Shores Monkey Convergence

Prior to going to the beach, I joked about finishing my story for the Memphis Magazine fiction contest, maybe putting out the next issue of Fertile Ground, and posting daily updates of our adventures. I asked Warren to borrow the laptop from work so I could accomplish these goals. I thought I might run into trouble if there was no wireless connection, but come on, surely there would be a wireless connection!

There wasn't.

But you know what? I really didn't care. Not one to sit around and do nothing, I actually did just sit around and do nothing. Turns out it's pretty fun! So to all of you who thought I couldn't relax, I give you Exhibit A:

(Please don't look directly at the picture of RJA. He would like to continue to believe that no one knows his true identity.)

I was so relaxed I didn't even write a single word in my little notebook. Not one. I also went three days without putting shoes on or conditioning my hair. The monkeys were allowed to stay up as late as they wanted, sleep wherever they wanted (usually in a pile of other monkeys), and eat whatever they wanted whenever they wanted it.

(I did have a little obsession with recycling while there, but you know, Global Warming doesn't go on vacation!)


We really lucked out with our house. It was right on the beach--a quiet beach populated with other families. (There was a midwife and mother of FIVE right next door!) We didn't have to lock the doors or worry about the children running around unattended. We could be as loud as we wanted, build bonfires, and best of all, put our smallest monkeys to sleep on the beach so we could skinny dip.


Just as RJA waxed poetic about a family trip to the beach when he was six, I also spent some time remembering our family vacation to Miami and Orlando when I was six. My only clear memory is of getting up early one morning to go look for shells with my mom. Everyone else was asleep and the two of us went on our own little adventure.

I told Satchel and sure enough, the first morning we were there, he came bounding into the room where I was sleeping at the crack of dawn and said, "Let's go for a walk!"

Instead of grumbling and redirecting him towards a television like I might do at home, I smiled, put my contacts in, and headed outside for the first of our daily walks. Unfortunately our beach was not very shelly, but that didn't prevent us from having an adventure. Depending on the day, we found plenty of things to hold our interest: dead jelly fish, crabs, cans & bottles that needed recycling, giant holes dug by fellow beach goers, sandcastles, etc.

When Satchel caught his first sand crab, he looked at me with his whole face lit up and said, "I caught it all by myself. I didn't even need C. That's pretty cool." From then on, it was all crabs, all the time for Satchel. Dead or alive, whole or in pieces, hermit, sand, blue, or fiddler, he did not discriminate.


I was glad to have my quality face time with Satchel in the mornings since Warren was really one-upping me in the "Cool Beach Knowledge" department. He led the nightly crab walks and occasional nature walks. He took the boys fishing. He could identify--and catch--all of the cool creatures we discovered in the water and in the sand. (And the air!)

Much to the delight of the group, Warren equates relaxing with cooking. He made plenty of time for stealth grocery store runs and cooking up feast after feast.


Jiro, who wasn't so sure he wanted to go to the beach at all (How could it comepare to C's house?), had a blast. Unlike Satchel (who was a bit skittish of the water due to a minor jellyfish sting on day 2), he was all about riding waves and getting wild in the water.

He also enjoyed getting buried in the sand...

And eating sno-cones.


The monkey dynamics were quite fascinating. S wanted to do whatever Satchel was doing. Satchel only had eyes for JP. JP wanted to do whatever C was doing. C just wanted to be left alone. Jiro alternated between wanting do what Satchel wanted to do, playing with S and Miss M, and doing his own thing. Miss M needed to be close to her parents at all times--except for the one hour she decided she wanted to be with me (and the sno-cone I was going to buy her). GK stayed happy unless Kristy attempted to put her down and/or take 5 or more paces away from her. Hammy was pretty needy, considering he's only 4 weeks old, but he had his moments thus making Team S.A.M. the most adorable of the group.

Even RJA tried to get honorary Team S.A.M. status.

(Again, please do not look directly at RJA's face.)


I have to admit that I felt footloose and fancy free with a three-year-old and a five-year-old. That may have been why I was able to actually relax. Satchel and Jiro both did an amazing job of taking care of themselves in the midst of a pack of wild monkeys. Sure there were tears and some much needed kisses and snuggles, but for the most part, they were running around like kids and not babies.

I think they were probably just high from the fact that their dream to live with Team Alley & Team S.A.M. had finally come true--and on the beach to boot.

When I told Jiro it was time to leave, he looked at me in horror and said, "WHY??"

Truly, he couldn't understand why I would make him leave paradise.

My lame explanation of "We have to go back to work and school," just didn't cut it.

The only way I convinced him to get in the car was with promises of coming back next year and spending a lot of time at C's house in the interim.

Had we not been in a rush to split town in time to make the Zoom v. AOD bout, I might have refused to leave.


Unknown said...

I say next year we make it a point to request a place with no wireless internet ... and no clock, but with a big ice maker, and a disposal, and curbside recycling for Stacey and Al Gore and the Earth.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, can I come next year? We just got back from the East Coast which included a week in the OBX (should I be slapped for using that acronym?). My kids aren't so independent as yours, and the water wasn't so calm that I could relax even with the 4 year old, but we still had a good time. I do want to come visit you guys because you always seem to be having much more fun than we are!

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