Family Vacation Day 3: Waterloo

Since we spent the day at the pool yesterday, I promised the girls a trip to the beach today. Over coffee this morning, the six adults of Clan Calamity failed to formulate a meaningful plan of action. I departed for the first store run of the day and was unsurprised yet disappointed to find no progress had been made upon my return. The questions swirled ’round like mosquitoes at a barbecue: Who would drive to the beach, who would take the shuttle? How would we transport the requisite 237 pieces of toys and gear? My husband wanted to go for a run, I needed to work for a bit. Our patriarch, Opa, would be arriving mid-afternoon, having been delayed by radiation treatments. One of the collegiate nieces would be flying in on either the 12 o’clock or 2 o’clock flights, but we would not know which one until 11 a.m. She would need to be retrieved. While we debated, the four girls between ages 7-9 ran back and forth through the condo practicing semi-lethal Tae Kwon Do moves. Miracluously, a loose plan came together and everyone was given their marching orders.

Lunches were being made my three different people, the middle two girls were still trying to out-Ninja each other, the nine year old was refusing to change into her bathing suit. Two adults were packing cars, one was changing clothes, and the five year old was dangerously underfoot. Pressed against the wall, I surveyed the chaos and realized that even on his worst day, Napoleon didn’t have this much trouble with his troops.

Finally, all but my husband and I were out the door and on their way. I scrambled to get as much work as possible crammed into the 45 minutes left before the next beach shuttle. Luckily for me, my phone rarely rings, and when it does, it is usually my family. Since they all knew were I was, and I they, I assumed I would be uninterrupted. Eight minutes after they departed Meemaw called to tell me where my kid sister had parked and how to get there from the shuttle stop. Three minutes later my kid sister called to tell me where she had parked and how to get there from the shuttle stop. Four minutes later my nephew called to notify me that he had parked in the same location and made sure I knew how to get there from the shuttle stop. Armed with ample directions and confident I would not become misdirected walking two blocks due south from the shuttle stop, I quickly logged off and dashed to catch my ride.


Camp Calamity

I arrived at the beach at 12:20 to find Camp Calamity well established at the outskirts of the soft sand. They sky was cloudless, the humidity less than 60%, and there was a lovely breeze. A perfect beach day.


I walked along the beach with the five year old, a keen boy with singular focus who was hell bent on picking up every damn broken clam shell on the beach. I will be buying him a much smaller bucket later today.

Auntie Jane is buying someone a smaller bucket.


Upon my arrival, I learned that Meemaw had gone to get the inbound niece. They arrived a short while later and our matriarch, not being a big fan of having sand stuck in all of one’s unmentionable places, headed back to the condo. By 1:20 the wind had increased to 25 knots and we were all feeling like barnacles on a boat hull at the hands of the sandblaster. Additionally, the five year old was having trouble grasping the concept of how not to get sand in all of one’s head holes and so had melted down.

An SOS was sent to Meemaw to return to with my sister’s car that we might retreat to the relative comfort of the condo pool. By the time she arrived a few minutes later, we had decamped and were more than eager to escape the Saraharan haboob which had engulfed us.

At press time, the collegiate niece and three other adults have relocated to the pool with 4 of the 5 children. My youngest and her father have gone to play mini-golf. Opa’s arrival is imminent and Meemaw is engrossed in her Kindle, safe and unabraised by the air born grit. I will be headed out momentarily to work on tanning what skin I have left.

Having been raised on the water from birth, it is a bad day when Clan Calamity voluntarily leaves the beach. I am sure Emperor  Bonaparte felt much the same at Waterloo. I’m not sure what it’s like in Elba, but being exiled to a well maintained pool on the Redneck Riviera sounds just fine to me!





  1. A trip to the beach can have its problems. I’m sorry to hear that the five-year-old was having trouble keeping keeping his ears, nose and mouth silica-free. Still, it’s a problem you’ll definitely have to address. It’s not the kind of issue where it helps to bury your head in the sand.

  2. Still a fun day at the beach! Miss it.. Although we do have beautiful mountains right here in flagstaff and that little hole in the ground called the Grand Canyon only an hour and a half away. Still
    Miss the feel of that wet sand between my toes..and everywhere else!

    1. Have never seen that ditch y’all brag about, but surely it would be better than that mess we had today!

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