As of this time in the evening, I have been without any sort of foot covering for more than twenty-four hours. No shoes or sandals or socks. I haven't been barefoot this long for longer than I can remember.
I wish wish wish I had a little tiny video camera in a corner of the room to capture breakfast conversation. There was a lengthy discussion about the varied merits of "Special K Red Berry" breakfast cereal. Nathan doesn't like "red berries" and so it was suggested that he go ahead and pour a bowl cereal and then simply give his red berries to Clayton, who was the one who wanted Special K Red Berry cereal to begin with. We then proposed that we have this cereal at home, and he could save up all the red berries and then take them over to Clayton's house, so that Clayton would have Double Berry Special K Red Berry cereal.
There was a discussion about the vanilla yogurt that Maddie was eating, in which it was noted that "vanilla" was not, in fact, listed as an ingredient. The closest thing was "natural flavor". Clayton's yogurt had some chemical name which was followed by, in parentheses, "a preservative". I explained this as a sort of embalming fluid for foods, which rapidly degenerated into a conversation about the shelf-life of Twinkie Snack Cakes. We determined that if you were to eat nothing but Twinkies, you should probably pump yourself full of enough preservatives to be able to live forever.
We had some hard-boiled eggs, chilled in the fridge overnight. I glanced over, and Maddie was rolling hers gently on the plate to crack the shell, whispering "crushhh...crushhhh...crushhhhh...". It was creepy and glorious and filled me with pride all at the same time. If I may borrow from Captain Malcom Reynolds, "Morbid and creepifyin' I got no problem with."
Grandmother took the van and went to a store which has supplies for beachy-type fun. She returned with four boogie-board things.
Pretty neat, eh? Kids were already at the beach when she returned, so she and I carried them down to the beach where they were met with a lot of excitement.
Four kids paddled out into the surf to begin trying to ride the waves. Fortunately, the waves were somewhat more tame than previous days.
Still, washing ashore is a splashy mess. Maddie's first attempt was successful (by our standards, anyway). I didn't get a pic of the grin right after she wiped her eyes clear, and I wish I had.
Macy took a few runs, as well, grinning the same. Nathan and Clayton tended to sort of float right at the edge of where the waves broke, bobbing up and down and having a conversation in that undecipherable language peculiar to twelve-year-old boys. I used to know it, but can't speak it very well anymore.
I think this is Maddie swooshing into shore; for certain it's her walking out of the water.
I like the way this one of Macy turned out. If we could just keep stray walkers off our beach, I'd have a clear shot!
There were a lot more dead fish, today. One pic of a dead fish ought to just about do it, right?
I realized that, what with me taking all the pics with my iPhone, there aren't any pics of ME. So, I took one. With my iPhone. I AM smiling, dammit.
Since I've married Leah, I've been amazed at how my daughters and I have been welcomed into the family and treated with such love and acceptance. Here, Grandmother is putting more sunscreen on Maddie, because that's what grandmothers do. If you haven't become part of a blended family, I can't properly describe how warm this makes my heart feel.
I think it was mostly Maddie and Clayton who wanted to dig a pit. A side of it caved in, so Clayton created an armchair for himself. It really is a huge pit. Such industry! Now, if we could only harness this energy, we could power the world!
Macy found a beensy little dead fishie that was just too cute of a corpse to not include. I forget what they named this one.
We came back up to the condo, had lunch, and watched X-Men Origins: Wolverine. That's some fun shoot-em-up blow-em-up cinema, right there. I want to know more about what the brothers did between wars; were they soldiers of fortune, or did they find some sort of nine-to-five until the next conflict? I want to know how they got along from boyhood and running from home until adulthood.
Kids were getting set up on computers and other electronic devices after the movie, so I rounded them up and headed them out for some more fun. Maddie and Leah and Grandmother went back to the beach. The boys and Macy and I went to the pool.
Dinner was disorganized. I ended up pulling a meal out of thin air, though, and everyone seemed to like it well enough. Let's see: seven people, two polish sausages and three chicken breast halves. The sausages went into a gallon ziplock with a little bit of barbecue sauce. The chicken breasts I butterflied, and the six pieces went into another gallon ziplock with some extra-virgin olive oil and the juice of one lemon. I also cut some zest off about a quarter of a lemon and minced it with the santoku knife and threw that in there, too. I then prepped carrots, green onions, and mushrooms for salads, and put water on the stove to heat while I to the meat outside in search of a grill.
I think I mentioned that the grills on the grounds are basically the same model Weber grill that I have at home, only connected directly to a gas line rather than a tank. Sadly, only three of the six visible grills seemed to be in working order. I finally found one, and got set up. The chicken breasts got fresh-ground pepper and fresh-ground sea salt, and went on the middle of the grill with only the side burners on (cooking with indirect heat is one of my favorite ways to keep things from catching fire). The sausages went on the top rack, and I listened to tunes while the smells from under the hood started to become very pleasant.
After dinner, I was starting to nurse what was working on being a migraine. I got that "ice pick behind the eyeball" feeling and went to stretch out on the bed for a bit. Grandmother ran to the store again and came back with little flashlights for everyone. We grabbed buckets and shovels and headed to the beach to catch some of those mole crabs we'd seen last night. Those little buggers are fast
, and you have to sort of dig them out of the sand right as the wave recedes from the shore. We caught a couple, and I gave two to some little girls who weren't having any luck catching their own. They thanked me, and I told them that it was part of special training that sixth grade teachers get. I think they may have believed me!
I had to smear Leah with about half a squeeze bottle of aloe gel. I think that one of the spray cans of sunscreen was really low when I did that part of her body, and by the time she wanted to apply more sunscreen, she was already burned.
It's after midnight already, and I smell like dead fish and dieing seaweed. If you'll excuse me, I believe I'll have a shower before I crawl into bed beside my bride.