10.06.2004

BACK FROM THE BEACH
Indian Summer at the Outer Banks 2004
A perfectly timed trip between hurricanes in this season of hurricanes
a smooth drive down with a mixture of crying choruses and burned discs of NPR's THIS AMERICAN LIFE
a late night arrival leads to a late night dog walk on the beach
Dean dropped his tear filled mantra, "I do not want to go to the beach....I do not want to go to the beach...."
at 3am Dean does not want to go to sleep and does not want to leave the beach
we stroll beneath a star filled sky as the full moon lights the white crested waves as they crash on the beach and gently crawl up the sand to our feet
it was refreshing just to get out of the car
the walk on the beach was all BONUS!

the next morning Dean and Grant wake with less than 4 hours of sleep
parents slowly gather their wits and load the car in search of the nearest coffee house
with coffee in our bellies and caffeine fueling our bodies and our brains we head for the shores
as we park at Hatteras for a secluded day on the beach we are dismayed to find that Lisa accidently pulled her urban VW Passat wagon into some wet sugary sand that sucked up the car like quick sand
my manliness could not rescue the car from it rapidly sinking fate
to my surprise in less than 5 minutes we have two sets of locals offering assistance
with a carpenter's mudding knives we dig out around the tires where the car has sunk to its frame
water fills the void as quickly as we can dig it out
the second car that arrived was a massive 4x4 pickup, with a chain hooked to the frame there is a massive tug and jerk as I rev it up in reverse
in seconds I am pulled from quick sand and back onto solid ground
a thank you and a five spot to buy a beer is passed off before the 4x4 with the personalized tag, ROOFER can speed away
later I learn that this is big business for the locals
50 dollars is usually the asking price
like a naive fool I thought that these were good Samaritan and not mercenaries
I think in this case I did meet the good Samaritan
and was saved from the money gouging mercenaries
moments after unloading all the kids and all the gear on the beach we are greeted by Park Ranger Bob
he asks that we keep the dogs on a leash
we leash the dogs
after some time and frustration the dogs are running wild on the desolate beach
not another beach goer within a mile's view in either direction
officer friendly appears on the dune
plays the nice guy as he gives us a ticket
I restrain from giving him the finger
give him some mild lip
after he tells me he is just doing his job
in the same friendly tone I ask if he has seen the movie, "Cool Hand Luke"
he tells me it has been years
it is a rhetorical question
I had not waited for a response and had already started in....
"In Cool Hand Luke, Paul Newman's character says to the boss, ""saying it is your job does not make it okay"""
the words fall on empty ears
before I start in on a more North Carolina specific Barney Fife reference I return to the task of loading our gear to the car
hoping that our departure is a learned behavior and our actions do not merit a ticket
when he tells me it will only be a 50 dollar ticket I respond, "50 Dollars? that is a lot of diapers."
again...I get a blank stare
guess he does not have kids
my appeals fail
we leave the natural sea shores and head back to Nags Head where the beaches are not as natural
but the dogs are able to run free without the long arm of the law coming to slap them on the tail

the next days progress with the same routine
lie in bed with Grant crawling between us and Dean jumping on top of us
until finally I rise and head for coffee with Dean
Lisa then walks the dogs on the beach while I hang with the boys
applying sun block to the pearly white skin of each child

then the adventures start.....
beaches with waves
Jockey's Ridge with its endless sand dune mountains
(some think it is a great place for hang gliding, Dean is perfectly satisfied with rolling down the sandy hills)
lunch and then naps; daddy needs lunch and also needs a nap
then an afternoon of more beaches or Jockey's Ridge (or Jockey's Bridge as Dean was calling it, ignoring my correction)
there were also countless trips to the DOLLAR STORE
Dean has grown obsessed with swords and light sabers, when they break....they must be replaced

((currently at the Pentagon killing time, waiting here to download a Press Release on the topic of Weapons of Mass Distruction...good to have my laptop not just for the download....but for the BLOG))

vacations with the family are different then any vacation I ever experienced before
now I have a window into my dad's mind as our family took its vacations
packing the car....conserving space
trying to drive with children's crying and children's complaints
the sleepless nights
the efforts to please all personalities
the YOU ARE GOING AND YOU ARE GOING TO LIKE IT parental approach
but a little different
I understand my dad better
but I still feel that I am doing it a bit differently
as we are different people
and these are different times

((I again break away to see if the PR is ready for download))

back ...still no release
back to the blog

the beach was awesome
as a father I love the experience of sharing things with my sons
getting to see things through their eyes is like getting to see things for the first time again
the waves were pretty serious at the Outer Banks
serious enough for us to get a good show when we went to check out the Pro Surf Contest at the Kitty Hawk Pier
serious enough that when I was knocked over by a wave my little life jacket wearing Dean was not so sure he wanted to be in the ocean any more
but we stayed in the water as so not to walk way leaving a negative notion of the beach and the waves
Dean held on tighter
it was not until later that I realized if a wave is twice as tall as him
it would be like me being slammed by a 12 foot wave
that little man is tough...real tough

the beach trip was awesome
the 50 dollar ticket was not even a set back, just part of the costs
in the trip I managed to hang out with one of my college room mates and his family
it is great to be able to catch up with Andy Duck and get to witness him in this stage of life
we are living very similar lives
our children are roughly the same ages
and we have both managed to hang onto many of the things that we love
Andy still skates and surfs while I still ride bikes and well.....ride bikes
(I do not snowboard frequently enough to consider myself a snowboarder)
Andy is a good father with a wonderful family, Dean and Parker (his three year old son) became fast friends
while Ethan passed his cold off to Grant
it was great to see his family and to share the day with them
got to see his house and his life
seeing him as a dad was a pleasure in itself

the trip was fun packed
on the last full day we went to the North Carolina Aquarium
it was awesome
not sure who had more fun Dean or me?

pictures to come
and
maybe a more detailed tale

the pictures should draw up a more detailed and perhaps more interesting account of the activities of the day

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