So last week we were on the beach for a week in Topsail Island, NC. We headed home on Saturday morning and it took us 8 or so hours to get home. I drove 7.5 of those hours because I knew Emily would be exhausted. You see, we got home on Saturday afternoon so Emily could pack to head out on her trip to Orlando for a week long conference on Sunday afternoon.
The kids and I are still alive, so Emily, if you are reading us, we are still here and above ground. We have made out pretty well actually. Emily’s grandparents and parents have taken pity on me and have helped to feed us and make sure our hind-ends are where they need to be when they need to be.
I sort of like having some alone time for a day or two but it would be quite a shock for much longer than that. The cats just aren’t that great at conversation although our orange beast (#1) is a great cuddler. Too bad it’s like a thousand degrees. Anyhow, I have been working on some projects and staying up too late but I am ready for Emily to get back home. You see, she needs to pack again because we are headed to PA on Friday, the day after she returns. The kids will probably need to get a bath or something too once she gets home. I guess there are probably lots of things that I have forgotten. Warren Home Alone is just about as dangerous as Macaulay Culkin!
It’s been a great week at the beach. When I got here on Saturday afternoon, I took my lace-up shoes off and have not had them on my feet since. It’s a pretty cool metaphor for the beach now that I think of it. When we are at the beach, there are really no rules and nothing tying us down. If we want to eat Oreos for breakfast, we do. If we want to read books all day and doze in and out under the tent on the beach, we do. Shoes are so constraining and sometimes life feels that way too. The beach is just the opposite of all that! I want to marry the beach.
Ok, so that won’t work and I really don’t like sand in every nook and cranny I carry around on my unshod feet. But I do love being here. Our family loves to read and we have vary varied tastes. We decided to take a picture of the books that we read this week at the beach. Some we read more than once. It was a great bit of fun and they will smell like suntan lotion for months so we will have great reminders of our time here.
We spent a lot of time together as a family just enjoying each other and we talked about a little bit of everything. We didn’t turn on the tv or do anything touristy (there isn’t anything of that sort at Topsail…which is why we love it here). We just sat and bared our soles (well, souls, and that might be a stretch but I am trying to work with the shoe metaphor here…gimme a break). I love my little family and it is so nice to be reminded of just how much on these trips. There are no appointments to make and no chores to do. It’s wonderful!
So, tonight as I pack my bags and try to find my socks and shoes, I am a little sad. Soon we will be back to the grind doing what we always do. I think of these getaways as almost sacred and everyone knows you aren’t supposed to wear shoes on sacred ground!
Today Emily turns 40. I remember when my Mom turned 40. I can remember that. How can it be possible that Emily is 40?! I am not saying anything bad…afterall, I am 40 also. But still, it is hard to believe all of the years we have spent together…wonderful years!
Emily declared that she did not want a big party for her 40th birthday, but rather, she wanted to spend it at the beach. As you know, we are at the beach and it has been an absolutely wonderful time! I think she is right, when you get to be this old, the heat feels pretty good and there are plenty of restaurants that offer early bird specials!
Oh, just kidding! I love Emily and am so pleased that I get to share her 40th birthday with her and the kids! I look forward to the next 40+ years together as well! Happy birthday wife! Wait, let me type in caps so she can hear…HAPPY BIRTHDAY WIFE!
We have a few traditions at the beach. We eat Oreos and Chips-Ahoy cookies. We eat Lucky Charms cereal for breakfast and sandwiches with pickles at lunch. Most importantly, at supper time, we eat seafood at some local seafood joint. Knowing that they have a captive audience, the seafood places charge way too much but usually dress things up a little just to make people think they are getting something special. I guess that compared to eating at home, it is sort of fancy.
So the last few nights, we have eaten at some pretty nice places. We spend way too much money on food but it is nice to go wild now and then. Anyhow, the restaurants we have been to must seem pretty fancy to the kids I guess. Yesterday Isaac asked if we had to go to any more fancy restaurants. They were deemed fancy I guess because they set the tables with a salad fork and a dinner fork. Two forks = fancy!
What it really comes down to is that we wouldn’t let the kids burp at the table and hang spoons on their noses. That is all it takes to make a restaurant fancy. I guess it is quite a step up from cattle chutes at the local fast food joints we sometimes endure at home. We were wandering through one of the nearby beach stores after supper one night and the kids identified a sign that more aptly summarizes their views on their type of restaurant.
I guess it isn’t supper until the conversations turns to that subject!
I have no idea why that title struck me but there we have it. It will make some sense in a minute…bear with me. So, we ate far too much food tonight after a full day of body surfing and skim boarding…with no broken bones! It was still early so we decided to take a stroll on the beach, narrow as it was. Our location on Topsail is strange…at low tide, the beach is quite wide and pretty nice to be upon. At high tide, however, the ocean comes within a few feet of…whatever you call it…where the beach ends.
So, we decided to take a walk on the narrow beach this evening and we happened upon a group of folks who were into something important…well, we figured that a body had washed up on shore. Luckily it wasn’t that. Apparently, last night a momma loggerhead turtle had laid a nest of eggs on the beach and the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center staff were busy relocating the turtle eggs from the narrow beach location further up on the dune nearby. They had a number of folks present…almost like they had done this before. One guy was there to answer questions. He told us that there are 26 miles of beaches that make up Topsail island and that every quarter mile or so, there is a turtle egg site. That makes just over 100 nesting sites. Volunteers walk the entire beach every day during the laying season to make sure they find all of the nests. They relocate nearly all of those sites to safer locations away from foot traffic and storm surges. In each move, two folks work on digging the eggs and placing them into a bucket to carry to the new site. It is a state law that the eggs be counted and confirmed during the move. Their starting and ending locations are gps mapped and one egg is harvested to maintain a DNA record.
By collecting and tracking DNA, staff have determined that loggerhead turtles do not necessarily return to the exact same nesting spot each year but that there are apparently a few spots they use. One staff member said they had tracked one DNA signature between Topsail, the Outer Banks and one other place I can’t remember. Pretty cool I’d say!
The Q&A staff member said that 93% of the eggs hatch but that only 1 in 4000 or so live to maturity. Their biggest predator/enemy is humans of course. Between fishing, pollution and stupidity, humans apparently take quite a toll. Fishing vessels are now equipped with turtle escape devices (TEDs) to allow captured turtles to safely escape so steps are being taken to lessen human impact some.
So, the staff dug 157 eggs from the nest we observed and gently placed them into a new nest. They covered the site with a welded wire fence to prevent predators from digging and marked the site to prevent human interference. All in all, it was a really great encounter we had on the beach and I have been thinking about the turtles all evening. They are endangered and it makes me sad to think that someday we may not be able to witness such an interesting and truly cool scene. I guess it’s good to see things like this and to take pause now and then. It’s good to get a little loggerhead in your head I think!
My old pal Billy Joel finds himself in a NY state of mind but I have to tell you, I couldn’t be happier to be in a NC state of mind! We made it to the beach at Topsail Island yesterday and it couldn’t have come soon enough. There has been much chaos in my world lately so this trip is a long desired, much needed get away.
After staying up pretty late reading last night, the kids brought me breakfast in bed this morning…at 6am. It was a great start to a great father’s day celebration. We ate and pretty quickly headed for the beach before it was warm enough for sane people to be in the water. The kids, not being sane of course, jumped right in and didn’t seem the least bit effected by the cold. I stayed under the tent some but mostly played in the surf with the kids. We laid around here and there all afternoon and went out to a really nice meal (before the crowds! I guess we got the early bird specials…oh crap, 40 has changed me!) and then took a walk on the beach. It never did get too warm today by beach standards but any day at the beach beats a great day anywhere else!
I was stupid last weekend and got a sunburn on my back (don’t ask….I told you it was stupid). Of course, here at the beach, we always wear rash guard shirts so we are protected. When I had my shirt off on the porch, my peeling lizard skin grossed Abigail out tremendously. I love grossing her out…and trading jabs with Isaac. He is growing into a great middle school kid. He just doesn’t seem to understand that Abigail will not respond like his buddies do. They are used to trading insults back and forth and trying to out-do each other with “your momma” jokes. Abigail has no tolerance for that! Anyhow, I had a great time messing with the kids and doing my fatherly duty to give them material for therapy when they get older! I love the beach where the rules are few and the junk food is plentiful!
Well friends, a book is calling my name so I will wrap this up. Just know that my mental health is quickly returning to “normal” and that I am in a NC state of mind!
I have a brother…which of course means I am a brother. My brother and I are long time best of friends…as long as he has been alive anyhow. We have fought like wild animals of course (sorry brother…I really do hate how awful I was to you sometimes!), but we also were about as close as can be growing up. I think I “had his back” a few times too.
We have “got all growed up” and moved apart which makes it harder to be as close as we were but when we do get together, it’s like we were never apart. Oh yeah, he has a backhoe…that makes it easier. He has a firetruck too. It’s not hard to go back to being kids with toys like that!
Anyhow, my brother had a birthday a few days ago and I plum forgot to call him. We don’t send cards in our house as I would rather express my sentiments in a conversation rather than with an overpriced card that someone else wrote. You would think that the ease of calling the day of the special event would be easy…no need to plan ahead to account for the postal service, etc. Still, I forgot.
In addition to not sending cards, we also have a tradition of singing “Happy Birthday” in a manner we call “Loud and Proud”. If you have ever heard the camp song that includes the line, “a little bit louder and a whole lot worse”, you get the idea of how it progresses. So, we called my brother and left him a message with an extra helping of “a whole lot worse”. I hope my brother had a happy birthday and that he will forgive his older brother for nearly forgetting…no age jokes here please…