August 4, 2021
It just gets better each year. I’m not sure how that happens, and it seems like some year the bubble will have to burst and the beach trip might suck. I can’t say there’s anything particularly stellar this year compared to all the others. Maybe it just seems better and better because a long year dulls the shine on past memories, while finally being here with my people is exactly what we needed right now. Maybe it’s all an illusion. Maybe summer beach trips are like the Shepherd Tone musical scale that tricks the mind into hearing the scale continuously rising in pitch. It can’t rise indefinitely, but my ears hear it that way. Maybe vacay is the relaxation equivalent of the Penrose Stairs, and we are caught in the Escherian Impossible Staircase thinking this beach trip has to be the summit when really the pinnacle is still yet to come.
We’ve got 2 newbies with us this year. Emily’s friend Kenzi is quiet, and I’m not sure what she thinks of us yet. She says she’s having fun, but I’m waiting for her personality to really come through. I’m hoping she’ll cut loose if I can get her on the water slide. She’s a fan of the chicken fingers but she branched out and tried the chicken quesadilla at Margaritaville just like me. I like her for liking what I like, and I really like her for giving me the pico and guacamole she didn’t want. Kenzi is a sweet girl who seems strangely familiar like an old friend getting reacquainted but maybe a little hesitant to jump right in. It’s noon, so of course she and Emily are still laying around the house while the rest of us are at the water. And speaking of Oh Emily, I’ll probably not capture a full-face pic of her this week. But Grace was able to get video evidence of her sneakiness last night when the Reclusive Brooding Teen Americanus tricked her dad into holding his hand out so she could plop a dead fish in his wary hand. My texting nickname for Kenzi and Emily is the Beach Buddies, and it’s nice to see their friendship taking shape this week. They need supervision, but a little independence at the same time. And it’s nice to know they can be trusted to walk down to the beach and the waterpark without having to hover over them.
Eli McBride is the other newbie. He’s the most heavily tattooed; it’s good to have a momma who’s a tattoo artist. I know he’s here because he loves Grace a whole lot, but I like to think that he loves us too, and he isn’t just tolerating our craziness for love’s sake. Truth be told, he might be in love with Paul. They seem to have a cute little bromance going on, but neither Grace nor I are particularly threatened by it. I text Grace and Eli as McMauk, but I know that’s probably a temporary moniker as she’ll likely give up Mauk someday for this man, and that will be ok with us. Grace is the most tan I’ve ever seen her. Not that that’s a lot. Her porcelain skin burns so easily, but y’all her ankles are a light honey color from working out at the ranch. She’s the beach mixologist this year again, and I’m looking forward to another piña colada tonight after dark.
This is Alesia’s 3rd year with us at the beach. She knows what to expect from us, and we don’t even think of her as Lauren’s friend anymore. She’s just our extra daughter. She doesn’t have to ask if she can have something to eat or drink. She just takes what she wants. She’s also beyond feeling like she had to stay glued to Lauren’s hip at all times. This is her vacay and if she wants to sit in a chair and chill out instead of floating in the lazy river with Lauren, Paul, and me, then so be it. I’m proud to say that both of the Gal Pals have bragging rights for being the only ones to finish their huge burgers at River City this year. They are sharing the title of Burger Master/Master of the Moo, but that means that sadly they are the only ones without yummy leftovers in the refrigerator. Maybe that was Paul’s strategy this year; he gave up the title so he could enjoy River City twice for the price of once. Lauren is dealing with some wrist pain and popping, which…uugghh…does not make me happy after 4 surgeries in 3 years. But she’s still having a great time, and I’m pleased to report that my 17 year old likes me enough to want to float in the lazy river with her old momma. But I’ve got my eyes peeled for the creepy teen boys wearing goggles who were swimming underneath these beauties and checking out their butts underwater. I will “accidentally” kick you in the face if I see you doing that again.
I have to give props to Paul for once again being the host with the most. He always makes sure everyone is having a great time. Unfortunately he does have a flaw. He thinks of Anne Murray and not The Monkees when Daydream Believer comes on the hot jam at the pool. But redemption comes for Paul with his culinary skills. He woke up early to make blueberry muffins and cinnamon rolls for Lauren’s birthday and decorated them with little paper umbrellas. And he has already wowed us with his World Famous Sandwich which he makes for us each year at the beach. He knows just the right ratio of mayo to tomato to lettuce to ham to mustard to bread to salt and pepper. Unfortunately, Lauren has gotten cocky since co-winning Burger Master, and her response to the World Famous was “eeww…tomatoes!” Alesia doesn’t care for the WF, but she fully appreciated Paul making her the perfect PB&J just for her. Meanwhile I’m here at the Lazy River. I finished my book yesterday, and I’m thinking about starting another but can’t quite find the motivation. Napping seems like a better way to spend my time. The cool kids are doing tie dye shirts in a little while. I’m finally cool this year. I haven’t done this activity in the past, but decided to sign up this year. Lauren and Alesia have backed out this year. I’ll probably do the ropes course with the girls before we leave. Paul is talking about doing a helicopter ride with some of the girls. We’ve still got to do mini golf, and we haven’t gone for donuts yet. I’m the one who does most of the packing for the trip. I’m the reason we had TP on day one, but what the fam will remember is that I didn’t order chocolate chips from Instacart so we have not had choc chip pancakes yet. Mom fail. They also make fun of me for my Amazon purchases of a waterproof phone case with lanyard, and my drawstring bag with a combo lock that I can secure to the beach chair so all our electronics don’t get stolen when we are in the water.
So it’s been a fabulous vacation so far enjoying being stuck in the endless Escherian Impossible Staircase, eating our way through Myrtle Beach with some of the finest people I know. Can’t wait until next year!