Vigorous Anonymity

Archive for the ‘Vacation – All I Ever Wanted’ Category

So we’re going on a cruise in August.  FIRST.TIME.EVER.  And the first time we haven’t gone to the Jersey Shore in…god…18 years???  This is the first vacation since my husband and I were married that I won’t be cooking and making beds.  I’m downright giddy.

We’re flying into Miami on 8/23, hopping on a ship, and then heading to Key West and Cozumel, Mexico.  I can’t tell you how excited we are.  Well ok Jackass and I are excited, but Ingrid and Morris are a little concerned about the no cell phone policy I will have to institute, and wondering what exactly there will be for them to do.

I’m just looking forward to walking away from an unmade bed for the first time and not having be unmade when I get back in it at night.

When a baby is born in a New Jersey hospital, the parents are given a green, pink and white blanket, an ID bracelet, and a roll of quarters.  The quarters are for Parkway tolls.  Because every New Jersey kid comes with a prerequisite that its parents introduce it to the Jersey shore.

In New Jersey, we don’t go to the beach.  We go “down the shore”.  It doesn’t matter that a lot of territory that isn’t the beach also isn’t north of it.  If you live in Camden, you pretty much just drive straight across the state…still, you’re going down the shore.

I made my first trip down the shore when I was about six.  My parents took me, because, like I said, it’s a prerequisite.  If you can picture in your head the palest, most ill-equipped people to sit on a beach, you have my parents.  I’m pretty sure my father was wearing black socks.  We only went the one time, but I remember it like it was yesterday.  It was a “day trip”, we probably only spent a few hours on the beach, but Dad and I collected sea shells, which back in the 60s were in prominence on the beach, but now are incredibly rare.  I was afraid of the water (still can’t swim) but the smells and the sounds were amazing.  And once a Jersey kid experiences it, they have to refill the cup on a regular basis.  There are rules about these things.

When I was a teenager but too young to drive, I went to Seaside Heights all the time with my friend Becky because her parents were big into day trips.  We used to wear the precursor to the tankini, which was basically a little bikini bottom and what was almost a mini dress over the top.  We thought we looked awesome.

Enter the first boyfriend, he with the 1978 Firebird Formula – fire engine red, with black leather interior and the T-roof.  No air conditioning though.  Jerry regretted that a long time.  We would drive down to Belmar after he was done with work on Friday nights and we’d spend 3 hours just cruising up and down the boardwalk, winning stuffed animals and stuffing our faces with funnel cake.  The boardwalk at night was magic.  The lights, the voices, the smell of Coppertone.  Magic.

This weekend is Memorial Day, and thus the cycle begins again.  New Jersey will once again be heading down the shore.  It will be Springsteen and Southside Johnny on the iPod for as long as the kids in the back seat will allow it.  It will be the mad calculations about when to leave and how to miss the traffic and what detours to take when you get near what used to be the Garden State Arts Center but is now called the PNC something-or-other.  Because the other thing that Memorial Day brings is traffic.  Mounds and mounds of traffic.  Basically, if you have to go south in Jersey, you don’t do it on a Friday night, and if you need to come north for work on Monday, you leave 3 hours before work starts and drive straight there.  Otherwise, you’ll spend 5 hours in bumper to bumper traffic with two screaming kids in the back seat and a husband who curses at everything that moves faster than he does.

It’s a big time in Jersey.  I can’t remember a summer I didn’t spend down the shore in some fashion or another.  A day.  A weeekend…sometimes two weeks in a row if we were fortunate.  And that first smell of dead clams as you cross the causeway is worth the 5 hours it took you to make a 2 hour drive.  Trust me.  It is.

Vacation this year was odd.  No other way to put it, it was just unusual.

Jackass was away for the entire week before vacation, so I had the unenviable task of packing up all our shit for the trip.  And if you’ve ever vacationed at the Joisey Shore you know that you really do have to pack up all your shit.  You never know what you’re going to need, and the hotel/condo/house isn’t going to provide it for you.  This is not like staying at a resort hotel somewhere.

The kids and I drove down Thursday night.  Jackass had one more day of a meeting he had been attending and would join us on Friday.  And we were going to be staying until the following Monday, for a total of ten days.

When we arrived at our friend’s condo at 11pm on Thursday night, it was 85 degrees in their.  Their A/C had broken in the 24 hours since they had last been there.  I called Jackass (it’s his friend’s place) and explained the situation, and he promised to call the friend in the morning, but for the night, we were stuck in the heat.  Then, I spent all day Friday trying to get the A/C fixed for the friends.  Calling repairmen, waiting for repairmen, working out arrangements to get it paid for since the friends weren’t there to hand them a credit card.  So that day was lost, and the A/C started working again at 6pm that day.

That was how it began.  But it wasn’t the only reason for it being odd.  The kids are getting too old for this trip, I think.  There’s nothing for them to do, and they are too old to sit and watch TV.  The beach is a great draw, for a few hours, but even that is boring.  Morris doesn’t really read for pleasure, and he gets bored just sitting there.  Even hooked into his iPod, he loses interest fast.

We ate out a lot.  Spent lots of money.  But in the end, we did nothing.  It was boring.  It was peaceful and relaxing for Jackass, (which is the reason we still do this trip) but everyone else was bored.  And I am tired of cooking and cleaning.

For the last bunch of years, I’ve been telling Jackass that, for the money we spend at the shore each year, we could be doing lots of interesting things.  And the kids are missing out – there’s a whole world to see, and we’ve never gone beyond 3 hours from our house.

Then his daughter (my step) told him about their honeymoon, spent in the Dominican Republic.  An all-inclusive resort.  It sounds like heaven.  Absolute heaven.  I checked out the price and it’s about the same as what we spend to go to the shore.  Can you imagine?  It’s nearly the same to drive 3 hours and sit on a beach all day – cooking and cleaning myself – as it is to fly to the Dominican Republic and be waited on for a week.

I explained it to the family.  Morris listened with his mouth open, practically drooling.  And then he said, “I always thought those kinds of trips were outside our budget.”

That made me angry.  They aren’t outside our budget.  They’re outside Jackass’ willingness to try.  HE wants to sit on the beach.  None of us do.

So next year, I’m going to the DR with my kids.  Jackass can come or he can stay.  But I’m going!

And I’m begging you all for recommendations.  Where to stay, what to do – if not the DR, than somewhere comparable.  Tell me your stories!

We are leaving Thursday night for the Joisey Shore.

If you’ve read the other blog at all (and I can’t link you because of the password…DAMN THOSE GIRLS!) you may remember that our annual visits to the beach are fraught with peril.  There was the time we locked ourselves out of the condo.  And the time Jackass dropped and broke an entire case of Corona (Quel Horreur!)  And the time we had a fight so bad we didn’t speak to each other the entire trip.  Yeah, all good times…good times.  (If anyone really needs to reread those adventures, I will happily repost, with vigorous anonymity, here.)

So this year is a little different, in that Jackass has been away all week and we – Ingrid, Morris and I – are driving down ourselves Thursday night.  Jackass will be joining us sometime Friday.

I am left to pack all of our gear myself (not all that unusual) and ready the house for our departure (unusual).  I was asked to lock the garage door when we go.  I didn’t realize it had a lock, so there’s that.  And something about turning off the water…eh how important can that be??

Anyway, we – the kids and I – are just a whirlwind of inactivity.  With one real night left of packing, we’ve done exactly nothing.  We’ve played a lot of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time and watched America’s Got Talent, but other than that…yeah not so much.  And Ingrid turned to me last night and said, “this is the most relaxed I’ve ever been before vacation.”  I could only think, yeah, that’s because we haven’t done anything!

I’m a little uncomfortable about how much we have to do yet.  OK I’m a lot concerned, but I’m hiding it well.

We’ll get it done.  We always do.  And tonight I will be a lunatic since I have to work Thursday till 5, and then we’re leaving “as soon as I get home.”  Every night this week the kids have moaned that they don’t want to be sitting around for 3 hours while I pack last minute, and each time they moan I hand them a laundry basket and tell them to get to work and shut up.  Mother of the year!

And in my bag is an unopened bottle of Prozac, which I am sure I’m going to need this week but which I am afraid to take.  I should probably get over that and start popping.  Friday is just around the corner.

P.S.  It just occurred to me – this moment – that I don’t know where the keys to the condo we are staying in are.

P.P.S.  My fucking husband isn’t answering his cell phone (he is in charge of these keys) and now I’m freaking the fuck out.

P.P.P.S.  My 16 year old son just calmly informed me HE is picking them up from Jackass’ friend tomorrow.  It’s good to be in the loop on these things.



  • None
  • TheQueen: Yeah, perhaps next year suggest you ALL just skip the adult gifts and focus on the little ones. I'm sure you won't miss it!
  • kristabella: Yay! You're back!
  • Shania Ring: Out of all of that, the only thing in my head is 20?!? Twenty? I remember a little boy in middle school when I first started reading you. Are you SURE