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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Topsail Island, NC (Part 1)

Day 1 

Funny how the drunken stream of consciousness discussions eb and flow. Debates over Christina Hendricks breasts versus Dolly Parton. The discipline it takes to care for and smoke cigars. The age old question of what percentage of straight men take yoga, and become yogis? The music we all choose speaks to our behaviors. My friend from Charlotte has gone native and brings country to the mix. Makes sense, would not be a surprise if he had a gun in the back of the truck. Turns out I might like it too. I trust him so that makes it all more credible. Other friends play the Police and like Amos Lee. How am I not going to get behind that? Now, we plot on one friend remaining fish less all week. We dissect how he can continue to fail while other friends bring in fish like Popeye. I would love to take a picture of someone pulling in a monster fish and smacking fish-less friend in the face. Boy that would be funny. Childish, silly nonsense. This was a very good day. Doesn't hurt the little one told me "Daddy, I had a really great day.". How many times have I heard this sentence this year? How many will I hear it again?  Guinness, sunshine, perfect weather and perfect companions. A family in need of relaxation. And finding it.

 Day 2

By the second day thoughts and conversations turn to why don't we live down south and when can I get here.  The pro and con lists come out. We have lived in the Northeast forever. We work in the greatest city on Earth. Our daughter protests it when we mention moving to Brooklyn. What would she do if we told her we are moving down south?  No more friends you grew up with. No more same school. Nothing but change. And for what? People who say hi when you walk by them? Lower cost of living and an unmeasurable reduction of stress. Cashiers who look you in the eye and actually want to help you. Yeah, that would really suck. I'm sure I will be loving the north more tomorrow morning when I head out to the golf course. This is really not the my thing. Gotta rest up so I don't embarrass myself.

 I did happen to see Chaz Bono is a participant on Dancing with Stars. Will he lead?   For the first time I am compelled to watch. I do hope the image does not give my nightmares right now.

Day 3

Made it to the golf course and managed to make it 18 holes.  I like the idea of golf.  It is indeed nice to get away for a few hours, enjoy nature and escape.  The hitting the white ball hundreds of yards in an  attempt to put it in a hole...  I am not as big a fan of.  I managed to have a hole I was putting for birdie on and chipped in another shot.  Overall, a much better experience than it had to be, or was in years past.  Feels good to un-think for a while.

We managed to have an excursion to Wlimington, NC last night.  Nice town indeed.  It reminds me of Savannah, Ga and probably many towns that call themselves Atlantic Ocean "port" towns.  Had a tremendous meal at Crow Hill (  The biggest problem I run into during vacation is the excess.  This has proven true yet again.  Lots of food and drink the first part of this week.  Does riding the waves burn calories?  Surely the 100 yard walk from the house to the beach is a workout?  Sometimes there is a large beach bag and (2!) chairs!!  A real struggle, I know.

It is a good week so far.  Now, we debate what to name it.  We wonder to one another if this week is different from the norm.  I question whether we would be able to stay with 4 other familes?  How about one other family.  This is in many ways a sociological experiment.  5 families, each from different areas and from different backgrounds, together in an oversized house for 7 days.  Well, in some cases 5 or 6 days.  I could acknowledge we were here Saturday before 3 other families, but I won't.  Hurricane Irene would not stop us!  Figure it is worse in NJ now anyway.  Only reason I know is because work help is non-existent so I am all too aware.  God forbid my colleagues or boss could help out a bit in our absence.

I digress...  I was writing about the sociological event we call vacation.  One of my older friends and his girlfriend, dog.  His friend (and wife/teenage son.)  Their friends and young daughter.  Our friends and their twin 8 year old girls and 2 year old boy.  A microcosm of middle America.  We have all had moderate successes but are very much worker bees.  And yet we coexist without issues.  Strike that, the dynamic is comfortable, easy and downright pleasant.  We have meals together, but also time alone.  We congregate at the pool and on decks.  More often than not we laugh.  It is a rare gift to count one good friend in your life.  How fortunate am I to have the folks here, right now?

Last year was the 1st effort and obviously it was a rousing success.  We are here now and are planning round 3.  Topsail has probably been eliminated for a repeat visit.  Funny how the scorecard is filled out.  More bugs here, house had no AC for a day or so, not bike riding friendly, no one has caught a fish, etc...  Probably trivial to most...  but it all matters.  So they scouting will continue.  Although I am partial to Hilton Head, SC.  That would be a hard sell I think.  In which case we effort to do it ourselves.

We named last years vacation "Leave It."  That was the command use to train their one year old puppy.  As you can imagine, with a bunch of depraved degenerates we thought the expression had far greater (and numerous) meanings.  The early favorite for this year is "Mommy, what's wrong with Frank?"

This was the exchange that occured after 3 year old girl watches 2 year old boy bang his head repeatedly off his pack-n-play.  Naturally, she looked at her mother and asked the question.  Nevermind the boy's name is not Frank.  We love it because, like "Leave it" its meanings and usages are endless.  We already cast the Lifetime movie.  Valerie Bertinelli is the mother.  Kiernan Culkin is Frank.  We worked up the trailer:  "In a world, where academics are all that matters, and the class separation grows wider, one boy set out to make a difference.  With help from his mother they challenged the system until the tests came back positive.  And everyone was asking...  "What's wrong with Frank?"

And what is wrong with all of us for finding such joy in the absolute absurdity of it all???  Not a damn thing.  Bring on the communal dinner!!!

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