Our Last Blast of Summer '11

Within the span of seven days, the kids have gone back to school, we've had an earthquake, and a hurricane.  I have lots to tell you about all of that, but I'd much rather take a few moments to re-live our last blast of the summer.

Keeping with tradition, we took our annual long weekend excursion to Baltimore, to visit with my family. It's a cookie cutter vacation, meaning it's typically the same every year, but believe me, we have no complaints what so ever. Mom's place is as clean and organized as the best hotel, and even comes complete with mini shampoos and extra toothbrushes. If I didn't know her better, I'd be wondering where she hides the staff. Here are ten the highlights:

1) We left straight from Hubsy's workplace, and took the six hour drive by night.  That way, when Hubsy opened his eyes on the very first day of his vacation, he would actually be on vacation.  It was well worth it.

2) This time, we added an extra little day trip to the itinerary:  a tour of the infamous Gettysburg Civil War battlefield, led by my father, the amateur historian, and Confederate at heart.  (This experience will be the focus of my next posting).

3) Mom's pool is a great place to catch up on some parent/child bonding, but I repeated the word "Polo" so often, that I got a little goofy with it.  "Marco" was henceforth followed by Aspen, Obsession, Brut, or English Leather.  The whole thing ended up being nothing more than a Freudian game of word association.  Peanut butter led to jelly, which led to grape... nuts... vasectomy.

4) A hostile takeover of the local Olive Garden, by twelve members of the paternal clan.  Daddy and Second Mom, Little Bro and his two little impkins, Little Sis and her new hubs, plus my fam of five.  A bottle of wine made it's rounds, and I had my annual vacation margarita.  Daddy teased the waitress as often as possible.  My favorite quip went something like "I don't like this wine, and I'm going to send it back, right after you pour it and I drink it, and you pour it again."  

5) After dinner, the troupe headed over to Little Bro's place, where we enjoyed the hilarity of the toddler's musings.  For instance, being invited into her princess castle, to be hit with  the soft spoken announcement of "I got poops".  We giggled for hours about how the usual offering that accompanies an invitation, would be coffee or wine.

6) One of the best parts are the night swims, when the air is chilled and the water is warm. Turning on the pool lights, and turning up the music makes it feel like a real party!

7) Catching up on the family gossip.  I never get involved in the dramas, but I do like to hear about them.  It's nice to be reminded of where I come from, and why I choose to live two states away!

8) Bailing a hundred gallons of water out of the pool, with every bucket and can we could find, to lower the level enough for Mom to re-glue some loose tiles on a near dry surface.  For two days, we obsessed about those tiles.  It was such an event, that as we left Baltimore, I called from the car to tease her about some possible loose tiles in the Harbor Tunnel!

9) The annual crab feast!  It's the only time I ever get to express the Chesapeake gal in me.  The kids love to eat 'em, but I always have to guide them through the process.  Hubsy thinks it's just disgusting, but enjoys watching me chew on shells, slurp on that spicy seasoned juice, and dig out the yummy innards of an ocean floor scavenger.

10) Playing with Bob the Owl.  He's the yard guard, keeping birds from gathering around the pool, and rodents from nesting in the shed.  I decided that Bob needed a vacation too, and so I invited him to join us in whatever we were doing at the time.

The time is short, but it's just enough to recharge and refresh our outlook, and after being surrounded with Mom's near perfect decor, I actually return home a little excited about cleaning my house.

Bob's Got The Right Idea!

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