Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Housebound on the Island


(NOTE: To continue reading “Apartment Life,” click here)

You get to your vacation spot — your beach vacation spot, and your host informs you there’s a red tide in that should clear out soon. Do you:

  1. Risk it in the hope that you are not allergic to that particular fish-killing algae,
  2. Limit your swimming to the pool behind the house, or
  3. Quit your whining because most people in the world will never get to see a beach.

(click thumbnails to enlarge)

The trip down here went well. The in-laws’ Honda Odyssey, several years newer than ours, has every convenience I could imagine.

[photopress:DSC_7138_sm_blog.jpg,thumb,alignright]We started out with Ben and me in the two middle seats and Shannon in the one seat we left up in the back. Paw and Grammy drove and rode shotgun, respectively. We drove mostly two-lane highways to avoid Austin, a known traffic nightmare regardless of time or day.

[photopress:DSC_7137_sm_blog.jpg,thumb,alignleft]After our first stop, I switched spots with Shannon. The clothes hanging on an aluminum bar across the back left just enough room for me to sit comfortably. I slid one shirt across to decrease the screen glare on my laptop — which I had plugged into the 110 A/C outlet.

Ben, who had been playing with toys and making up narratives, was treated to an in-flight movie. Okay, two in-flight movies. He enjoyed the sound of his movies on the built-in DVD player through headphones, while the in-laws relaxed to the sound of jazz and classical stations on XM Radio. Besides that, he played with dinosaurs and sang songs with his mommy. It made me smile.

While I wasn’t catching up on the second season of “Battlestar Galactica,” that is. I’m only five episodes away from finishing, so I can start watching the third season with my buddy Alvis. I have them on my DVR at home, just waiting. This is good TV, regardless of genre, and is not a remake of the original. It definitely is not for kids, though, so if you watch, be discreet.

Nine of us (two were coming from a different area) stopped for a buffet lunch at Texas Cafe. It was the first time I’ve had chicken fried steak on the same plate with beef tips, and I must say a big dose of red meat for my chicken-eating self. I balanced it out with a green vegetable — fried okra.

[photopress:100_1516_sm_blog.jpg,thumb,alignleft]Ben finally fell asleep after running through his gamut of stay-awake strategies (nodding head vigorously while yelling, etc.), and was out for the last hour of the trip.

After about seven or so hours in the car, we walked in to have the property manager sit us down for a half-hour rundown on the rules. I knew we were in trouble when she plunked down a book thicker than most of my college texts. Along with that was a printed inventory of everything in the house — every lamp, light fixture, and dish. The paperback books are not in the inventory, she said, because we’re welcome to take them home with us.

I’ll keep that in mind if I want to re-read Michael Crichton’s Prey or dive into a Clive Cussler novel.

Mosquitoes the size of small birds drove everybody inside after sunset. Continuing the health-food trend started at the buffet, we had pizza the first night here, and then Krispy Kreme doughnuts for breakfast. We woke to hard rain and high 40’s, which gave way to high winds and 50’s.

While the women and Ben are at the store, I’m sitting here with the guys eating leftover pizza and watching bowling’s Japan Cup. Being a multi-tasker, I typed this post up to this point.

Now the rain has returned to join the wind for a mini-monsoon. It’s 56 degrees at about 4:30 p.m., and yesterday at this time it was 80. At times like these, I don’t like’s 10-day outlook. At least if we didn’t know, we could be optimistic.

Ben just said he wants to go home. We’re assuring him that he does not.

Yours truly with three of the family matriarchs on Saturday night.

6 Responses to Housebound on the Island

  1. Mark, Ben must take after you, but hopefully on a lesser scale. You should ask mom and dad sometime about your first few family vacations. Well…vacation attempts. When you saw that it wasn’t YOUR bed you were going to sleep in…forget about it.

    I’m sure the weather will clear up for at least part of the vacation. If not, you’ll just have to rent/buy a few DVD’s and make the best of it right?

    Don’t feel alone with the beach algae. One year we went to Florida and there was so much green algae that it wasn’t worth getting in the water at all.

    They have sports there…and they have beer. Still a vacation for me. :-)

  2. 4. Blog about it and see who comes up with the best reply?

    Then again, the opportunity to swim with fish-killin’ algae to test one’s mettle doesn’t come along very often. If it doesn’t kill you it’ll just make you stronger, right?

    (Writing on the laptop in the back of the mini-van? Sweet!)

  3. *laughing* yeah… luck is all yours bud. Red tide, bad weather, a book sized inventory.. you’re lucky the pool wasn’t out of order!

    I hope your vacation turns around and gets a whole lot better!

  4. Charles – The World Series is on the TV each night, so that’s keeping us occupied fairly well. Now, today’s looking up, with a high of 70 and some sunlight. Ben said again this morning that he wants to go home, but he didn’t stick with that theme very long.

    Simon – Responses welcome, as always. So, if it doesn’t kill me, it makes me stronger? I see your motive. My wife would never love you, Simon.

    The writing in the minivan was cool. Heck, just having someone else drive was enough.

    Dave – It’s turning around already. We can see the sun!

  5. Glad things are improving. I hear the vacation gods frown on technology, that’s your problem Dude. Lose the laptop (figuratively, of course.) And how could anybody’s wife not love Simon??? This could end up to be the best vacation ever. Right???

  6. Linda – I read this but was in a hurry and didn’t get a chance to reply.

    If I gave up the laptop, then I’d be giving up one of the things I love to do most in my free time — write.


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