Saturday, July 18, 2015

My (Sorta) Vacation

This time last year, DH had what seemed like a brilliant idea: to make reservations at an oceanfront condo in Myrtle Beach for his week of mandatory vacation (when his employer is on what is referred to as "Shut Down"--the time when all their auto plants are retooled to make the new model year vehicles).  We would, he and I, drive down, spend several days resting and relaxing at the beach, then either go further down and pick up K3 from her home a few hours south nearly to Georgia or have DS1 & K2 bring her to us, then spend about 2-3 more days having fun with her at the beach.  Since, at that time, DS1 & family lived about 1000 miles from us, we only saw them about once a year.  Going to Myrtle Beach as a way to get closer to our grandchildren seemed like the sort of thing we'd like to do for Shut Down.

It seemed like a great plan, and so DH went ahead and reserved a spot at a time share.  Then, just a few months later, DS1 & family moved from South Carolina into our home.  After the initial shell shock wore off--come on, we'd just pared down to one teenaged offspring at home, when suddenly we had two twenty-somethings, a two year old, and a barely-out-of-the-oven infant living with us; who wouldn't be shell shocked?--we wondered what to do about that time share reservation.  Obviously we no longer needed it as a chance to visit out grandchildren; they live with us and so we see them everyday: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

We could cancel it, of course, but that involved forfeiting some finances.  We could try to sell/sublet it.  We could give it to DS1 & K2 and let them use it to go visit her family down in SC.  Or, as we decided in early Spring, we could keep it and use it as our own vacation, since our large household was wearing on the both of us by then.

Boy, was I looking forward to that vacation as Spring rolled on and my days got crazy with college graduation and wedding and high school graduation stuff. A whole week away from the rest of my family.  No one to keep track of, no personalities to battle work around, no big meals to cook or clean up after. . . Peace and quiet, my time my own.  Ahhh, sun and sand and water and a few good books and lots of knitting, perhaps some sightseeing, and of course lots of private time with my hubby.  Oh yes, I couldn't wait for Shut Down to arrive!

Then, in mid-June, DH threw me for a loop.  One day, when we happened to be alone--no, come to think of it, we were driving out to eat for our anniversary, and going to the new brewpub nearby that was just opening for the first time in fifteen minutes--when DH said he'd been thinking, and he wanted to take K3 to Myrtle Beach with us.

I won't lie.  My heart fell.  My brain screamed NOOOOOO!!!!! I replied, very cautiously so as to not seem negative:  "Why?"

It made sense when he told me his reasons.  The previous year we had brought K3 up to visit us for Shut Down.  DH had told me then that he hoped to start a tradition of us having our grandchildren come visit for a week every summer, and that Shut Down seemed like the perfect time.  After all, he would have no work to do, no texts, emails, or phone calls at all times day or night during that one week every summer where no one in the company works (unlike lots of other nights and weekends and vacations through the year we've tried to have 'off' from his brain thinking about work stuff).  Even though K3 and Toad currently live with us and so see us practically 24/7, that won't always be the case, and it most likely will never happen with any future grandchildren we have.  So, by taking K3 with us (Toad is a bit too young, having not even turned one yet when Myrtle Beach would occur) this year, it would be establishing that tradition of a week of special time with Grandma and Grandpa.

Again, I won't lie.  I didn't want to do it.  I understood the reasoning, but I still didn't want to do it.  Taking a 3 yr old away from home for a week is no picnic.  And it sure as heck would not be the vacation (meaning REST!) I had been looking forward to.  But, in the end, I agreed with DH, and we talked to DS1 and K2 about having K3 travel with us.

So that is why I have been referring to my week in Myrtle Beach as my (sorta) vacation in all my posts since returning from that (sorta) vacation.  It was a vacation in the sense that I was not at work, and gone from home.  But it really wasn't very relaxing (especially traveling 14-16 hours one way with a nearly-but-not-totally potty trained 3 yr old in the back seat of a company car) and I got very little knitting or reading done, pretty much no sightseeing, and absolutely no private time with DH.

What we did, though, was spend 3-6 hours every day in the water/on the beach.  Our mornings consisted of wake up, potty-and-dress-and-brush teeth-and brush and fix hair for K3 (me. since DH doesn't do that sort of thing, never did, even with his own daughters), cook & eat breakfast, then go downstairs to the beach.  If it was low tide, we played in the waves.  If it was high tide, K3 typically didn't like the more aggressive water and stayed further up the beach making sandcastles.

That brought us to lunch, and then a nap (funny thing; K3 napped every day of our vacation yet her parents can rarely get her to nap at home) and then bathing suits on again and back down for more sun, sand, and water.  Then it was time to either go out for dinner, or have me cook dinner while DH took K3 in one or more of the several pools.  After dinner we often went back down for more water play, or if it was low tide, a walk along the water's edge looking for shells.  We were back to the room for the night by 8:30, then began the bedtime routine.   K3 usually was asleep around 9:15 or 9:30, then I got to knit (!) or talk quietly with DH (!) for about an hour before we turned the lights out and went to sleep.

We did tour the local microbrewery, New South Brewing one afternoon, with K3 along.  She was one of a few children on the tour, and did amazingly well.  So well that when we went back a few days later to refill the growler DH had bought (he 'needed' to take some beer home to MI), the manager set her up at the bar with a wristband (wristbands required for drinking) and a juice box, and taught her a new fist bump (fist bump w/jellyfish).

just sittin' at the bar w/Grandpa

If you are ever in Myrtle Beach, I highly recommend checking out New South Brewing.  The tour is free (and cool) and the beers are great.  I sampled a few during the tour, and had a glass of both the stout and the Russian imperial stout (although not on the same day!  I'm a light weight!).  Good stuff.

Another day K3 was a little bored with the water; well, honestly it was high tide and she didn't like how strong the waves were, and kept asking for us to go "swing me higher".  After two or three requests for this 'swing me higher' I figured out she wanted to go to a playground.  And so, being obliging grandparents getting a little tired of a restless preschooler, we located a nearby playground.  That ate up about two hours between the driving to find, and the swinging at--they had about five different swing set-ups and K3 of course had to try them all.

On the next to last day of our vacation in Myrtle Beach, the three of us went on a dolphin watching cruise.  It wasn't horribly expensive (DH chose one where K3 was young enough to qualify for free admittance), and it was sort of fun.  K3 loved it.  We saw four dolphins, as well as got to experience a sudden strong squall (and really, really big waves) on the ocean.  We sat up on the top deck, so K3 also got to watch the captain drive the boat as well as play peekaboo with two of the crew members.  What is it about a blonde in a sundress, anyway?

So there you have it.  The story behind why I keep saying my (sorta) vacation.  Because it wasn't totally a time for me to rest and relax, to have my husband to myself and to do whatever tickled my fancy.  Yet, it was time away from my normal life, time at the beach and time discovering new things.

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