We are leaving for the beach on Friday! We are ridiculously excited about this. For financial reasons (dialysis at $75/day - yeah.), we were unable to go last year. And the year before was not the relaxing experience that we usually enjoy (http://kidneedsakidney.blogspot.com/2011/08/week-sixteen-beach.html). So, in fact, it's been three years since I had a real vacation at the beach.
The beach is my favorite place. Not just the one we go to - any beach. Waves, sun, sand, the smell of sunscreen and salt water, books, sandcastles, laughing children, bicycles.....all of it. It's ALL my favorite. I love our beach house (okay, it isn't OURS, exactly, but we rent the same one every year so it feels exactly like home!), four bedrooms (one of them a delightful under-the-eaves dormitory) and a screened porch - paradise. We have the same menu each year, the same routines. So although the members of the crowd traveling with us may vary from year to year (add or subtract a boyfriend, grandparent, uncle or cousin), the net effect is the same: Rest, peace, recharge.
Ah, but the packing! This is the first year we don't have one vehicle that will take all of us. Traveling together from home to Philly is Hubby, me, Babygirl, Curlygirl, SqueaksDaddy, Squeaker and Mom. Each of our vehicles (the Beauty and the Beast LOL) hold up to five, so we need both. Mom can't get into the Beast, so she travels with me in Beauty as far as my brother's house in Philly, where she'll stay while we're away. Everything she needs will fill my little car - suitcase, oxygen pump, walker, scale, etc. Everybody else packs two bags - one for beach week, and one for the overnight at my sister-in-law's place. We bring our food, so there's all of that. Towels. Sheets. And bikes. Did I mention 5 bikes? Oh, and the wagon that tows Squeaker to the beach and back. Yeah.
We are, and always have been, a small army. When we were in Normandy, our guide pointed out the logistics of the invasion there - it's not just the men, it's the boots, packs, food, uniforms, weapons, tanks, ammo..... I have frequently, in past years, described our approach to vacations (and Black Friday shopping) as 'storming the beaches of a foreign country.' An apt description, indeed! Arriving with everything you need so you don't waste precious beach time shopping for food and toilet paper - priceless.
And speaking of toilet paper - thanks for the reminder. I need to go pack some.