Sunday, July 22, 2007

What I Did on My Semi-Vacation

As I mentioned, I was planning to be away for a few days. And I have been, although not entirely as I expected.

Kathy and I had planned to spend Wednesday through Saturday in Sea Isle City with my family, and had managed to get enough work out of the way to make that possible. But then Kathy’s grandmother fell ill. She passed away on Monday.

I don’t have as much to say about her as I should. She was a nice lady, and one whom I wish I knew better than I did. Mostly I know her from the love that Kathy and her family have for her, and the stories they tell about her.

Kathy, of course, had a really hard week of it. We originally planned to go to the shore anyway, and come back when arrangements were made, but come Tuesday night, Kathy couldn’t bring herself to go, and I couldn’t blame her. She told me to go anyway, but I wasn’t going to leave her feeling so bad. So we stayed in and I tried to keep her mind off things by watching 50 First Dates*, the Drew Barrymore/Adam Sandler romantic comedy. I decided I would go into work on Wednesday and use my vacation day for another time. (By this point we knew there’d be viewings Thursday afternoon and evening, and then a funeral Friday morning.)

But come Wednesday, as I was showering for work, I couldn’t see the point in going in. I’d specifically taken care of things so I wouldn’t have to be at work, so why go? Plus, as much as this pains me to say, I missed my family. So I checked with sleeping Kathy to see if she’d like to go to the beach just for the day, and she said no. So—after she assured me several times that it was fine with her if I went—I headed south.

And had a great day at the beach with most of my brothers, my sister, various bro-and-sis-in-laws, and my nephews and niece. I got to bring my superhero-loving nephews a complete set of the 1991 Marvel Super Hero trading cards, so the boys were holding up cards of the Mandarin’s Rings and saying “What does this do?” Plus, I spent a lot of time in the ocean riding waves with my brothers, and some more playing in shallower waves with my oldest nephew. Top it off with crab cakes and grilled corn on the cob, and it was a really nice day. I got home at around midnight (not much traffic on the parkway late Wednesday night), and Kathy seemed better off for her time alone, too. I’m afraid that at times like these, sometimes I’m not good for much more than distraction (hello Mr. Sandler) and a shoulder to cry on.

Thursday and Friday were the services, and I’d rather not talk too much about them; they’re really not my story to tell. Although I should note that Kathy’s grandmother, named Grace, sure got name-checked a lot in the ceremony. Sometimes it was difficult knowing whether the priest meant big-G Grace or little-g grace. (Or does little-g grace take a big G when it's the Big G's Grace, after all? God is a copy editor's nightmare, believe you me.) Later, Kathy and I talked about having a kid and naming him “Amen” – or even better, “Please B. Seated.” That’d be an active service.

When all was said and done, Kathy really wanted to go to the beach. So on Saturday, we headed down to Seaside and had what pretty much qualifies as a prefect day down there. We spent a wonderful afternoon on the beach and in the ocean, tackling enormous—ENORMOUS!—waves that were breaking way too close to shore, and letting them fire us into the sand like bullets. Sometimes the waves broke one after another with such force they could knock a person down who’d up until a moment before been standing shin-deep in water. It happened to both of us, knocking us over and then dragging us across the sand.

Afterward, a walk down the Seaside boardwalk yielded a dozen oysters, pizza, Midway steaks, and even crepes. And I had a couple of great games of video Deal or No Deal—a brilliant idea!—at one of the arcades, winning a ton of tickets and having a blast doing it. And the trip home had very little traffic, even for a Saturday night. Kathy & I sang along with the Monkees' greatest hits to keep ourselves awake.

It was an amazing day, and one we both really needed.


*My sister thinks this movie had one of the saddest endings she’s ever seen. I thought it was the absolute happiest ending the story could allow – really positive and joyful.


Andy said...

Sorry to hear about Kathy's Grandmother.

BTW- We were in Sea Isle this week

4900 Landis!!!!!

Andy said...

I would also add that was the best day last week the water was FREEZING every other day.

Rob S. said...

Thanks, Andy.

My family was 6 blocks away, on 55th street. We're gonna have to communicate every once in a while.

My brothers said the water was ice cold, too.

Sharon GR said...

I had no idea about Kathy's grandmother- am so sorry.