So you're going to the beach. Here are a few tips from those of us who just got back.
- Remember that you are not the only people leaving the greater Washington DC area in a southerly direction on the Saturday morning before the 4th of July. Or on any given Saturday in summer, for that matter.
- Don't panic. Not absolutely everyone else in that particular traffic jam is headed straight for Duck, NC.
- All the people you encounter in the dead-stop traffic five miles from the bridge to the Outer Banks, however, are. Be prepared to add another couple of hours for the last twenty miles of your journey.
- Maybe next time, consider getting a rental that starts on Sunday, and/or leaving earlier than 9.30 in the morning. Yes, that means you'd have to actually make some effort to pack a little more the night before. Deal with it.
- Never forget - don't worry, you won't be allowed - that a vacation with children is not so much a vacation as a relocation of all your daily hassles to a new and less purpose-built area. If you have to eat out, they won't like the food. If you're self-catering, you've just brought all your food-preparation requirements to a new house with an empty fridge and bare cupboards. If you're lucky, there might be a sharp knife, a can opener, and a decent chopping board.
- So let the kids eat fries for dinner every night if that's all there is. A week of it won't kill them, but a week of trying to feed them properly might kill you.
- Leave the Internet behind if you like, but don't unplug so much that your rental has no TV. In fact, cable TV will provide a world of wonder to children who are accustomed to nothing but PBS. Do try to make sure your accommodation has cellphone reception, though. (Ours didn't.)
- Think of bringing a stepstool so the kids can reach the basin. It's the one thing your rental almost certainly isn't equipped with.
- Be advised that the a/c will be set for somewhere near freezing, to ensure that nothing moulds in the excessive humidity, and to drive you outside to the beach or the town after a little while inside. You are not allowed mess with the a/c settings, so do bring a cardigan.
- If you lose one of the house keys, don't panic until it hasn't turned up in the load of washing you just put on.
- Come to think of it, if you're bringing seven of everything so you all have enough clothes, why bother doing laundry? Either skimp on packing, or avoid the laundry room entirely. You'll spend most of your time in your swimsuits anyway.
- Your place will have an outside shower so that you don't track sand onto the carpets and into your bedsheets. Don't bother trying to get the kids into it. Just send them to the pool, and don't worry about the signs telling you to wash off any sand before entering. Nobody else did.
- Let the kids know that it's okay to pee in the ocean. Impress upon them that it's not okay to pee in the pool. And this doesn't mean that they should get out of the pool and pee standing beside the pool.
- It's hard to predict how much the sunshine and the water will tire everyone out. Instead of trying to estimate when the kids will be tired, just keep going until they all collapse in a screaming heap of devastation, then bring them home and put them to bed.
- Stop complaining about how it's as hot as hades and as humid as the inside of a tumble dryer, and just go to the beach. That's why you're here.
- Avoid hurricanes, wear hats, and don't forget the sunscreen.
|And then my camera got a teensy bit damp and now I can't see anything on the screen, even though it still works, but I have to look through the viewfinder as in the olden days, which is very vexing.|