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September 5, 2008

Musings on Last Week's OBX Beach Vacation

Posted by admin

Here are some thoughts from the beach on the Outer Banks last week...

1. When reading and floating in the pool it is best to read advance reading copies. They are paperbacks in a size easy to hold. Hardcovers WILL get wet and manuscripts have too many free floating pages to be near water. Thus it's ARCs in the pool, hardbacks on the couch and manuscripts in the car (where the pages can get stuffed between the seats after you read them).

2. I saw some of my friends' books on the shelves at the beach house. I always wonder if I should tell them they are there. When we were in the QE2 crossing I told an author friend I saw his book in the library thinking he would be happy. His reaction: "I guess someone did not like it and lest they tote it home they put it on the shelf." Also, another author friend lamented that now readers will not have to buy his book since it was there for free. Thus, I am not sharing what I saw. What happens at the beach house, stays at the beach house.

3. Many of the books I read come out in January 2009. I am torn whether I tell you about them now...or wait.

4. The dolphin kick is very hard. I did not figure it out. I must schedule watching of the Phelps swims on DVR.

5. Swimming the butterfly uses a lot of muscles. It also makes lots of waves in the water. Thus if you win a medal swimming butterfly you should get bonus points. Maybe like a medal and a half.

6. I only found two intact shells the entire week. However, they were amazingly wonderful tiny shells.

7. The ocean was what a friend called "disorganized" all week. No rhythm to the waves. Very odd. There was a storm somewhere.

8. Notes on how to swim out of a rip current were everywhere even on a refrigerator magnet at the house. I decided this was something I did not need to practice. I am not very good at reading directions and following them. I feared trying to remember whether I was supposed to swim horizontally or vertically while I was being tossed around.

9. Some people hit the tourist shops on vacation. I instead am partial to the Ralph Lauren Outlet Store in Nags Head. The amusing part: They have a store in NJ which is just as close to my house as the one in Nags Head is to the beach house. But I never have been there. The deal of the day...oversized shower towels for $11.99.

10. When one decides to bring a desktop as well as a laptop on vacation, remember the Internet cord. If you forget the Internet cord do not choose to drive to the nearest Staples on the Saturday changeover day when everyone is moving on or off the island unless you love spending time in the car. Especially when YOU drove most of the way down on the Friday night, stayed in a hotel and woke up early to get onto the island to avoid just such traffic.

11. Trying to be a "responsible citizen" and watch the convention while at the beach was tooooo much like work. Conventions should be held after Labor Day. With the Olympics and both conventions these past three weeks, I am sleep deprived. And now the alarm clock is set for school each day!

12. I seem to make crabcakes the second night of vacation every year.

13. This year I vowed we would not buy too much food and then have to cart it all home. So I brought down all the basics like spices and oils in a huge container. We used 7 things and then carted them back. But at least we did not have to BUY them. We did buy peanut butter and jelly --- and brought them home both unopened. Some year I will get this right.

14. I brought one cookbook --- the one done by the chefs at Tabla, one of my favorite restaurants. I never opened it. But I felt better knowing it was there.

15. Cheetos are addictive. We bought two bags. Neither lasted more than 4 hours. I do NOT want to think about how many additives or preservatives are in Cheetos.

16. Going on vacation the week before your oldest child goes to college is NOT relaxing. There is underlying anxiety that flows like a current all week...and make that a rip current that I cannot figure out.

17. When you rent the same house year after year you all end up with "assigned seats" on the couch and in the kitchen, just like home. Almost without noticing it. However, we have been in this house 8 summers now and I STILL cannot figure out what light switch works what lights thus when I go to bed at night I do a light show.

18. When you go to a place for vacation, have lunch with a good friend like Jamie Layton from Duck's Cottage, a bookstore/coffee shop in Duck. (She also blogs for us on You can talk books and beyond that she knows the BEST places to eat. We went to Aqua S a new place in Duck and it was fabulous. We also chatted so much I had to have dessert: key lime cheesecake lollypops with raspberry syrup. Then she had to race to get her daughter who was riding her bike home from school for the first time. They had agreed to meet at the "scary corner" so she could cross her. I pictured the poor child waiting patiently to press the button at the corner light all because I had indulged in the aforementioned lollipops. Of course, the fact that her mom and I were chatting a lot MAY have been more of the reason.

19. I have decided that my friends at Knitting Addiction in Southern Shores know me toooo well. They had a limited amount of one yarn that I was buying. While I was in the back they sold it to another customer and ordered more stock for me. They knew all too well that there was NO WAY I was going to make that cute sweater this week. Actually they knew I was not getting to that for the next six months! I also finally figured out that the Knitting Addiction logo has an O, B and X in it that are made from a ball of yarn, a sock and knitting needles. Mind you, I have been looking at this logo for YEARS and never saw this. Wonder what THAT says about me.

20. Checkout time at the house is 10AM. This year we managed to get out by 10:15. Not bad. Of course my husband left all his shirts behind in the closet. See what happens when you try to be responsible and get out on time?