all images © Meghan Boyer Photography

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Big Red Flags.

We arrive at the beach.  Sean pushes our double BOB stroller, full of beach gear, while the Triple Threat and I amble behind.  A trail of stares follows us.  We set up two blankets and five towels.  Each child promptly runs to the ocean.  They get their feet wet, run back through the sand and tromp all over the two blankets and five towels.   Then Dempsey takes off.  Down the beach.  And jumps into the water right in between the two gigantic read flags that each picture a swimmer with a big X through it.  I get it that the kid can't read, but come on Demps.  Duh. There are no words.  It's just like a picture book.  Figure it out.  See?  Swimmer.  Big X.  Red flag.  And all this time I thought you were advanced.  Now I see that your sister and brother are way smarter.  You slacker.

Sean was scheduled to fly on a trip last week.  It was an early morning alert so he had to report to the air force base hotel the night before.  We decided to take the kids to a nearby beach that day and spend the night in the hotel with him. 

We've been at the beach for three minutes. 

I have to pee.  The water is very cold.  I carry Dempsey into the ocean with me.  He's my distraction.  I pee in knee deep water.  Hoping no one sees the stream.  It's a very strange feeling.  Being in frigid water with hot pee running down your leg.  I must admit it's quite liberating.  I wish I could do this everywhere. 

The children demand that I find them sand crabs.  I get on my hands and knees and dig furiously every time a wave retreats and air bubbles appear in the sand.

Now Sean is also in the water, with Dempsey, in between the big red flags.  The flags with the swimmer.  The mock swimmer who happens to have an X through him.

Grady throws Lillian's bucket of sand crabs into the ocean.  The crabs wail.  Lillian wails.  She grabs Grady's bucket.  Grady wails. 

Sean and Dempsey wade, illegally, pretending that they don't know us. 

It's now seven minutes after our initial arrival at the beach.

Sean and Dempsey return.  Grady collects shells.  He get knocked over multiple times by waves full of  my pee.  He laughs with his mouth wide open.  Swallowing gallons of  my pee.  Pay backs.

Two minutes later we decide it's time for ice cream on the boardwalk.  The boardwalk.  Where the children excitedly play in the showers used to rinse off the sand.  Because really, why would you want to get wet in the ocean when there's a shower right here? 

After some shower swimming,  Dempsey squeezes through a one inch fence opening and gallops onto the dunes.  Then ones that have signs posted on them.  Reminding people that if you do manage to squeeze your fat ass through the miniscule opening, it only means that you have a squishy butt.  Not that you're actually supposed to be tramping all over the nature preserve.  But eh, Dempsey can't read.  Words or pictures.  We've covered that part already.  Right?  Sean is mortified.  He calls Dempsey back.  But not only does Dempsey not read words or pictures, he doesn't listen either.  Okay, so never mind.  I have no idea why on earth I ever thought he was advanced.  He can, however, karate chop and sword fight.

I'm laughing so hard I have to pee again.  I'm tempted to let that hot stream run down my leg again. Perhaps while I'm standing under the cold squirts of water coming from that super fun shower.  But alas, my earlier distraction is now distracted, running amuck on the dunes.  Lil and Grady are now chasing after him and I can only assume that Sean would be mortified if I held him while I peed on the boardwalk.  

Upon our return to our spot on the beach, we discover that at least only one of our blankets has been swallowed up by the high tide.

The family sitting behind us asks if the kids are all ours and if the boys are twins.   How far apart are they?  How did you do that?  The woman inquires.  Well, I could tell you.  But then I'd have to kill you.  Instead, I'll just have one of them kick some sand on your blanket for not pulling ours up a couple of inches when the tide came in.

We leave.  A trail of stares following us.

We drive to the base.  Sean checks into the hotel.  We take the kids to the pool, to pick up a pizza, and to the playground.  We buy beer.

We return to the hotel.  With the children.  We take two trips up to the third floor.  Both times on the elevator.  The children are loud.  And so is the sound of the alarm button that Dempsey punches each time. 

It is bed time.  They have got to be tired right?   They are not.  There is chaos.  In one room.  In a hotel.  I can't jump out the window.  They don't open.  Damn these hotel windows.

Everyone sleeps.  Eventually.  Four in one bed.  One in a pack and play.  Sean gets alerted very early in the morning.  The children sleep late.  They are tired.  Of course they are.

When it's time to leave, I make three trips down three floors.  With three children.  And three loads of their stuff.  Three elevator excursions.  Three quick hits of the emergency button.  So people know we're coming. 

On the second trip down, Dempsey takes off running down the hallway.  Chucking his pizza crust, from the morning's breakfast, onto the floor.  My hands are full.  Of coolers, a pack and play, and the hair I've pulled out of my head.  A nice man that works for the hotel kindly says he will take care of it.

On the third and final trip, we go to the front desk to check out.

The woman behind the counter looks at me.  Then looks at the Triple Threat.  Her gaze turns back to me.  Did all of those children sleep in the room with you?  Um.  Is this a trick question?  I have only seconds to come up with a response.  I'm speechless.  I quickly think that maybe there's a cut off.  Like you're only allowed to bring two children.  Because if you have more,  you're considered crazy.  And they don't allow crazy people into the hotel.  I tell her the truth.

Children are not allowed in this building.  She finishes.

As we are vacating the child free building, Dempsey dashes back, hurtling himself into the elevator.  He holds the emergency button down for three full seconds. 

You should have put up a sign lady. One on a big red flag.  With my kids' picture on it.  And a big X through their faces.

But eh, we can't read pictures.  And even if we could.  They kids would have stayed anyway.  They're kind of like that.

Lil's attempt to pose her brothers for a picture. 

Huh?  Sign?  What sign?

Lillian, the rule follower, convincing Dempsey to come off the dunes.

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