Friday, August 21, 2009

Don't forget the sunscreen

I believe it's about time to stick a big, four-pronged fork in the 2009 Tim/Terri/Zoe/Lauryn family summer vacation season. It really did end with a bang, rather than a whimper, as we headed down to Cannon Beach, Oregon, for a three-day extravaganza. 
I've already touched upon the zeitgeist of the long-distance car trip, and the fragile ecological balance that must be maintained over a four-plus-hour drive, the four of us confined to an area the size of a large convection oven. The kids weighed themselves down with every manner of amusement, from portable DVD player to iTouch to cell phone to trashy teen magazines. However, no matter how enrapt they appeared to be in their various diversions, the second Terri and I engaged in any kind of adult conversation, the girls were all over it. 
"Who are you guys talking about? Why is she so annoying?" That was an average query from Lauryn.
Zoe could've had her iPod turned up to 11, and the minute she heard her name mentioned, it was, "Why are you talking about me? Can't you leave me alone? Why don't you just talk about yourselves? You've both been around five times as long as I have, which gives you plenty of material." She's always making really good points. 
After a while, we forced the girls to disengage their various forms of media, and tried to plan out a loose agenda for our brief time in the cool, little beach town. "What do you guys want to do down there?" I asked. "We've brought our kites, our sand castle supplies, our football and maybe we can rent out some of those low-rider tricycles for cruising around on the wet sand."
I could see the excitement on Lauryn's face. "Dad, since we don't have cable at home, I want to watch Jon and Kate Plus Eight and Hannah Montana and maybe What Not to Wear." I hadn't realized this was a Comcast-sponsored event.
I changed the subject. "Okay, so what kind of food should we get down there? They've got pizza, and  a really good burger place and Osburn's Ice Cream is awesome." 
"You know what I want for dessert?" proclaimed Lauryn. "I'm getting gilletto."
"You mean gelato, Lauryn?"
"No dad, I mean gilletto. Come on. You've had it a lot."
I gave up the fight, as usual. And no, I've never eaten anything that has shaving cream as it's main ingredient.
When we finally arrived in Cannon Beach, it was easy to start having fun in that incredible setting. The kids were allowed to watch TV in the mornings and a little at night, but the rest of the time, we reveled in wholesome family events, like the fourteen-year-old wrestling the nine-year-old on the beach for all to see. Terri and I sat in chairs and watched them wearing our black, hooded sweatshirts, the hoods pulled up over our heads. I mentioned to Terri that we looked like a couple of satanic parents training their daughters in all ways violent. After a while, it creeped me out a little too much and I got out the football and sand shovel.
We're all back in Seattle now, basking in the afterglow of a successful family vacation. And since I have a little spare time tonight, I think I'll whip up some gilletto with my extra can of Edge.

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