I should be working. I know I should be working. But I’ve been really good today – I’ve issued lots of corrective action requests and trained someone on printing certifications and problem-solved and run an audit closing meeting and cleaned out the 2000 audit files. So I think I’ve earned a break, damn it.
Speaking of breaks, the beach was lovely. We left around 1:30 Friday afternoon with a minimum of fuss. Beach-bound conversation was … well, I won’t call it subdued, exactly, but it was pretty tame compared to later conversation. We managed to stay somewhat focused on whiskey-sister-related issues, started talking about a script for the Ren Faire this year, read aloud a very useful article in the Mountain Express, and began re-shaping this year according to what’s already happened and is about to happen – which is a fair amount. We’ve already had a paying gig, we just had our beach retreat, we’ve done some recording, and we are – hopefully – going to do some live music on WNCW during their April 3rd edition of Celtic Winds.
We also did a lot of giggling (the bona fide cackling started later that evening, towards the bottom of the first pitcher of margaritas.) We talked about our husbands, our children, and sometimes our jobs (mine less than the others, as it’s boring and not exactly earth-shattering, for the most part). And Buffy drove the whole way there without getting stopped by the Po-Leece. So much for the trip down.
We stopped briefly in Brunswick for food (and a streaking kit for Elizabeth’s hair). Then we continued out to St. Simon’s Island. With only a slight detour due to missing our first turn on the island, we still managed to pull into the Sea Gate Inn’s parking lot around 7:30. We were all starving.
The folks who booked us the room had not lied. You could indeed see the water from the room (although not until the next morning.) You could definitely hear it – that soothing, unmistakable rhythm of waves on sand – I can still hear it if I listen carefully.
The room itself was plenty big, except when the foraging started, at which point we realized that the kitchen area was not large enough to allow three hungry women to graze freely. We took turns, like big girls. One of us made a salad, the other started making the first pitcher, and the other took care of other vital business. Once we were all more or less sated (and very giggly), we crossed the street and found the beach access.
It was cold that night (and the next), but so beautiful. You could sing at the top of your lungs out there and it just got slammed right back to you – like singing in the loudest shower you could find. There was a rosy ring around the moon Friday night. The space surrounding me felt huge, surreal. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the beach, and an even longer time since I haven’t been primarily responsible for the safety and happiness of someone else. Maybe that’s why I felt a little dizzy, out there on the strand with the ladies and the moon and the waves.
The next morning we went down to the beach again for some sun, walked the beach, then napped or read a bit (in the sun or out of it, depending on personal preference). Despite my protestations the previous evening about it, I felt myself inexplicably pulled to the super Wal-Mart in Brunswick – I wanted a beach skirt (I had only brought pants), and as a group we decided that marshmallow fluff would have to be included in Saturday night’s festivities.
I also ended up getting a hair streaking kit for myself – seeing how well Elizabeth’s had turned out, I thought that maybe some highlights were just what I needed. More on that later.
The best purchase that day by far was a dress I found completely accidentally – or maybe it explains the pull to Wal-Mart in the first place. It’s the kind of dress that you can spend a whole summer in – certainly a whole LEAF festival. And it just occurred to me that the reason I could buy a summer dress now is that I’m no longer nursing, so no more awkward efforts to extricate a full breast from the confines of an unfortunately-chosen outfit.
Buffy opened the big bottle of wine when we got back to the room – fortification for the inhuman tortures about to be inflicted on my hair. (Actually, Elizabeth did a pretty good job. Aside from some splotchy bits in the front – which a friend at work can easily fix – it doesn’t look bad. If you can get past the splotchy bits, that is.) We streaked my hair, I rinsed it out and indulged in a hot shower (sometimes too hot – the plumbing had a tendency to spout large, highly pressurized quantities of boiling water if someone across the street flushed their toilet at an inopportune moment.) I added a tad of makeup to try to minimize the lobster-like effects of my time in the sun that day, and off we went to Barbara Jean’s.
The food was wonderful (on my plate, anyway). The wait, on the other hand, was f-ing interminable. What started off as a predicted 30 minutes turned into 45, and I wish we had known, because there was a bar right down the street we could have investigated for at least some of that wait time. (After all that waiting, we found that there was indeed a bar inside the restaurant, but it was so tiny we couldn't have all three found places at it.) Our waiter, once he showed up, had a serious issue with eye contact (and service, for that matter). But, once again, let me say that the food was great. Buffy got she-crab soup, I got a big crab cake to share (wow yummy awesome can I have another???) and the entrees came a while later – shrimp for Elizabeth and me, and a catfish sandwich for Buffy. Oh, but the breads were great, too – they bring you a plate of pumpkin bread, jalapeno corn bread, and a whole-wheat roll. So by the time the dinner was over, we had gotten really good at dividing everything into threes.
We walked back to the room. Buffy started up the CD with our “possible” songs on it, and we had a fun time learning Seven Bridges Road (sorry, Sam, it’s a great song and we can’t help ourselves) and a song called Hunger by Voices on the Verge. Seven Bridges Road was especially interesting because we decided to try me singing on the bottom, Buffy in the middle and Elizabeth on top. Kind of like trying a new sex position – it’s still the same basic act, but all of a sudden it’s really wild and exciting, you know?
A little while later, after Elizabeth had indulged in a bread-and-goop monstrosity called fluffernutter (and I’m sorry ladies, but there will have to be a million-dollar prize involved before I will put peanut butter and marshmallow crème in my mouth at the same time) we threw on some more layers, and went back out to the beach for a while. Coming back, we curled up with our respective bedtime stories (I had the The DaVinci Code, Buffy was reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for I don’t know the twentieth time, maybe? and Elizabeth won the book award of the weekend with her prize, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. (At the beach earlier that day, Elizabeth made the hilarious observation that we were all reading books that had been banned from somewhere or another. I hadn’t been even remotely interested in The DaVinci Code until the Catholic Church started speaking out against it. If you’re wondering who exactly banned Christopher Moore's Lamb, well, I’m not entirely sure. I'm sure someone has, somewhere. And if the Henderson County Library system ever gets hold of it, I’m pretty sure they’ll ban it, too.)
We managed to get up the next morning in time to amble back down Ocean Drive to the 4th of May. Where, once again, we endured what seemed like an interminable wait for what turned out to be damned good food. (As much as I love my ladies, I have to say that their manners go down the toilet when their blood sugar drops.) We sat outside on the porch area and fought for space with local birds who seemed intensely interested in Buffy and Elizabeth's hair. Mine probably didn't look stable enough for a perch.
Another short walk back to the hotel, this time on the beach itself, then a change of clothes for Buffy and Elizabeth, then back out to the beach. Oh yeah, I’m toast today, in case you’re wondering. My face isn’t too bad (although it will probably peel and drive me insane with little bits of nose skin barely visible out of the corner of my eye – don’t you hate that?) but my chest, arms, and shins are red. Instead of going down to the beach, I found a lovely swing that overlooked the water. It was much more comfortable for this lazy sister than sitting my wide bum down on hard-packed beach sand.