Storm in Rodanthe, Part 1

I actually started this post 4 days ago, but couldn’t find one spot in a three-story house either not already occupied by another person, or the noise from other people. Other than sitting in a bathroom, I guess. But I was starting to feel like a trapped animal from all the over stimulation; one house, eleven people, five days. I recognized that it was time for me to find silence because my already-challenged verbal filter was at zero-capacity. As it turned out, my antisocial behavior would result in my most relaxing night there. See, it’s cold on the beach with a strong Northern wind after several days filled with clouds and/or rain. In late September. Pajama pants, socks, a sweater and one fluffy blanket from the linen closet later, I was comfortably burrito-wrapped on an isolated section of dark, second-floor deck, listening to waves crash against the dunes.

For three hours I sat outside, only going inside long enough to find a drink or use the bathroom. I was just getting ready to bail and go to bed, when the clouds cleared and there it was– all the Stars in Rodanthe. Another hour later (thus 4 hours into my game of “Hide-But Please Don’t-Seek”), a shooting star from within the recognizable glow of the Milky Way. Encroaching snarling may have been what prompted me to be outside in a blanket, but the reason I stayed outside until my arse was numb was because of the sound of those waves. The clouds blocked out most of the light, and there was almost no light pollution in the direction I was sitting, thus I had almost full sight deprivation–just the sound. Impressive. Then to follow that performance with the beauty of a suddenly clear, after-the-storm night sky? Outstanding.

It’s been a long time since I have sat still for that length of time without benefit of computer, Droid, book, or camera. My brain and my soul were grateful for the break.

As you can see from the view going over the bridge into Manteo, our beach vacation did not even start out with sun and warm sand.

Nope. Instead it was full of Tropical Storm Nicole’s rain, wind, and storm surge. A different person (or the person I was a year ago) would still be complaining about how our vacation was ruined. The person I am today was disappointed, (I’m neither masochist, nor Pollyanna) yet still ended up having a good time. Since this trip included both of my husband’s parents and siblings, and most of the wives/children, the vacation already promised entertainment value–storm or not. The benefit of having other children (in this case, cousins) for your kids to play with on vacation cannot be emphasized enough. A 9-year old’s smart mouthiness in my almost 4-year old? That I could have done without. But no matter–smart mouth is a lifelong battle that I remember fondly (snort) from my own childhood. Then the comparison to Elliot’s proper (and continual) usage of pwe-ase (please), and t-dank you (thank you) becomes that much more entertaining.

Did we get to spend 5 days soaking up the sun? Nope. But we did get out to the beach almost every day, in between storm cells. We drove to see the Hatteras Lighthouse which was closed because of lightening strikes. This actually worked out for me, since neither of my kids are tall enough to climb to the top. Giant tantrum crisis averted. And I still got some cool pictures.

There was long walks on the beach, searching for treasures (i.e., truly gorgeous shells and sea rock–there are perks to stormy seas, after all.) As an aside, who knows how to make jewelry? I need crafty ideas for a hundred shells/rocks. Give or take a few dozen.

I had grand plans to make a giant sand castle, but all Zach wanted to do was play in the ocean and all Elliot wanted to do was dig in the sand. I was okay with Zach being in up to his shins while I dug with Elliot. I was not okay when he kept trying to go in further. Yes, I did drag a caterwauling Zachary back to the beach house after he disobeyed my final warning. I care not about his protests.

No ocean for Elliot–he is not a fan of the wave action. He attempted it just once–and only far enough to get some water in his bucket–but after 2 inches of surf knocked him down he was all done with the ocean. And by all done, I mean he spent the remainder of the day, with a very serious, very accusatory look reminding me that he “no like ocean. I fall off (fall down) and crying.” pause “LOVE Pool. LOOO—VVVEEE Po–oool. .” Well, an Elliot that is scared of the surf happens to reduce my stress level, considerably. A Fearful Elliot is a Cautious Elliot. I don’t see enough of Cautious Elliot.

When I apologized to Zach for the freezing cold rain on Friday, all he had to say was, “it’s not your fault, Mommy. It’s the beach’s fault. Bad beach.” How can you not love that kid?

We ate lots of yummy food. I am a seafood snob; you’ll never again find me at a Red Lobster since I can eat crappy, Chinese-farmed seafood at home. Thus local, fresh caught tilapia over a dinner with just Joel was melt-in-your mouth awesomeness. Korean Bulgogi, grilled in tropical force winds followed, with fish tacos the next night. We stopped at Blue Mean Beach Grill in Nags Head as we headed home and I ate a Mahi-Mahi BLT. Fresh fish and bacon? Yes, please.

Take that Mother Nature–I had fun anyway. Some of this can be explained by my own low expectations of a vacation that includes anyone but myself and one other adult. Some of it is due to my kids having limited vacation experiences with which to make comparisons, thus their own expectations are pretty low. A lot of this is because I got to go on a date with my husband, walk a wobbly pier in Avon, see the lighthouse beacon lit and running, take a bunch of pictures, sit in a hot tub, dig in the sand, and do nothing in a giant beach-house, 80 yards from the ocean.

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