Monday, August 04, 2008

Just Roll With It

No, I did not fall off the face of the earth. When I went to the beach last week we decided to camp overnight and we got back late Thursday. Friday's lack of post I will chalk up to having "beach brain." I was so grateful for the invitation. Calypso has been asking to take a trip to the ocean for a couple of months. I have to be honest, although I grew up visiting the New Jersey Shore, the last couple of visits many years ago were so unpleasant due to dirty and crowded beaches I had no desire to go back. When our hostess specifically promised clean, uncrowded beaches (without me inquiring) I took her up on the invitation knowing how excited Calypso would be. We descended upon Sandy Hook, NJ and the description was accurate. The weather was perfect too. Our hostess also brought her two young grandsons.

Even more than a beautiful day at the beach there was the pleasure of seeing Calypso's joy at visiting the ocean. Better yet was the openness she extended to me. We had some really sweet mom/daughter time. As excited as she was she also was a bit nervous about the strength of the waves and asked me to come out with her when she went farther than knee-deep. In turn she provided the security needed by the little grandsons who didn't want to wade up to their own waists without someone's hand to hold. It felt good to be needed and it was lovely to see her needed too. Later, when we all went to bed in the single tent she wanted me to tell her stories like when she was little.




Now you must know that any sort of getaway I am involved in will have its share of outrageousness too. So thought there were some wonderfully tender times to be shared there was some absurdity too. One thing Calypso was less than thrilled by was the presence of jellyfish. At one point both she and the 7 year old grandson wanted me to take them out deep so we could bob waves. They also each insisted I hold their hands as we waded out. As we reached the first little cresting wave, Calypso noticed a few jellyfish and became unnerved. She would not let go of my hand and I was trying to calm her down while maintaining a grip on the 7 year old. At this point I became distracted, which is never a good thing when facing oncoming waves of increasing size. Finally Calypso released my hand and made a dash for shore....just as I looked up and saw a fairly enormous wave ready to crash into the 7 year old and me. It knocked me backwards and I thought, "Oh s***!" just as my head went under and I tried to keep a grip on the little hand still in mine. Then my head slammed into the seafloor and I felt my neck roll as I thought, "Oh d***! Where's the 7 year old?" Next I felt my ass and legs continue rolling with the wave over my head, which was still planted in sand, and I thought, "Oh f***! My neck will break, the kid will drown." Finally, I popped out of the water, looked around and saw the 7 year old coming up with me.

I grabbed the boy and headed back to shore where I found his grandmother holding her sides laughing as she described the scene from her point of view. It seems that the two sets of legs flying out the top of the wave in unison and ending in the two of us popping up to standing without so much as a single splutter or cough made for some sort of deranged though graceful synchronized drowning performance. She tells me is would have won money if she'd been filming it. Sadly for you, fortunately for me, no such YouTube moment was captured for the sake of posterity. Calypso did however, snap a shot of me discovering the roll in the wave had deposited roughly 78 pounds of sand in my suit.

The next day we visited the two local lighthouses, Twin Lights and Sandy Hook Lighthouse. The light at Sandy Hook is the nation's oldest and is still in operation though it is now automated. At Twin Lights there is a nice little museum and a very large example of a Fresnel lens on display. The lens is actually a double-sided series of concentric glass prisms. The prisms allow for the light to be focused into the single beam that is visible for great distances. It's so simple and yet so effective that it's a design still in use. At Sandy Hook we were too early to be able to go up into the lighthouse or tour the keeper's house but we did get to stroll around and see a brief film about the history of the light. Interestingly, it came under the fire of American troops during the Revolution because if the British captured it they'd control New York Harbor since Sandy Hook is at the narrow and treacherous entry to the harbor.



Unfortunately, the lighthouse exploration was curtailed when the 4 year old was suddenly gripped by the need to empty his stomach as we drove to the next stop. Bless Calypso, she showed great compassion, tolerance, and helpfulness when she helped clean up the boy's blankie and the car while his grandmother and I cleaned him up. She exhibited no small amount of prudence by keeping a baggie under his face during the rest of the car ride. It proved wise when he filled two more of them. Being wedged between two car seats for a very long ride with a vomiting preschooler has to be one of life's truly unpleasant things but Calypso was uncomplaining. I commended her highly for not only keeping in check her own urge to spew or to break out into tears but for being a comfort to the boy and a help to all of us. Sorry to horrify you all with tales of chunder. Let's think happier thoughts now. Such pretty flowers, so lovely to see and nice to smell. Such a relaxing beach, so nice to sit in the sun....Ahhhh, to the happy place...

Rolling with a relaxed pace, a crashing wave, a spasm of rapid reverse peristalsis...it's all good if you come out of it better than you went in.

30 comments:

barman said...

Wow, Calypso looks so much like you. I had to do a double take when I saw that picture. That is wonderful how well she did. I would say she is growing up for sure. I see someone for you to be very proud of.

The lighthouse thing sounds wonderful. We have over 100 lighthouses located in Michigan but I have never been to visit any of them.

I only remember being to the ocean twice when I was down in Florida. We were unable to swim the one time because it was posted about the jelly fish being present and we were to stay out. The second time I found it amazing how strong the waves were. Fortunately I did not have a "sand" experience like you did. I am glad that turned out good for the two of you. That sounded like such a scary thing. Things could have ended up much worse.

Nice to see you back around after clearing up you case of "beach brain."

Mona said...

I am glad you both enjoyed yourselves so much ( except for the fright that you had)!
Lovely pictures lime! :)

I have an award for you at my blog!

EmBee said...

And Lime renames the Jersey shore. No longer Sandy Hook, New Jersey, it's new title is Sandy Butt, New Jersey! Congratulations on your spectacular water gymnastics... A gold medal for you and your cleavage!
:-)

G-Man said...

Lime....
I got a little verklempt when I read the story about you and C..
Awesome!!!!
Cleavage?....Why, I didn't even notice...G

NYD said...

tales of chunder, LOL.

Sounds like a great way to spend a weekend.
Never knew that about the prisims and the light beam. Very cool.

furiousBall said...

viva la boobies!

that looked like fun, Calypso does look a lot like you.

TorAa said...

No doubt you all had a visit to the beach and ocean to be rembered for years to come.
Ocean waves can be very serious, they looks so harmless out there, but when approaching the beach, it's amazing how they grow into big and strong currents. The kids have learned something, for sure.

The technology used in the Lighthouses is fascinating not to mention how many lifes that have been saved thanks to the fact they do exist.

Great reading

ps. This morning we had heavy thunder, rainshowers and wind. A challenge for the potted palms, but the passed the heavy wind test with a clear A.

John-Michael said...

Enjoying this wit you is such fun! In spite of the long time passed since my last experience with the entertainment of waves and the forces of open waters, You returned me to it beautifully.

Your comments on the lighthouse brought me to my Dad's birth. His Dad was the Assistant Light-Keeper at the Egmont Key Lighthouse at the time. And I have always had a nostalgic tie with all that is the Lighthouse Service.

Lovely account of the memorable moments with your daughter. I sigh a happy and contented sigh of gratitude, for that treasured experience, with you.

Loving you ...

Fred said...

I grew up visiting the south shore beaches of Long island, so this brought back some great memories. Looks like you and Calypso had a great time.

I saw a news report that said the increased amount of jellyfish can be traced to global warming. What next?

lecram said...

synchronized drowning... a new Olympic event? Glad you had a good time and that you are back safe and relaxed. Cheers!

DianeCA said...

Okay I will give you a 10 in olympic style synchronized drowning!!!! I love the ocean, and really miss the wavy beaches. If you don't like the wavy beaches then you are welcome to come and visit us in Norway where you can swim safely in salt water in the fjords.

S said...

LOL I am glad you two didnt drown.
I used to spend hours in the pacific ocean playing in the waves...I was a lousy swimmer but I was never afraid....
Sometime in my 30's after moving from Venice, I developed an acute fear of sharks and drowning.
Could it be because every year in Northern California, people arw washed away by gigantic sleeper waves and drown? Or that there are 1-3 great white shark attacks per year up here?
Heck yes, I am afraid of the ocean, but I sitll love it.
I am so glad you had a good time at the showah!

VE said...

Ahhh, the beach. It's like my office...well, it should be that is. I remember my ex went body surfing once and her top and somehow completely flipped inside out during the process!

Mine, however, remained perfect. ;)

Gledwood said...

I think I would pee-pee myself if I encountered jellyfish amongst the rolling waves...

horrible creatures!

Did you hear about the Biblical plague-style attack of the jellyfish on Scottish salmon farms where a 30 mile long 5 mile wide floating, stinging flobber of blobber drifted amongst the sea-bourne fish-cages poisoning over £2 million worth of produce!

Aparently this plague is totally man-made: a consequence of our total over-fishing of the cod, haddock/etc stocks from North Atlantic waters

Kathryn said...

Your voice in this post is just lovely. I can feel the warmth and peace that you and your daughter had on this trip. What a welcomed trip! And so worth it!


And YAY! for modest swimsuits for teenage girls! They are hard to find these days. :)

Love the waves story. hehehe Glad you are okay.

Sounds like a wonderful, much needed, and well deserved break.

Shari/"Whiger" said...

That much sand in the waves? Into your suit? Whoa.

Somehow I can't stop thinking of your last paragraph in a different context. Why? I don't know. Good way to end the post, though.

Sheri said...

Loved this post and I'm so glad that you and your daughter had a chance to escape to a wonderful place and have some fun times and make some lasting memories.

The wave flip thingy was too funny and I'm glad everything turned out well... except for the sand in the suit.

Craver Vii said...

Graceful synchronized drowning performance... I'm thinkin' Olympics here Lime, whaddya say? Then you gotta do that gymnastic curtsy thing that says, "ta-daa!" Saggy 78 lbs of sand... (You are so funny!) I wanna be next to almost break my neck. Somebody fetch a video camera!

Kudos to Calypso. What a superstar!

Maddy said...

What a good sharer you are.
Cheers

San said...

I loved what you had to say about feeling needed by Calypso and she in turn feeling needed by your friend's little grandchildren. Seems to have been a restorative time, despite the synchronized drowning. Are you sure there's no youtube?

citizen of the world said...

Fantastic - what a great beach trip. Beach vacations are the best.

M said...

your writing is so good i can nearly hear the waves and smell the seashore! ahhhh... sounds like a lovely, lovely time. well, except for the vomit part.

Beach Bum said...

Messing with the jellys and over sized waves can be a real bummer. Every time I take my five year old daughter to the beach I have to keep a tight hold on her since she has no fear.
I really enjoyed the part on the lighthouse you visited. The last light house I got to see was one at the end of Daytona Beach and enjoyed the tour guide telling us how many many years ago the light house was all alone as we gazed out at all the hotels that now existed.

Calypso is a real trooper with her taking care of the little one that got sick.

Dorky Dad said...

Sounds like an excellent trip! But I, too, would be freaked out by jellyfish.

And that wave story sounded quite scary. Glad you made it through, even if you did look funny in the process.

Jocelyn said...

You could make toast in your cleavage.

KFarmer said...

At least you didn't end up with a jelly on your head or anywhere else for that matter ;P

Loved the pictures and enjoyed the adventure w/you~ You put me in a happy place :)

Cheesy said...

That was an "oh crap that will haunt me forever" moment eh?
But it WAS the beach so I'm sure you calmed right away. Thanks for the pics! I so want to be swimming right now with or without lil' jellies....

[BTW nice tits! heheh]

RennyBA said...

What a great beach trip and how nice that you stayed over for a night - looks real good!

Btw: I liked the story and pics of the light house - and the rest too of course :-)

coopernicus said...

Ahhh...Sandy Hook...the North Beaches. I was thinking that you might have it Pt. Pleasant as they do fireworks there every Thursday night (followed of course by a Boardwalk jaunt for ice cream. Just drove by the SH exit today...

snowelf said...

Lime, I love hearing about your adventures--and Calypso DOES look like you--I had to do a double take as well. She truly deserves the credit for playing nursemaid to a puking preschooler--that's for sure!!
I don't blame you guys for being freaked out by the jellies! I don't like 'em either. :P


--snow