Monday, April 9, 2012

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

{So, hi internets! I know. I've been back from my trip for more than a week, and haven't blogged about it (or anything) yet. Lately writing feels like work rather than fun, so I've been avoiding it. But, my memories of the trip are starting to fade a little, so I want to get it written down.}

Yes, I'm wearing fake boobs. And yes, they look creepily realistic from that distance.

O.K., so worst is maybe too strong a word, but I had a nasty string of bad luck on this trip. Luckily the good parts more than made up for it.

It was a thirteen hour drive from my house, so we (we being myself, two local friends, and a third friend who drove from Missouri and met us at my house) left at 11 pm in order to make it to the island by mid afternoon.

In the first eight hours we drove through torrential downpours, lightning storms, wind gusts and fog so thick you couldn't see anything. We had a break from the weather for a while and then around eight in the morning the downpours started again. The road was a blur, and suddenly there was a loud thump against the right rear of my van. I thought maybe someone had hit me, but all seemed OK, so onward we drove. About five miles later the tire pressure light came on. Loud thump. Warning light. This could not be good news. So, I took the next exit.

We got out of the van and walked to the right rear tire, and as we stood there we watched it deflate.


So, roadside assistance came. Forrest Gump himself changed the tire.

We still had several hundred miles to go, so the next stop was a tire shop. The donut was not going to get us to the island.

The first bit of good luck--the guy at the shop took pity on the four stranded girls trying to get to Spring Break and worked us in so we only had to wait about an hour even though the shop was packed.

But the universe decided that was too much good news and while we were waiting, my back tooth broke in half, leaving a sharp, jagged edge that tore up my cheek when I talked, smiled and ate. Also? The tire was unrepairable. So, I wasn't even at the beach yet and was already $120 into my vacation money.

Luckily we made it to the beach house without any more mishaps.

The first few days were spent swimming in the heated pool, hot tubbing, walking on the beach, talking, eating, talking, knitting, talking, eating and talking. You know--how a vacation with thirteen of your favorite people should be.

Then I had the brilliant idea to take a day trip down to the southernmost island of the outer banks, Ocracoke. I love the beaches there, and there are three lighthouses on the way. I convinced six others to come with me, while the remaining seven stayed back at the house.

Because they're smart.

The trip down was great. The light houses were beautiful. The ferry ride was fun. We found a hole in the wall cafe where we had amazing seafood. The beach was as lovely as I remembered. We found shells.

It was getting late, so we headed back to the ferry dock. As I began to drive onto the ferry, we all realized something wasn't right.

Another flat tire.

You know those shells we found? One of them punctured my tire.

They wouldn't let us on the ferry with the flat tire, and the dock is quite literally miles and miles from anything. So, we didn't have much choice but to change the tire ourselves. Luckily I was traveling with women who are far more self sufficient than I am, and they got the job done. The plan was to drive it back to the beach house and get the tire repaired the next day.

But again, the universe had other plans.

While putting on the donut, one of the bolts fell into the wheel hub where the brakes are housed. We didn't have the tools to take the hub off. That meant the van wasn't safe to drive the eighty miles back to the beach house.

So, I called the now familiar roadside assistance number to have a tow truck meet us at the ferry dock on the other side of the inlet.

And as we sat in the van on the ferry ride, it occurred to me that there were SEVEN of us, and we were two hours from the house, on a remote island during the off season. There are no taxis or rental cars or even open hotels. And the thought of having to ask one of the seven who stayed behind to drive four hours round trip to come and get us may or may not have caused me to have a minor melt down. So, I pleaded with the roadside assistance operator to find a way for us to go with the tow truck.

Second bit of good luck--the local tow truck had an extended cab, and the driver said he could fit us all.

And again, the universe laughed at me. The driver assumed it was two adults and five small children, not seven fully grown adults, most of whom had birthed multiple children and had the hips to prove it.

But we did it. We squeezed eight adults (including the driver) into a truck built for five.

This was only half of us that had to cram into that cab.

We made it back to the beach house, and I was done. I went to bed. And apparently missed the first installment of naked hot tub time.

The next morning I was what you might call...crazy. In order to spare the others, I took my crazy out to the beach where I could be alone with it. I don't know what my issue was, but I spent most of the day o the verge of tears. I blame my hormones.

But an evil bunny (our new mascot), a sand castle, and several dirty words spelled out in shadow later, I was feeling better.

The next day brought more sunbathing, swimming, beach walking, knitting, talking, eating and talking. And that night we had our bonfire.

My pyromaniac sister got it going in under five minutes, and we spent the next couple of hours huddled around the fire. Some partook of "strong drink." Others, s'mores. And then the clothes came off.

Pre-naked time.

Not my clothes. But three of the women (who shall remain nameless unless I get permission otherwise) decided it was naked beach time. One minute we're toasting the perfect marshmallow, the next there are boobs everywhere I look. Boobs that look way better than mine.

Roused by our hooting and cheering, some frat boys with terrible facial hair came out a few houses down the beach. For a while we taunted them and tried to lure them over for our amusement. I mean, what would be more fun than to raise the hopes of a bunch of 20 year old college guys only to crush them with the reality that all those girls they could only vaguely see by firelight are actually thirty-something married mothers?

But then they started yelling Wayne's World quotes at us and it was over.

We eventually burned all the wood, paper, cardboard (and maybe even a pair of panties) that we had, and headed back to the house.

And that's when the second installment of naked hot tub time started.

Only two of us remained clothed. Me, because my uterus is a traitor and decided my period should come on vacation with me, and another because she's pregnant and didn't want to cook her fetus in a hot tub. So she and I sat on the edge of the hot tub, fully clothed, like a couple of lecherous old men.

I've had my fill of boobs for a lifetime.

The last couple of days went by with more talking, eating, talking and relaxing. And then Saturday morning came and it was time to go home.

The last sunrise.

And I may have gotten something in my eyes that made them water. I blame allergies.

And then as I was awkwardly being forced to hug people, someone licked my face. It's O.K., though. I think I kind of liked it.

And then we all went home.

But wait, there's more! The universe decided I'd had too much fun, so about ten hours from home, I got sick. I thought I was just car sick, but it lasted for three days. On the bright side? I've lost fifteen pounds over the past two weeks.

And there's so much more I could write about. Trips to a great little wine and cheese shop where I spent an obscene amount of money on cheese. Stories from our evenings sitting around together talking. A lot happens in a week.

I'm not even going to tell you this story. I'll let you make up your own.

But the moral of the story is, yes--a lot of crappy things happened. But it was absolutely worth it. I'm already dreaming of next year.

The End.

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