Tag Archives: vacation

The Fruity-Smelling Guy, Summer 2018 Edition


We’re on vacation this week, which means I smell fantastic.

I smell fantastic because when we’re out of town, I mooch off whatever body wash / soap / chemicals my wife brings with her. (She overpacks, I underpack, and it has always struck me as silly for us to each expend effort bringing along soap which for all intents and purposes does the same thing. While we’re on the subject, can we talk about how silly it is that essentially the same products are marketed to men and women, just with different added ingredients — for more manly smells — and different packaging — for a more manly look. You can be a man and use the fruity-smelling stuff, and you can be a woman and use the industrial-smelling stuff. Actually, women, don’t use the men’s stuff. You know that 2-in-1 stuff ain’t doing anything, and for some reason they only market that garbage to men.)

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This week, it’s this Coconut Mint Drop (pictured — unshaven lunatic not included), which smells bloody fantastic, like — well, like a coconut and a mint got together and dropped off a baby. It looks like a leftover from Christmas time, what with the snow piled up on top of the letters which could be ornaments, maybe? I’m not sure what coconuts have to do with Christmas (what do coconuts have to do with anything, really — I should write a play about that) but somehow it works and it had me feeling positively festive this week.

In fact I’m gonna go out of my way and say I really enjoyed smelling like coconuts and mints because, I dunno if you know this or not, but here in the South we’ve been under extreme heat advisories all week: temperatures going right up to the mid nineties early in the day and staying there until the sun decides we’ve had enough and leaving us crying on the floor until the next day.

(As it turns out, you can have a heat advisory without it being “extreme”, but much like the South has no idea what extreme means when it comes to pollen counts — the scale goes from “low” at 10 or so to “extreme” at maybe 200, and Atlanta regularly has pollen counts of like fifty thousand — we seem to view the “extreme” classification as less a descriptor, more a challenge. You call that hot? We’ll show you hot.)

They call this phenomenon a “heat dome” which is fitting as anything because stepping outside feels like stepping into a Thunderdome of heat and misery and sweat and B.O. You spend about thirty seconds outside and your body goes into panic mode. Everything starts to sweat. The body physically wilts like a daisy in the desert. You go to wherever you’re going to and then you collapse and bitch about how hot it is, even though everybody with skin KNOWS how hot it is, so why do we pretend we need to talk about how hot it is?? (Actually, somehow, it does seem to help, which leads me to the conclusion that the human heat-response system is somehow tied into the brain’s language centers, which leads me to the further conclusion that humans are dumb and not particularly cleverly wired.)

The upshot, then, to smelling like fruit, is that for those first thirty seconds before my skin begins to melt, I smell, somehow, a little bit like Christmas in June.

And, considering the alternative, I’d call that a pretty good thing.

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Oh. Canada.


Hello there! I’m not dead, but I am in Canada, so you could be forgiven for making that mistake.

There’s something revitalizing about being in a place that’s just so green. You drive from one place to another out here and there’s nothing but trees for miles and miles (sorry, kilometers and kilometers). Like a bunch of unicorns ate a pile of leprechauns and took off through the countryside spraying green in their wake.

Basically everywhere feels like this:

(For the curious, this is a beach in St. Something – apparently it’s required that every twenty miles or so [sorry, every thirty kilometers] you have to have a town called St. Something-or-other.)

Anyway, we’re on a flight tomorrow and back in the dirty south by the weekend. Normality will resume.


A Week Away


We were away from the homestead for a few days on a much-needed vacation. Missed a metaphor Monday and a couple of other posts I might have made in the meantime. So instead of a deep-dive on a topic, here’s a rapid-fire scatter-shot swipe at a few things I think I’m thinking about the week.

The Orange One continues to have his own personal version of the Midas Touch, which is the same as the fabled king who turned everything he touched into gold, except in the case of the DT, he turns everything he touches to poop. This week he’s poopifying the NFL, getting his poopy little fingers into all its nooks and crannies and ensuring that we can’t even watch a brainless game for a few hours on Sunday without having conversation hijacked and steered into the mountainside that is the poop-in-chief. I’ll leave it to you to figure out that while DT claims he’s having a hissy fit about the flag and by extension the military, it’s interesting that he’s doing so by disparaging a league wherein something like 3/4 of the players are black. Let’s not forget that the taking-a-knee thing started out because of race issues and had to do with visibility, not the flag or the military. You might argue that the national anthem isn’t the place for such protests, and maybe it isn’t, but the point of protest isn’t to make things as comfortable and unobtrusive for bystanders as possible, now, is it? Oh, there was also that kerfuffle with the Golden State Warriors and Steph Curry. (Also mostly black.)

Whatever, the Daily Show and Samantha Bee and other venues have handled this better than I can; if you haven’t watched their clips, you should.

And while I’m on the subject of the DT (sorry, it’s been a while and he’s on a roll — a sharknado-rolls-downhill kind of roll), he’s intimating that our aid efforts to Puerto Rico are in some way concerned with the island’s debt. Never mind that Puerto Ricans are citizens, so it’s kind of like a few major cities are crippled, starving, and barely in communication. They’re people. And he’s worried about their debt in the same breath as talking about their literal survival. If you’re not enraged, you’re not paying attention.

In other eff-you-I’ve-got-mine news, I was sitting beachside with my kids, watching them do their best sandpiper imitations — chasing the waves and foam around, cackling and basically being adorable — and a pair of old ladies comes strolling up the beach. One of them slows down as she nears us. This isn’t totally unusual — grandparents tend to love watching little kids play, and as far as little kids go, mine are particularly adorable — but I glance at her and notice not the usual smile of watching the younger generation at play, but the sneer of the put-upon. Turns out, we were right in her walk path, which I guess I should have known, given that there was only an entire beach around us in literally half of all the available directions. She huffs a little and detours around us as closely as possible, even going so far as to step on my little finger as she resumes her path.

I feel like this may have been her little way of making the beaches great again, but I can’t be totally sure of her political leanings after such a tiny interaction.

While walking to a restaurant to pick up dinner one night, I saw a group of kids (and man, that sentiment crossing my fingers onto the page made me take a good, hard look at myself, because they were certainly college-aged) sitting at a sidewalk table in front of an ice cream shop. Six or seven of them, clearly all there together. In total silence. Not a word being said. Their attention, instead, entirely engrossed in their cell phones. I stopped. I stared. They didn’t notice me. (I’d have taken a picture, but I left my phone charging in the hotel room — it was dead from playing video games while my kids splashed in the pool all afternoon.) I continued to stare, and they continued not to notice, until a full thirty seconds had passed and I became uncomfortable.

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I know, I know. It’s nothing new, these youths and their cell phones. But it shook me. I mean, Panama City Beach (aka the Redneck Riviera) is a haven for college kids having a good time, and here they sat, passively shoveling ice cream into their beaks, staring blankly at their little hypno-boxes. Creepy.

Vacation is great, but it’s terrible for eating. I figure my diet was roughly 60% grease-based, 35% straight-up fried, and maybe 5% green — and that green was only in the form of guacamole smeared on something else deep-fried. I don’t know that I’ve ever been happier to see my own kitchen and my cast-iron murder skillet (come on, that thing is a home-defense system as much as it’s a dream for searing a steak).

And on the six-hour drive back from the beach, I was amused to be barraged with example after example that my theory about the rampant-yet-undiagnosed road disorder, PBV syndrome, is a real thing. Give me a minivan doing 75, and I’ll show you a beat-up old chevy that was doing 65 a minute ago now driving 80. Maybe I’ll mock-up a pamphlet and plant a few of them in doctors’ offices around town.

That feels like a heck of a lot of negativity. Here to right that ship is the sunset from our last night. I’m pretty sure there are at least a hundred shades of crimson in the sky, and I’m almost certain that the blue of the ocean here is described as “cobalt conundrum.”20170927_193132

 

 


(Tiny) King of the Beach


I didn’t post this at the time, because with two kids running around, you become a lot less concerned with taking adorable pictures and posting them to your various social media right away for the adulation of friends, neighbors and acquaintances and more concerned with making sure that one child does not kill the other or itself while you try to close the door to use the bathroom in peace for a moment.

Still, though, despite your dubious parenting and hopeless second-child-syndroming of the second child, you do catch a good picture from time to time.

King of the Beach.

King of the Beach.

The boy has mastered at age 3 a pose that I can only hope to emulate. Maybe after I sell a few books and buy a beach house that I can just lounge around in at day’s end, I can come close to his casual indifference to the world, his satisfaction at a day’s work well done, a beach’s worth of sand castles properly kicked over, a pink bouncy ball thoroughly bopped around.

His shirt even says “Life is Good,” for the love of all that’s shameless.

So, yeah. Usually I have more to say, but sometimes it’s better to just let the picture speak for itself.


On Leave


Communications may be somewhat interrupted this week, because this is the view that I’m waking up to:

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We arrived Saturday, and will be back later this week. It is perfect summer weather here in Florida, with the scorching sun overhead during the day giving way to cool breezes in the evening. Absolutely ideal for washing the school year off. Not bad for inspiration either, if I could find a free minute to park my keester and bang on the laptop for a while. But if you have kids, you know that a free minute on vacation is a little like a Bigfoot sighting: gone the moment you realize it’s there, and impossible to plan for.

That said, there are few delights more satisfying than the peals of laughter and overhyped shouts of glee as your kids splash around in the ocean, root around in the sand, jump into and out of the pool, and stuff down piles of junk food. I don’t recall vacations being this much work when my parents would take my three siblings and me to the beach, but then it’s a whole different animal once you’re the one who has to care for the little monsters. Being on vacation with a toddler and an infant is almost as much work as actually being at work.

But the key word there is almost. When the sun is setting amidst a skyscape of purple clouds and temperate breezes, the kids are snoring in their beds like they’ve never slept a day in their lives (running around on the beach will do that to them), and you’ve got a lovely glass of wine and your lovelier wife next to you, it’s hard to even remember four-letter words like “work”.

So I’ll leave with this image of the most complete rainbow I’ve ever seen firsthand, because, you know, that’s happening here, now.

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Suffer.


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