EOD graduation

EOD graduation
Oct. 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Myrtle Beach 2010

Choosing a vacation spot for our family is always a challenge. Four of us like the beach but Steve, who claims to have double, triple, or even quadruple the amount of voting stock as the rest of us, doesn't enjoy being in the sun that much. You will NEVER see him tanning on the beach. Of course, since he had a bout with melanoma last year, one can't blame him too much for being a wet blanket on the beach. At any rate, somehow the rest of us won out this year, and we left for Myrtle Beach on Saturday, July 17 after Ben finished his shift at Lake Tobias.

We arrived on Sunday around 4:00 AM and had some difficulty
finding our unit. We were SO glad to be there at last. We dumped
our stuff and headed for the beach which was just across the street--clearly visible from our windows and balcony. It was still dark when we said hello to the ocean, but no matter! It was great to stay so close to the beach. Ben, of course, made the most of this by hanging out on the balcony at times and calling to passersby on the street, "Hey, which way is the beach?" They had some interesting responses such as "Huh?" "I have no idea." "I think it's over there." (pointing in the complete opposite direction!)

One thing I liked best about our vaca was that we ate out every day and I never had to cook anything more complicated than boxed macaroni and cheese! On Sunday we ate at Phillips Seafood which was a posh dining experience. We ordered a lobster tail for the fellas to try. They did enjoy it, but they decided that $10 sure was a lot to spend on such a small amount of food!

We also enjoyed Ella's and the interesting hush puppies they gave us as appetizers. Great seafood there! One dinner spot we would just as soon forget is the Last Resort. We had heard that the waiters there treated you poorly as part of the experience, and being a sarcastic lot ourselves, that seemed like a fun prospect. There was always a looooong line of folks waiting to get in, and lots of kids in the mix, so we figured we'd try it. It was ok at first--that's our waiter there on the left. He saw that I had a coupon for a free dessert and told me to put it away. When we ordered water all around, he called us cheap! He threw our placemats and napkins at us. That was all well and good. Then we saw that people were wearing these weird paper hats on which their waiters were writing messages. Greg's and Ben's messages weren't too bad. The food was great, but the atmosphere--not so much. We were made painfully aware that not everyone has the same taste when it comes to joking around! Definitely not one of our better choices of a fun way to spend an evening. :(

Of all the great seafood and specialty restaurants, the kids all liked the Wing Express best, of all places! It was a take-out place that supposedly specialized in American, Chinese, and Thai food. I wondered how a place like that could have anything good--but everyone loved what they ordered, especially the wings. They liked the food there so much that we had to order from there again another night! It was nice to be able to eat in the comfort of the condo unit and watch TV over dinner. :)
Perhaps the extreme heat wave had something to do with it, but the water was always a lovely shade of warm! We were in the waves every day but one. Thankfully, no one got crispy this time around, although both Jimmy and I got a bit pink early in the week. Nothing a little aloe gel couldn't control!
We enjoyed a couple of games of mini-golf throughout the week, and of course we had a lovely scorekeeper! I just liked the ambience of the golf courses. You could play at the pirate cove and golf through caves and blue waterfalls, or you could play among large zoo animals. You know how it is...there's a golf establishment on every corner! Playing at night is nice, not only because there is no scorching sun, but you also have
lovely lighting and of course, the palms and other southern flora that I love so much! It matters little who wins the game--although you'd have
a hard time convincing Ben of that!

One evening we went to Planet Hollywood, but didn't want to wait an hour to eat. So we took a look inside, saw the Terminator's outfit and other cool movie props, and then skipped out and spent the evening at Broadway at the Beach which is kind of like a boardwalk away from the beach. Lots of interesting and unique shops there. I think all the kids picked up some $5 sunglasses, with Bri's being the cutest since they were colored like watermelons! We fed the fish, enjoyed $6 milkshakes (they were yummy, but $6??), and viewed Toy Story 3 in 3-D on an Imax screen. Ben especially liked the candy store which had a little bit of everything sugary.

On the way home we navigated through temperatures of 110 degrees at 5:30 PM. Before that we toured the USS North Carolina which was docked in...North Carolina. :) Steve especially enjoyed that side trip. I think it was his favorite part of the week. He's been talking about teak decks, torpedoes, and gun turrets ever since!
Yes, all in all it was a great week. We slept late every day, walked the beach at night, drank sodas like there was no tomorrow, and just generally loved a life of ease! We are thankful to have had the opportunity for a little getaway. It was the highlight of our summer. :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I really appreciate this rain that we've been getting over the past 48 hours, but of course, being me and with my luck and knack for not paying attention when I should be, the rain has posed a bit of a problem for me. Early Monday morning I had a mountain of laundry to do, and I was very proud of myself for finally getting all the loads done and hung on the lines outside. Then I collected Greg and my mom and we headed off for Harrisburg to run some errands and do a little shopping. Note that it was totally sunny at that time. So we were down there for hours...visited Harrisburg Christian School to drop off used uniform items for the upcoming uniform sale, picked up the big monstrous build-it-yourself dollhouse that is about 1/4 finished and which we donated to HCS last year so the students could use the kit to finish it, but they never did...and then we went swimsuit shopping which is never something to look forward to. Greg found his in 5 minutes. An hour later I was still looking and repeatedly stomping out of the fitting room with another rejected suit! (I did finally find one that was acceptable.)

So anyway, after all of that, we finally head home which is a half-hour away, and Steve texts me and says it's raining at home. I ask him how he knows this. He says he looked out his office window and noticed it was dark up our way, so he went online and checked the Clarks Ferry Bridge traffic cam, and the roads were wet. (How many people do you know who would know to do this?) So with Greg at the wheel we headed for home to try to rescue those clothes, but by then we could see how dark it was getting "up north" ourselves, and I figured we wouldn't make it in time, so I tried calling Ben to tell him to run out and get the clothes off the lines. Couldn't reach him. I knew he was downstairs playing xBox, and since Jim sleeps down there sometimes, the ringer is turned off on that phone extension so it doesn't disturb Jim's beauty sleep. I also couldn't reach Ben on his cell phone because it is malfunctioning, and the new one is on order. But then the light bulb went off, and I thought to call Mike, Ben's xBox buddy. Sure enough, he confirmed that they were playing a game online, so he was able to notify Ben for me. But when we finally got home through the driving rain (with an inexperienced driver at the wheel, no less), we saw that most of the clothes were still on the lines. Ben was only able to get a few items in before the rain hit full force.

That really was quite the rain storm. We had thunder and lightning too, and a barn near our home was struck and went up in flames. We saw this on our way home and it about made my hair stand on end.

So the next day was really humid and soupy and the clothes still didn't dry by evening, so you'd think I would have checked last night's weather expectations to see if more rain was expected. I did not do this. I am not always a fast learner. So all last night and so far this morning, the clothes have enjoyed a second soaking. :( And I guess later today I will enjoy bringing in dripping clothes to re-wash them. Lots of dripping clothes. I can hardly wait for that chore.

In the meantime, I am taking Ben to work and going to breakfast at the local coffee house with my mom before she heads for home today. Dripping clothes can wait. Cappuccino and muffins cannot. :)