To say that today did not go according to plan would be a major understatement.
It started out uneventfully enough. It was Sunday morning and Matt was willing to do something as a family.
Matt is a homebody. We don't get out with him much. If I want to do something, anything, I kind of have to be willing to do it myself. I'm explaining, not complaining. I knew he was like this when I married him. I had no illusions about changing him. I just figured I'd work around it. Sometimes I get a little bit frustrated, but for the most part, I'm simply exceedingly grateful when he finally expands his comfort zone and I can drag him to something. When he told us today was one of those days, Coryn immediately started campaigning for the beach.
Pensacola has very nice beaches. It is almost always warm enough for the beach, though sometimes it isn't dry enough (It rains a lot here. I'm from Oregon, which is often associated with rain, and I still think it rains a lot here.). I don't like taking the girls to the beach alone, however, because they are both young enough that I feel I need to keep a hand on them and it can be exhausting holding Claire while trying to follow Coryn around in the water. I ended up doing that today anyway but I'm getting ahead of myself . . .so, long story short, I don't go to the beach unless Matt is coming too.
So anyway. . . TO THE BEACH!
We usually go to the beach on base. It is a nice beach and somewhat less crowded than the other options. Plus we are creatures of habit. However, this time when we got onto base Matt got this brilliant idea. We should go to this other beach out by where he works where he sometimes takes his Marines running (Matt owns a bunch of Marines. I should make him bring them over to do housework.). This secluded, secret beach will be empty, he says. It is a nice beach, he says. There is a cool sand pit, he says.
I said, whatever you want, dear.
I need to stop saying that.
So we twisted through a lot of crazy streets that had "authorized personnel only" signs (Hey, I brought an authorized person with me!) and finally started down this dirt road towards the legendary beach. Coryn started to get excited.
"Look! I see a big pile of sand!" she said. It was about then that Matt decided to park and the day started to go down hill faster than a Chevy Cobalt sinking in a pile of sand. Yeah. . .
I'm not very good at automotive explanations, but the technical term for it is "stuck." We were good and stuck. Matt, being Matt, was very proactive. He was finding sticks and boards and putting them under the tires. He was pushing and digging and the whole nine yards. Finally he told me to take the girls ahead to the beach. He'd have to walk out, get a taxi, go home, get the truck, come back, and pull the cobalt out of the sand.
Matt later informed me that I went to the wrong beach. I was supposed to keep walking straight and then there would've been an awesome beach. We just went until we saw water and then headed for that. It was a nice enough beach and, except for some people fishing in a boat off shore and one jogger who ran by twice, we had it all to ourselves. Claire went running for the water, tripped, got water in her nose then clung to me for awhile, but Coryn, armed with arm floaties, "swam" to her heart's content.
It would've been more fun if Matt were there. Coryn repeatedly said, "I wish Daddy were here. I feel sorry for Daddy. He has to work and he doesn't get to have fun with us."
We started finding a lot of hermit crabs and some really big sea snails I want to call "conchs" but I'm not sure if that is the correct terminology. I would love to find one of their shells abandoned. They are huge, larger than my hands, and would be fun to decorate with or just collect, but so far I've only found them with slimy little creatures inside, and I'm not about to kill a slimy little creature and make off with its home. If they were edible, sure. Just for the shell, no, I'd feel guilty about that.
At first Coryn wanted to keep the hermit crabs in her own, home made tide pool (a hole she dug), but they kept climbing out and racing for the shore, so we eventually gave up and just walked the shoreline picking up shells. If the shell had a creature inside, we would inspect it and Coryn would "set it free" (I'm pretty sure there were a few crabs who were captured and set free upwards of three times). Pretty much all the cool shells had creatures in them of one sort or another. We found some clam and mussel shells to take home, however, and judging that we had been there a considerable amount of time and Claire was probably going to be hungry soon, we started back to the car where I had left my purse and phone, hoping Matt would be there soon to rescue us.
I had a missed call and a text asking me to call when we got to the car, so I did. He said he had just gotten to the house a few minutes before (apparently it took awhile to get a cab and Matt isn't the kind of guy to "call a buddy.") and would be back in about fifteen minutes.
Now here is where I will start cursing Florida.
I have this new routine I do to amuse myself where every so often I yell at the sky, "This is stupid, Florida!" or "Florida, you are ridiculous!" or even "You're drunk, Florida! Go home!" As a military wife you have to be somewhat adaptable, but honestly, Florida is weird to me. I think Japan was weirder, but it was a foreign country and I expected it to be weird which made it intriguing and exotic. With Florida supposedly being the same country as my home state of Oregon, I guess I am giving it less slack. . .but, Florida, this weather is not my cup of tea. You don't have any hills. Where are the hills? Sweet tea is just ridiculous. I can add sugar to my tea myself, thank you. Oh! And your bugs are mean. I mean, really REALLY mean.
So anyway, mean bugs and hot weather. . .I was doing okay when we got back to the car. Matt had even left the car running (which cost us about a quarter tank of gas, but it made the car bearable to get back into when we returned) because he was hoping to be back sooner than he had been or something (I didn't particularly understand this logic). Unfortunately, the car was full of flies. Nasty, mean, biting flies. Curse you, Florida!
I found a shoe box lid and managed to thin down the swarm through a combination of fly murder and fly relocation (swishing them out the window), but I was bitten by the nasty little devils more than I care to think about.
So we sat in the car and listened to the radio. We experimented with the ring tones on my phone. We drank our water supplies. No sign of Matt.
Claire started to get anxious about a half hour in. I fed her the crackers from my car stash of snacks (which reminds me, need to restock that). She was still hungry. She stood on the seat behind mine and yelled at me for not being better prepared. "MaaaaaaaaaaaMA! MAMA! Maaaaaaama! AH! AH! AH!"
She is very demanding when she is hungry.
So anyway, I texted and called Matt a few times but he had left his phone at the house (I later found out he hit ever red light and stopped at the Walmart auto center to get a tow rope and got caught behind a woman who couldn't pay her bill and was going through her purse for cash and finally had to call a friend or something to bail her out. . . ah, Walmart. . .). I finally got fed up and decided to walk out, but we only got about twenty feet from the car before I saw the truck coming towards us.
Now, one of the few positives in this whole situation was that watching my husband do manual labor is really awesome, not in a mean, I like him to suffer way, but he's just really hot when he is lifting things and digging holes and covered in dirt and sweat. . . TMI? Probably. . .Oh well. So we finally got home. There is probably a sandbox worth of sand in my car, we used up a lot of gas, we ended up getting fast food because we were starving, and a free family fun day at the beach swiftly became a sandy money pit, but we endured.
Matt says next time we go to the beach we will take the truck. Next time I'm going to pack more snacks and a fly swatter.