This past weekend Jeff & I escaped to Beaufort, NC, a place long-familiar to me, as I spent the summers of 1989 and 1990 there (the first summer I was taking classes at the Duke Marine Lab; the second I was a Residential Advisor for the Duke Talent Identification Program, a summer “edumacational” camp for really smart 7th-10th graders).
It was a most wonderful weekend (interspersed, of course, with moments of supreme anxiety — hey, I’m still me!). The anxiety was primarily due to the fact that mom was keeping India for the weekend — Mom’s first time puppy-sitting India, and India’s first overnight away from me. And, well, my first overnight away from her too. I had always kind of wondered at (and perhaps snickered a tiny bit at) the worries of my friends who were leaving their kids with sitters for the first time. I’d been a baby-sitter… I’d been a very competent baby-sitter. Babies just weren’t all that tricky (at least for a few hours)… why in heavens’ name were they getting so worked up about this?
Now I understand. The anxiety was not (for the most part) about the sitter’s ability to manage a kid for a few hours. The anxiety was about the wee one’s happiness! Would the little one be miserable, scared, confused?
I had no worries about Mom’s ability to handle a pup — she grew up with dogs and has a heckuva lot more experience than I do in that respect (she also raised me, and I turned out OK. Mostly). Plus I’d written a novelette about what noises India might make and what she was allowed to do and how much kibble she’d eat and how many times she would probably need the piddle pad. (This made most parents’: “Bedtime is at 8:30; help yourself to whatever’s in the fridge” instructions seem incredibly trusting).
No, I was worried about whether India would be OK — would she miss her little guest bath palace? Would she cry? (If I haven’t mentioned, she has THE MOST pitiful cry on the planet… it’s both ear pleasing and incredibly sad…1)
India, FWIW, was fine. Happy, even. Disappointed, perhaps, to leave the nice lady who spoiled her rotten.
So, Beaufort (pictures). We did all the things I was looking forward to — all my most favorites plus some new ones (it has been *quite* some time since I’ve been there — I think Caroline and I may have gone in 2000(?) to see The Nudes, a band [since disbanded] that I was once very fond of.)
- hit the Sanitary fish market on the way into town Saturday (quotient of hush puppies: filled)
- went on a “sunset sail” on a catamaran Friday night & saw dolphins (quotient of boat and acrobatics 2: filled)
- had an *amazing* breakfast at the Cedars Inn — mixed berry french toast & cheese grits & fresh fruit (quotient of calories: exceeded)
- went to the beach (Fort Macon) (quotient of sun: WAY exceeded)
- swam (me) (quotient of waves: filled) with dolphins less than 15 feet away (no quotient, thus a total and wonderful surprise)
- went to El’s Drive-In for lunch (1950’s roadside food quotient: filled!)
- took a driving tour of the marine lab (nostalgia quotient: filled)
- napped (apprently quotient of sleep is still not filled)
- shopped — cute little store on Front Street was having “buy one thing, get any other thing of lesser-or-equal-value” half off. Most of the stock was Beaufort t-shirts, but they also had some Columbia travel/adventure wear, so Jeff got some pants-that-can-be-shorts and shirts-that-can’t-be-shorts-but-can-be-short-sleeved and I got some SPF 70(!!) sunscreen (“Black hole sun, won’t you come…”) — sadly it was too late to save the backs of my legs and shoulders or Jeff’s kneecaps. Anyway, (shopping-on-sale quotient: gleefully and productively filled!)
- dined at Aqua, recommended by friends Allan & Inez — sooooooo gooooood. Highlights were lobster tempura with a key lime-garlic aoli and a creme brulee the size of your head. Menu claimed it “feeds 2-4”. We got that and a molten chocolate thing. Finished them both. Menu doesn’t know sugar fiend sun waves = Dessert Destroyer!!! (quotient of calories: I should have stopped counting at this point…)
- Had vanilla pancakes and cheese grits for brekkies (cheese grit quotient: filled. Didn’t know that was possible!)
- Borrowed the inn’s bikes and road around downtown Beaufort (exercise quotient:… oh, who am I kidding?)
- Lunched at El’s (cheeseburger quotient: filled! [I had grilled cheese on Sunday])
- Dairy Queened on the way home (happy quotient: filled to brimming).
The only crushing bit of the weekend was when Mom brought India back3. I’ll be darned if my little baby girl didn’t cry when “Granny” left!! Was there any “OMG! I am so glad to see YOU, Mommy!!!”? Not so much really. Sigh.
1 You know how some people cry more attractively than others? They don’t blotch up and snot and squint and sound like wailing banshees? India has a cute cry. I don’t.
2 The cat we were on was a 40-ft. model with two nets up front bridging the gaps between the hulls and the center-line support (warning, link plays an annoying faux-reggae file). Of course I spent the entire time up in the net — best place for bouncy waves and best view! Towards the end of the cruise I discovered that if you stand up on the beam that holds the “front end” of the nets (bow end, for those that are nautically inclined), you can somersault and land on your back in the net. That was way fun. Apparently entertaining for everyone else on the boat too. While walking along Front Street the next night, I was i.d.’d by a passing couple as “the flipping girl.”
3 We brought Mom a little thank-you present for taking care of India… a plaque that says “Now let me get this straight… my grandchild is a DOG?!??!?!”
Oh, if you want to skip the blahblah, here’s the picture-book version.