Preparing for the Beach, Love of Storms, etc.

August 2, 2011

My up-coming vacation has been a bit of an obsession for me.  I am having a hard time thinking about much else.  We have some challenges to overcome, like a tiny hatchback hybrid of a car.  And 4 people who need to pack not only clothes, but also beach chairs, sheets & towels. But other than space and financial limitations, the planning is nothing but sheer joy.

First up was bathing suits.  Because my weight roller coaster is (despite some loss) at a peak, not all of my suits fit in the most flattering of ways.  Sure, I can squeeze them on, but the “squoze into this suit” look is not a pretty one.  And while swimming in the Berkshires, I noticed that my one larger suit had started to wear in an embarrassing manner on the backside.  Can we say “translucent?”

I kind of didn’t mind, though.  This meant I had to go shopping.  Shopping!  A must!  Hooray!

[Because I honestly do not shop for myself unless I really must. The kids get priority every time, and then the budget ends up zapped, and I’m wearing the same clothes I was wearing in 2004.  Groan.]

First, I went to L.L. Bean.  Their suits were on sale, and they were kind of cute.  But “on sale” there meant $45-$50 (per piece, and I was looking at tankinis).  So I picked one, and thought, “well, I’ll order it, see if it fits, and exchange it if it doesn’t.”

Before I clicked on the “purchase” button, I went over to Lands End.  I didn’t like their patterns as well, but their plain suits were plain but still with some detail, and more than acceptable (especially for someone who feels larger than she should be).  And they were $15 per piece.  Or as low as $15 for a one piece.

So … I bought 4.  Two tankinis and two one pieces.  In navy, brown, black and a plum color.  I tried them on, and I like them all.  No returns going on here.

Then, I (a) wondered how we’d get all our crap to the beach from the house – there’s a path, and it’s the equivalent of 3-4 city blocks and (b) was envious of my friend’s awesome beach bag that she brought to the beach on our beach trip. So I went back to L.L. Bean (just because I rejected their bathing suits doesn’t mean I have no use for them!), and found myself a couple of these:

 I got one large (lime green) and one extra large (orange).  WD was less than thrilled – “These are bigger than the entire trunk!” But they aren’t.  And if they don’t work to pack full, we’ll just flatten them and pack on top of them, and then use them to get crap to/from the car, and then to/from the beach.

And I got a pair of sporty flats/sneaker things because my feet suck and can’t handle flip flops for long periods of time.

So I’m done with myself.  No more shopping necessary for Suzie.  And the girls are quite well-outfitted with shoes and clothes, but they may need an extra bathing suit here or there.  I’ll need to find a good sale for that, too.  Another plug for end-of-summer vacations.  Clearance sales abound! WD took advantage of some of them to get his own self some more swim trunks.  He only has one pair, and that does more than well for us in our normal lives.  But since we’ll be spending an entire week on the beach, he’s going to need more.  (An entire week on the beach!  Did I mention that I’m excited?)

We are also working to come up with a list of restaurants, grocery stores, sights, etc. So if you have any recommendations for the Outer Banks in N.C., please let me know!


Have I mentioned that I am a storm lover?  Because I love a good storm.  Thunderstorms and blizzards make me very, very happy.  I will track the weather – a good 50% of all of my bookmarks are weather-related.  It is a very good question, why didn’t I go into meteorology?  (I guess because I dislike science and math …) WD often jokes that if I choose to take on a new career during retirement, it will be as a storm-chaser.

Hurricanes are included in the storms that I love. Of course, I do not love a storm that takes lives or creates hardship.  Katrina and the aftermath is nothing to celebrate.

But I’ve lived through a few hurricanes, and they were mild-to-moderate, and they were exciting.  There were a couple that reached to my family home in Southwest Connecticut – one of them snatching our electricity away for most of a week.  And when I was living in Mobile, Alabama one summer with the Ex, a category one moved through the area.  It was nothing but awesome.  The whole city shut down in anticipation, and the Ex and I drove to the bay.  The waters had all receded, as the storm was just offshore and sucking all the energy and water into itself.  The wind was whipping around, and the sky was so-so dark.  We went back to our apartment before the storm hit, and lost power for a short time.

Another time, I was back home in Birmingham, and a storm hit the gulf coast.  Somehow, this hurricane maintained all of its energy and wind speed and charged up the state of Alabama and hit Montgomery hard, and then moved on to Birmingham.  We had considerable more damage from that hurricane in Birmingham – 215 miles inland – than we did from the one that hit us when we were in Mobile (directly on the coast).

I keep hoping we’ll get to experience a hurricane here in New England.  I wish for a category 1 or maybe a 2.

WD knows this about me.  So last night when I told him, “I can’t imagine being more excited for anything than I am for this vacation.”  He suggested that perhaps experiencing a hurricane while there would be even more exciting.

I considered it.

And decided no.  That would not be more exciting.

A storm disrupting work, school, normal every-day activity – that’s fun to me.  I like the  excitement of something so powerful that it can derail routines, and cause an out-of-the-normal blip for an entire community or region. (Again, especially if there is no loss of life or serious property damage that isn’t covered by insurance.)

But my vacation?  I’d like that left alone.  Save the storms for the work-a-day world.  Then I get a vacation AND a storm-disruption.  I don’t need both wrapped into one.



  1. I did not know you used to live in Alabama! We’re probably moving to Mobile in 9 months for a job! This thrills me for some reason.

    Also, having lived in NC for a while, I have spent some time on the Outer Banks. Unfortunately, I have not a single tip for you – except the Wright Brothers Museum in Kitty Hawk was kind of cool.

    • Yep! Lemon was conceived in Birmingham, but the Ex and I moved out to California before she was born. He went to law school in Alabama, and had job offers at firms in Birmingham and Mobile.

  2. I have the same beach bag in extra-large. It is huge and I love it.

    I can’t imagine how you are fitting everything into a hatchback. I have a ridiculously ginormous SUV with a hitch tray in the back and we just bought a car topper because we couldn’t figure out how we were going to get all our crap to the beach.

    We’re headed to Gulf Shores next week. So excited for a low-key unscheduled beach vacation. Would love to visit the Outer Banks, but it is a long way from us (and Gulf Shores isn’t close.)

    • Yeah. I think we can do it. Bathing suits don’t take up so much space. I guess if we have to, we can break down and buy a Thule system, but I really don’t want to. I want that money for dinners out and ice cream.

  3. I use one of those LL Bean totes for the pool and it’s great. You’ve reminded me that we have more stashed away somewhere and that they’d be great for our upcoming car trip to hold books and snacks.

  4. […] could not have been more excited about the pending vacation.  I couldn’t think about or talk about anything else for quite […]

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