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7:09 p.m. - 2012-07-21
SHORE had a great time!

YUM!!!! Finally got to use my grill yesterday and the resulting hamburgers were delish! So much so that I sent Mick to Shoprite today and had him buy more ground meat and buns so I can make some more for tonight's dinner. While he was gone I realized again how little I ask from life- a good burger, a day at the beach, functioning appliances and electronics, reasonably decent health...and I'm all good.

Our day at the shore was good too. We got up on time. We'd packed the car the night before so it was just a matter of washing and dressing and getting on the road. Already decided to have breakfast in Toms River so aside from a quick potty break at the halfway-mark Cheesequake rest area we'd pulled out of the driveway and rolled and didn't stop until Exit 82. Poor Mick had had a rough night too, his sinuses were totally clogged and his sleep was for shit. But my darling mannie was determined to give me my day at the shore, so no complaints from him. Not even when this chucklehead cutting across three lanes of traffic almost slammed us into the Jersey barrier on our left. Wolf did his bit too. Once on the beach he checked in regularly coming to the top of the berm at shore's edge and waving so I knew he was okay. Both my guys knocked themselves out so I could have a peaceful, easy day at my favorite place on Earth.

Mick, determined not to get burned, set up camp beneath the Grant Ave lifeguard station. It juts out over the sand from the boardwalk proper and the space beneath is cool and dim and there's enough headroom even for a gantry like me. At first I was set up much closer to the ocean but the umbrellas- one of our own and the other a rental- were giving me fits. The day was simply too windy and instead of chilling in the shade listening to the waves and the gulls I was forever grabbing onto and propping the damn umbrellas back up. Eventually I gave up and joined Mick under the boardwalk. I'd been lonely for him anyhow and didn't mind moving so far back from the surf. If I wanted to sit by myself on the beach I'd have come down alone. Wolf came by once in a while to say hi and grab something to drink. He'd had a wicked good time riding his boogie board until late in the day when he accidentally knocked over a little kid and then felt too guilty to use his board anymore. I tried to reassure him that beach rules say it's on the other guys to watch out for the boarders, boogie boards are notoriously hard to steer and collisions will happen, but Wolf felt absolutely terrible. He'd knocked down a little kid! Despite immediately bailing and helping the little guy back up Wolf felt like a creep. So. For the rest of the afternoon he body surfed sans board and had a guilt-free fun time.

I ask you, how many 15 year olds would be so concerned about the results of their actions? Even the completely accidental ones? God, this kid of mine. What a good guy he is.

After our beach time I impressed Mick by changing out of my suit and into my dry clothes sans changing room. Through some rather dexterous sleight of hand (and clothing) I managed to take off a still damp one-piece and dress myself in a t-shirt, a short skirt and the proper undergarments without once exposing unseemly flesh or outraging public decorum. An old beach-hand I am wise in the ways of getting around the necessity of using the bath houses. Not that I mind using them but our central location made the changing houses located at either end of the boardwalk a long, long hike. And nowadays my need for a fresh water shower, a blow dryer and good light to apply tons of make-up is moot. My babe days are over. I was far more interested in getting some scallops for dinner than I was in making sure my hairdo and mascara were perfect. Thus are the blessings of being nearly 50 and besotted with a man who adores me even though he's seen me in the morning at my messy worst.

Funnily enough my chosen combo of a black t-shirt and a bone khaki chino skirt seemed to be THE color combo of the day. After dinner we let the kid go nuts on the rides on Casino Pier and while we waited for him to get his ya-yas out on all the barf-a-trons Mick and I amused ourselves counting the people who were similarly clad. We got up to 20 before we were overcome with giggles.

We blew a wad on dinner. Not really worth the dough but the air conditioning was heavenly. Next trip we'll make the trek a couple blocks inland and hit our favorite Greek place. Their calamari is the stuff of dreams.

We will go back this summer too. A promise made to ourselves and bolstered by stashing our ticket and token count from Casino Arcade in my purse. We'll save up to get a really cool prize at the end of summer. Year before last we cashed in the savings of a few summers' worth and got Wolf an air-hockey table. When I was a little guy I'd always wondered who managed to save up thousands and thousands of points from the skeeball and other arcade machines to earn those really, really big prizes. The fancy ones like Mixmasters and canoes. I was always too eager to cash in my measly tally and ended up settling for some spider rings and wax lips. Maybe if I'd been really lucky I'd score a necklace that made my skin turn green or some other flimsy geegaw, but mostly it was spider rings and wax lips. These days I can hold my water and wait a season or even a few of them until I cash in.

The only downer from our trip to the shore besides my recalcitrant umbrellas was how walking on the loose sand made my rebuilt knee ache like a sumbitch. Bummed me out more than a little to see what the difference between the shore at 50 was compared to the shore at 15. When I was 15 we didn't need umbrellas, we dug a pit, lined it with an old chenille bedspread and made a giant sand penis from the diggings. We tumbled in the waves and body surfed and played chicken and never gave a thought to how hot it was. We laid full out in the blistering sun and only moved when Dan Ingram on WABC told us it was 'time to turn so we don't burn'. This time my feet were singed and without shade my brains sizzled. My bum knee throbbed and the sand in my crack bothered me more than it ever had before. I was shocked my physical discomfort was almost bigger than my joy at being on the beach. When the hell did I get so old?

Still, my new suit did just fine at keeping my girls contained. I laughed when I got slapped upside the head by an unexpected wave and my headband was knocked clean off my noggin. I took my lumps in the riptide and came up smiling. The old magic worked. The wizardry of sun and surf. The clinking cha-ching from the arcades. The smell of salt and grease and tropical suntan lotions. It's still there for me. Thank goodness.

Life's a beach, ~LA

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