Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Day at the Beach

So... when you live in California and you have a family of 6, with 4 small kids what do you do on a pleasant Saturday afternoon? You go to the beach. Now the problem is that we are 90 miles from a decent beach and in The Bay Area that means you are going to be dealing with traffic.

Anyhow, our little Saturday started out pretty good, we went to soccer and ran around for a few minutes. Nobody cried. Successful. So we piled up the car and headed to the beach. It was just a few minutes after 11:00, the kids were loaded, the car was loaded, the van was gassed up. So far so good. NOTE: About 4 hours of prep work from my wife went into ensuring the kids and car were loaded and ready to go.

The first 30 minutes of our journey are fairly uneventful, a normal family drive. For us that means a few silly comments from the twins and a few minecraft notes from the boys.

Suddenly and rather unexpectedly Carson just starts puking, now I don't know if you take a lot of family drives, but there is nothing quite like being on a long drive with the pungent aroma of vomit lingering in your nose. Carson is barfing, Becks (sitting next to him) is freaking out, and I am manically looking for a place to get off the road. What a site it must be for the Cali natives, a van with KY plates full of six people screaming and swerving all over the road. We find a McD's and start operation clean-up.

Now this is a precarious spot. We are 50 miles from home, but still 40 miles from the beach. Press on or quit. Quitters are pussies, we are going to the G.D. beach.

Cyndi, who in all the glory and grossness of motherhood has never learned to embrace the sweet stank of vomit doesn't do vomit detail, that is a Daddy gig. So I get to cleanin'. Get Carson out of the van, get the puke covered clothes off of him. Naked and with an empty stomach he says "I'm hungry". Only kids can barf their lungs up and then ask for food.

Back to car detail.

Continue cleaning up puke with baby butt wipes (left overs from the twins - don't worry not used), and beach towels. Once we have mopped enough we pile back in the van and press on. Now if you are a parent you know once somebody has hit the food ejecto-switch you spend the next 5 hours in a constant state of "are you OK" "are you gonna puke". Add to this the steady voice of Gabe saying "Carson puked on my seat".

We are now balls deep in Northern California traffic and anyone who has ever been associated with me knows I pay attention to my surroundings and directions about as well as I dunk a basketball. Sure enough my dumbass takes the wrong exit going BACKWARDS. After fighting our way through puke stink and traffic, I have driven back around to the other side of it. See previous note about precarious spot, quitters are still pussies. Again in typical me fashion, I have a slight mini-stroke and drop a few choice words. Especially funny when Grant and Gabe starting chiming in too. "F_cking Traffic" sounds much cuter coming out of the mouth of a 4 year old.

After another 30 minutes of re-traversing the same mile stretch of road, we are again sprung into attention by the sound of dry-heaving. This time its Becks. No result, just heave. What a pleasant sound to hear in a car, trapped with the stink of puke.

It has now been two hours, we are still 20 miles from the beach.

The next hour passed without too much drama, and we arrive in Santa Cruz. It is hours later than we would like to arrive and the parking lots are full. We are full on spot-stalking, driving a slow roll behind families hoping they are leaving. Two full trips around the lot and I see a spot, right in the front. Finally... a VICTORY! Now, I don't have the best parking skills but I shoved that van into that tiny little California parking spot like champ, now... how do we get out?

It has been 3 long, slow, stink filled hours in the van. It was 85 degrees at home but it is a balmy 65 at the beach, the wind is downright cold. There will be no playing in the ocean today (to be honest... we kind of like that). We put on our hoodies (after living here for a year and a half we have learned you don't go anywhere in SF without hoodies), and we dump out those beach toys.

The beach is good to us, the sun feels good, the kids are happy. We are playing soccer and tossing the frisbee. We are digging in the sand and using our metal detector to find treasure. I don't smell the strong stink of weed, which is a change from a normal trip to Santa Cruz, I swear to all that is good and holy those burnouts love the mary jane. Some twenty somethings are next to us in thongs, thongs! It is 65 degrees, put some pants on before your ass freezes up. But not to be outdone Gabe, drops his pants down to bare ass and starts peeing. Right in the middle of the beach, peeing. The twenty somethings are impressed with his move. Cyndi put it best... 4 year olds are basically frat boys minus the beer (their life is eating, fart jokes, touching themselves, and calling everybody the meet "Dude").

After 3 hours at the beach we are ready to begin the long slow slog back to the house. As we pack up, you can't help but feel like you have accomplished something just by getting to the beach and leaving in one piece. As we head home, we decide on some dinner. Since the kids only eat two food groups and both of those food groups are pizza, that pretty much means its pizza.

The venture to the pizza place is interrupted by the yell or "I have to go potty". 4-year olds, have a bladder the size of a pea and basically just find themselves in a near constant state of needing to find a potty. Since my children are also terrified of public toilets (the auto-flushers freak me out a little too), so we travel with a potty. That's right, we drive around with a potty. HMMM! This Best Buy parking lot looks like a great place to urinate. Back in the car... I want dinner.

We find a quiet Mountain Mike's about a third of the way home and order some pizza. Get out of the car and find Grant has decided he needed to pee, but the difference is he neglected to tell anyone or stand up for that matter. He has soaked himself and his seat. So let's add a bucket of piss to that awesome stale vomit smell. I swear we are going to have to burn this van.

Two pepperoni pizzas, one no-sauce. My kids are weird. The restaurant is empty, but it turns out we have selected the slowest pizza joint in the State. In takes a solid hour for our pizzas to hit the table, and again anyone with kids knows how awesome it is to listen to 4 kids bitch and moan about being hungry for an hour when there is nothing you can do about it. This is why parents drink.

After an hour, two very delicious pizzas show up, at least I think they were delicious. By that point we were so hungry we were licking the parmesan cheese packets, so ketchup on a cracker would have been the best pizza ever. The bellies are full, the children will now shut up, and we can finish the drive home.

The rest of the drive was quiet. No peeing, no puking, no complaining, peace and quiet. We got home at 9:30, and outside of a pretty solid "I am not taking a bath tantrum" everyone settled down quickly. The night was over. Our Day at the Beach was over. Our van smells like there is a dead homeless man living under the floor mats, but we are safe and emotional scars heal with counseling. All in all, this was a pretty successful trip.

Thanks for reading and sympathizing.

- Eric