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A Day at the Beach

Hi friends, Liz here. Many of you probably know I am a total beach freak. I live for summer and harbor fantasies about living in a beachy place where summer is year round. Everything is better on the sand with the ocean in view.

But what does a day at the beach really entail? I know when I’m dreaming of my beach time, I’m thinking of the moment when butt hits chair or feet hit water. But it’s not quite that simple. Here’s a look at the totality of a day at the beach, at least in my world.

The Day Before: Get excited. Find something healthy and yummy you can make and bring. Make said healthy yummy food. If really ambitious, gather chairs, umbrella and other paraphernalia for easy packing. Choose between Second Beach in Middletown, Rhode Island (2 hrs away) or Horseneck Beach, Westport, MA (1.5 hrs away). [Note: CT beaches aren’t our cuppa. The Sound is perfectly nice, but just not the same as the Atlantic.] Decide to leave at 9 a.m. to beat traffic, get parking, and claim a spot on the sand. Oh, and most important – choose books!

The Day Of – 7 a.m. Wake up excited. Even cleaning up cat vomit isn’t so bad with the promise of the sand in between your toes. Try to find favorite towels, but they seem to be missing. Grab replacements. Review reading choices to make sure they’re still perfect for the day. Horseneck Beach bound!

8 a.m. Realize that regardless of the food planning, you’re still missing the major component of your lunch. Get dressed and go to the store.

8:30 a.m. The grocery store on a Saturday. Need I say more?

9 a.m. Finally back home, but need to make the rest of lunch. Departure time delayed.

9:30 a.m. Lunch main course is made, berries are washed, cooler is packed and car is loaded. Not too far behind. Oh, wait. One more pile of cat vomit discovered on the way out the door. Stop and clean.

10 a.m. On the road. Realize you left the exciting healthy snack made the day prior behind in the fridge. Oh, and the road to the beach is NOT littered with Starbucks, just Dunkin. Yuck. Coffee-less at the beach.

10:30 a.m. Traffic. Depending on which beach, could be worse.

11:30 a.m. Arrive. Yay! Get into the (usually long) line to park. End up behind some woman who needs to have a 20-minute conversation with the attendant about something, probably that she doesn’t have the $15 fee. When she finally moves, you’re directed to the overflow lot.

11:35 a.m. Unload the car and try to figure out how to load all the things you “needed” onto the beach cart to get it to the beach.

11:45 a.m. Drag cart up the path, onto the sand and scan the area for the best spot, preferably not near small children or the dumpster. Unpack chairs, etc. Drop chair on toe. Realize the headrest to the chair fell off somewhere along the path. Retrace steps to retrieve. Find the bathroom.

Noon. Finally put butt in chair and sigh contentedly. Crack open book and dig in. After five minutes, realize you need water, which means unpacking the whole cooler to get to it.

12:30 p.m. The beach is filling up fast. A bunch of self-proclaimed still-drunk college kids camp out right in front of you. And keep multiplying. They’re still drinking. And the families with the little kids have come out too, and apparently the best spots are Right. Near. You. Eat what you remembered to bring for lunch and ignore it – you’re at the beach and life is good.

1 p.m. Realize the sun has peeked around the umbrella without noticing and one shoulder/arm are totally burning. Adjust chair and keep reading. Because nothing matters when you’re on the beach.

1:15 p.m. Angry moms dragging kids through the sand because it’s super hot and their feet are burning. You could point out that they could just hand the kid their shoes, but whatever. You’re at the beach.

1:30 p.m. College students fighting. Stale Bud wafting through the beach air. Little kid next to us throwing shovels. A lady wearing a crazy fluorescent yellow wig and sequined bright pink bathing suit is trying to be a mermaid. Missed the photo op. Ah, the things you see on the beach.

2 p.m. Hit the water, finally. It’s beautiful! Reconnect with your inner mermaid. Hopefully there are sequins involved.

2:20 p.m. Back to the chair. Nap time, followed by more reading. The college students are alternating between fighting, sunburning and eating last night’s pizza. People are getting cranky. The lifeguards are trying to make the more adventurous swimmers come back to shore.

3 p.m. Time to pack up and leave, unfortunately. It’s this morning, in rewind – pack up the cart, lug it back to the car, try to leave some sand behind. One last glance at the water and you’re already wishing it was time to return. Until next beach day, time to go home and clean up more cat vomit.

Readers, tell us about your beach adventures!

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