August 20, 2004

Gratuitous Llama Vacation Posting - Part 2

Just in case you think I spent all my time loafing about and reading whilst on vacation, let me just say that we also spent a goodish bit of time on the beach and in the water. Unfortunately, this is the kind of thing that is reminding me more and more that I'm not a teenager.

There is an enormous sand hill about two miles down the beach from our cottage. The thing is about 300 feet tall with a slope of about 45 degrees. One afternoon - an unusually hot and sunny day, we took a trip over to it in our neighbor's boat. As soon as we were in the shallows, the kids were over the side and charging up the hill like the Rangers hitting the beach at Normandy. I was the only adult in the boat who had not climbed it before, so of course everyone else encouraged me to join the kids and see the view. Under this pressure, I too hit the surf and started hustling up the slope, encouraged by the yipping of my girls high above.


About halfway up the hill, I realised that I was in some trouble. My knees were showing a dangerous inclination to fold the wrong way, my breath was beginning to come in gasps and I could see at least twice as many daughters up there as I actually had. The only thing that kept me going was the horror of being seen to pack it in by my offspring. Thus motivated by pure fear of shame, I made it to the top. (Of course, the punch line was that the kids immediately wanted to hurl themselves back down the hill, not giving a flying patooie for the view or for the Old Man's need to rest for a minute.)

Another incident like this occured at my In-Laws' house in Westport, CT. They live on a little cove and recently someone anchored a float about thirty yards out from shore there. At low tide, I think you could walk to it, but at high tide one loses one's footing about 5 yards out from the beach.

My six year old took one look at that float and insisted that we go out to it. Now she can swim pretty well, but a distance like that is way beyond her, especially as she is used to having the side of a pool always at hand. So I agreed to swim out with her and to lend assistance as needed.

It's amazing what an enormous distance 30 yards really is, especially when you are more or less carrying a 50 pound kid and trying to breast-stroke with one hand.

When we set out, the float was occupied by a very pretty woman and her three sons. By the time we got there, I was so drained that I was incapable of any kind of banter, despite the dazzling smile and encouraging welcome of this woman. It was left to my daughter to handle the social pleasantries from our end.

After the girl had spent some time hurling herself off the float, she announced that she was ready to head back to the beach. Our conversation every two feet or so on the way back was as follows:

She: Can you touch the bottom yet?

Me: (Gasp) No!

She: Can you touch the bottom yet?

Me: (Wheeze, gasp!) Not yet, Sweetie!

She: Can you touch the bottom yet?

Me: (Urgh!) Please..... Kick.

And so on.

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that our friend John L had dug up the Marine Corp physical fitness guide and that I was going to start using the thing myself. Looks as if I'm going to have to do so even sooner than I had thought if I expect to keep up with the kids.

Posted by Robert at August 20, 2004 08:30 PM | TrackBack

Hit the deck and gimme 30!

Very entertaining summary, my friend. Welcome back.

And a Munuvian "yay!" to welcome you to this strange cyber-land.

Posted by: JohnL at August 20, 2004 11:22 PM
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