My mom recently returned to my parents' main house after five weeks at the coast, and sent these pictures from our visit. (I know, the chronological discrepancy is killing me, too.) What struck me was how different Grace looked just a month earlier, and how pale and, uh, less thin I was before I stopped eating much (why add fuel to the fire?) and started laying in the sun because I've been sick and really, really lazy.
Grace is happy here because she knows we're on our way to the beach after waiting five whole days for decent weather. Can you imagine the suffering she endured? Grace and her grandma are kindred souls in that they need to bury their feet in the sand in order to fully enjoy the ocean. Me, I'd just as soon sip a cocktail from a balcony and watch the waves. It's a big picture versus tactile experience difference, I suppose. Our old dog, Dutchie, could stare out at the ocean forever, as if she'd been deposited at the Humane Society by a sailor who sold his boat and move into an apartment that didn't allow dogs, whereas Brady lurches around with her nose buried in the sand searching for something revolting to eat, oblivious to the sea and the seagulls and the sea air. My mother has been known to beach comb for SIX HOURS at a stretch. Needless to say, she has a spectacular collection of agates, sea glass, shells, etc.
Leave it to my mom to find the most hilariously entertaining person in town. Ric, the über-realtor that helped my parents upgrade from their ocean-view-until-someone-builds-a-GIANT-house-in-your-back-yard beach cabin to a bona fide ocean front retreat, invited us for drinks twice, and both times Grace came along and behaved as if she'd been going to cocktail parties all her life. Ric is about seven feet tall and here he is stooping waaaay over, I think so he could reach my boobs. (Why do gay men always go straight for the boobs?) Anyway, his house is also gay, and the first night we visited, Grace's eyes lit up when she saw all of the fabulous goodies she could explore. She exercised admirable look-but-don't-touch restraint. I, on the other hand, gave myself the tour uninvited, climbing the stairs to what I can describe only as the most inviting sanctuary I have ever seen. The other guests (Ric's actual friends) had apparently never seen the upstairs, but seized the opportunity to follow the crazy stranger while my poor mother trailed behind muttering something about my social skills.
The second night, there was an older boy there, maybe ten or eleven, and Grace spent the entire time staring at him with that special look in her eyes. He was a pretty cute kid and was clearly used to this reaction from the ladies, fortunately. Then my parents took Grace home and Ric took me out on the town for a little karaoke. I wish I could say I had fun, but I think I was a little too determined to HAVE! FUN!, and therefore just behaved like an ass while Ric looked on indulgently. Still, I think I belted out a respectable version of "Son of a Preacher Man." I'm fairly certain Ric has witnessed worse, although my mom wasn't too amused (or was she too amused?) when I got home, laid on the living room floor and babbled about how old and pathetic I was.
It's a nice friggin' house, and those dunes are the only thing that will ever separate all those windows from the ocean.