I dragged myself into work just past Stupid O’clock to squeeze a week’s worth of work into one day instead of the originally scheduled two. Much to my surprise, I learned I would be leading the weekly update meeting in both the office and cubicle buildings after Labor Day. Much not to my surprise, the line, “The projects run themselves at this point,” was a huge and smelly lie.
The day was filled with texts from my family updating the list of things I needed to find. I found this a delightful confirmation that deciding to save time by heading straight down to them from work would have been a huge mistake.
In between the “don’t forget” texts from Rosa, and occasional hint filled phone calls to keep my return a surprise from Anabelle, my daughter sent her own barrage of texts updating me on their day. These included important information on a Mongolian singer documentary she’d stumbled on.
The meteorologists being wrong about the weather coincided nicely with the hotel being wrong about not having the room they would be switching to ready as soon as they checked out of the other one.
The new room had no closet, only a cubby, and no drawers. However, it made up for this by having an enormous bathroom. The sink and shower were normal sized; meaning the general layout of the room was huge enough to pitch a tent in for additional storage
Rosa and Anabelle had lunch in the Seaside Café, which no longer had anything on my cardiac approved menu list, to allow Anabelle to continue her global survey of restaurant Dippin’ Yellows.
There were some elevator timing issues, which we’d learn more about on the other days, but they were able to get down to the ocean relatively early.
The storm churn had grown, affecting seaweed as well as sand. Aside from the “lettuce” issues my daughter had that led to a bit of unscheduled screaming, they had fun sharing the ocean together.
Before leaving I called pretty much everyone I knew at work to make sure my absence was covered…which was silly since half the people I called were already out for the long weekend.
After a brief detour at the comic shop, since New Comics Wednesday is kind of the Sabbath for us geeks, I went home to pack. Packing involved taking a great many photos of stuff in my own house and texting them to make sure I got the things my wife put on her list. This is the way I shop too. It may seem like overkill, but since my Dad had to go back out to the supermarket almost every time he brought something home, I figure what I’m using in data charges, I’m more than saving on gas.
My family needed to walk down to the IT’SUGAR in the mall to replace the gummi sombreros that sadly drowned in the melting chocolate fiasco two days before.
They saw the non-statue Miss America contestants, prompting Anabelle to root for Miss Maryland based on an impromptu wave and smile.
As always in our family, timing was impeccable. There was no cell phone signal in the pier based mall, and they were there during the height of my photo barrage. Luckily, they came out before I suffered a complete nervous breakdown, and the comedy of John Pinnette brought me calm and focus for the drive.
They called to check on me when they were back in the room. For once the timing worked out as I wasn’t driving at that point. Telling Anabelle I went out for dinner was the truth…I just omitted the bit about dinner being at a Parkway rest stop more than half way back to the Tropicana.
For years, Roy Rogers was my favorite fast food, until.
A) Cardiac issues removed it from my acceptable list.
B) The franchise removed it from almost every location I’d seen it at.
My immediate need to stop coincided with the one Parkway location that still had a Roy Rogers Express at it. (They all used to have a full one.)
The combination of me being exhausted, starving and on vacation allowed a lapse. But sadly, “you can’t go home again.”
I guess technically that would be, “you can’t go where you used to eat and have it taste as good again,” but that’s too awkwardly wordy, even for me.
The meat was either overly cooked or overly old, having none of the pink tastiness I remembered, and there was no horseradish sauce on “Roy’s Fixin’s Bar.”
Still, it was better than Burger King.
(So is a mild stomach virus some days, but work with me here.)
As the number of people crazy enough to drive the length of New Jersey in the middle of a weeknight was limited to me, traffic was a breeze.
I reached the garage, handed in my stamped receipt absolving me from paying twice,
THANK YOU FRIENDLY PARKING MAN
And lugged all the stuff into the West Tower.
I thought it would be funny to send Anabelle a picture of me from in front of their room number. Luckily, I know me, and when I called Rosa to find out if Anabelle’s IPod was charged, I also confirmed the room number.
It was almost a very different kind of funny.
We had a happy family reunion once she figured out what was going on.
Rosa had taken her to the kids’ arcade for a bit while I was driving, and instead of getting some low level crap, Anabelle saved her tickets to build up to some higher level crap.
She was far too excited to sleep, so we all decided it would be fun for me to take her back to the arcade. This should demonstrate how tired we all really were, since the three of us knew the arcade closed about an hour earlier.
We returned to the room after confirming the closing time in person and in full knowledge that we were truly ready to collapse, after reading a new comic or two, of course.