Sunday, July 21, 2013

CaveLife: Beach Perfect

We're back! Hopefully you didn't notice I was gone. I pre-planned some recipe posts because I didn't want to rub-in the fact that CaveBoy and I were at the beach (without you). But now we're back. And (spoiler alert!) I'm going to brag about how awesome it was. Feel free to depart now. But if you do, you'll miss some pretty sweet photos of a body-surfing dog, a real-live sharknado, girls in bikinis, and more. Your choice.

For the fourth year (and counting) my parents rented a beach-house in Florida and invited all the kids, and my aunt, to join them for some summer fun. This year, we got to hang out with my little sister, her husband, our aunt, and my parents. It's a pretty sweet deal! And just what the doctor ordered. CaveBoy and I have been working ourselves ragged and really needed some time (together!) by the ocean, to decompress and de-stress.

And it worked! On the second day when my aunt asked me how work was going, it took me a minute to remember that I even had a job. The Atlantic Ocean and a 1.75 of 1800 (what? I shared!) achieved what yoga, meditation, and CrossFit could not... Peace. Relaxation. Revitalization. 

The view from the second-level deck. Rainbow included free with purchase.

Now that's not to say I just sat on my butt in a beach chair making vitamin D. No sir-slash-ma'am. We did do a lot of that. A. Lot. But we also cooked (recipes coming soon), and ate (a lot), and worked out, and played. We set up a pretty great routine. We woke up, drank coffee, and then worked out before the sun got too hot.

LittleSister has been following, so on the first morning we consulted the site for inspiration. CaveBoy then modified the workout to make it beach-appropriate (and harder). The next day we did some skills work and taught LittleSister how to do handstand pushups and double unders (what? you don't bring your jump rope on vacation? that's weird). Then we hit the beach for 100 meter sprints in the sand (and surf). It was awesome! Halfway through the sprint set, I thought, "why isn't this our life?!"

LittleSister and I on the second-level deck. This proves it!
 You can always find a place to workout. Photo credit: CaveBoy

After our workouts, we ate a mountain of eggs and bacon with reheated leftover veggies and buttered sweet potato. We then changed into bathing suits, slathered up with sunscreen, mixed the first drinks of the day, and headed for the beach.

That's my chair in the middle, between LittleSisiter and Mom.
How'd that song go again?

Speaking of sunscreen. Do you know about this Clear Zinc stuff? It's amazing! It felt great on my skin, didn't cause breakouts, and was perfect for my face and shoulders after my Neutrogena wore off. I'm bringing a vat of it with me to the next beach vacation!

We spent the morning reading and taking short dips in the ocean to cool off. I was especially excited about my beach book. I had been eye-balling it at airport book stores for months but never pulled the trigger, even tho I love Rob Lowe. (The West Wing is my all-time favorite television series, and who doesn't love Wayne's World and Tommy Boy?) So, when I found it on the bargain rack, I knew it was destiny. I'd found a book that I wanted to read, but still wouldn't be too upset if I dropped it in the ocean. And I wasn't disappointed!

I told you my toes were in the water. Sometimes my ass was even in the water.

After we had baked enough that it was time to re-apply sunscreen (80 to 90 minutes according to the bottle - but we pushed our luck a little bit), we headed into the shade for lunch and a re-fill on drinks. Lunch was usually something simple, like chicken salad or deli-meat ham wrapped around pickles with a side of garlic potato chips (careful! these F-ers are addictive!).

Then, in the afternoon, we played!

CaveBoy surfed until he came within 10 meters of a pretty big shark. Then caught the next wave in and called it a day.

He also paddled out with a sea turtle, which wasn't nearly as terrifying.

We rode beach-bikes into the National Seashore...

Sometimes playing can be a workout!

...until LittleSister hit a patch of soft sand and toppled over.

Photo Credit: CaveBoy, with the action shot!

She survived. And we headed back to the tourist areas (and harder sand). In the evenings, we took LittleSister's puppy down to the beach for some fun in the surf. 

She chased frisbees... 

Shh... Don't tell.
...she jumped waves...

Who says CrossFit isn't for beach muscles?

...and she helped look for a pot of gold.

Such a water baby!

Then we got cleaned up and cooked. And ate. And ate some more. It was glorious. 

When the sun went down, we watched movies. And by movies, I mean movie. And by movie, I mean Pitch Perfect. It was on HBO On Demand. We watched it every night. One night, we even watched it twice (aca-believe it!). We did sprinkle in Johnny Depp's masterpiece, Dark Shadows, and the kids (meaning LittleSister and the husbands) watched Project X

I started that one, but had to leave half-way though. I have a psychological block that precludes me from watching people do things that will get them into trouble. It's a sickness really.

We did have some excitement in the evening. One night, the National Seashore caught on fire and gave the local fire department fits trying to put it out. The seashore was only a few blocks from the beach-house, so we had a pretty spectacular view of the blaze. And the fire truck filled-up at the hydrant in front of the house.

At first we thought the house at the end of the street was on fire. Thankfully no one was hurt.

The aftermath wasn't pretty, either.

Luckily, there isn't much on a beach that burns.

And on the last day, the remnants of a tropical storm closed the beach early, creating some pretty amazing clouds as it moved in.

This one drove me off the beach once I saw the first few cracks of cloud-to-ocean lightening.

The storm also created a huge waterspout.

See. I told you there'd be a sharknado.

And then it was time to go home. Not because of the sharknado, but because our rental was up. It was perfect timing, actually, because it has been raining at the beach ever since we left. Luckily, we had a great week of weather, and we're still basking in the glow of our new tans. Back at home. Did I mention that we're back? Maybe if I say it out loud I will start to believe it, too...

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