Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ocean City, NJ, Parts 4 & 5

Thursday morning, Saul and I went biking on the boardwalk ourselves at 8 a.m. Alex had taken Sami and Izzy earlier while Jessica had gone to the gym for a yoga class. After we returned from biking, Jess decided to take the kids to the boardwalk water park since we were waiting for cousin Brenna to arrive that evening with her Aunt Beth and also our friend, Larry Shipper. Saul cannot walk long distances because of problems with his knees, so he stayed behind to work on his preparation for the upcoming semester at Chestnut Hill College that begins next month. Alex went off to the gym. I don’t enjoy water parks and it was promising to be a very hot day, so I offered to walk there with Jess and the kids and then return myself to give me an opportunity for a long solitary walk through Ocean City. Unfortunately, I underestimated the length of the walk. The water park was almost at the other end of the boardwalk, about a mile longer than I would have liked to walk, and I had a difficult time finding shade in which to walk back. It was fun to retrace the streets and landmarks which held so many memories from 25 years ago, though. Jessica purchased two-hour tickets for the park which cost $20.00 for both her and Sami and $16.00 for Izzy. Afterward, she realized that she could have purchased a $12.00 spectator ticket for herself and still enjoyed all but the most elaborate water slide. I was certain she would never be able to walk back home with the two kids after two hours of playing on the slides, and alerted Saul that we should be ready to go and retrieve them when they called, but they returned on foot flushed with excitement over the great time they had had. After relaxing for an hour after my return home, I set the table while Alex prepared a giant salad for lunch topped with hard-boiled eggs, smoked kippered salmon, sauteed mushrooms, and other assorted veggies. We embellished that with various cheeses, such as feta, Comte, and Jarlsberg, and olives. Larry arrived just in time to join us for lunch bearing six-packs of beer among other gifts. The girls napped after lunch and then we set off for the beach about 3:30 p.m. Again, it was a delightful beach day with warm water and cool breezes.

We headed back home at about 5:30 p.m. for showers and a quick dinner. Then we were off to the boardwalk for Family Night. This weekend is Ocean City’s “Night in Venice,” the biggest event of the summer here. Festivities began last evening with various free entertainment venues on the boardwalk, which was packed with people. The girls fed the sea gulls and then watched a magic show. Also among the entertainment was a yo-yo demonstration and tournament, live bands with dancing, singing guitarists, and break dancers. The rising full moon last night was the most unusual any of us had ever remembered seeing. It was huge and glowed a bright salmon color in the deep azure pre-darkness sky. Unfortunately, we discovered that my new Olympus camera was dead. The previous tennants of our house had left some tickets behind for one of the amusement parks. The girls found these “treasures” in their room the first day we arrived. We used them for the merry-go-round and Izzy was able to get onto the zebra she wanted to ride. After ice cream cones at Kohr Bros. we headed home to wait for Beth and Brenna who arrived amidst great excitement over their visit. By 11 p.m. we all settled into bed, Larry and Beth on the two futons in the living room and the girls together in their bedroom sharing beds.

Friday morning after we all had breakfast, Saul and I went biking on the boardwalk again, Alex, Jess, and Beth took the girls biking on the sidewalk (training wheels do not work well on the boardwalk), while Larry walked to CVS for bottled water, sun screen, and ear plugs. When we returned, we called Costco, where I had purchased the camera, and found that we could exchange it for a new one at the new Costco in Manahawkin, NJ. Following our navigator, we found ourselves on a severely rutted uninhabited road when we reached our destination. As it turned out, we were only a 5 to 10-minute drive away from the actual location and there had been a mixup in the spelling of Strafford Park as opposed to Stafford Park. Larry accompanied us there while Alex went to the gym and Beth and Jessica took the girls to the beach. We all had lunch together after I helped the girls shower around 1:00 p.m. We had leftover salad, rice and noodles, sliced salami, and barbecue beef that I had prepared and frozen. Right now, everyone is asleep but me. I am about to join them.

Part 5 When I awoke, Alex and Jessica had almost finished all the preparations for Shabbat dinner. Jess had set the table with our very best paper plates, pretty glass goblets that were here in the house and real utensils which we had boiled when we arrived to kasher them. We dined on homemade chicken soup with matzoh balls (which Sami had helped make last week and we had frozen) sliced smoked turkey in gravy which I had prepared and frozen earlier, veggie pasta with tomato sauce, jasmine rice, and steamed string beans. For dessert, we had leftover frozen squares of chocolate Texas Sheet Cake which I had made with coconut milk and margarine for a previous dinner, along with the same version made with carob powder instead of cocoa powder because Alex is allergic to chocolate, pareve cinnamon buns that Larry had brought from Eiselin's Bakery back home, snickerdoodles that Sami made last week, and cubes of watermelon. We had intended to take the girls to a free magic show down the street and up on the boardwalk, but after dinner, still in their pajamas from nap time, they were having such a good time playing with each other and just being around each other that we decided to just have a quiet movie night at home. We put a DVD of "Mary Poppins" into the t.v. above the fireplace and Brenna fell asleep laying on Sami's lap. We put them to bed after the lullaby "Don't Go To Sleep" that Julie Andrews sings to the children in the nursery halfway through the movie.

Yesterday, Saturday, we all were on the beach by 9:30 a.m., except for Alex, who really doesn't like sand. The weather was beautiful for yet another day. We have been blessed so far with perfect weather. We were having such a great time and it was so early, none of us noticed we were getting a bit sunburned despite the sunscreen. We were treated to a display of dolphins jumping out of the water who swam very close to shore, but of course, every time we grabbed the camera to try to record their antics, we were too late. There was also a helicopter show over the ocean sponsored by Red Bull. One of the helicopters did a complete loop and we were all amazed to discover that helicopters can not only fly horizontally and vertically, but also upside-down. We also were told that Red Bull was being distributed farther down the beach, but we weren't that interested. The girls discovered a multitude of sand crabs burying themselves with the tide and spent a few hours digging them up, playing with them in their buckets, and then releasing them when the water became too warm. The sand at the edge of the ocean was awash in tiny little clams which I at first took to be pebbles until I noticed them quickly burying themselves each time a shallow wave receded. It is encouraging to me that the shoreline is so full of life. One of the reasons we left Ocean City and built a house in the Poconos was that twenty-five years ago, the authorities began declaring the shoreline unfit for swimming because of sewage and medical waste in the water. When we returned home at 1 p.m. Alex had made an incredible salad with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes, avocado and various other goodies including mango, and we lunched on lox and bagels from Costco, various cheeses and had Julie's Organic Ice Cream Sandwiches for dessert (also from Costco). After long naps, Larry, Beth, Saul and I headed with the girls to the boardwalk and had a dinner of pizza and fresh lemonade. We took the girls to Pirates' Cove amusement park in front of the Flanders Hotel. Twenty-five years ago, this area in front of the hotel was a derelict swimming pool, the largest I had ever seen. I always wondered how they managed to maintain such a gigantic pool even in its heyday. We began again with a ride on the merry-go-round. This time, Izzy chose a horse with a giant fancy mane and Sami rode a bunny. Sami has always slept with a stuffed white bunny so bunnies have a special place in her heart. A unique and wonderful aspect of this park is that they have smaller versions of most of the big rides. Brenna was afraid of bumper cars because she had bitten her tongue accidentally on a previous excursion. We were able to persuade her to try mini bumper cars and after a minute or two of uncertainty, she really got into it. Likewise with Sami who was afraid of roller coasters. There were two different sizes of roller coasters and she was proud of the fact that she and Brenna rode the smaller one together. Brenna and Izzy rode together on a very large swing ride that rose high in the air and went very fast. I couldn't even look at it. Izzy was in her glory! In the meantime, Jess and Alex joined us and Jess accompanied Izzy on that ride a second time. By coincidence, we bumped into Franco D'Andrea, the wonderful builder who built our house and Beth's. He recognized Saul after we had not seen each other in 15 years! Brenna was also greeted by a woman who recognized her from camp. On the way home down the boardwalk, we stopped so that Beth could purchase two hermit crabs she had promised to buy for Brenna. When we returned about 9:30 p.m., Beth loaded the car and drove home to avoid the Sunday traffic with Brenna ensconced in her pajamas.

We decided yesterday that we had gotten a bit too much sun so we would take things easy today. Also, the crowds on the boardwalk on this big weekend would have made biking difficult. Alex took breakfast duty this morning while we slept a little later. When I awoke, the girls asked me if we could make poi pancakes. They both helped make a batch while I showed them how to cut a whole pineapple into a fancy serving presentation. Then, we all had a breakfast of poi pancakes and delicious fresh pineapple chunks while viewing the end of Mary Poppins where everyone goes out to fly a kite. While we cleaned up and did laundry, Alex took the girls to buy kites. They chose a rainbow-colored box kite and an airplane kite. Saul, Alex and Jess assembled them on the table when they returned and we took them down to the beach to fly. We had some trouble getting the airplane kite to fly. After rinsing off the sand and dropping off the kites, we went to Scully's for a delicious lunch to which Larry treated us. On the way there, Jessica and I stopped at Jake's Water Ice and answered the question of the day--"What Disney movie has the song, 'Let's Get Together?'" We were the first of the day to come up with the right answer (The Parent Trap) and won a free water ice. After lunch at Scully's, we all stopped back there to collect, and order ice cream and water ice. When we arrived back home, we eventually napped. Alex prepared a dinner of shwarma-flavored turkey in warm pita and we ate all the other leftovers as well. Larry decided to leave after dinner as his sister Susan and her husband Ted will be arriving tomorrow for a visit. During our playtimes at home we have been teaching the girls "Cat's Cradle" with a book and accompanying special string. One night, Jessica worked her way all the way through the book creating all the various configurations depicted. Since then, Izzy has been doing various configurations of her own with the string, incorporating toys, feet, and furniture.

We posed for some photos on the steps of our house before setting out for another Disney trivia night. The competition is really fierce and even though we had a perfect score on the first round, we came in third. We purchased some water ice and soft pretzels and while Alex returned home to put Izzy to bed, we went around the back of Jake's where they were airing the movie, "The Incredibles." Eventually, Sami too, became tired before the end of the movie and we walked home with her and put her to bed also. A thick mist has been moving in since last evening and I fear the weather will not continue to be as nice.


Ari said...

I am truly remiss for not being able to join you this weekend. Though I certainly wouldn't have been able to spend as much time with you all as I would have liked, and can't begin to imagine what the traffic would have been like.

It's great hearing and seeing about all of it, though!

Perhaps it's time to ditch the Poconos and find something practical at the shore or in Florida or something. It'd be nice to have a warm haven during the winter months.

baenigma said...

Sun sneezing - as discussed on the beach! *grin*