Monday, July 12, 2010

Second Week of Ocean City, NJ 2010

Ari left Ocean City on Monday morning to avoid the horrible shore traffic that results after a holiday weekend. He was also anxious to clean up to get his house ready for filming by the HGTV show, Real Estate Intervention, which was taking place on Thursday morning. He had consented for it to be filmed as a comparison house when the directors wrote to him through his realtor a week after he purchased it. On Monday, I made apple cinnamon taro pancakes. We dawdled together as long as we could before he set out on the road. Larry left a short time before him, also to avoid traffic. The day was supposed to be deadly hot, possibly up to a hundred degrees. We decided that it would be a good day to catch a movie, also in view of the fact that the beach would probably be incredibly crowded because of the three-day holiday. We all went to see Toy Story 3 in 3D at the Shore Mall. The movie was delightful, but much longer than we had realized. By the time it was over, 2:30 p.m., we had just about missed lunch and especially Izzy was ravenous. The Shore Mall looked derelict inside, and a nearby sushi place was closing before dinner. On her iPhone, Jessica located a small Mexican restaurant called Sombreros, just 4 miles away, which had an 88% approval rating on Urbanspoon, and which stayed open between lunch and dinner. We were the only people there at that odd hour, but the place was spotlessly clean, the service was extremely accommodating, and the food was reasonable and delicious. I had two wonderful margaritas for $2.50 each, an incredible bargain compared to our neighborhood restaurants. The flan for dessert was exceptional. Having the place to ourselves was delightful because Yona has taken to the habit of shrieking whenever the mood strikes her, probably a successful tactic at daycare, but we haven’t quite figured out how to modify the behavior. Alex gets very embarrassed, even in restaurants where the ambient din drowns out any attempt at conversation. After brief naps when we returned, we headed up to the boardwalk for ice cream—a wonderful way to end a delightful day. The next day, we learned that there had been an electrical fire on the 9th Street Bridge and that it had been closed at around 1:00 p.m., stopping holiday traffic for three hours. By the time we returned from our afternoon excursion we had been spared the nightmare of having to park for three hours on a horribly hot day, with two children and a baby in an overheated car.

Tuesday was promising to be just as hot and humid as the previous day. None of us wanted to go biking with temperatures in the mid eighties by 8:30 a.m. After breakfast, Jess and Alex took the girls, as the temperature began to grow steamy, for a walk down Asbury to the Potomac Bead Company so that they could make the projects Jess had promised them. As it turned out, the store was not air-conditioned, but they came back with unique necklaces, bracelets and a beautiful ankle bracelet for me. Saul took a long nap while I worked on the blog. When the kids returned, we went to the beach for a few hours, and had a late lunch of leftover hot dogs, hamburgers, and smoked turkey before our nap. In the evening, we set out by car for a Japanese/Chinese restaurant, Tokyo Mandarin, a few miles away in Marmora, for sushi for dinner. When we arrived, it turned out to be a very tiny, but nice restaurant. Since we were a large group, had not made a reservation, and most of the tables were filled, we were asked to return in 25 minutes and they would seat us. Lunch had been late, so we were not particularly put out. We went for a brief, air-conditioned, circuitous ride around the area, and were seated immediately when we returned. The only quarrel I have is that there seemed to be an interminable amount of time before someone came to take our order. The sushi was wonderful, and the staff, which was somewhat brusque when we began, really warmed up to us after a while. Some of the rolls were so delicious that we ordered a second round of them. The prices were very reasonable compared to what we pay for sushi in both Philadelphia and Baltimore.

On Wednesday, a sand sculpting contest was held on the 6th Street Beach. I was a bit disappointed because there had been so many professional sculptors at the competition 30 years ago. There were a few very special ones, but no where near the number that had competed many years ago. The temperature, even early in the morning was very hot and humid. We walked a few blocks down Asbury to F&M Restaurant, where we had great breakfasts with exceptionally good and varied toasted bagels, which are a specialty in that place. Jess and Alex set out with the girls for the long walk to 6th Street, but Saul and I opted to replenish juice, milk and eggs at Boyar’s Market on our walk home, and then drive in air-conditioned comfort to view the sand sculptures and drive the family home. The heat was sweltering as we viewed the sculptures, and the walk back to get in the car was practically unbearable. Yona had fallen asleep in the stroller, which could not roll on the sand, and Alex walked back home with her rather than wake her before we arrived. When we returned home, Jess and Alex decided to take the girls to the nearby community gym where Alex had bought a one month family membership so that he could work out there. The gym had an indoor pool and Saul and I were happy to just veg out in the air conditioning of our house in the afternoon on such a hot, sticky day. Just the short walk back from breakfast carrying the groceries and the hour we spent viewing the sand sculptures had totally exhausted us. I spent the afternoon blogging. On Wednesday evening, we bought the girls extra rides at Castaway Cove and finished up our block of tickets.

On Thursday, it had been pouring for several hours when we awoke, so biking was out of the question. We watched the sun go in and out a few times and eventually decided to head down to the beach anyway around 11:30 a.m. Within an hour the sun emerged fully, the beach filled up with people, cool breezes were blowing, and the water was delightful. We were happy to have one last fling on the beach before we needed to begin packing for home. Our plan was to leave Friday afternoon and drive to have Shabbat dinner with Alex’s parents in Cranbury, NJ, before ending our vacation. Thursday evening for dinner we grazed along the boardwalk, buying the kids and ourselves all the bad-for-you guilty pleasures, like huge cups of French fries drenched in ketchup, fried fish tacos, pizza, funnel cake, ice cream and water ice. The girls watched impressive choreographed yo-yo routines by several teenaged youths at the boardwalk pavilion. Jess had told the girls that they could have a woven and beaded braid put in their hair on our last day, but the lines were very long and she told the girls that she, herself, would do an even nicer job at home this coming weekend when we visit. We wandered in and out of shops all the way down the boardwalk so that each could chose a souvenir to remember the vacation. Izzy was first to choose a sleek and colorful art glass dolphin. Sami eventually settled on a glass and crystal nautical-themed wind-chime for her bedroom. When we returned on Thursday evening, we discovered that our air conditioning had broken down. We opened all the windows and sliders, and turned our ceiling fans on high. The evening was bearable, although very humid.

The broken air conditioning made Friday morning packing really unbearable. We called the realtor first thing in the morning and someone came over and repaired it within two hours, but those were the two hours that we were packing up. Drenched in sweat, we decided to find an air-conditioned place for breakfast and settled on Uncle Bill’s Pancake House. Even at that early hour we were really dying from the five-block walk in the sun. Luckily, when we were finally seated, after about a 10-minute wait, we were in a very cool spot with an attentive waitress who immediately brought us large glasses of iced coffee. We recovered quickly and really enjoyed our breakfast there. Shortly after returning home, the guy appeared to fix the air conditioner and had it working within a half hour. We had a chance to cool off before leaving around noon. All of the girls traveled with Jess and Alex to visit Alex’s parents. Saul and I decided to take the opportunity to visit Saul’s mom at Lion’s Gate on our way home. She was in good spirits and playing Bingo when we arrived. She really did not seem to know who we were this time, but was very happy that we were there to visit with her. Saul brought in his laptop and was able to show her the photos and videos of our vacation, which delighted her. We had decided to stop at home before going to Maury and Elaine’s to unpack food and switch to the Prius for the drive. Unfortunately, between the visit to Lion’s Gate and creeping Friday rush hour traffic, we arrived too late to have dinner together, but had a chance to see the kids off, have a delicious dinner with Maury and Elaine for company while the girls watched t.v., and had a chance to schmooze with them for a while. We tucked the girls into bed after the hour’s drive home, and left all the baggage to unpack in the morning.

All of us were too tired to do anything on Saturday but lay around and, piece-by-piece, unpack all our stuff. In the evening, we drove to King of Prussia Mall, more to get some exercise walking out of the heat and to try to check out Bloomingdale’s for chairs to go with Ari’s table. We ate in the food court and were pleasantly surprised at the reasonable upscale food that we purchased, a personal pizza for Sami, a bean burrito for Izzy, and a large slice of spinach quiche, which Saul and I shared. We bought the girls gelato for dessert which was the real deal, exceedingly rich and creamy. By the time we finished, all the stores were closing, and all we had was a nice walk around the mall with some window shopping before heading home for the evening.

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