Finally, our last full day in Cape May, we had a day that was closer to the ideal beach vacation day than the others. It was still pretty weird, but nice, too.
Leisurely wake-up and clean-up. C decided we should go to breakfast at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House, fine with me. We drove over there. This was about 10:00 or so, but it was pretty hopping. We had a ten minute wait for a table, but they had benches outside and it wasn’t a hardship. I noticed that the three cars parked closest to us were all Jeeps, and in fact the owners of two of them were leaving at the same time and got into a discussion about being a “Jeep” family. A cultural thing I wasn’t aware of. I’ve never driven a Jeep, but I think they’re cool-looking, although probably not aerodynamic.
We got seated and served. It was our waitress’s first day, but clearly not her first day as a waitress, because she was very much on the ball. I got pecan waffles with bananas on top, C got some sort of egg dish. (Me: dude, why did you want to go to a pancake house if you weren’t going to get something carby and bad for you?) It was all pretty tasty.
Then back to the room to get ready for the beach, where I discovered that my stick of sunscreen was missing. Fuck, that wasn’t good. I, for some reason, rather than just taking five minutes to go to the hotel gift shop and get some more, decided not to bother. (we did get quite a bit of color, and my forearms peeled a bit later on, but not bad enough to be in pain)
Also, I should have done what I did at the casino, walked the route we were going to take before subjecting C with his limited mobility to it. I knew the hotel had a setup on the beach where they’d give you chairs and rent you umbrellas. But there wasn’t a way onto the beach directly across the street, and there was one a block or so south. Well, we set out, and it turned out that we really should have gone to the access path north of the hotel, and the setup would have been right there. As it was, I had to park C on a bench, slog over to the hotel people and ask them to set up the chairs as far south as they could (and because they had a boundary they were retricted to, that was still quite far away from the path for someone with problems walking). And they weren’t renting the umbrellas because it was windy. *sigh*.
So I went back and fetched Charles and we slogged very slowly and struggly over to the chairs. The hotel people had mentioned something about a cart and I’m now realizing they had a beach-wheelchair thing we could have used. Again, I should have done recon. But we made it and enjoyed the sun for a while and then decided to try the ocean. Really too cold for swimming, but we could wade.
That went well for a while (and was delightful), until a big wave came much farther up the beach than the others before it, and yanked C off his feet. Fuck. On a solid floor, and if he has something to pull himself up on, he can get up again from a fall, but not this situation. Some strapping guys came running over to help, and we lifted C up again. I had him supported and then another big wave came in and took us both down. Fuck again. C was good-humored about it, and basically told us it was best that he stayed down and crawled above the tide line, then we could pick up him again. So he did, and we did, and that worked out OK.
So we gave up the beach as a bad job… but then we had to get back. Slog painfully slowly back to the path and the bench, then I went and got the wheelchair so C wouldn’t have to walk any more. Wheeled to the pool, which turned out be nice and there were umbrellas and we were in the shade and that was a much better experience. Hung out for quite a while, then went in the pool (I did do recon, and the pool actually had one of those lifts for immobile people to get them in the water, but there were stairs and C didn’t need it). I also discoverd that my bathing suit pockets were full of sand from the ocean dunking, so I tried to empty them into the trashcan before we went in. Being in the pool was terrific.
C still had leftovers in the hotel room fridge, so we decided he’d eat that and I’d get a hot dog from the street cart or something, but it turns out the poolside bar had food, so ordered a hot dog there, plus a strawberry margarita, yum. It took a while to come out, long enough that C decided to go back to the room (using the wheelchair as a walker). (I kept an eye on him, could pretty much see him for that whole trip, and he was fine.) Got the hot dog (and fries!), ate the hot dog, closed the lid on the container again and headed back to the room to finish the fries. Got into the room, took off my bathing suit and dumped it on the floor, went off to the bathroom, and had C helpfully point out to me when I came back that a beach-worth of sand had come out of the bathing suit when I took it off and was now all over the floor. Oops. Cleaned that up, ate the fries, got cleaned up. Chilled for the rest of the afternoon.
We looked at some restaurant possibilities online, but some were booked up and others were farther out, which would have been fine. But C suggested we just go to Hemingway’s, the hotel restaurant, which seemed to be on a par with the others. So we did and we had a great time. I had tuna (maybe?) and C had filet mignon. I don’t remember the details any more, but it was a nice meal. (I remember the filet mignon because he boxed up some of it as leftovers, we took it home with us, and it appeared as part of dinner just a couple of nights ago.) And thus to bed.
Saturday, we had to check out and head back. I decided to walk down a few blocks and get coffee and bagels from the bagel place, but they were not open yet, so went to the bakery a block further down, which was happily doing a lot of business. They had a lot of really great looking doughnuts and stuff, but on the top of the display, they had trays of ‘cinnamon buns’ and ‘sweet rolls’. The difference between the two wasn’t much, so I got one of each, plus the coffees, and headed back. (It was hot enough and the coffee and pastries were awkward enough to carry that I remember that this simple ten-minute walk was more of a job than it should have been) We divvied up the rolls and they were good, but undercooked, so sort of gooey in a not-good way. But of course fun to indulge like that. Got cleaned up, packed up, out the door, checked out, and on the road.
Got gas, also more of an issue than it should have been because the gas station was on the other side of the road in a very weird traffic pattern, and was crowded. (the fact that we drove in ‘the wrong way’ turned out to be an issue, although not an unsolveable one). Anyway back to Atlantic City for the third time to pick up more delicious subs. We didn’t know if there’d be a line, so C ordered online as we drove. He got the same thing he gotten before (the classic Italian), I decided to try the turkey just to see if it was anything special. So… C is not used to or good at things like ordering food online, and it took him forever to do the ordering and then when we picked up the subs, it turned out he hadn’t told them to put anything on the subs. (Him: “there was no option to do that!”. Me, not condescending at all: “Mmmm hmm…”) But the sub lady told me this as I picked them up and asked if I wanted all the extra stuff packaged up on the side – yes, please I did.
So a nice uneventful drive back. Dad had told me that it’s often better, once you cross the Verrazano, to go right instead of straight and loop around the outside of Brooklyn/Queens on the Bell parkway rather than going on the BQE. As it turned out, there was a delay on that whole thing and the GPS routed us up through Jersey and across the George Washington Bridge, which was as empty as I’d ever seen it.
Did I mention that it was now Sept. 11th, and the twentieth anniversary of The Events? I’d wondered if we’d run into any ceremony-related traffic issues, or, g-d forbid, some sort of terrorist thing, but no, it was fine. Got home, let C off, but then found a parking space right on our block. Unpacked the car while C set us up to eat our subs. Yum again, although the turkey wasn’t special enough to ignore other choices for, I’ll remember that next time.
And blew off the rest of the day, pretty much. The end, except that the next day (Sunday) was pretty hopping, what with returning the car and doing all the laundry and stuff. It was unusual, but actually a pretty nice vacation!
I’ll follow up soon with a run-down of the poems and songs and pictures and stuff we included in Mom’s ceremony. That’ll be nice, I think.