We’re off to Maine in a couple of days. We go yearly and rent a house, OK, a condo — We’re not exactly roughing it — I like my washer and dryer, my dishwashers, cable TV and the like. My husband spent his summers there as a child and every year we return to see the children’s children. There are currently 13 grandchildren in the family ranging in age from 3 to 13. The kids have such a great time and they spend almost the entire year looking forward to this trip. Because there are so many kids (spread out over 3 houses, one of which is very large with 3 stories and a million bedrooms) we hang out on the beach no matter what the weather. Some days are blazing hot and you are so grateful for the freezing Maine waters, and other days are so blustery that we bundle up in blankets, towels and fleece just so the kids can run around and play together. They could care less if it was raining out. And sometimes it does. And when it does those very same umbrellas that provide shelter from the sun’s burning rays give us relief from rains!
We spend all day at the beach from just before lunch-time until dinner time. On glorious days we’ll dine on the beach and wait for the sun to set. There are so many things to do on the beach. There are forts to be made, rocks to climb, creeks to swim in, holes and swimming pools to be dug when the tide is low. And when the tide comes in there is surf to jump over and dive under and boogie boards to ride on. There are shells to collect. And sand crabs. And sand dollars and even an occasional starfish. We can not forget the sand glass! There is lunch to be eaten and snacks to be had. And lots of ice cold lemonade to be poured from coolers. On cooler days someone will make a run to a local Dunkin Donuts.
Sometimes we wish for a bad weather, or a slightly off-weather day so that we can go to such places as the Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse, or Freeport or Kittery to hit the outlets. Or go sight-seeing in Kennebunkport. Or grab some lunch and walk around in the hip downtown of Portland.
Mostly we are happy to hang out together on the beach in our sleepy little town. The kids are always asking to go to the local ice cream parlor called the Soda Fountain. We try to go a few times while we are there. Not so good or the waistline, but some of the best ice cream around!
Preparing for this trip is a mighty big task. It involves more than just tossing a few pairs of jeans and T shirts and a bathing suit in a suitcase. It involves so much more.
I have a notebook that Rebecca made me with two pieces of construction paper and several pieces of lined paper. This notebook has been a lifesaver for me. In it I have lists — and lists for my lists! Sure, yes, there are stores where we are. Certainly we can pick up what we need. But sometimes it is easier to be prepared ahead of time. I like to make the beds and get settled in when we arrive. (Don would wait until after it was dark and the kids are exhausted and it’s too late.) Because I like to be settled I want to come to the condo complex prepared. Since we are the first renters of the season we are expecting none of the staples to be there. So in two boxes (l have left over from the move!) I have:
3 rolls of paper towels
1 half used container of dish washing detergent (we will leave unused behind)
1 container Soft Scrub (for tubs that get gross after the beach!)
1 bottle (never before been opened!) Shout
1 small container All
1 small box of Bounce
1 roll of alluminum foil
1 roll of Saran Wrap
1 box of Ziplock
a couple of tossable Tupperware containers
2 bottles of wine (!!!) — as I said I want to be settled that night!
1 jar of strawberry jam
1 jar of Skippy Natural PB
1 box of granola cereal
1 bag of Starbucks Espresso Roast — still need to get
1 bag of sugar — still need to get
1 container of Pringles — D thinks this is important!
1 container of Country Time Lemonade
and I am sure I will come up with more…
I have our sheets for (for Queen and King beds and full sized Aero inflatable mattress)
I have our towels for the beach and towels for the bath
I have clothes kinda sorta sorted and put together ie. too lazy to put away in drawers, then again why bother!
I need to get toiletries together
I do not want to forget about shoes — sneakers, sandals, crocs, etc… and wind and rain gear.
I need to pack items to entertain the troops for early in the morning and those rare times we are at the condo. (Last year it rained heavily and often) and I need their books and workbooks. Yes, I make them do work in the summer. I don’t want their brains turning to mush!
I need to organize and pack our electronics — cameras, Nintendos,etc and all necessary batteries.
I need DVDs for the cars and to make sure that the head phones all have new batteries in them.
I still have some shopping to do and I have a separate list for that.
I need to clean the house for the cleaning lady who comes in the morning as we have crap all over the place.
I have to get all the beach chairs and toys and boogie boards together.
I need to get the coolers and ice packs up from the basement.
And, as I do every year, I wonder how on earth I will get all these possessions in the car!