Shew! What a day/night/whatever it was! Once we’d checked in to our three bedroom (it was supposed to be a one bedroom) deluxe ocean-front condo, Nikos and I turned on the TV, locked the balcony door, bribed Nikolas and Elizabeth to make sure Katerina doesn’t unlock the door or do anything dangerous, Nikos and I scattered into separate bedrooms, and collapsed into a much needed slumber after two days of sleep totaling seven hours. I awakened at 9:30 a.m. and for those whom have known me since childhood, this is utterly shocking. I am devotedly a morning person, up before any rooster, reveling in the quiet darkness of early dawn, but not today. The only apparent damage was that Katerina had been in the cleaning closet with the broom and dustpan in the bathtub, the plunger was on the coffee table (blech!) and the door was off of the rolling track due to a toilet brush handle lodged underneath, not too bad… I awakened Nikos because we were at the beach-yippee! I first had him fix the door while I cleaned Katerina’s hands and the coffee table. The door completely fell and landed in the hall. There was some paint which had been scraped by the door down near the base. The kids of course were already wearing their swimming suits, and I quickly dressed, avoided the mirror and made everyone brush their teeth.
Here is where I will go ahead and admit that I haven’t exactly acted with integrity, which I am now suspecting has issued a curse upon us. This is what happened. A few months ago, I was bored and feeling itchy to go on a trip. I was on the computer so I got on Priceline. Elizabeth was coaxing me on as I harmlessly bid on a four or five night stay at a Disneyworld location hotel. The price was accepted and we were then stuck in a depressing and dreadful looking hotel a few miles from Walt Disney World, because I thought I was bidding on a Disney hotel. I began to cry, which always softens up Nikos and helped when he learned about what I’d done, especially because I had just spent the last of our money.
Nikos was in the middle of selling his website and accounts were about to be frozen. The bad luck began at that moment. I wanted out of it, and told him I’d never go all the way to Disneyworld to stay there! please don’t think of me as a snob, but it has been three years since we’ve been and the Disney resorts are as nice as the parks, essential to making the trip a success. No, this isn’t what makes me a terrible person, it’s the next line.
Five days before we left,and I will not mention details, I had Nikos call Priceline and to make a long story short we got out of it. I’m always preaching integrity to my kids and the courage to be honest, and here we acted hypocritically, and I feel guilty. We got our blasted refund, but the Disney resorts went up to an extra $100 per night when the day before they were reasonable. Then this dummy timeshare owner charged us for a three-bedroom, $250/night versus the $150 I’d reserved, and she made the reservation for three nights, even though I’d reserved it for two. The Wyndham resort told us upon check-in that there was nothing they could do, it was up to the owner for correcting the mistake. This was when I began suspecting we might have been cursed. First, the inflated Disney prices, then the clueless or sneaky time-share owner, the four hour trip to Daytona, and it continues.
The outdoor pools were nice yet crowded. The beach was beautiful, that lovely consistent whispering rush, always the same no matter what beach in the world you are. The water was fairly warm, and we played briefly until I decided we should all take a walk.
I’d be in great shape if I lived by the beach, I would walk for miles every single day. We went close to two miles, even Katerina’s little legs swished most of the distance. While playing intermittently and Nikolas disturbing any washed up coral and jellyfish, I warned the kids of the riptides in the ocean. Even writing it makes me cringe, and I’ve had this tremendous fear of the word long before John Irving’s description in “The World According to Garp”. It’s a scary word, in a scary ocean, and I warned the kids not to go past their hips because it was scary for their Mama and a danger to them. Unfortunately, Katerina grasped my fear and decided she was afraid to even touch her feet to the water, when five minutes earlier she was splashing and playing. I guess she will also fear the word, ahhhh! I’m scared to write it again, riptide!!
We left for lunch and wasted a good hour deciding that we didn’t want a sit down restaurant, and finally decided on Five Guys. We sat outside and the kids delighted in feeding the squirrels their peanuts. On the way out I told the kids we could make boiled peanuts if they gathered some. I hadn’t any idea those goofs would come out with a bag weighing three pounds. How embarrassing! Don’t worry fellow West Virginians, the license plate on the car is from Florida,and I’m not wild about Daytona Beach so I doubt I’ll see any of these people again.
The rest of the afternoon on the beach was hazy and dazy and I was grateful for Katerina’s new fear of the ocean because she sat directly by my side playing in the sand while I took two ten minute naps.
We couldn’t find Nikos for a good part of the early afternoon. When we’d taken a break from the beach to go to the pools, we found Nikos, with a towel over his head snoring away. The kids were dripping wet and jumped on him, and I barely, really whispered for them not to. Before any of you who favor Nikos over me begin to feel sorry for him, he slept hours more than I didn’t, thank you! I simply have some resentment when Nikos feels it’s fine to not tell me he has left the beach to go hang out poolside and peacefully nap the day away, while I have the three kids, two of whom are dangerously trusting and loving of the ocean. Yes, I was filled with the satisfaction of a cat sunning itself by the window with a full belly.
Nikolas begged Nikos to rent him a surfboard, and naturally Elizabeth needed one too. Energized by his two hour nap, Nikos set out in the ocean with the kids and helped them try surfing for the first time. Within two or three tries, Nikolas was standing and cruising on the surf board! It took Elizabeth a while longer, which I had imagined the opposite, but they were doing it, and it only cost us ten bucks!
Suddenly, I heard sirens and lifeguards running at marathon speed right where Nikos and the kids had been. That was the moment I remembered the curse! How bad would it grow? Elizabeth ran over close to tears, “Mama, Daddy just saved this kid’s life and now I think he’s drowning!” A sick drop bit my stomach as panic swept upon me. It was difficult to wedge my way through the crowd that had developed to watch the going on. I finally found Nikos and Nikolas still out in the ocean and far beyond were a stranded threesome, and lifeguards swimming at incredible speed. It took a long time, and we all cheered once everyone was rescued and brought to shore.
Nikos told me that a teenaged boy had been way out in deep water, screaming and flailing his arms until he went down and hadn’t resurfaced. Nikos had swum as fast as he could, grabbed the boy off the ocean floor and brought him to shore. Once the kid could speak, he began crying and screaming that his mother was drowning. Simultaneously, the guards had noticed the stranded swimmers. It was crazy! Nikolas just wanted to surf some more. Elizabeth looked out in the ocean, and proudly announced, “Daddy is my hero”! Okay, I felt proud too.
We walked to Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Factory for dinner. There was only a fifteen minute wait, and the food was tasty. Katerina ate everyone’s coleslaw. She ate all of her grilled shrimp which poor Nikolas had been counting on eating the rest, and had devoured his grilled shrimp within seconds. Elizabeth had chicken and mashed potatoes, I had fish and chips, and Nikos had seafood pasta. Mine was so good it brought me back to eating fresh halibut on a picnic at the Oregon coast. I took back to the hotel a key lime pie for dessert, and couldn’t wait for the kids to go to bed to enjoy, which took about thirty seconds for those sweet kids to pass out. I believe I was asleep while eating the pie and fork in hand.