« back to work | Main | get me off this crazy train of crazy craziness »

this vacation brought to you by the letters h and s and the number 2

click to see full photo galleryGUESS WHAT YOU GUYS WE HAVE BEEN ON VACATION AHA. We were being all sneaky.

Actually, would've very much liked to be posting whilst on vacation, because welcome to the 21st century and all, but since scary internet predators love posts that basically say HELLO WE ARE GONE FROM THE HOUSE PLEASE ROB US NAO THX, this is why we can't have nice things. Scary internet predators ruin it for everybody, you guys. Haters be hatin', yo.

So instead, we have had to save up our many days of vacation squeeage for one ginormous post. (We actually returned yesterday -- TO THE SURFACE OF THE SUN I MIGHT ADD -- but this post is so ginormous that it took us a day and a half to get it posted.) Think you can handle it? I don't know, the squeeage here is pretty heart-explodey, you may want to consult with your physician first....

Okay, so now that all the legal clappity-trappity is out of the way -- HELLO INTERNETS WE ARE BACK FROM MANY DAYS OF VACATION AND FUN TIMES. This is actually quite an accomplishment, on many levels and for more than the obvious reason. (That reason being, of course, that the fact that we ever return from time spent at the Oregon coast is a testament to our superhuman skillz of being responsible adults.) The less obvious reason -- at least to most of you -- is that we took the cats with us.

Put the phone down -- you do not need to call the mental health professionals for information on how to have us involuntarily committed.

See, Sally gets two weeks of paid vacation per year and due to the school schedule, they're fixed by the school calendar, so it's a week around the holidays and a week sometime in late June/early July. We take the opportunity during both of these vacation periods to spend at least 4 days at Oceanside, longer if we can. This year, his summer vacation just happened to begin during the 4th of July weekend, and so we were all WOOT WOOT 4TH OF JULY AT THE OREGON COAST BITCHEZ.

What we failed to take into account was how the holiday weekend would affect the availability of our primary and backup pet & housesitters. Whoops. This was a problem entirely of our own making, since we didn't really realize it until a month before, when availability for later in the week was of course gone so we couldn't move our reservations, and cancelling would mean forfeiting our holiday weekend reservation deposit.

So by this point last month, it was looking increasingly grim for our heroes. But! When Sally called the place we usually stay to see about possibly moving our reserved days, Sherry (one of the owners of the place; they know us by name and give us priority reservations because we stay so often) reminded him that they're a pet-friendly place, and that the cabin we already had reserved was one of the "pets allowed" cabins. For a nominal fee and a refundable damage deposit, we could bring the cats with us. And thus, faced with bringing the cats with us or not going at all, we opted to bring them with us. See, I told you: it wasn't craziness, it was desperation. Not the same thing. Same zip code, though.

click to see full photo galleryWe did not choose this course without considerable trepidation, however. Hobbes' cystitis has increasingly become an issue in the last year, and any change in routine has resulted in many frustrating messes to deal with, not to mention the potential of expensive vet visits and medications. Neither of them travels well and the cabin, which is very small for two people, would be close quarters indeed for two people and two high strung cats. We figured we'd just prepare as best we could and make the best of it, no matter what happened. At least we'd still get to go to the coast. This is the "Everything's Better At The Beach" theory of problem-solving.

We brought extra linens and our own pillows, hoping that using familiar-smelling bedding would prevent them from wanting to mark it, and of course their food and cat box and all of that. We brought a few of their favorite toys, some catnip, the Feliway diffuser and some Feliway spray, and we got a prescription from the vet for a mild sedative to help with the car trip and transition to new surroundings.

Our plan was to leave as soon as we could after Sally got home Friday night. Friday night, however, saw both of us having worked an especially long day, ending an especially long work week, with little sleep. These are not ideal conditions for trekking to the coast with four days' worth of your own crap and two demon hellbeasts.

I'd given the kitties their sedative a few hours before, but rather than making it easier to gather everything and pack before Sally got home, it made it infinitely harder. They were both loopy within about 30 minutes of taking the sedative, and completely wobbly and disoriented, but while Hobbes was content to just lay on his cushion and mellow out (at first), Smaug wasn't having it. She kept wanting to jump up on things or suddenly dash off madly to no place in particular, but with the approximate agility of a dog on roller skates. She kept tripping over things, including her own feet, and missing whatever she was trying to jump onto and falling backwards, then skitter/wobbling into a nearby wall, doorjamb, table leg, etc., all the while pitifully crying, "Aroo? Aroo?" I felt simultaneously guilty, sympathetic, and exhaustedly amused -- c'mon, you wouldn't laugh at that? I call bullshit.

So I spent a great deal of time just trying to keep her from accidentally breaking her neck, and then Hobbes freaked out about an hour after she started and suddenly I couldn't keep him out of anything. When Sally called to see how it was going, I'm sure he could hear the hysteria in my voice; I'm still kind of astounded he came home at all, knowing what might be waiting for him there.

But come home he did, and we managed to get them crated (this is a two person job in the best of circumstances) so we could get on with the business of packing and getting out the door. Our plan had been that I would already have everything packed so we could leave as soon as he got home, but thanks to Stoned Cat Theater, we were a good two hours later than planned. We got out of town at a quarter to 1 AM and hoped to hell that neither of us would fall asleep. But Smaug helpfully yowled most of the way so we were in no danger.

We stumbled into our cabin at a little after 2 AM. Once we'd gotten everything put away (read: out of their reach) and appropriately Hobbes-proofed the cabin, we let them out of their crates. After an hour of loves and cuddles to help them feel safe about their new environs, and helping them onto and into the bed (the sedative lasts for 8 to 12 hours so they were still wobbly), we turned in for the night, exhausted. Hobbes proceeded to yowl for the next 2 hours, which is pretty much the only sound two exhausted adults are unable to sleep through. I assured Sally it was simply a reaction to the sedative, and that we did not in fact have nightly yowling to look forward to for the rest of the trip. I had no idea if it was or wasn't, but we were facing catricide here, so I had to think of something.

click to see full photo galleryThat inauspicious start notwithstanding, however, they were amazing the entire rest of the time. Mellow, loving, completely well-behaved. Not once did they pee anywhere other than the catbox. The normal craziness of mealtimes -- in which they go competely batshit at least an hour before feeding time, in which valuables are broken in an effort for attention and humans are heard to utter the phrase, "YOUR SISTER IS NOT A CHEW TOY!" -- was replaced with a calm, orderly manner. There wasn't a single, miniscule threat of a cystitis flare-up and it was nothing but peace, love, and harmony all the live long day. We were seriously freaked out at the change in these cats while were there. Could it be that cats need a vacation, too?

As for us, we were in desperate need of this vacation, and wow, did we ever get it. On the first day, Sherry mentioned that our cabin had just opened up for the night of our departure date and would we want to stay an extra night. And you guys? That right there was proof of a benevolent universe after all, because there was no way we could've been all OMG YES PLEASE to such a thing if we didn't already have the cats with us.

click to see full photo galleryThe weather was a.maz.ing. We had nice but cool, cool and then cloudy, cloudy and then deliciously foggy, nice and a little bit warmer, really really nice and quite pleasanty temperate. Our last full day, we woke up to a perfectly cloudless blue sky that stayed that way the entire day. Most of the day was spent on the beach.

The day before had been mostly clear with a mild breeze, so we'd spent that day walking the length of the beach, in the water the whole way, stopping at tide pools and picking up shells and rocks and sand dollars. (We always bring home at least a rock or two when we go to the coast, so we have something from every visit, but this is the first time in a long time that we've brought home so many.) The first two days, we got to enjoy at least some beach time before it got too chilly, and then we cozied up in our little cabin with our fuzzy little kitties and good food, and marathoned our next new show. (Friday Night Lights, FINALLY! Cat: we must now squee because omg!!)

click to see full photo galleryGood food, of course, is a staple of our getaways. Our cabin this time was one of the ones with a mini fridge and hot plate instead of full fridge and stove/oven, so we have to plan our grocery list accordingly and make more things ahead of time, but still feast like Damn Hell Ass Kings. Tacos the first night, smorgasbord the second, crockpot chili the third (the night of the 4th). We'd intended to build a fire on the beach for the evening of the 4th, and to roast hot dogs and marshmallows and eat s'mores, but it got too cloudy and chilly for that, so we decided to try for Tuesday night and had smorgasbord. Yeah, feel so sorry for us and our awesomeness.

Unfortunately, Tuesday night was too windy for us to feel safe building a fire to roast hot dogs for dinner, but we had plenty to eat so we were in no danger of going hungry. Then near sunset, the winds calmed down and it got downright balmy (the temps all day had been in the 80s, but the wind throughout the day was enough to make it a tad chilly at times). We'd already eaten dinner so it was too late for hot dogs, but hey, we still had those marshmallows that needed a good roasting!

So we hightailed it back to the cabin, changed into some warmer clothes, stuffed a bag full of supplies (matches, newspaper, skewers, marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate bars...oh, and a beer for Sally and jug of water for me :), and set out for the spot we'd marked for our clandestine beach fire a few days before.

click to see full photo galleryWe'd stockpiled some good dry driftwood and stashed it up in the rocks above the high tide line when we'd been out picking up rocks and seashells. We'd had our eye on a couple of nice firepits someone had built up (probably for the 4th), hoping that at least one of them would be unused once the holiday crowd was gone. They were quite a ways down from the beach entrance, a good mile and a half down the beach, and since most people tend to cluster right around the entrance (something I will never understand -- you have 3 miles of gorgeous beach, people, why the hell are you all concentrating within the same 100 yard radius???), we felt pretty confident we'd be able to use one of those pits.

A decent fog was rolling in by the time we were about halfway there and it well past sunset, so it was a bit dicey whether or not we'd find our stash. We ended up picking the closer of the two pits we'd staked out, which turned out to be the nicer of the two, with a huge log that was the perfect size for seating and a well stacked ring of rocks to give the fire a chance to take hold even with a decent wind.

In no time at all Sally had a good fire base going, and then got it built to a size that was strong and steady without being too big. And from there, we proceeded to roast half a package of giant marshmallows, eating one for every one that we used for a s'more. We watched the waves dwindle away behind the dark and the mist, and most everything around us turn hazy and distant. But it was clear overhead and the sound of the waves echoed back at us from the steep wooded slope behind us, and we could see swathes of stars above. We talked about how long it'd been since we'd sat at a campfire together, how long since we'd roasted marshmallows, how long since we'd seen so many stars, how long we'd been married. It'll be 14 years in a week, and that number seems both too big and too small in all the right ways.

We were done eating long before we were ready to leave, so we just sat and enjoyed the fire until it had mostly burned down, then doused it with sand and headed back in the dark, the waves at our left, the cliffs at our right, the stars overhead. And that ended the last full day of our summer beach vacation.

click to see full photo gallerySo basically, we did like we always do on these secret coast getaways. We read big books from our tottering To Read Pile and listened to iPods and dozed in the sun. We talked and we laughed. We started a new show and ate lots of good food. We waded in the water and got used to sand in and on everything. We took pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. We watched sunsets and listened to waves crashing and dreamed about the tiny little place we'll have on the coast someday.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>