Why old people shouldn’t take vacations

We are back from our annual trek to the sea. We rent a large house near the beach and invite our siblings and spouses. We have one case of early stage dementia in the group so every year we can do this is a gift.

Renting a house is not like getting a motel for a couple of days. You take your own linens, food, soap, medicines, clothes, stuff you like to have with you at all times, stuff you should have left at home, etc.

Nor is it like traveling when you are young. All you needed then was a swimsuit, change of clothes and Fig Newtons. I always traveled with Fig Newtons. In a bind you can make a meal out of them. I think they are sort of healthy. You didn’t need cosmetics because after a little sun, you looked just fine. You ate out (cheaply of course) and drank out (hopefully gorgeous men would buy you drinks) except for maybe a wine bottle stashed in your underwear.

I have found that as we get older we always forget something. This year tops them all. First off, I forgot deodorant. Who forgets that?

Since there is no Starbucks within reasonable traveling distance (what’s with that anyway??) I took coffee to make. I must have been starry-eyed or something. I bought Swiss mocha nut . Sounds wonderful doesn’t it? Tastes like a cross between cat poop (and I am an expert on that) and really  stale nuts. Perhaps even the kind that you would find in old men’s underwear! (I am not an expert on that.) We had to find real coffee if there was any chance of having an intelligent conversation with me before cocktail time.

The beloved husband and I had a long discussion about the clam steamer — should we take it or take a chance that there will be one at the house. I didn’t care. I don’t eat clams. We (read he) decided to take it. Somehow it didn’t get put with the stuff to pack so we visited the local hardware store trying to figure out an alternative that doesn’t cost $35.

The wash cloth I packed fell apart in the first shower. I couldn’t believe it. So I bought one at the hardware store. Gotta love hardware stores!

Of course, we did remember the vitamins, drugs, remedies for any malady that could attack us in the next decade including bubonic plague. I have more clothes than I need and somehow I have 6 pair of shoes for 7 days. The beloved husband packed all the ones I had put out as possibilities.

Before the trip there is a lot of organizing and planning and afterward, lots of laundry and things to be put away. I won’t even talk about the punishment that will be meted out by my cats.

The beloved husband said it best. He said, “This is like moving to a new house!” But the weather was perfect. The companionship was the best. I can always rest when I get home.

Oh yes, New Jersey is definitely back and stronger than the storm!Kate on beach 2013

38 thoughts on “Why old people shouldn’t take vacations

  1. Kate, I read an article once that suggested only packing your oldest underwear. Then, as you change each day you can toss the old pair away. This is supposed to free up room for souvenirs! Seriously, how much room can undies take up? And I want to see the face on the chambermaid each day.


  2. Kate, I have tried packing a wine bottle in my underwear but then I can’t zip my pants. You need to explain the procedure on your blog one of these days, or better yet, post a picture.

    Glad you enjoyed the time with your loved ones and were able to enjoy the seashore.


  3. I love Fig Newtons (now labeled as Fruit Newtons) and also consider them to be a healthy meal in a pinch.
    Before visiting my college roommate last fall, I set aside my new and wrinkleable tops. Yes, I left them hanging at home and had to wear t-shirts. I wondered why there was extra room in my suitcase. There should be a law about early flights, can’t think clearly.
    You’re right about the sand following you home and dirty clothes multipying.


  4. You are so much FUN, Kate. Loved your description of the Swiss Mocha Nut coffee . . . and the difference between beach vacations THEN and NOW.

    I’m surprised Stone Harbor doesn’t have a Starbucks ~ at least it has a hardware store with all the stuff you need that you forgot to pack.

    Stone Harbor is such a great place to visit. Glad you all had a chance to get together.


    • The Starbucks thing…Stone Harbor and Avalon are not year round so they don’t have any of the chains. The closest is on the Garden State Parkway near Wildwood I think. There were local coffee shops but I wasn’t happy with any of them. THEN I used to go to Wildwood for the night scene. NOW I’m in this quaint family place.


  5. Glad you had a good time, even without the coffee. Why the hell is there not a Starbucks at the shore? Hmm….could be a business opportunity in the making. This time of the year at the shore is just perfect. We always rented houses in OC, NJ when the kids were little. When searching for a rental, forget the view, I would have to have a washer & dryer …. so sad I know.


    • That’s another difference from when we were really young. Then it was access to the beach and bars. Now it’s the amenities. Does it have a deck or porch, dishwasher, washer and dryer, is it pretty. All those things are more important now.


  6. I’m not sure it’s an age thing – I have always forgotten something, even when I tried to make a list! I suppose I am destined to be forever hopeless in this regard. I’m glad despite the lousy coffee, abundance of shoes and absence of a good washcloth, you still had a great time!


  7. I remember the beach house days when our son was young. We always went to Ocean City, MD for the ticky tacky stuff as well as ocean waves. The work that goes into preparation is a lot like going camping -maybe even more involved. And the work coming home is monumental. Still, “those were the days.” Glad you had a good time and got past shredded wash cloths and poopy coffee. Did you know there is a very very expensive coffee made from monkey poop? Really. 🙂


    • No poopy coffee for me! I don’t know if I got a lot older this year but the getting ready and then getting back seemed to take longer than it ever did before even though I simplified a lot of stuff.


      • I’ve heard about the Monkey Poop coffee . . . they monkeys swallow the beans to “mellow them” . . . once excreted, they grind the beans into expensive coffee . . . that I wouldn’t drink with a 10 foot straw. YUCK!


  8. I have never tried a fig newton that I can recall. Maybe I will need to buy some for our next trip, just to get the experience in.
    When Patrick and I went away on our anniversary a few weeks ago, we stayed in a cabin that was 10 minutes down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere and thus 35 minutes from the nearest civilization. I woke up in the morning, got dressed and carted myself the whole way into town for real coffee while he slept. That is where my priorities are clearly. I feel it just made the whole trip better for the both of us if I did that.


  9. You are SO funny. I love the fig newtons bit.

    I have a picture of me standing on the Jersey shore (Cape May). I was the girl who traveled with W.S. Merwins latest slim volume of poems. I have no idea how I lived on poetry while on vacation, but I must have. I had no money. Come to think of it, I was cute and skinny and men bought me dinner and drinks. (believe it or not I ran into W.S. at a poetry festival, and even he bought me a drink!) These days, my vacations resemble your “these-days” vacations. Things fall apart.


  10. This brings back memories, Kate. When I was a kid, my parents took me to Wildwood and Atlantic City, New Jersey. I loved our times by the ocean and sampling the salt water taffy from The Boardwalk. Glad to hear New Jersey is recovering.

    My choice would still be to crash at the Holiday Inn. I’d be lost without my Dunkin Donuts’ coffee, but it sounds like you all had a wonderful time. 🙂


  11. We had a great time at the shore. The “fish dinner” (cooked in house) was superb. Even the clams were outstanding. You mentioned comradery, it could not have been better. I agree that it’s quite a hassle coming and going, but the “feel good” is worth the effort. Thanks for inviting us.


  12. Welcome home! We’re just back too…laundry, angry cats (well actually, ours seem just fine…they really like the cat sitter!)…lots to catch up on. Glad you had a good trip.


    • OOOOHHHH the cats. That’s a post in itself. We had to board the one that pees outside the box and had a sitter for the other 3. I worried about the boarded one but he seems fine. Usually he whines for the first day but he was just happy to be home. He did have to do a head wamp on the youngest to remind her who he is.


    • I lived in Jersey for a while and had a house in a small beach community up north so I am always affected by things like that. South Jersey wasn’t as badly affected. In fact it seems like the rentals went fast because people who usually rent in northern Jersey, rented farther south.


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