After last year’s successful first family vacation to Seaside, Oregon – about two seconds after – our daughter started asking to go back to the beach. She asked all year long, sometimes at random moments and always when she saw pictures of herself building sandcastles or feeding seals. We had not necessarily intended to go back to Seaside this year, but in addition to the frequent requests from Sonja, we realized it would be a fantastic place to take the new dog we acquired last November. Yes, the dog would love the beach and Sonja would love the beach so we would go back to the beach!
We made the decision to go to Seaside much earlier in the year this time. However I realized that to get the best deal on the hotel we liked, I would have to wait much longer to book. So we picked a date, Shaun requested time off from work, and I crossed my fingers that I’d be able to get both the hotel and a good deal.
By complete happenstance, I landed a one-month gig scoring standardized tests that was to end the weekend before we left. In my mind this was both a bonus and a deficit, because I would have more cash to play but less time to plan. (I do love to plan.) Luckily, I had saved all the planning that went into the previous year’s vacation and just revised it as necessary. I can’t tell you how good it felt to cross diapers off the packing list.
Around the 4th of July, I had a short window in which to book the hotel and use a $50 off coupon from Expedia. It was also around this time that I heard chatter in the workplace that the project would go long. Nobody knew for sure, and overtime was being offered to prevent this from happening. I had a feeling the company had an inkling that the project would be extended, but without any concrete evidence, I decided to carry out my plans as they stood. I got the best possible deal on the room and I was so very proud of myself.
To make a long story short, the project did go long and I missed out on a few days work. At the time I made my decision, the possibility this would happen did not upset me. C’est la vie. By the time we came back from vacation, I was super pissed. C’est la fucking vie. More on that later.
The big difference for this year’s trip was that we decided to go for two days. Guys, two whole days! The main reason I made this decision was so we would have time to stop on the way down to visit a friend of mine and her 10-month old daughter. Two days also seemed more plausible this time around. Sonja is still a handful but she’s a more communicative handful. If she got hungry, we wouldn’t have to discern the word “fruit” through gasping sobs. She’d simply say, “Mama I’m sooo hungry!” We’d still have to listen to her cry when we refused to let her eat chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, but hey, progress it progress.
What we eventually realized would not be plausible: bringing the dog. The dog is still a complete spaz in the car. It’s extremely difficult just to drive her the ten minutes to the vet. And though we are making progress training her, it’s slow and we don’t feel like we have her under good command yet. Pepper would have to stay home. And now we needed a dog sitter.
I wanted a housesitter anyway. My parents are nearby and can look in, but I’m still not over the break-in and I wanted someone here. I wasn’t sure who on earth that was going to be until I got the invitation to my cousin’s kid’s high school graduation. Perfect. It was all coming together.
I left work permanently Friday afternoon and spent the weekend checking off my to do list. The biggest item was grocery shopping, as we’d decided to cook our meals in our kitchenette-equipped suite. Two previous excursions to Seaside left us wholly unimpressed by the food choices; We could do better on our own. The final task was entering the addresses in the GPS, and Tuesday morning, eight minutes after the scheduled departure time of 9 a.m., we backed out of the garage and headed on our way. Again.