In less than 2 days, I will be in a Ford Explorer, heading down to North Carolina. I haven't been to the beach in a long time. Since 2003, I think, according to my blog. That's six years, which kind of sucks. Generally, we would rent a house, and have our friends and relatives pay us a portion and stay with us (except in 2004, when Brad paid for the house). But life got complicated, and that didn't end up happening after 2003. Things fell through in 2004, I changed jobs in 2005, went to Sweden in 2006, and then 2007 and 2008 sucked for other reasons. I just sort of gave up, looking at the halcyon days of many beach trips as long gone.
This year would have been no better, since the company takayla worked for folded in June (she is still looking for a job, anyone want an office manager for the Northern VA area? Contact me or her), and even though CR pays rent now, he has a job as a barista which pays what one might expect such a job to pay. You never hear, "that Ferrari belongs to the barista," in any language or culture. So our finances are in the deepest slump we have had since 2001 when my back was injured, CR had to have his foot operated on, takayla broke both her ankles and was bedridden, our cat Oreo died, and 9/11 happened... all in a two month period.
Keeping things in perspective.
But two people, two good and generous friends I do not deserve, tth and aylinn, as well as some other mutual friends, gypsy_sylvin and her hubby Chris, invited us to go with them at a vastly reduced fee. Having roomed with these people at various conventions like Balticon and Gencon, I knew that they could tolerate me for days at a time. Even when I brought a ten-year old girl. They have remarkable patience and are gracious hosts who enjoy food, and who wouldn't enjoy that in a friendship! But my wife and I are deeply humbled, and pray they don't try to get us to join Amway. Joining us are Anya and Brian, who will be doing the driving back and forth. I can't imagine two more fun people to bring than those two. This will be a blast.
The house they rented has a heated pool and hot tub, is a block from the beach, and is generally the kind of house I like when vacationing. There will be dogs: our two plus a basset hound or beagle (sorry guys, I forgot) named "Buddy." Ahfu loves the beach. He likes digging in the sand and sticking his face in the hole he made, getting sand into his huge bug eyes. The surf scares him, though. Of course, when your face is as low to the sand as his is, even small waves are above your head.