Saturday, August 02, 2008

Back to the Life

We're baaaaaaack. Originally, we had planned to leave the Shore yesterday and hang out at Matt's place in northern Jersey before finishing the trip this morning, but Hannah came down with a nasty sounding cough so we just decided to come straight home yesterday. We made decent time until we got to Connecticut, which was slow in the usual spots and then really crawled once we got on Route 128 from the Mass Pike. We straggled in just after 6 p.m.

It was a mellow evening, catching up on TiVoed programs and the Web and then reading until 1 a.m. Then at 1:30, I heard a strange noise in our bedroom. I looked toward the corner where we have a nightlight plugged in, somewhat in a daze from being awakened from sleep and without my glasses. Then I saw it: A bat! Our bedroom is a converted attic and as such has some sloped ceilings, and the little bastard was bouncing around the room, no doubt trying to figure out where the hell he was. Meanwhile, Deb and I were fairly freaked out. We quickly decided to grab the kids and sleep downstairs. We don't have doors on our bedrooms upstairs (don't ask; long story), but we have one at the bottom of the stairs, so I closed it to keep the critter up there.

Deb and the girls camped out in the guest/play room and I took the couch in the living room. I was pretty amped up and it took a while to conk out, but finally I did, only to be awakened by another noise. Sure enough, it was a bat flying around the living room. At least, I could have sworn it was. I had my glasses on this time, but it was dark and I honestly could have dreamed the whole thing. But at the time, I was convinced we had another bat in the living room and I took off for the guest room to join the rest of the family. This time, it took me a lot longer to fall asleep; I was on the floor next to Lily while Deb and Hannah were on a futon. By this point, it had to be after 2 a.m. and eventually I fell asleep, but I kept waking up from time to time. At 5:30, Lily needed to go to the bathroom, so I went with her and checked out the living room while she did her thing. Nothing. It was starting to get light out, so maybe the bat skedaddled to its hiding place. Or maybe there was no bat in the living room. I have no doubts there was one in the bedroom. Of course, when we finally all got up about three hours later, I searched the house armed with a broom and a paper bag but found no signs of the bat down- or upstairs. We suspect it got into our room through the eaves that we use for storage in our room; the door has a slight crack in the top that would suffice for a bat to fit through. A year or two ago, Deb was certain she saw a bat fly by her head after she had gone to bed; I was downstairs and came up but could find no sign of it, so naturally I was skeptical. A thorough search the following morning found no sign of it then, either. Now I'm thinking she probably saw a bat. Now we'll probably have to find someone to come in and get rid of the thing and block its access to our attic.

So anyhoo, there's also the matter of our vacation. We left last Friday, July 25 and got to my bro-in-law Matt's place in the early afternoon. We went down to the lake nearby to take the kids swimming and have some dinner. We then hit the road around 9 to head for the shore, arriving a little after 11. The fun started Saturday. Some highlights:

  • We enjoyed the pool and hot tub at the resort (Seaview Villas in Galloway, NJ) throughout our stay.
  • We hit Brigantine Beach (near Atlantic City) twice. The water was noticeably colder this year than in past visits; not sure why. I tried boogie boarding for the first time, as did the girls, and it was a lot of fun. We don't get those kind of waves around here, but I'll definitely do it again sometime.
  • The weather was hot and humid, but not overly so. I got out for an 11-miler and two 5-mile runs while I was there, in addition to weight workouts in the gym.
  • After my recent pining for Pete's Wicked Ale, the liquor store we went to actually stocked it, so I picked up a 12 pack and thoroughly enjoyed it. Although it was heavier than I remember it.
  • Matt and I played 18 holes with his in-laws Wednesday at one of the two golf courses at the resort. I started off okay and finished horribly; my driving ability totally deserted me after the first few holes. Fortunately, my short game was pretty good so it wasn't a total loss. I need to get to the driving range and figure out what's wrong.
  • We went to the boardwalk in Ocean City to take the kids on amusement rides and then get ice cream. Another thing I noticed this time around, both on the beach and on the boardwalk, is the seagulls have gotten a lot more brazen. They'll hover over your head and snatch food right out of your hands while you eat.
  • I got a ton of reading done. I've been slowly picking my way through Sacred Games, the 924-page magnum opus by Vikram Chandra about Mumbai gangsters. I started it months ago but have made little progress, about 130 pages, as I try to read in the few minutes before I fall asleep. I read mainly old MOJO magazines on the first few days of vacation, but I started getting into the book and in the last three or four days have read about 430 pages. I hope to finish it by early next week.
  • We followed with great interest the Manny Ramirez saga all week, as he did everything in his power to get traded out of Boston by the deadline and in the end was successful. The Sox sent him to the Dodgers in a three-team deal that brought Jason Bay to Boston. There's no doubt he's a great player, but he's also a distraction that while hilarious, must have driven his teammates nuts. We'll see how he does in LaLa land.

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