Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cookie Monster at the Beach



I have had that blasted song stuck in my head for several days now.  I sing it at Hubs every few hours to make sure I am not suffering alone.

For my birthday, I asked for two things: to see the ocean and to have a hot shower.  

Packing pugs in the car, we drive the half hour to the beach and pick out an uninhabited section where Otis and Murray can run off leash.


Murray has enough pent-up energy to send him careening around the sand, bum tucked under, snarling in his best outdoor voice.  If you have never seen a pug get wound up, it is quite a comical sight.  Their tails uncurl, and their back ends nearly touch the ground as they do a scooting run, like somebody is after their tails with a hot stick.  This is usually accompanied by their fiercest vocalizations, which sound like a regular dog with a mouth full of cotton balls.


Otis has been to the ocean before, and gets busy wading in the warm pools left by low tide.  This is Murray's first trip to the sea and he makes a confounding discovery while following Otis around.  Whenever Murray gets in water, he takes mighty gulps with each step or paddle.  We have tried many times to break him of this habit, but he is a stubborn dog.  I laugh loudly when he takes his first slurp of salt water.  

What a face!  He crinkles up his muzzle, sticks his tongue out, and shakes his head vigorously.  

This pool water tastes terrible!  Maybe it is better over here……


nope.

Here?


Nope.

He continues to sample the water in different areas with the same reaction every time.

Finally he gives up and takes a drink from the water we brought.  


He has also discovered sand.  He grabs big mouth-fulls and chomps until there is nothing left, Cookie Monster-style. 

Otis chases underwater hermit crabs around in the tidal pools, pawing at the ones he can reach, unwilling to wet his face. 


There are hundreds, thousands of these small crabs, each patrolling his one square inch of sand, lunging and pinching at any neighbor who oversteps his bounds.  These battles run into each other, creating micro wars with five or six crabs, all snapping and grabbing at anything that bumps into them.


Several hours are spent wandering about the pools, looking for interesting sea creatures.  Hubs finds what looks like a sea cockroach with spiked fringe, suctioned to a rock and moving slowly on unseen legs.  Bald eagles occasionally fly overhead.  


When we have had our fill of salty sea air, we munch a few blackberries hanging ripe on the bush, brush off our sandy feet, and head back to camp.  Hubs saw a sign on the way here for fresh salmon, so we make the stop.  My obvious lack of knowledge of the different kinds of salmon tipped the fish guy off that we aren't from around here.  When he hears we came here from Indiana, he says, "Well what are you doing here?  Why would anybody come here?" 

I am so stunned, the words won't come.  HERE is where we have been trying to get for the past three, four, five...SIX years and this kid counts it all as rubbish!  He goes on to explain that he is 18 and there aren't any girls here.  Hubs has a hearty chuckle and admits that being here and womanless is a problem, but since he caught his already, it is a swell place to be.  We wish him happy woman catching on his upcoming college venture in Wyoming and buy a gutted salmon for $3.50 a pound.  

We have run into that almost everywhere on our trip. People are always trying to get away from the place they are, especially when it comes to camping or vacation.  That was true for us, too.  We lived two seconds away from Amish Acres, which became packed every summer with middle aged ladies looking to buy something with potpourri in it.  People actually went there on purpose, at the very moment we were planning our escape.  

I suppose one man's trash is another man's vacation.


Back at camp, Hubs gets out his fancy knife and board and fillets the salmon while I cook green beans in a skillet over the fire.  


Dinner is wonderful and when I bring out birthday brownies, Hubs digs right in.

Wait…it's my birthday…aren't you going to sing at me?  

I've got a brand new pair of roller-skates, you've got a brand new keeeey…



Thank you, sweet husband, for making this birthday such a wonderful one!


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