Posts Tagged ‘beach’

GPS Maggie

When I was married, I was the co-pilot. I took my job seriously and mapped out our trip and knew the directions. I was on call the entire trip. I never failed. The atlas was my friend.  It also helped that I was an atlas nerd. Ever since I was little, I would just sit and look at maps. The state of Washington always fascinated me for some reason. Probably the Puget Sound. (See, such a nerd) But, I would follow the route, town by town, and kept my finger on our exact location.  I was also like a true co-pilot because he drove like Mr. Magoo (previous blog). For some reason I didn’t get car sick looking at a map. Reading words made me sick, but not looking down at a map. I’m quite a gem.

Anywho, I took my yellow highlighter and marked the route and we were on our merry way.

Then came along the internet and I was replaced by MapQuest. Mapquest was great,  calculating how long it would take to reach our destination and the total mileage. I would just say, “We’ll get there when we get there.” If he wanted a better answer, he had to figure it out for himself. Mapquest also had options…fastest route and shortest route. I still really don’t understand this.  Would people pick the shortest route to save wear and tear on their car?  Wouldn’t shorter equate fastest ?  I don’t get it.

Sometimes Mapquest had to be tweaked and sometimes it wanted to take me on a stupid route. There are many ways to Myrtle Beach, for example. We went through Charlotte with mapquest the first time. That trip sucked. Millions of stop lights…So, I decided to buy a new atlas each year as a back-up. After all,  deep down I didn’t trust technology over the ultimate co-pilot.

Now that I am divorced, I no longer co-pilot. And I have realized something. I get mad if I miss an exit or I get lost. I mean, like, really mad. Adam Sandler mad.  I found that out when I had to take Alex to the Japanese Embassy in Washington,DC last summer. Mapquest failed me miserably.  We were running late for her interview (we were 20 minutes early, but in my mind that is late) and I got lost. We only had to go over 2 blocks, and I got lost. I lost my mind.

We stopped and asked some guy who was walking and I drove off while he was giving directions to Alex. I mean, if you have to hesitate, look up in the air like you can sniff out the right direction, and then look to the right and left like you, yourself aren’t sure where you are, then you weren’t the right guy to show us the way. So, I just drove off while he was still talking..Alex was quite mad at me. “Mom, that was REALLY rude.”  You know, whatever. “He didn’t know what the hell he was talking about, Alex. It’s not like you are going to see him again.”

After the 3 trips to the Japanese embassy and 2 trips to Dulles airport in the last year, you would think I would own a GPS.  No one ever mentioned that to me. “Hey, Vickie, you should buy a GPS.” Not until this summer when I was planning a trip with a friend (now former friend) to Myrtle Beach.  I was worried because I knew she would suck as a co-pilot. And I would get mad when we missed an exit. And have to put her in the back seat so the atlas could sit in the passenger seat. A facebook friend who also knew my scattered former friend suggested a GPS.

Well, my former friend brought her daughter’s GPS on the trip and it was ok. Stupid former friend couldn’t figure out the volume control, so I jumped each time she spoke. It was really loud, and she was British. “Enter the motorway.”  Motorway??  Um…ok…I finally said, “There has got to be a little icon for the volume.”  And she replied. “An icon?”  Ok, she didn’t know what an icon was.  Shit, this was going to be a long week. “The little picture that means volume. Maybe you should call your daughter.”   “It’s only 9:00. She is probably still sleeping.” …Thank goodness she couldn’t see my eyes rolling behind my Foster Grants..”She is young, she will get over it. We are old and I am ready to  throw the thing out the window.”  So, she called her daughter, who told her where the volume control icon was. Sigh.

So, I thought it was time for me to break down a purchase  a GPS. I went to Best Buy and looked at the features, and bought a Magellan Roadmate.

My son, Adam, installed the Magellan and I immediately decided to call her Maggie. I realize Madge is a better fit, but I can do what I want. It was fantastic on the way to Myrtle. It took me on four lane back roads I had never seen before (Route 38). How wonderful she was! You go, girl!!  She could even tell me how close the next gas station was and what restaurants were near-by. What an invention!! I congratulated her often.   She let me know 2 miles before my exit and told me what lane I needed to be in. And at the exit there was a little ding to know this was it. Just marvelous.

It was a different story on the way home. Adam plugged in the information and must have pressed fastest route instead of shortest route. (Which again, I don’t understand). But, I wanted to go home the way I came. She wanted to me travel on Interstate 95 for awhile. Well, Maggie, you are the boss. You must know what you are doing…

Well, she didn’t. They must have changed exit numbers while she was being manufactured or something, and when I didn’t get off the exit she wanted me to, because it didn’t exist, she got confused. Like Rosie the Robot on the Jetson’s confused. Or “That does not compute, Will Robinson” on Lost in Space confused. Maggie had burnt a fuse.

She tried to get me to turn around, but I knew where I was going. I thought that GPS systems were supposed to find the altered route and then find directions from there. Then she told me to get off the next exit, “Little Chicken Road.”  Adam laughed. “Maggie is confused.”  There was no Little Chicken Road or McDonald Road, but I felt like I was near a farm.  Finally, after 15 minutes, she was able to locate out precise location.

All in all, it was a great purchase. I am taking my daughter, Alex, to the French Embassy in Washington DC for her to get a visa for her next adventure abroad.  I hope Maggie will get us there so we won’t have to find that same guy to ask for directions.

People Pee in Pools

Beach trips are supposed to be fun. Well, unless you are a mother. You can never really rest when you are on a beach vacation. But, when you are in your fifties and your kids are old enough to be doing their own thing, a trip to the beach sounds peachy.

Well, this one wasn’t. I went to the beach with a good friend, who, um, is not a friend at all anymore. And I don’t even know where to start.

Let’s not start at the beginning. The beginning was normal. Let me jump right in to say that I sat on the beach beside my friend who believed that the world may be flat.

I’m sorry, what?

Sitting on a sand chair, looking out over the ocean, my friend began the morning with a very interesting question. I mean, it is, coming from someone in their mid-fifties.

“Vickie, now this ocean…is it infinite, meaning does it go on and on or does it end somewhere?”   Oh, she was serious. I just looked at her for a few seconds to see if there was a follow-up smile. No smirk, just wonderment.

Well, I’ll be. My friend was stupid. So, I thought I would play along. “You mean like at a country somewhere?”

“Well, yeah.  This is the Atlantic Ocean, right? So, does it just go on and on…or does it stop somewhere?

I just looked at her and replied, “I believe it ends in Africa.”

“You’re shittin me?”  She was surprised.  Wow. Africa. Who would have thought?  What I found cute was the fact that she felt it necessary to define “infinite” for me, like I was the one who was stupid.

Now, remember, I didn’t start this story at the beginning. You probably think that I am throwing around the “Stupid” moniker a little to easily, since I am supposed to be a friend and all. I would tend to agree…if I hadn’t experienced a few days of similar chatter before this nonsense.

“Lifeguards…Vickie, do you think they have like a special training session where they learn how to save a life? I mean, I know that their main job is to watch people on the beach.”

“I read somewhere where they have like an afternoon or two of a lecture.” Might as well make up some lies.

It all started when we arrived at Myrtle Beach. We actually had a nice trip down and talked about a lot of different things. To back up, I had met her when she was my aide when I taught special needs at an elementary school. She was often forgetful and had probably lost several pair of glasses and her mother’s ring just in the first few months that I was there. She repeated things often. I didn’t think anything of it. She was fun and we became friends. She had mentioned that she didn’t want to go to the beach with the same group of ladies that she went with every summer, so I asked her if she would want to go to Myrtle.

So, the trip down was nice. It took us about nine or ten hours to get there. We got to our resort and immediately hopped back into the car and went to dinner. I looked over at her and saw she was crying behind her menu.

“What’s wrong?”

She missed her daughter…..who I should mention was twenty-six years old.

Um…ok..I felt like a bad mom because I didn’t cry about my kids. My twenty-three year old daughter was getting ready to move to freaking Japan for a year. I should have been the one crying.

Things sort of spiraled out of control from there.

She repeated on a time delay everything I said like I never said it in the first place…I’m talking like fifteen times a day…She forgot everything..

I began and ending the day with reminders. “Don’t forget your breakfast card.” (Walk to the elevator)

“Vickie, do you have the room key? I forgot my breakfast card.”  Of course you did. She forgot her camera. She forgot her shampoo. She forgot flip flops for the sand. She forgot her brain. By the end of the week, I wanted to feed myself to the sharks.

We went to a grocery store after our interesting first dinner to buy food and drinks for our small kitchen. She was upset about something, but I thought maybe she was now missing her husband. Shit, this was going to be fun.

Found out during our screamfest on the way home that “I have ALWAYS went in with my friends for food when we went on vacation.”

She was mad because I bought what I wanted to eat and drink. There were only two of us. I don’t like freaking blueberries. I don’t want them on my cereal because was going to eat at the resort restaurant. We had free breakfast coupons for each morning. But, she bought blueberries. Why buy stuff that I am not going to eat. We were only going to eat lunch in the room. What the hell was the big deal?

I heard disturbing stories about the women she usually went to the beach with. First, the five of them would always get an apartment several blocks from the ocean to save money. Then, as she explained, they would go to a breakfast buffet at a nearby resort that didn’t check to see if anyone was wearing a bracelet or had a coupon. On their way out, they would pocket hard boiled eggs, lemons, tea bags, and everything else they could get their hands on so they could make egg salad sandwiches for lunch. The bread was split five ways.

She went on to tell me that after lying on the beach before lunch, they would go to another resort and lie by the pool for the rest of the day. They cooked dinner everynight with the things they brought from home or stole that day. They went out for pizza maybe one evening.

I just sat there. I just couldn’t believe that women my age would steal lemons so they could make lemonade for lunch.

So, imagine my surprise the next day, our first day on the beach,  when I inquired about a beach umbrella rental. We brought our own sand chairs, but I wanted an umbrella since I stay out on the beach all day. I told her I would pay for it. No biggie. It was $15.00 a day. But would she sit under it? Nope..she wouldn’t even put her beach bag (my bag, she forgot hers) under the umbrella, for fear of feeling she would have to share the cost each day, even though I told her I would take care of it. She sat in front of me. What the hell?

She fell asleep in the sun and had her mouth open and I thought she kinda looked like she just had a stroke..everything was sort of drooping on one side. She had no idea I took her picture, which made me feel like I was getting away with something…..which was great. The rest of the day she had a towel on her face. Again, just because she wouldn’t sit under a rented umbrella. Notice how far back my umbrella and chair is. I had to almost yell to talk to her. Stupid.

At the end of the first full day, my friend had repeated things I had just said. She told me the same stories that she told me on the nine hour drive down to the beach. I would just smile. By the end of the second full day, I replied with a,” I know. I just told you that.” By the end of the third full day, I was a little edgy with a, “Oh my God, I just said that.” By the end of the fourth full day I was hoping a shark would eat me.

For example, our state’s elderly senator, Robert C. Byrd, had just died. I saw it on the internet and told her about his passing. At dinner, two hours later, she told me:

“Oh, while you were in the shower, I heard that Robert C. Byrd died today.”

One evening while entering the elevator in the lobby, I noticed a coupon for Domino’s Pizza. “Hey look, pizza coupon if we want to have pizza some evening.”

Sure, we made a few stops to drove off some people, but she noticed the coupon and took it as we approached our floor. “I saw this coupon when we got on the elevator. I didn’t want anyone else to take it.”

Oh, you did, eh?

On the last day on the beach, I wished I brought a pen with me to write in the back of my book all the “Rita-isms” that came out of her mouth. I decided I could write a book.

I pulled my chair out into the sun a little each day so I didn’t look like a fruitcake yelling over to her as she sat by herself.  When she started talking, I couldn’t pretend write fast enough.

“Vickie, if I stepped in one of these holes that those kids are digging, and broke my ankle, could I sue the lifeguard since it is his job to watch the beach?”

“No, I think you would have to sue the kid.”

“How would I know which one to sue.”

“He would be the one with the shovel.”

I wrote a note in the sand to some of my facebook friends. I wanted to write, “Please help me.”

I wanted to go home.

We went to a buffet for dinner the last night. I told her it was going to be $27.99. She knew this. She also knew that it was a BUFFET. There would not be any ordering off of the menu. Again, it was a buffet. As soon as we got there, her eyes got real wide, like she didn’t hear me say that it was going to be….$27.99 and promptly asked the waiter for a menu.

I was having trouble with the wireless connection and she told me that a CONNECTION means that it has to CONNECT somewhere, so I should have a plug. I told her I didn’t have to have a plug because it was a wireless connection.

She laughed, like I needed to be humored. “It is called a CONNECTION for a reason. It has to CONNECT in a plug in the wall. That’s why you can’t get on the internet.” Even though I had been on there most of the week here and there with no PLUG. As I sat on the balcony that night, I was wondering if the fall would kill me. This was just miserable.

During a walk along the beach right before dark on our last night at the beach, we went down to a little lagoon-area. There was a couple with two beautiful springer spaniels who were galloping after each other in and out of the water. There were small fish that swam into the little inlet and it was fun seeing some other creatures.  After we finished talking to the couple and a fisherman who caught a small shark, my friend pointed and asked,  “Now, Vickie, what kind of thing would have made those kind of marks…they are are along the beach here, in and out of the water. What would make those I wonder?”  “Well, Rita, those would be dog paw prints.”  The damn dogs were just running through there.  I started to walk out into the ocean. Ok, I didn’t really, but I thought I just should end it now.

The ride home was much different than the ride down to the wonderful beach vacation. On the way home, she screwed up the TomTom GPS because the end destination was her daughter’s home address, not mine. (We live in the same town.)  She got mad when I said, “Seriously, I think I can get home fine after we hit the Virginia line, let alone Fairmont.” She gave me a dirty look.

I think what made her go off on me was the fact that she had an ice cream cone and it was melted down all over the seatbelt.  I don’t know how she even let that happen, but she looked like a child sitting in a highchair left alone too long. There was ice cream everywhere. I was driving and had an ice cream cone and I was fine. I just really wanted to get home.

Everything changed when we stopped at a rest stop somewhere in West Virginia. We both used the bathroom, and I saw that she was done first, standing by the front door. I went and stood by her and said, “For a rest stop, this place is beautiful.” She turned around and went over to look at maps. So, I went out to the car. She never came out. Minutes passed. I called her on her phone. I heard the phone ring, as it was lying on the floor. She dropped it once again. So, I thought I would just let her read her damn map and come out to the car whenever. I couldn’t take it any longer so I went back in to the rest area lobby. She was standing by the door.

“Why didn’t you come out to the car?” I was huffy, I admit.

“I thought you were in the bathroom.”

“I came over and told you how pretty this place is.”

“You did not.”

We screamed at each other the rest of  the way home. She said I belittled her for repeatedly saying, “Oh my God, Rita, I JUST said that!” and that I didn’t want to do anything in the evening. Yeah, I did too want to do something, I  actually wanted to jump off the balcony. I returned the yelling by saying that I had never seen anyone so cheap in my whole life and I was afraid to ask her if she wanted to go anywhere because I didn’t really want to have to sneak in.

She was also mad because I didn’t want to lie by the pool.  I didn’t drive eleven hours to lie by a pool. People pee in pools. Why would I want to sit my butt in an inner tube and float down the stupid lazy river…hello? It is not a river. I told her before we left that I was a beach person and that I sat on the beach all freaking day. People do pee in pools. People I don’t know. She said she was a beach person too. Then I screamed at her, “Why didn’t you go up to the pool area by yourself? It’s not like you were sitting with me anyway. You were afraid I might charge you to sit under the umbrella.”

By the time we pulled into my driveway, we were no longer talking. She slammed the door, and then had to re-open it to get her suitcase. I laughed out loud, because that spoke volumes to how the week went.

Needless to say, we are no longer friends. I do have to thank her for one thing, though. When I got home, I wanted to remember everything she said and did. So, I found wordpress and wrote this little story about it.

So, this is my first blog post.

And, um, the Atlantic Ocean also stops at Portugal.

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