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This was my first trip to the Jersey Shore.  I’ve enjoyed other parts of New Jersey, and endured other parts.  But I’ve never been to the shore.  One of CavWife’s sisters worked there for a few summers.  For nearly a decade, a large part of her family has been going to the shore after school gets out but before the seasonal rates increase, meaning before July 4th weekend.

Don’t think about a bunch of Guidos.  Spring Lake is nothing like that.  Spring Lake is upscale- very upscale.  Lots of Victorian homes, bed and breakfasts, and a few hotels.  We stayed in one of those hotels- The Breakers on the Beach.  We were late additions to the vacation plans, and we got the last room available: the penthouse.  Well, that’s what we called it.  The elevator when to the 4th floor, but we were on the 6th (though there was no 5th- I don’t understand either).  I expected some more living space but it was about the same, though the bathroom was larger.  But the views…. we had better, panoramic views.  We also had a gas fireplace.

Our Room

What we didn’t have was 2 beds, or a suite style room.  There was a fold-out sleep sofa.  This was to be CavBoy’s bed.  Initially we were going to have CavGirl go to sleep and then move her to the sleep sofa.  But it just didn’t work out that way as he did his usual sprawl across the bed.  This put the rest of us on the king size bed.  Somehow I was in the middle.  As a result, I spent 2 nights getting whacked and kicked by my daughter.  The pillows were huge and fluffy, quite the opposite of the pillows from the night before.  Almost everyone who used them woke up with a sore neck.  In the middle of the 2nd night, I cast mine onto the floor and slept pillow-less.

Our entire entourage was 24 people in 6 different rooms.  Lots of kids.  But most of the other guests were in the same boat so we didn’t drive too many people at the hotel crazy.  You were not supposed to wear beach attire in the lobby since they had a relatively upscale restaurant there.  We had to come and go through the basement to either the beach or the pool area.  This was the first time I ever needed a beach pass.  The adults had little pins to prove you had beach access.  If you didn’t have one, you could buy a wrist band for $8/day to have access to the beach.  Lots of rules, but the beach was pretty clean and well kept.  You could see the life guards training as they prepared for the summer rush that was about to hit them.  They got plenty of work with the whistle as people would drift too close to the breakers.  If those waves pushed you against the rocks, they would do serious damage.

The boardwalk was initially built by the WPA in 1937, stretching for a good distance for all those interested in walking or jogging.  It was very beautiful.  I hadn’t heard the sound of the surf for over a year.  It was a welcome sound- relaxing and peaceful.  After getting on the beach- after spending a long time lathering up- I took a good long walk on the beach thinking about ministry, ambition and other matters.  No iPod- does that surprise you?  But I didn’t want lots of sand to muck it up.

I tried to get into the water.  It was like a liquid ice flow.  I’ve been spoiled by that Gulf Coast water.  This was like Gulf Coast circa February.  Cold, reason I left New England cold.  Body parts retreating in agony cold.  And there was something strange in the water.  Tiny jellyfish.  No one warned me about this.  Thankfully they didn’t sting.  They just got all over you, stuck to you like … jelly.  Waiting to die and give you an unpleasant odor.  Yeah, not exciting.

By late afternoon, as the sun started to work its way through the sun block I made my way to the pool, and some shade, with the kids.  I had read some more of The Original Curse and talked with numerous people from the entourage.  CavSon was having a ball in the kiddie pool, which used to be hot tub the overly friendly lady in the yellow dress told me.  I soaked my feet as CavSon refused to talk to her daughter who inexplicably had one of those inflatable ducks kids float in- in the kiddie pool.  Where is CavWife to run interference.  Then again, why would this person be interested in me.  I’m feeling less than attractive with a few extra pounds around the middle covered by my t-shirt.  But I’m told my legs are still sexy.  Maybe it was those legs.  Maybe it was just wishful thinking since I’m feeling oh so unattractive.

Then I notice the kiddie pool seems to be filled with jelly fish from the 50 kids who have been there earlier in the day.  I’m kinda grossed out.  I want to leave, ASAP.  But CavSon is having too much fun.  And he’s NOT going into the big pool.  CavGirl is trying to remember her swimming lessons, but needs dad to help her.  So off I go to help her, having to remove my shirt and feeling awkward and gross.  At some point I became my father, minus the powerful forearms, and I’m not liking it.

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