Friday, May 31, 2013


I'm not sure why we keep thinking it's a good idea to go away for long weekends.  It seems like a good idea beforehand but usually ends up a mess of screwed up schedules, screwed up sleep, cranky hungry kids and bumper-to-bumper traffic.

I guess we keep doing it because when we return home (often more tired than when we left) and start looking through the pictures, we usually say things like, "Gosh, that was fun!"

Vacation amnesia sets in quickly and thankfully (usually) leaves the good parts. 

We went back to one of our favorite spots for the long Memorial Day weekend -- the Oregon Coast.   Alex and I have visited the Oregon Coast many times throughout the course of our relationship.  In fact, here's a photo of Alex on the Oregon Coast, on the very beach where we stayed this time, fifteen years ago -- 

Our relationship was in its infancy at that time but I knew he was special, the zany French Canadian with the thick accent who said ridiculous things.

And now, here's a recent picture of Alex on the Oregon Coast --

Not much has changed except Alex looks more batshit crazy now, possibly due to the hoodie/fedora combination.  Plus there's a strange Alex-like kid addition running around screaming behind him.

We rented a first-floor condo right on the beach in Seaside so we could shove the children out the door easily and regularly.  It would have worked well but the weather was not our friend.  While we did have some periods of incredibleness, we also had some rain and some cold and some wind.

As we sat indoors staring outside, Coco tried out her knock-knock jokes.  She's pretty into knock-knock jokes.  They all go like this:

Me:  Who's there?
Coco:  poo poo
Me:  poo poo who?
Coco:  poo poo pee pee

Sometimes she'd mix it up a little --

Me:  Who's there?
Coco:  pee pee
Me:  pee pee who?
Coco:  pee pee and poo poo on your head

I told her the jokes were the worst jokes I'd ever heard but it didn't seem to faze her.  After the hundredth time being told a joke involving some combination of poo poo and pee pee, most of it ending up on someone's head or (god forbid) in their mouth,  I told Alex we had to get out of there, that I couldn't take any more.

Thankfully, we stayed in Seaside, an old beach resort town fully equipped with things like covered tilt-o-whirls and bumper cars.  We made Lucien ride the tilt-o-whirl by himself.  He did not look healthy by the end of it.

Seaside is most famous for being the end of the Lewis and Clark trail.  Seaside is where those two badass explorers (plus badass Sacajawea) finally emerged from the wilderness and dipped their toes into the Pacific Ocean.

They paved the way for many, many timeshare condos

We went to an arcade where, upon her first pull of the wheel at the first game she played, Coco won 1000 tickets.  It took ten minutes for our tickets to fully dispense from the machine, during which time we drew envious gazes and knuckle cracks from all other vacationers.

We decided to get a voucher for our tickets and come back to redeem them the next day.  As we walked back to the condo, I cleaned out my jacket pockets, absentmindedly throwing fistfuls of wrappers and receipts into a boardwalk trash can while looking out over the water.  I realized a millisecond later I'd just tossed the voucher for our tickets, procured not even one minute earlier by a pimply-faced employee who told me to guard it with my life, into a large cement trash can with a bolted-on lid.

I dove into the boardwalk trash can headfirst, trying to wriggle my way under the nasty bolted lid ("I'm small, I can do this!") while Alex lounged on a bench a short distance away, pointed at me and yelled, "homeless, uh-oh!"

I didn't care so much about the tickets, more about how my family was going to react.  They were never, ever going to let me live down the loss.  If I didn't find that voucher, I was going to have to hear about it every single day until the blessed moment I drew final breath.

I eventually fished the receipt out of the garbage using Lucien's new plastic clamming shovel.  Lucien was like, "Mom, why are you using my new shovel to dig through the garbage?" He looked to Alex for explanation but Alex just hugged him and said, "There's something not quite right about her, son, and the sooner you accept it the better."

Success, but I have less respect for myself now

One of my favorite beaches on the Oregon Coast is Cannon Beach.  We planned to spend a full day on Cannon Beach but when we arrived, the wind was so strong we were afraid it was going to blow Coco up into the trees.  We took refuge at a nearby coffee shop and debated what to do.

Alex, who tends to be a save-the-day type of guy, said, "Has Lucien ever flown a kite?" and I said "no" and he said "then that's what we're going to do."  We found a kite store and were advised on the proper kite to buy, one that wouldn't be shredded by the gale force winds currently out on the beach.  We chose a blue one that Lucien creatively named "Blue Kite."

When it's as windy as it was that day, it's easy to get your kite up in the air -- you just hold your arm up and the kite is immediately ripped away from your hands.  The force of the wind pulled Lucien across the sand as he held onto his kite string.  Impressively, he didn't lose the kite because he, like his mother, is freakishly strong.

Coco got one, too

As we walked up and down the boardwalk back in Seaside, we noticed this house.  And we immediately began wondering if it was for sale and if we could buy it and if we could fix it because THERE IS OBVIOUSLY SOMETHING WRONG WITH US.  The pull of an old pretty house in desperate need is like a siren's song and we, someday, are going to crash into the damn rocks.

An elderly woman resident heard us speculating and stopped to give us some history.  The house is owned by a very wealthy family in Portland who no longer cares about it.  There are six bedrooms on the top floor and six bedrooms in the basement.  It's hard to tell from the angle of this photo but the house is quite big with a sprawling front sun porch and great architectural details.

She told us from the turn of the century up through the 1920s, '30s and '40s, the family regularly vacationed in Seaside with an entourage of butlers, cooks and servants.  They threw lavish parties back in the day that spilled out into the front yard and down onto the beach.  For some reason the family stopped coming to their cottage decades ago and the house has been slowly dissolving into the ground ever since. 

I have absolutely no point to make about this house.  I just want it on the record this house existed, it was beautiful, and it LIVED, dammit, it LIVED.

It's a miracle this kid still has a scooter since he ditches it every few minutes and wanders off

He could dig in the sand for hours

We went back to the arcade on our last day to redeem our tickets.  After hearing the chorus of whiny voices clamoring for candy and only candy, I made an executive decision -- two gummy candy pizzas, five whoopie cushions and a monkey hat.  The kids protested but, in my defense, the monkey hat was awesome.

Our plan was to stop in Astoria, Oregon on our drive back to Seattle.  It's a great little town and famous for the many movies that have been filmed there -- the best, obviously, according to me, being The Goonies.  The entire movie was filmed on location.  Quite a bit of The Goonies was filmed up the road on Cannon Beach, too, though obviously on a much less windy day or else Corey Feldman would have ended up in the Pacific Ocean.

I wanted to find The Goonies house.  Badly.  The hard driving rain, however, had other plans.  After a quick lunch and a short drive through the town, we were tired and wet and miserable and decided, "Eff it, this isn't fun." We turned for home.

I'm bummed we missed it.  Really bummed.  That movie was one of my very favorites growing up and now that I've introduced it to Lucien, it's on heavy rotation in our family once again.

Wait for us, Goondocks.  Wait for us, Mikey's house.  We'll return to do the Truffle Shuffle outside the gate someday soon.

Andi!  You GOONIE!


  1. Since you weren't really dumpster diving we can call it etymology which is sifting thru trash. I had never heard that Alex had an accent before this post so it made me wonder if he tries to continue speaking French to Lucien? (he got such a good start with the language in Paris). Kathy in Iowa

  2. I half expected you to say you had bought the old house on the beach;) How far is it from where you live?:)

  3. I have always wanted to visit Cannon Beach. Great that Alex thought to buy the kites! I rarely comment (sorry) but I love reading your blog.

  4. come that house...imagine it painted yellow or torquoise and sitting on the it...doooo it.


    OMG, the monkey hat and the hipster specs. LOVE.

    I was going through emails and saw this post, realized I didn't get a chance to comment and tell you I loved it. :-) Plus, my internet was out for two weeks and it started about this time...

    What a great vacation and a great vacation recap! Thank you!