That being the case, my husband and I have developed the habit of taking little mini vacations—usually of one day. We’ve found that it’s not the amount of time, but what you do with it that counts.
The key to it all for us is a laid back pace. If we leave with a plan, but wind up doing something else, it’s all good, as long we we’re together.
Two weeks ago we spent Sunday SCUBA diving in PA at Dutch Springs with our good friend Rich. It was great. A little bit of a busman’s holiday for Paul as Rich was finishing his qualifications to become a dive master. The last item on his agenda was guiding me through a SCUBA refresher. It was my first time in several years and I was so happy to get back to it as SCUBA diving often feels like the only time I’m not multi-tasking or headed to one appointmment or another.
It was a great day, hot, but clear. The water had warmed up. The “vis” wasn’t the greatest, about 20 feet. But we were under water and having fun.
Between dives, Rich grilled some steaks and made roasted potatoes. We chatted, celebrating Rich’s accomplishment and my return to the water. We soaked up the sun until it got so hot that we retreated to the water for another dive. And after that, we ditched our tanks and just bobbed at the surface in our wet suits chatting for another forty minutes.
We wrapped up the day by stopping for dinner and filling out our Dive Logs on our way home before going our separate ways. It was a full day, and included a weekend’s worth of fun, a drive in the country, two dives, a BBQ, and dinner out. I got home feeling as if I’d been gone much longer than a day.
Yesterday was originally supposed to see us back at Dutch, but a long and very hot Saturday, each attending our separate vocations, saw Paul and I in great need of a lie in. But the beauty of the long summer days, is that you can still enjoy a nice day out, even if you don’t get out till after three.
Paul and I managed to pry ourselves out of the house at around three-thirty. We were headed “down the shore” –which is Jersey talk for "we went to the beach."
It’s over an hour drive to the beach we like and the weather report was for massive storms passing through our area. As we drove south, the northbound lane was clogged with weekenders making their hurried exodus home—many likely driven off the beach by the rain, because who wants to get wet when you’re out for a swim?—We joked about that when we stopped at a highway rest stop for a bite to eat. It was there that Paul also noted that the stop seemed popular with the after-wedding crowd. There were a lot of people who were otherwise overdressed for an afternoon meal of chicken, pizza, or burgers next to the New Jersey Turnpike.
Back on the road, we talked about nothing in particular, just enjoying each other’s company. We were so engrossed that we missed our exit to Sandy Hook, so visiting our usual beach was not going to happen. Instead we just followed out noses and the car’s compass till we found our way to the Atlantic.
We found ourselves south of Asbury Park with plenty of time for a leisurely walk down the beach. The tide came in as we walked. We watched surfers catch the waves, little kids dipping their toes in the water, and one very dedicated seagull take way more time cleaning the meat from a small muscle shell than we thought could be necessary.
On the way back we watched parasailers being towed from a boat. The boat slowed to a near stop several times causing the parasailers to descend and get dipped in the sea. It happened several times and from our perspective, we weren’t sure if it was intentional. Between the parasiler and the surfers we agreed, we were more comfortable under the water than on the surface or suspended above it.
After a lovely time walking through sand and surf, we headed back to the car and back on the road. We watched the sun set as we went.
On the way home we stopped in to see Rich and his family and then stopped to grab some sandwiches for a picnic in the car. It’s something I love doing--just sitting together, watching the world go by before jumping back on the road.
It was a good day, and again a full one. I think next weekend will see us back at work. But these last two Sundays have been a lovely vacation together. The work week in between is easily forgotten with such lovely Sundays at either end.