I was at the beach on Friday and Saturday with Bob and his kinfolk. It was a lovely house, 3rd floor looking out over the ocean around 18th street. It was perfect for watching fireworks from the barge out in the Atlantic Ocean. We could basically make a bee-line out to the sand from where we were, and had a comfortable air-conditioned space to come back to after traipsing around in the blazing sun and humidity.
For the record, I'm dead surprised that I am not completely covered in a sunburn. I only applied suntan lotion once each day, was out upwards of 4 hours, sometimes with bouncing around in the ocean, then came back. Bob's got a wee bit o' the pink on his nose and other places.
We had a great time. We bounced over the waves, walked the boardwalk, road the log flume at Wonderland (and obtained photographic proof of whether or not I really hid going down the hill), ate boardwalk fries, wandered around a seasonal bookshop loaded with things like trashy romance novels and Maeve Binchy on one side, and on the exact opposite shelf the counterpoint of Ovid, Existentialist writings of the late 19th century, and metaphysical poetry. It was excellent to not drown in John Grisham novels and find some lovely fun things. I took the opportunity to educate myself on the Jersey Devil by purchasing a book from a local publisher, as well as snagging aforementioned book on metaphysical poetry, a copy of Ocean City Ghost Stories, and a beautiful black book that cost $10 less than I would've paid for it at Barnes and Nobles. I am sworn to go back there and browse more thoroughly and with the idea that I will obtain my entertainment while there, and not import it as I did with Smoke and Mirrors this time. It would make for a far more engrossing event to have to search the shelves thoroughly, scouring amongst the quick and easy novels for the gems that would carry my fancy through the rainy days.
We bounced in and out of shops at a whim, and left some cash at the fudge shop that infamously confused us over what an Irish potato was 2 years ago (hint: It is not Irish, nor are there any potatoes involved in its creation). Bob became the Nicest Guy on Record by pleasing two girls at once with the purchase of a Hello Kitty lunchbox (for me, which now houses current sock-knitting projects) and a small little tin purse with Cinderella on it for the niece.
We also had pancakes at a well-known breakfast place - and the pancakes are aptly described as very good, I might add- on Saturday morning, enjoying coffee before wandering another multiple blocks down to the Discovery Seashell Museum. It was a Museum only in that it had items in display cases that were unusual, and explained some about the shells. But for the most part it was a shop that sold items made from seashells or just the seashells themselves.
We acknowledged this and bought some seashells, including a "sea biscuit" sand dollar (which looked very cool) and a very large sea star with multiple white round protrusions sticking up. I have plans for them and some b&w photography in the near future.
We rode the Ferris wheel and the merry-go-round at Wonderland and did the traditional black-light Under-the-Sea golf, giggling and generally having a bad time of actually getting it in the holes correctly. We marveled at solid walls of climbing hermit crabs sticking their feet out through the wire mesh of their enclosures, all quietly chanting "Atti-CA, Atti-CA" in their high-pitched hermit crab voices. (I took a picture of their feet)
(Actually, I took pictures of everything this weekend.)
Bob stopped long enough to let me play with the Oktomat on several occasions for the purpose of testing the range and blur-quality. If some of it comes out correctly, I will be very happy, but I don't hold out hope of getting much the first few times, truth be told!
There was lots of carousing with 3 year olds and pleasant (for the most part) chats with his folks and his sister, and overall but for a few times everything went relatively nicely. Bob beamed often and squeezed my hand, whispering that his parents liked me. I'm glad for the blessing of the Progenitors of Bob, as life will go very smoothly now that this is the case.
All in all it was fun whenever we were all by our lonesome out on the Boardwalk. However, the usual problems with too much togetherness set in and we departed Sunday morning a bit ahead of schedule. Bob had the brilliant idea of stopping to pick up the engagement ring from the shop in the mall and we did so with VERY stiff and sore bodies (nothing like going from walking 5-6 miles each day to spending the first half of your day seated and in a car to make the muscles seize up.)
Once obtained I spent a good portion of my time staring at it -and still am. It's beautiful. I didn't think of myself as a bling gal, really, until I saw this ring. As Bob put it, it pretty much advertises "back off, she's taken and you can't afford her anyway" but it isn't tacky. I like that.
It was good to relax the rest of the day. The thoughts of what my time-lapse fireworks might look like has tickled at my mind quite a bit and I think I'll have to risk tossing out some money to a new film developer to see what became of it. That and my firefly pictures, which sit still undeveloped. Poor things.
We did so much more, but really to recall every detail would take hours and paragraphs. Rest assured we had a lovely time creating memories and traditions together, I indulged my Muse to the point of indigestion on its part, and our long-awaited ring is in its proper place on my finger, reminding me every day I am engaged and about to be wed. It is an odd but wholly pleasant place to be in, made the better for sharing some of this weekend with family.