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What I Did on my Summer Vacation

Like a lot of families these days, a big summer vacation wasn’t in the cards this year. We briefly considered dragging the beach chairs into the garage and huddling around the new furnace for a week, but thought better of it in the end. While functional, the appliance just isn’t vacation material.

A view of the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, Ne...

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Instead, we had a “staycation” — a chance to unwind, tackle a few in a long list of pesky chores and just breathe. And we carved out two days, loaded the car up and headed to Seaside Heights, NJ, best known these days as the sometime home of Snooki, J-Woww, Pauly D, Vinny, Sammy, Ronnie and The Situation.

I prefer a more refined vacation experience, but was outvoted, and so put on a brave face and prepared to endure 48 hours living next door to the Shore House. Thankfully, filming was over for next season, so the reality TV celebs were not around. However, there were plenty other amazing things to see and experience, including the steady parade of people who stopped by the house to photograph themselves.

If a vacation is meant to be an escape from reality, well, mission accomplished. We were transported to a different world from the one we typically inhabit, and it brought laughs, head-shaking experiences, a chance to unwind and a look at life from a fresh perspective.

We encountered a wide variety of people from numerous walks of life, many of them quite colorful and creative in their dress and mannerisms. And in nearly every case, the people we met were unfailingly warm and friendly, regardless of the number of tattoos, piercings or teeth they had.

Here’s a brief look at some of what I did — and did not d0 — while on vacation:

I did not pierce or tattoo any body parts, despite numerous shop signs urging me to do so.

I also didn’t pay anyone to weave feathers into my hair. Given the length of my tresses, I figured that look wouldn’t fly.

I did not eat any of the following foods fried: pickles, Twinkies, Snickers, Hostess Fruit Pies, Devil Dogs, Reese’s, Kit Kat bars, Oreos, brownies or cheesecake. I enjoyed a really delicious slice of pizza, however.

I missed the Elvis impersonator but endured the otherwordly sounds of the scruffy guitarist who seemed to sing the same original work. all. day. long.

I rode the ski lift/overhead tram with Catherine, who hasn’t stopped laughing at the sheer terror I exhibited throughout the overlong ride. I’m sure they are still buffing out the indentations my fingers left on the metal bar that held us in place.

However, I did not ride the nausea-inducing Tower of Terror; “skydive” out over the Atlantic while attached to a bungy cord; or allow myself to be catapulted, slingshot style, into the night sky while strapped into a brightly lit gyroscope-like contraption.

I ate breakfast on the boardwalk — the sea air, crashing waves and stellar people-watching making the experience all the more delightful. (Note to middle-aged jogging lady: You really should replace the torn shorts, especially if you’re going commando.)

I caught some rays on the beach — the first real bit of color I’ve had since an unfortunate nap at Jones Beach the day after senior prom left me scarlet from head to toe.

I did not purchase a hat, tank top or bootie shorts emblazoned with a saucy saying, but I did have a priceless experience. One in which my ability to be embarrassing (see Aug. 17 “Midlife Confessions” post) suddenly seemed inconsequential.

About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.


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