ushered into the ether

Goodbye.Hi internet, we be back.

Vacation, aged 10 days, passed away peacefully on May 10, 2009.

Vacation began her life as a twinkle in the eye of her father, and entered this mortal realm without incident on the 3rd of May, 2009.  Though it may seem it, do not count her time here as short; Vacation outlived near all her kin and was blessed with longevity moreso than typical of her kind.  Throughout her time, Vacation brought untold joy to those graced by her presence.  She lifted hearts, freed minds, and strengthened bonds.  In short, Vacation was a Godsend, and it’s with gratitude and fond memories she’ll be ushered into the ether.

Vacation is survived by a group of intensely close friends:  David, Sharaun, Keaton, Ami, and Pop-Pop; all of whom vow to maintain close relationships with Vacation’s own extended family in the years to come.

Services will be held this Friday at 5pm at a local watering hole to be determined.  In lieu of flowers, please consider complimenting our tans; Vacation would have wanted it that way.

Mmmm…. Aruba still fresh on my mind; but we’re back at home now.

Feels good to be here, honestly.  The rows of Spanish tiled roofs lining our procession homeward from the airport were welcoming – and the sunshine and blue skies made California look really, really good.  I’m tired, we all three are; but our skin has a bit of color and our heads still swim remembering the fun times to boot.

Aruba was fantastic.  A getaway that, as it transpired day by day, seemed blissfully long and drawn out, but that, on the eve of our departure, seemed, in retrospect, not quite long enough by half.  (Look, I think that sentence is right, even though it’s comma-laden… and really, I think if you re-read it you’ll find it actually sounds pretty nice).

Most of our days went like this: Around 7:30am I’d head down to the pool area, still dripping sweat from my 6am workout (if it was a gym day; in the end about half of them were), and pick five chairs to “tag” for us that day (the resort used a chair-tag reservation system, which was actually really nice as compared to just doing the usual early-morning chair-hunt stakeout).  After that I”d head back to the room and have breakfast and coffee, watch a couple cartoons with Keaton, and do the general all-day-at-poolside readiness routine until around 9am.  At that point we’d all head downstairs and begin the day.

The “day” consisted of a lounge-chair centered rotation of aquatic-fun sorties.  You had the chair-to-lazy-river run; the chair-to-kiddie-pool run; the chair-to-waterslide run; and the the chair-to-beach run.  Each of these were enjoyed in turn, the frequency of each destination rotation decided solely at the discretion of Vacation Director Keaton.  With simple yet authoritative orders, she’d command her troops: “Dad, can we please go float?; Mom, I want to go down the waterslide please!; Ami, do you want to go look for seashells with me at the beach?; Pop-Pop, can you please take me to the kiddie-pool?”  Breaks were sparse and strictly need-driven: potty, snacks, lunch, sleep.

Every day; every hour.  The adults entertained Keaton in shifts (and, in truth, enjoyed themselves as well), one or two watersliding or seashelling or lazy-rivering, while the others lounged around reading books or dozing or enjoying a drink from the poolside bar.  It was a simple and easy routine, but one I looked forward to each morning as if it would hold something new every day (usually did if you count the “Name That Tune” contests, the iguana-feedings, the water-aerobics, the bead-making for Mother’s Day, etc., etc.).  Yup, simple and easy.

We got to do some other stuff too:

Sharaun and I got two adults-only “date nights,” which we used well.  First night we walked down the beach to a sushi joint and then hit a casino afterward.  At one point I was up $200 on an initial investment of $100, but later was right back down to zero.  Somehow, my brain counts that as only losing $100, when in mathematical-land be-spectacled nerds shout that it’s really a loss of $300.  Pish-tosh, says I.  Won-money that’s not realized winnings just plain don’t count, it’s all just trade for fun times.  Blackjack was the game, and Sharaun even took a seat with me for about half the hands – betting on her own and not doing bad at all.  Fun.

And, near the end of our trip we hired a taxi for about four hours and had the local driver (employed in his trade for near twenty years) take us on a private tour of the little island.  On the recommendation of some friendly folks we met floating along the lazy river one afternoon, we opted to go the cabbie route instead of doing the sardine-can bus tour.  Forty dollars an hour and cheaper at four hours than the bus tour would’ve been per-person.  Was good advice.

Not that we took the bus tour to compare, but we had a great time and a great guide in our born-and-raised Aruba-native driver.  In fact, he offered so much local color to the place we’d stayed for near a week already, we found ourselves wishing we’d done the tour earlier in our trip.  We gained a whole new respect for the island, it’s people, and culture – and spent the last day or so seeing things through a slightly improved lens (not that things ever looked bad, but lifting the viel of tourist ingornance helped a lot).

Anyway, was an absolute joy.  Glad we went, hope to do it again sometime real soon.  Until tomorrow, I’m all writing’d-out for today.  Goodnight.

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