Ten things my kids learned on our summer vacation

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—That the Secret Service guys in front of the White House are hard to amuse, even if they do look funny in their bicycle shorts.

—That Pat Sajak and Ollie North hang out at the same restaurant. And that Pat Sajak is not the one in the dress that turns the letters, he’s the boring one.

—That 105 degrees at 90 percent humidity is really really hot, and when you sweat your clothes get wet and stay that way.

—That the soldiers guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are hard to amuse.

—That if a jellyfish stings you, you should ask your brother to pee on the spot that hurts. (Well, that’s what the lifeguard said to do. Child in question decided pain was preferable to pee.)

—That if you pick up a crab by its back swim paddles it doesn’t pinch you with its claws and you can chase your sister with it, but this doesn’t work if the crab is missing one of its back swimmers.

—That the cops in New Jersey are hard to amuse. And if you’re in New Jersey on the beach at night, and you draw a labyrinth on the sand and plan to spend the next 20 minutes walking the labyrinth and meditating, you might get interrupted with a spotlight in your face and two cops who think you are perhaps confused (i.e., drunk or stoned). And that when you tell them what you’re doing they might not know what a labyrinth is and might think it’s a cult symbol.

—That the waves don’t necessary read the tide schedules in the newspaper, so if the paper says high tide is 3 pm, and at 3 pm your blanket is safely eight feet back from the high-water mark, that doesn’t mean that if you’re napping on that blanket at 4 pm, a rogue wave might not drench you, your book, and all your towels, miraculously leaving all the people around you dry. (Actually, that was something I learned, the kids were playing in the dry sand.)

—That chapstick is a liquid, forget what your science teacher told you, and therefore is not allowed on an airplane.

—That the security screeners at the airport are hard to amuse.

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