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very long, and with two separate and distinct themes

2006-05-25 - 5:13 p.m.

I am filled with ennui, which is probably the most useful French word ever, if not my personal favorite (that would be aubergine). Regardless, I am more than ready for a nice long vacation on a tropical beach somewhere, the type of which I shall not see for quite some time--possibly not until I'm 55 and all my unborn children have graduated college. One of the worst parts about living across the country from all one's friends and family is that one spends all available vacation time shuttling back to the Left Coast to attend various events and obligatory visits. So my fantasy beach vacation winds up being a long weekend at the somewhat trashy Virginia Beach. Every year we go to Virginia Beach with a couple of friends, and every year the drive down is the same. My husband starts swearing about 20 minutes in, and the swearing increases in frequency and volume (although, sadly, not in inventiveness) until we reach the climax (ten minutes before entering Virginia Beach proper): "WE ARE NEVER FUCKING DOING THIS FUCKING DRIVE AGAIN! NEVER!!" Then next year, we rinse and repeat.

Of course, once we're there we tend to have a glorious time. I've always been a freak for the ocean, so I'll endure any trials or tribulation to get to the beach even if I can only stick my feet in the water. But by mid-June, the water is nice and toasty and R and I can get in and impress our friends with our magnificient stroke. The waters off the coast of Virginia are pretty tame, especially compared to the Pacific, but these East Coasters don't know that, and R and I are always among the very farthest people from shore, exceeded only by careless teenagers who forget that one must swim back as far as one swum out, and often the current is working against one. Interestingly, these teens are always boys, and I am left feeling all tomboyish and wild, swimming out over by the safety buoy! I am daring!

In other news, we highly anticipate completion of the patio before this weekend is over. We have over 1,000 lbs. of screed (sand and rock) in the backyard right now, and are picking up some more tomorrow. Last night we ordered our stones and they are being delivered to us on Saturday. Almost all the digging is done, and all that remains is putting down the weed mat (which we have yet to obtain) and then the sand, the crushed rock (and then more sand? I do not know how this whole process works because I am ignorant of patio construction) and then finally the stones! R is insistent that he will do all of this himself (because he did all the hard work with the digging he wants to do all of the fun work with spreading the sand), but has graciously condescended to allow me to hand him stones. To quote our dear Mr. Collins, "What magnificient condescension!" It's okay, though. I'm sure he'll also let me bring him lemonade, and, if I'm very lucky, mop his fevered brow.

But honestly, I can't beging to tell you how excited I am to have this patio. We're not going to buy furniture until the fall (when the everything will be on sale), but I do have a couple of cheesy lawn chairs (okay, beach chairs) that I fully intend on pulling out. And then its time for mojitos, margaritas and my very favorite in the summer, gin and tonics! Perhaps I shall also try my hand at mint juleps, as we are in the South. I promise, I'm interested in more than just drinking out there. Once we have a furniture set, I totally want to eat outside, and maybe sit outside and do some writing when the weather is nice. I also plan on taking some of my pots, now sitting forlornly on the grass, and scattering them around the patio in an attractive matter. Since this is a very small patio (maybe 100 square feet), I'm not certain "scatter" is a more appropriate term than "line up," but I persist! I will scatter my pots in a linear manner!

My folks are coming out in a little under two weeks (!), so finishing this weeknd would be a great boost in the Getting the House Ready for Parental Units So We May Pretend We Do Not Live as Hideous Pigs Extravaganza 2006. While R is working outside this weekend (and in between bouts of brow-mopping), I plan on organizing our kitchen bookshelf (yes, we do have bookshelves in almost every room in the house) and doing massive amounts of laundry and perhaps even trimming the azaleas. Then that leaves next weekend for the major cleaning, and Wednesday morning can be used for final dusting, weeding the flower beds (which lately needs to be done every damn day, like what is UP with the weeds this year?), and preparing food (pollo pulquero, biscotti, strawberries and mascarpone cheese for dessert, and prosciutto-wrapped carrots and basil for a snack as well as some onion dip). Then we can just sit back and wait for my parents to come in the door and faint with shock at the sight of our new gorgeous pation!


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