Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Rain, rain go away!

From Surrendering to Motherhood...
by Jennifer Huffman
Napa Valley Register

When Grandma Sue and Grandpa Bob invited us Huffmans to join them two weekends ago at a Bodega Bay vacation rental, we all had big plans for the getaway.

Like most kids, our girls love the beach. Set them loose on the sand and they can keep themselves amused for hours looking for shells, picking up giant pieces of seaweed, and running in and out of the waves. I’m a big baby about getting into cold water, but the girls don’t care what the temperature of the ocean is — they want in.

Staying two nights at a house only “14 steps from the beach,” was almost too much for the girls to believe. And entertainment was promised inside as well as outside.

There’s a hot tub, I told the girls. Bring your swimsuits!

Bring some movies, one sister told the others. She’d been studying the website for the vacation rental and spotted a 50” flatscreen TV in one picture.

The Giants are playing on Saturday, said Dad. Bring your Panda hats!

I’m bringing the camera, I said. The beach is a perfect spot to take a family photo for our Christmas card.

Yes, siree, this weekend had “fun” written all over it.

As the weekend got closer, I started paying closer attention to the weather reports. What’s this? Rain? But it hasn’t rained in months. Surely our beach weekend won’t be rained out.

Well, it doesn’t matter, I said. We’ll just make do. We won’t let a little rain ruin our fun.

Making our way to Bodega, we arrived right at dusk. The weather was perfect — no wind, no rain. The girls dropped everything and ran for the beach. After a few minutes, I realized how dark it was getting. If we didn’t head back up the hill we might get stuck on the beach. I didn’t even have a flashlight to find our way back. Time to go, we told them. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of time for the beach tomorrow.

That’s about when it started to rain.

It rained all during dinner on Friday night. At bedtime, it was still raining. Saturday morning we woke up and it was still raining. The beach was so close. Tantalizingly close. We could see the waves, we could hear the surf. All we could do was just look at it — through the rain. It was torture.

We decided to go outside anyway. We’d spent months planning this trip. By God, we were going to the beach. We all put on sweatshirts and jackets. Now I had seen the weather reports. I had been told by reliable sources that it was going to rain. But did I pack any real rain gear to take the beach? Nope. You could say I was in a bit of denial.

Heading down our “14 steps to the beach,” I saw that my husband and the girls were already down the hill near the water. A minute later, I looked closer and I could see they were running on the beach. Oh, they’re having fun, I said. Well, sort of. They were actually running back toward the house, drenched. The closer we got to the water, the wetter we got. I was starting to accept reality. When it rains at the beach, you really get wet. There are no trees or convenient shelters to stand under. It’s just you, the beach, and the rain.

Ten minutes later, we were back in the house, taking off our dripping jackets and wet, sandy shoes. Well, that was fun, I said. Now what?

Let’s go in the hot tub! said the girls. Well, why not? They quickly changed into swimsuits and hopped into the 92 degree water. It steamed around them. They sat in the hot tub, in the pouring rain, for at least an hour. As I looked out at them, I could see them jabbering away. All three seemed to be talking at the same time. They played the hot tub version of Simon Says and later experimented with putting the hot tub foam on their heads and faces like a beard or rabid dog. Who knew that a hot tub would be such great entertainment on a rainy day?

Inside, us adults alternated between watching TV, reading, and pacing. Every half an hour one of us would go look out the window. Yep, still raining.

Later, the girls put on their orange “Panda” hats and watched the Giants playoff game as the wind started to blow and howl. With nothing between us and the incoming storm, I started looking for flashlights and candles, just in case. By Sunday morning, the rain hadn’t stopped; in fact, it was raining even harder. The girls got into the hot tub again. We watched another movie. Then, about an hour before we were going to leave, I noticed something. It was quiet outside. The rain had stopped. The wind was gone. Look, girls, we said. Now’s your chance!

Yea! They shouted, and out they ran, down the 14 steps, their orange Panda hats bobbing down the beach.

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