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Life is a Beach

May 15, 2010 Family Travel No Comments

I always wanted to live on the sand. And now I do.

It’s not exactly the lifestyle I envisioned. I was thinking beachfront entertaining, relaxing sunsets dipping behind Catalina, crashing waves lulling me to sleep. That’s not what I got.

I got sand. I guess when I was making my wish for the OC good life, I forgot to attach an ocean to my dream of beachfront paradise. So my wish has come true. I got the beach part—just not the water part.

As I write this column, I’ve got cubic yards of sand under and between my toes. The only problem is I haven’t moved. How is it possible to live on the sand without living on the beach? Easy. Enroll your kids in Junior Lifeguards. Your children will cart home more sand than a pack mule. Although they will appear to be wearing nothing but a rash guard and a whole lot of sunscreen, in reality they will be concealing twenty pounds of sand on their person. Each and every day.

Every afternoon in beach parking lots up and down the coast—from T-Street to Thousand Steps–moms are making every attempt to stop sand from infiltrating their front lines. I think the hypothesis is if it doesn’t get in the SUV, it doesn’t get in the house. These women come armed with towels, talcum powder, leaf blowers, and haz-mat suits. All to no avail.

Sand knows no boundaries. The kids don’t even realize they are smuggling it home to be deposited on the fresh, clean sheets of your king-size Sealy Posture-pedic. Yelling “Who got sand in my bed?” will only bring blank stares. How would they know there are millions of grains clinging stubbornly to their follicles?

Unfortunately no one has yet trained a sand-sniffing dog to roust out that kilo of Salt Creek Fine packed tight in the toes of their surf fins. Nope. You won’t find the contraband until it is ground into your hardwood floor, clogging your drain, or sifting out the lint filter of the dryer.

It’s also in the fridge, so you can be sure it’s going to be in your mouth before too long. It’s in the library books (sorry), and it’s so deep in the back seat I suspect an ancient civilization may be buried under there.

All this sand is making me a little crazy. I’ve been coming up with some good theories, all of them involving conspiracies. My top pick points the finger directly at Junior Lifeguards.

Junior Lifeguard leaders are notorious for their sense of fun. Last year, one assistant allowed himself to be duct-taped to a surfboard and covered with Cheetos for a wild critter buffet. They play jokes on each other, the kids, so why not the parents?

I just bet they sit around thinking of ways to get the maximum amount of sand per square inch stuck to each of their charges. I’m surprised I haven’t seen a backpack shoveled full of sand get dragged up the hundred-and-something steps of “Stairway to Heaven” at Strands and dumped in my trunk like a dead body.

Casually, I asked my kids if they play any sand games in Junior Guards. They looked at each other and shouted, “Corn Dogging!”

As I suspected, those leaders do sit around thinking of ways to laugh at my expense. The object of Corn Dogging is to get wet, then roll in the sand like a hot dog. Whoever has the thickest “batter” wins. Yummy. I’m surprised they haven’t added seaweed and called it a California Roll.

Next comes Sand Crabbing, an army crawl through shallow water, ostensibly to learn the features of the ocean floor but really a highly effective way to sandbag the pockets and linings of board shorts and bathing suits. If they can still float, the kids are encouraged to swim out to buoys Big Bertha, Bob Marley, or Death Star and dive down for more handfuls of sand. The more sand they excavate, the fewer push-ups required. Notice a theme?

And then there is “Ostriching.” Trust me. You don’t want to know. But it is exactly what you are picturing.

There are a lot of summer beach programs out there to choose from. We chose one based on the quality, texture, and color of beach sand. Sure, safety and fun were important factors, and that’s why it’s our third year with US Ocean Safety.

But it’s even better when the sand matches your upholstery.


Jody Payne

Mom Living Out Loud

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