Years ago, we took the whole family to Mexico for a weekend. When Erin first scheduled the trip I figured we were headed to Cancun for spring break. To this day, I regret being so timid in that wet tee-shirt contest from 1995, and wanted a chance to really show the crowd what I had. This time I planned to stay away from the edge of the stage where it’s so easy for the audience to say mean, nasty things, grope you or throw bottles at your skull. At a minimum I planned to stay out of prison. I’m a father after all.
It turned out our trip was to Rocky Point, an obscure and ridiculously expensive slum turned resort city on the Sea of Cortez. Ten years ago the beaches were crowded with dope-smoking coeds learning, the hard way, what fecal cholera really does to a body. Today, the coeds have been replaced with multi-million dollar McMansions looking over the ocean, the dope has been replaced with a seven US dollar deposit on a case of twenty Dos Equis, and the fecal cholera has been replaced with the smug, self-righteousness of people who were smart enough to buy up the ocean lots from unsuspecting Mexicans years back.
We stayed with friends on one of those ocean lots. I quickly adopted an air of my own smugness. But that broke down when Erin informed me she wasn’t planning on serving me on demand and that my daughter had a messy diaper that needed changing.
Our arrival night was chaotic. First of all, there should be a rule that says, if I have two children under the age of four in the car, and you’re telling me how long a trip will take, lying is punishable by death. Rocky Point is not four hours from Phoenix. Rocky Point is four and a half hours from Phoenix. You might be thinking, hey, it’s just thirty minutes, what’s the big deal? You don’t have children. Thirty minutes in the car with a twelve month old who wants out is worse torture than water boarding, and just as likely to cause you to hate America or at least your penis for getting you into this mess. Bad, bad penis.
By the time we got to the house, it was already close to bedtime for the brats, nobody was in the mood to go out for dinner, and the bottle I urinated in to save time during the drive down had tipped over on the floor of Erin’s car. That last part isn’t true. It was a can.
We pretty much put the kids right to bed and then started drinking with furious abandon. At least I think the kids were in bed. Dos Equis goes down very easily when watching the ocean or when standing over the cooler with one in each hand.
The reality of vacationing with children really set in the next day. The whole point of the trip was to get some rest and relaxation. Not so fast. It turns out some babies like to put their faces directly into the sand, scream when the sand sticks to the snot caked all over their cheeks, and then do it again fifteen minutes later. Over the course of chasing my daughter around the beach she put the following in her mouth: sea shells of various sizes and shapes, live snails, cigarette butts, clumps of sand and something unrecognizable but foul smelling. In the storybooks, the cute baby stumbles upon a buried treasure and appears with a gold doubloon dangling from her lips. In the real world, the baby is hard to look at without vomiting.
Speaking of vomiting, during high tide Friday night a dead dolphin washed up on the beach. That wouldn’t have been all bad except for the jackass pre-med student who wanted to show off for her friends and decided to eviscerate the carcass just upwind from our house. Hey look, here are guts. I know, let’s expose them to the Mexican sun and see what happens. I wonder what the dolphin was eating. Oh, fish. Dead fish. Rotting fish. Super.
We decided to name the dead dolphin Dee Dee.
The next day, I excused myself for a beer run mid-day Saturday and spent two hours eating street tacos. In fairness, I brought my son with me, so I didn’t completely abandon Erin. I even left the window of the truck cracked open such that if he woke up and started screaming I could hear him. He did wake up and had his first street taco with me. Every father should introduce his son to un-refrigerated meat products.
That evening, the girls got to head out and enjoy an evening on their own. They even came back. I took that as a signal that I had a chance to get lucky, regardless of the fact that our bed was the lower bunk with my son asleep up top and my daughter in a crib inches away. I have been known to misinterpret signals. I could not be Major League pitcher because I would throw a fast ball when the catcher called for a slider. I would also throw it 20 feet short of the plate. I throw like a girl.
Rejected, I slunk back out to the main room and it was volunteered that perhaps I’d have more luck with Dee Dee. And you can’t really argue with a little romance on the beach under the moonlight. Plus she has a blowhole….
Sunday dawned clear, bright, beautiful and hung over. Staring down the barrel of a four plus hour drive home, we did our best to enjoy the rest of our time on the beach. My son and I took a walk. At one point he turned to me and said, ‘Dad, sit down. You need to enjoy the ocean.’ So I told him not to smart-mouth me. But he was right. For thirty-six hours we’d run around like chickens trying to enjoy our brief weekend vacation. The truth was all I needed to do was sit, be still and look at the ocean. It puts you in your place, gives you a sense of perspective, and allows you to breath. Also you can check out the girls in bikinis.