Friday, September 25, 2015


I used to be very adventurous. I was always planning day trips and weekend getaways. Somewhere along the way, two more kids happened and I lost some of that spontaneity. Actually...I still like day trippin' and adventuring, even with the extra work and chaos. I can't blame it on the kids. I'm not entirely sure what to blame it on. Time? Money? Husband?

Anyway, the husband is out of town for a bit, so I decided to plan something special for the kids and I to do. And then I didn't. While perusing Facebook a few nights ago, I saw that Neptune Festival was canceled. I enjoy reading angry comments about things people have no control over. The rants against those in charge over the weather were kinda funny. In my old age, I'm starting to detest festivals with all the people and...well, it's really just the people I can't stand. Knowing that 90% of the festival was canceled, I decided we'd go. No crowds, but still the giant sand castles. Score.

The boys finished all of Friday's work yesterday, so we packed up and headed off to Virginia Beach. The weather wasn't bad at all. Overcast, but pleasant. As we came out of the tunnel, I quickly realized why they canceled the festival. The waves were nuts and the wind was whipping. Still undeterred, I drove on.

Lovely Siri took me the long way-thirty minutes extra-but we got to see a bit of the ghetto Naval Weapons Station that we hadn't seen before. Plus, the extra driving time landed me at the best parking spot in all of Virginia Beach.

A front row view of Neptune and a Starbucks to get us home when our festivities were over. We were walking on sunshine. Except instead of sunshine it was actually 40mph sustained winds and a light rain that felt like tiny shards of glass when combined with the blowing sand. Still, onward! With, "I dare you to complain"s handed out by yours truly.

Thankfully, Neptune wasn't too popular today. I got a few snapshots, but given that we only had 90 minutes(pleeeeenty of time) on the parking meter, I said, "Let's hoof it, boys!"

The Neptune Festival websites and Facebook page all gave very broad addresses for where the events were taking place. I did read that the sand sculptures would be in a football field sized tent. Easy enough to spot. Heck, I could see if from where we stood in Neptune's shadow. A lil wind and rain wouldn't hurt us. "You ain't made of sugar, Suga," I reminded my preciouses.

Y'know how when you're on the beach things always look closer than they actually are? We were on 31st St. As it turns out, the sand sculpture tent was on 7th. That's quite the trek in rain and wind blowing directly at you in addition to four children. Two were game for the hike, two were not.

I was chipper right up until I wasn't. "These freakin' sand castles better be amazing or we're going to build our own!" For the $5 total for all five of us to get in, they were definitely worth it. I asked a cop there about public transit or cabs. He didn't know much about either, but he did laugh at me when he heard how far we'd walked. We were a bit rushed while castle gazing as we were down to 40 minutes on the parking meter and it took us about that long to walk there.

We opted for the hotel route back to the car in the hopes that the buildings would block most of the wind. They didn't.
 Check out the sideways palm trees. :)
 Classy place if the "no swearing" signs give you any clue. They were everywhere.

Sean was in my head the entire time. And he was also embodied in the complaints of his almost teenager. Simon suggested we rent one of those family sized bicycles. He said he'd ride it back when we were done with it and I could just pick him up from the bike rental shack. Two problems with that: Um, no. And reason number trafficking. Yeah, I'm one of those moms. My mind goes there. Virginia Beach gives off a skeevy feel.

In hindsight, taking in a beach attraction on a day like today...not the greatest idea I've ever had. Every time we passed a window and I could see our drenched reflection, I had to laugh. We popped a few more quarters in the meter and went back for a few more pictures with Neptune. One sweet, hipster/yuppy couple asked if they could take our picture after I took theirs. I said, "It's probably not going to happen," as Jude was not altogether certain of the giant with the pitchfork. They managed to snap a few. After picture time we stopped in a Starbucks. My kids rolled me for $30 in cakes and drinks. Felix had to have a breakfast sandwich. Daggum kids are killing my coffee budget. After a "quick stop" at Hobby Lobby for coin accoutrements, we were defeated by traffic and spent many hours trying to get home.
 Not quite the same view we started with.
 And now my car needs a serious bath. The sand film reminds me of winter in Ohio.
My big camera battery died, of course. I did catch these few favorites. 

Jude looking over his shoulder. ..

All in all, I hope my boys remember today forever and ever. I can't wait to plan another adventure. 


Corey said...

I can hear it now….10 years in the future around the Thanksgiving table…."Remember when mom took us to the beach during a hurricane? She was desperate to see some sandcastles and we walked 10 miles to see them?" Haha those always end up the best stories later in life.

Corey said...
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