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beach life is hard

We’re at the beach this week, so I thought it would be fun to share some favorite beachy posts from the past. This was originally posted in July of 2008, the summer that our friends the Chinos were on their summer-long camping adventure. Enjoy…


So, I’ve been thinking lately – I know that many of us are reading the chino summer travelogues and are quite enthralled with all their tales of camping adventure. There’s nothing like putting your family of six into a popup camper for the summer to make for some great stories.

But I also think that some of us might be feeling a little inadequate in our summer destinations. If, say, we were only headed to the beach. I want to take this opportunity to reassure everyone involved that adventures abound…everywhere.

  • traveling: sure, the Chino’s have covered approximately half the country and parts of Canada in a 15-passenger van and pop-up camper, but the Joneses traveled to the great state of Florida all the way from Arkansas with only an audio book for entertainment. Now that’s roughin’ it, folks.
  • environmental hazards: I know, Alison and the kids got all scratched up picking fresh cherries, but let’s face it, you have to be completely vigilant about the sunscreen situation around here, or someone could get seriously hurt. Danger lurks around the corner of every umbrella, so to speak.
  • scenic tours: I think it goes without saying that guiding my children through an idyllic farm tour would be like a dream compared to dragging them through the retail nightmare wonderland that is Destin. Anybody want to go to Wings? Hair wrap? Henna tattoo? Turtles?
  • minimal gear: anyone who knows the Chinos knows they’ve got the gear – but this summer, they’re having to live with minimal amounts of it. Seriously though – I’ve got a chair, a towel, sunglasses, spray oil and a cold drink – now that’s living with less, friends.
  • language barrier: forget French – what about when the folks next to you on the beach who hail from the far-off Land of Tennessee say things like (referring to sunscreen), “I shore do like that spray-on stuff, I just wish it weren’t so high dollar!” That’s an exact quote. High dollar. I feel that an interpreter might be needed; maybe Bucket can drive over from Gulf Shores.
  • foreigners with attitude problems: While I have not had to endure strange people treating me badly because I am towing four (!) children or possibly appearing to be homeless, I think the breach of common sense and propriety that I experienced today was far worse. Though I can understand meeting people for the first time and being mistaken about their knowledge of birth control or unfortunate living situation, I cannot extend that same understanding to any group of people (including the aforementioned Tennesseans) who comes into a highly developed social dynamic (i.e. sitting on the beach) and completely ignores the etiquette already in place (i.e. setting their chairs right in front of my beach setup). This is such an important point that I will now leave off my current train of thought and relegate the material to it’s own sidebar.


  1. It is widely held and generally understood that once your territory is established on said beach – whether by chair, umbrella, or canopy – that the actual space inhabited is yours, not to be invaded by interlopers. Generally, this is not a problem. However, some people, especially those in large groups, who may or may not have been drinking beer since 10:00 am, sometimes have a problem with the second, but equally important part of this rule.
  2. The space directly in front of your setup – anything in a straight line between you and the ocean – also BELONGS TO YOU. This is only common sense, and easily understood. Exceptions can be made for children building sand castles or other extenuating circumstances. Exceptions should not be made for 2 or more chairs, inhabited by people, along with their cooler, side table, bags, snacks, sprays, and jam box. This will definitely ruin your view of the ocean.
  3. With regards to jam boxes – well, I’ll let the dude handle that. Suffice it to say that some people come to the ocean to hear – oh, I don’t know – the sound of the ocean.


Well, I feel much better now, and I’m sure you do too. In conclusion, I’d just like to say that while the Jones household will be finished with our latest adventure by Saturday, the Chinos aren’t making it back til the end of the summer. I really don’t know what could possibly be taking them so long…

ps – Bryan’s blogging this trip too, not just here, but also here. You’ll want to go see, the dude’s wit definitely abides.