Berries, Beaches, & Outlet Shops

Disgraceful. That’s all I can say about my 7 day silence. In my defense, I did have three major assignments due for my online college course which involved writing. I also had a daughter that was allergic to the lakeside cottage, so I lost an hour each day shuttling back and forth from Grammy’s to the lake. The only way I can psych myself up to filling in the gaps is start from now and work my way back. We’ll see how far I get before Ian’s Nintendo DS turn is over!

Yesterday (Friday, 27 July 2007) we did some laundry in the morning. It was forecasted to be (and acheived) 90*F with humidity. After getting our work done, we drove into Tilton to check out the outlet mall. We ate at Pizzeria Uno for the first time. (When we lived near Chicago, we went to Giordano’s instead.) Ian ate a “make it yourself” pizza; they brought the rolled-out dough, sauce, and cheese to the table, he fixed it, then wrote his name on a popsicle stick to keep them straight. Megan ordered a lunch special that ended up having pesto instead of sauce – but the soup bar was included so she filled up on clam chowder. After lunch, we all bought shoes, the kids got some toys and books for the airplane, and Kurt & I went crazy in the Eddie Bauer Outlet.

Kurt thought we were done. BUT, we also needed groceries. So we drove across the street to Shaws. Ian was already done whether we liked it or not, so I bribed him: nice shopping = one Dunkin’ Donut. Then Megan played the “fairness card,” so I bribed her as well. Thirty minutes later, Kurt & I got in line and the kids scampered off to the doughnut counter with a couple bucks in their hands. Happiness comes cheap sometimes:-)

On Thursday, we drove to Massachusetts. Both of Kurt’s grandmothers are “flat landers” (the NH natives’ term, not mine). At Nana #1’s house, we picked berries in Uncle Richard’s patch. Didn’t Kurt take a fine picture above? (He wasn’t trying to get artsy. I normally have the camera set for “auto,” but I had accidently left it in one of the manual modes after a black & white session.) The kids each ate a half pint while picking. Megan managed to get another half pint into the bowl. When everyone went inside for generation pictures, I turned Megan’s half pint into a quart. Uncle Richard had his vines neatly tied back into rows, so it was easy to walk between bushes or squat down to find the perfectly-ripe-but-hidden ones.

After pictures, Ian wanted to see Uncle Richard’s apartment. We climbed the stairs and saw his living room, his bedroom, and his storage room. When Richard pointed to his bathroom, Ian said “That’s boring.” Richard replied, “Except when you’re sick…” I’m not sure Ian agreed. The room he did find exciting was Richard’s office. It had an electronics bench with all kinds of drawers filled with bits and pieces. He had an oscilloscope, short wave radio, breadboard, and more. Ian “seriously” wanted to take an electronics lesson. We’ll have to plan ahead next time.

Nana #2’s summer place is on the ocean. The kids look forward to the water, I look forward to the photo ops, and we all look forward to visiting and eating seafood. After squeezing 7 people into swimsuits and slathering on sunscreen, we drove down the gravel path to the beach. The tide was still out, so we walked quite a distance down the sandbar to plant ourselves. It was blazing hot in the sun, so hot that the low-tide water felt as warm as Lake Winnepesaukee.

I rarely get into the water at this beach. But the heat demanded it. The minute I stepped in, I remembered why: the minnows. UGH. Now I’ve had my fair share of yucky natural experiences while getting my Masters’ in Biology. But stepping on sand filled with resting minnows – darting up into your bare feet as you step – is just gross. Add to that a need to watch your step for sharp shells, aggressive hermit crabs, and buried flat-shell crabs. Yay, fun! Actually it is after you get desensitized.

Somehow Megan’s back didn’t get sunscreened, so she had to keep her shadow behind her at all times. She got cold anyway, so wrapped up in a towel to keep the greenies from biting (nasty flies). Ian used his swim goggles to watch flat-shell crabs dig themselves into the sand, feathery red algae flying in the current, and minnows dart around. When the tide turned, I helped the kids float to feel it pushing them into shore no matter which direction they started out. Ian said he felt like a compass needle. Megan kept asking me to do it again like it was a roller coaster ride.

We ended the day picking up dinner at the Clam Box. This place is nationally known for their seafood. Five lobster rolls (with a full lobster in each roll), one pint of fried clams, one bowl of clam chowder (Megan), one hot dog (Ian), and $108 later we had the best dinner in Mass. They don’t take credit cards or checks by the way. But if you ever go and forget that, they do have an ATM squeezed into the corner by the dine-in line. We chowed back at the cottage. As is my habit, I “asked” the kids to try one fried clam each. “Just like chicken nuggets, but skinny.” Megan liked it and had three more dipped in her chowder. Ian (with the additional promise of DS time) looked for quite awhile. He then poured some Natural Doritos on his plate, planning to eat one immediately after each clam bite. Brave guy. He managed to chew it before his gag reflex kicked in. Grammy and I both decided it counted. And now he has the scientific proof to tell me he doesn’t like fried clams. (I’m so mean…)

Wednesday (25 July 2007) was a tame day. Kurt’s brother and his girls sat for one last photo session before flying home. Kurt and I had lunch with friends (lobster roll, of course) at the Town Docks. Grammy had our kids at home. VBS (vacation Bible school) had our friends’ oldest. Their youngest played in the sand with a restaurant-supplied bucket and shovel right next to our table. Afterwards, we bought an antique light-meter and 2 hundred-year-old books in a “vintage” shop. You know you’re shopping in an independent store when the cash register is the clerk’s pocket. We walked around in the corporate sponsored “posh” shopping center, but only dropped $5 on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. We did find paintings by our friend’s mother in the local artist co-op gallery, though. We had no idea she was a pro…

Ian’s DS time ended ages ago, I’ve already broken up one fight, started a load of laundry, and served the kids’ breakfasts – so I guess it’s time to sign off. It’s only going to get worse:-)


Quote of the Day

Ian – during our seafood supper: “I have Nerves of Chips to defeat this clam!”

Megan – while asking me to photograph a clam shell for a future sculpture: “Get as close as you can, but don’t cut off the edges and keep it focused.”
(Who’s the photographer?)


2 thoughts on “Berries, Beaches, & Outlet Shops

  1. Jessi,Seeing your picture of the Clam Box reminds me of when Joe took me for clam cakes. Oh so good, and definitely not on the west coast. How about Dell’s Lemonade? Another of Joe’s favorite. Let’s do lunch when you get home.Tonya

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