Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sunday – This Is The True Story of 13 People and 2 Dogs Picked to Live in a House and Have Their Lives Written About

My parents headed off around 8 and I was on the road by 9. Mapquest predicted 6 hours, but we made it to Nags Head in 4.5 hours that included a pit stop for McD’s. (By the way, at least in the South, you can still order the two cheeseburger extra value meal even though it’s no longer on the menu board. It’s just something you have to know, like In and Out Burger’s secret menu.) Traffic was light and the drive was smooth with some help from the Chesapeake Expressway. There are five signs (literally and figuratively) that let you know you’ve made it to the Outer Banks.

#5 Lots of Farmer’s markets approaching the Wright Memorial Bridge. With their combination of homemade pies, jams, and jellies; fresh produce; and fireworks (?) to perhaps place inside the produce, that Deep South feeling starts seeping in.
#4 While the number of pickups in NC is equal to MD, NC is #1 in the number of pickups and Ford Broncos on elevated shocks and wheels. It’s no wonder we passed a building dedicated to the Grave Digger monster truck. Is there any real use to elevating your car? While high rollers in the rest of the country aim for the lowest low-rider and chrome spinning rims, southerners account for a Napoleon complex by raising their cars. I should give them their due, the extra height allows them to humanely drive over their copious amounts of roadkill. That’s more than I could do.
Right out of central casting.
#3 I've been told that you should pronounce Norfolk as "Nah-fok", telling me it’s the right way to pronounce it as the locals do. Lo and behold, I realized I was in the south when weatherman, locals, waiters, and cashiers all pronounced it that way. Akin to Baltimoreans (not Baltimorons) pronouncing the charm city’s name as "Ball-eh-mor", I will recognize the Norfolk folks (haha?) by not pronouncing the "r".
#2 The people of North Carolina are lucky I only act out my violent feelings on my Xbox because there were (not surprisingly) tons of UNC and Duke bumper stickers. There was even a puke merchandise catalogue in the realtor’s office. I did read the comic book and found you could purchase rat food for your dinners with Coach K, backne medicine in case JJ Redick forgot his for your sleepover, and basketball court insulation to protect it from the wear and tear of players and coaches slapping it to pump themselves up. UNC doesn’t bother me as much.
Chortle, chortle, chortle.
- The #1 sign that you’ve made it to the Outer Banks is the appearance of a Wings beach-stuff store and Brew-Thru every 2 miles. Unfortunately, you can’t help, but notice each Wings, but fortunately you do notice every Brew-Thru including the "Jr" locations. The fact that we saw a few Sonics was also welcome.
No OBX vacation is complete without one.
Eventually we got the keys to our crib and were quite satisfied. With 8 bedrooms, 9 baths, 3 Jacuzzis, 1 hot tub, pool table, and a sun deck that provided shade over the pool and hot tub, the place was huge. While it wasn’t white-glove clean, the place was in good condition. My only real gripe is that the pool table was clearly bought after being played in a bar for ten years, being it was an 8-foot table with quarter holders and a felt surface that had clearly seen better days. Over the vacation, I only played about 6 games which is understandable when the beach is right outside your door and the two young’ens were fascinated (and rightly so) with placing the balls in the pockets, finding them at the other end of the table, and making lots of noise in the process.

I think this is where the table was before it was moved to the house.
Eventually the entire crew rolled up to the house and we all ran through the halls and rooms to pick out our sleeping quarters. I felt like a cast member entering a Real World house. Sure you want to meet your roommates, but finding which toilet will suit your needs all week is key. All that was missing was some fancy aquarium and requisite cast members fitting all sorts of stereotypes. Once we got unpacked, we made sure the beach was in fact, 20 feet from the back entrance and let our relaxation begin. With no watch, blackberry, email, Internet, Georgetown University shuttle drivers, dry cleaning (only to have them burn a collar or melt a button), or work concerns, I was a made man. It’s not difficult to relax when each day’s biggest decision is choosing between the beach, pool, hot tub, or a nap (BPHTN).

All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I(t) was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again
Now that we had decided where we’d be sleeping, the only thing left was how we would stuff our faces. Fortunately a Harris Teeter just opened a few days ago so the group walked out of the store with $419 in food. My parents had bought 4 pounds of crabmeat from a farmer’s market on the way in so the first night’s meal was crab cakes, tomatoes, and corn. Mmmm, mmmm, good. I went to sleep knowing I had 6 full days left to soak up the sun.

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