Friday, September 21, 2012

What I did on Summer Vacation - A List

We are now fully recovered from an extended vacation and Fall home school is under way.  One of the first things I made my children do was write the infamous "What I did on Summer Vacation" essay. I did this in part because they just needed to write something but also because we had a pretty awesome vacation.

A friend quipped that we Perrins vacation like the Astors.  At first I was slightly offended because my parents' extra bedroom is hardly Astor material.  Then I realized that we were fortunate enough to spend 5 1/2 weeks on the East Coast, that is pretty Astor-like in the era of staycations.


So, in the spirit of solidarity with my children here is What I learned on Summer Vacation: A List:


  • I impressed myself by being the sole driver from Richmond, VA to Hilton Head Island, SC.  I have never been the sole driver for that long before.  Now I feel like a real adult.

  •  The beaches and towns of South Carolina are beautiful.  Call it Deep South, Low Country, whatever - I love it and could live there.  I actually thought about renting an apartment because after driving all the way there, I really didn't want to drive back.
  •  Hilton Head was also family vacation with my in-laws.  There were 7 adults and 8 children.  I soon realized how delusional my idea of a quiet, beach, vacation was. 
  • Wine is a good thing to have when you are surrounded by children and in-laws. 
  • The bright side was no one got hurt and we all left with the correct children.


  • Tornadoes have begun following us.  I didn't realize they followed you once you moved to Oklahoma.  Last year when we visited Virginia, there were 3 tornadoes while we were there.  This year we had a tornado warning while in Hilton Head.  Nothing says vacation like huddling with your family in a stair well.


  • Savannah, GA deserves an entire vacation of its own.  One day there was not enough. 

  • Understatement of the year:  Paula Deen cooks well.  We had linner (lunch and dinner) at The Lady and Sons.  Yum.







  • Dehydration is very bad for your body. I had a sinus infection coupled with dehydration that gave me severe vertigo for a few weeks. The combo of heavy duty antibiotics, motion sickness patches, ibuprofen, Sudafed and lots and lots of water finally kicked it out of my system.  

*Note from the actual physician: It takes many days of consistent re-hydration to get into you deep, inner cavities. You may think you are good but you are not, keep drinking.

  • In case you didn't realize, it is humid in the South. It took me about 4 weeks to acclimate and stop sweating, just in time for it to turn a little chilly. It wasn't so bad though, we missed most of the triple digit heat in Oklahoma. I am still not sure what is worse triple digit, dry heat or less hot but more humid. Doesn't really matter, I sweat either way.
  • Cousins are awesome. We got to spend time with Perrin cousins, Litkenhaus cousins and Sort-Of cousins. Perrin cousins are nice because they are all around the same age. Maeve is the oldest on the Perrin side and the youngest is 4 years old. The Litkenhaus cousins are good because Maeve and Hilde are the youngest cousins and the others are old enough and responsible enough to take them anywhere. It also means Maeve and Hilde get spoiled by everyone. Sort-Of cousins are the best of all because they are exactly the same age and it is fun to make new friends who happen to be the cousins of your uncle-by-marriage. It is also really nice to have friends when you are staying at your grandparents house surrounded by people 30+ years older than you and you just want to be a teenager.


  • Helping plan family weddings can be fun and annoying at the same time. My family is loud, opinionated, weird and overly protective of its own. God bless anyone who marries in. They deserve a medal at the get go. 
  • My family is hilarious. At one point,  3 of my sisters and I were reminiscing and chatting. I told my kids that they could go and watch TV they didn't have to sit with us. Both said, "No way!  We are not missing this." Apparently my family is entertaining when we get together.  (We even had a stranger on a plane say this to us after I apologized for being loud.)
  • My extended family is even more hilarious and when we are all together someone should really video. Since we were at a family wedding everyone was there: 6 siblings, parents, nieces and nephews, great-nieces and even my aunts and uncles from NYC. (They all live in Jersey now but we they will always be the NYC family) I haven't seen these people in 30 years. It was the definition of nostalgia. My children interacted with my aunts and uncles, who haven't seen me since I was my daughters' ages. My aunts exclaimed they knew Maeve and Hilde were related because they are the spitting image of my mom and my sisters. It is amazing that even after all these years I would know my family anywhere. They look and act exactly the same. 
  • My uncle Phil is the most hilarious in the bunch. This is mostly because he had been friends with my dad since they were 14. He is the only person I know with enough street cred to poke fun at my dad and get away with it. Uncle Phil is also a super nice, big softy. It was good to see him and Aunt Loretta again.
  • Eventually you get sick of eating out. I spend a large portions of my afternoons, while I should be making dinner, wishing we could eat out more. This vacation we ate out a lot and by the end all I wanted to do was eat at home for a month. 
  • Geography doesn't matter. Good friends stay friends no matter how long it's been since you have seen them.  I got to spend a few days with my friend Becky in DC. We have been friends for 20 years (yikes!) and we have never lived less than 3 hours from each other. We see each other in person about every 5 years  if we are lucky. We are still best friends.  *Note:  We were so busy making sure our kids had a good time in DC that  have no pictures of Becky and me.*
  • Becky and I were long distance friends before the Internet and Facebook. (We used to do this thing called writing letters) but I am grateful for email and FB because there is no more lag time in catching up. 
  • Life is good even if you are not an Astor.

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