Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Best/Worst Birthday

Well, I fell a little behind in my wordless Wednesday posts, which I'll remedy soon. I got a little sidetracked by my birthday weekend.

Just a little. I was so excited to have a three day weekend, especially since the Saturday was a day at Knoebels for our company picnic. Even though it's a free amusement park about 2 hours from my home, neither Mr janney or I had ever been there. And then my excitement increased when Mr Janney suggested that instead of coming back home afterwards, that we should find a hotel room and make the most of our three day weekend. Especially when he pretty much gave me permission to do plan whatever I wanted for that weekend.

Soooo, I looked at a map...picked a city on the Atlantic Ocean and starting looking for inexpensive rooms. Ok, cheap rooms. And then I had to wait for our paychecks to be viewable on the work website to see just how cheap I had to go for it to be possible.

The stream that runs through Knoebels, complete with its own water fowl!
Knoebels was a BLAST! It was Mr Janney's first time on a roller coaster. We rode the Phoenix, a wooden roller coaster. I am pretty sure he enjoyed it far more than I did. I love roller coasters as much as I hate them. I never did get any funnel cake, but there was a decent meal provided by our work. We also rode the Skloosh, which is a water "roller coaster"...You make the steep climb, take a downward turn, then a steep drop into a cold pool of water. We both loved that one; we went on it twice! We also enjoyed the mining museum.  We had planned on hitting the park on the way back home, but sadly that did not happen. More about that later.

After the park, we traveled some twisty back roads provided by my phone's map app and spent the first night in a cheap motel. Nothing much there, except some - ahem - romance, shall we say. We breakfasted just down the road at a pleasant little place called Lisa's Cafe. I loved it and wanted to bring it home with me! Good food, pleasant staff and atmosphere. And they also had two uni-sex restrooms, which amused and delighted me to no end. Some people have no idea how needed that is! Mr. Janney and I both had omelettes, though he ordered more in his than I did. And of course I had coffee, which was refilled without my having to ask. That's always a plus in my book!

Then it was off to Ocean City, Maryland!!

I had only seen the Atlantic once in my life, and that was on my senior trip back in '94. I was timid back then and not very adventurous. I did get my feet wet, but because I didn't know how to swim I didn't go very far in at all. And Mr Janney had never even had that much! So, when he gave me permission to plan whatever...I looked at a map and picked Ocean City for no real reason. Just because.

That beach and ocean tho...
We arrived before check-in time for our hotel, so we found a place to eat. A little more expensive than I had planned on, but the meal was worth it. We ate outside on their porch, because I didn't have sunscreen on yet and didn't want to sit in full sunshine. We still had a fabulous view.

After lunch we checked in, climbed an unexpected 2 flights on stairs to our room. Which didn't have the ocean view I'd asked for when I booked it, but at least it had air conditioning. And a tiny shower. We relaxed a few hours before hitting the beach, it had been about a four hour drive.

He let me take selfies of us, and this is my favorite!
And then...the beach! The ocean! We played in the waves until sunset. I took pictures, collected some seashells, a couple shiny smooth rocks (seriously, the silliest stuff makes me happy). We went back to our room, literally just around the corner from the beach and boardwalk so those 2 flights of stairs were totally worth it.  Tried to fit double in the shower and failed, which was funny and fun to try! After, we found a nearby Subway for our dinner. Then walked the boardwalk, managing to find four quarters so we could walk to the end of the nearby pier. Hung out there for a while, hoping one of the fishermen would catch something with their poles.

We played some more on the beach before we had to check out the next morning. One wave was a little aggressive and knocked me around enough that I had a wardrobe malfunction and flashed whoever was watching. Mr Janney had tried to hold onto me, but even he swallowed some salt water during that one! I was mildly embarrassed, but honestly found it too funny for that to last. I know it wasn't the first time something like that had happened on the beach, and it wouldn't be the last. Mr. Janney is the stronger swimmer of the two of us, but he didn't want to try to get beyond the waves without me...because "where's the fun in that?"

I had many thoughts that morning. Of how this was the best birthday I'd ever had. Quite possible the best few days I'd ever had in my life. Mega happy. Mega content. There was one moment, as he and I were grasping arms and just letting the waves bash against us that I thought - 'this is how life is. He and I clinging to each other no matter what kind of wave hits us. Even if a wave knocks us apart, it can't keep us apart, like magnets we're drawn back together.' I probably should have take that as a warning for what happened next.

We were on our way to see Assateague Light, a lighthouse on the island of the same name. We were still at a quarter tank of gas, but he asked me to find a cheap gas station on the way or not too far out of the way. So I did and added it to our trip on the map app. We were also looking for donuts for our breakfast, because it's vacation and a time to be 'bad' before I start cutting gluten out of my diet again. So I found a Dunkin's near the gas station and added it to our trip. Then, happy and content and not needing to navigate for another twenty miles, I opened Facebook on my phone and was looking at all my birthday notifications.

Long story short...we were involved in an accident.  Both of us ok, everyone in the other car ok although one did go by ambulance to get checked out. Probably should have followed her lead, but I know my body well enough to know nothing new hurt.

I can't even begin to describe those moments. It's not the first accident I've been in, although it is the worst. I mean, I've been knicked by a school bus before...driven sideways...done 360's in the winter...but nothing like this. Although I was physically ok, my anxiety was through the roof. I'm still not sure my brain is working right from that shock.

We were towed to a nearby body shop, Racetrack Auto and Marine, who did everything humanly possible to help us. They truly did help make a bad situation feel not so bad. They even went so far as to help us find a room for another night to give my brother time to bring his trailer down to get us. Just down the boardwalk from where we had stayed the other night! Oddly enough, the Atlantic had two flights of stairs as well and the beach access wasn't quite as quick...but it was a much better room than the one we'd had the night before! I plan on staying there again next year when we go.

Ocean City, as seen from the bridge
So we ended up having an extra day at the beach, although we didn't get there until much later than the day before. My brother was concerned about bringing his trailer into the city, so we walked from our hotel room across this long bridge to see if there was a better spot to for him to pick us up. Now, I do not like heights. and really don't like bridges. Much of that walk I had to keep my eyes firmly on my husband's when we walked across the grated section of the little drawbridge. "Don't look down, keep your eyes straight...crap, I said don't look down! breath!" - was some of my internal dialogue which may have been verbalized much to my husband's amusement.

There was one time we had to stop to let a bicyclist go by, and I said to Mr Janney, " know me...I have to take pictures." He laughed. But I blindly grabbed two pics on each side of the bridge (the sun was bright and in my eyes!) We gave my brother a better location for our hotel, and he decided he could get us there. that we didn't have to walk across the bridge in the morning. I also grabbed a picture of this cool fountain I hadn't seen on the walk out.

After, we unwound at the beach. Did some more walking because the area of the beach nearest our new hotel was roped off for some unknown reason. Played in the waves a little, then just sat on the beach as night fell. Talking. We still plan on traveling, seeing different sights of the world. Even plan on going back to Ocean City. I mean, I want another pizza from Soprano's! And more seashells...

But you had better believe that we will be better prepared for emergencies for our next trip. We weren't this time around. It was a very fly by the seat of our pants trip, and there's nothing wrong with that...but for some reason I never put rental coverage on our car, or collision. We were stranded 7 hrs away from home. I had to sacrifice rent money for the towing bill, because for some reason the insurance agent that Racetrack talked to said we weren't covered...even though the policy I found on my phone said we were. Hopefully I'll be able to get that money refunded. I plan on doing several thing different for our next trip...whether it's fully planned or a fly by.

Just like the goat from HoodWinked, which I'll leave you with. Until next time!

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