Actually, it’s not been so bad, having Fred and Pam here…
They’re not even really here here anyway. They’re staying in a hotel down in Virginia Beach – not that we have room to put up guests really anyway. We’ve got an inflatable queen-sized bed that we could spread out on the floor if we needed to, but I doubt anyone other than our friends will ever take us up on that. (Certainly no friend who ever wanted to sleep late, as Jess is usually up promptly at 8am and wants to come play in the livingroom.)
But we got together Tuesday night for dinner at this lovely little seafood place just off the Elizabeth River called Locks Point. Pam, apparently, loves seafood. (I love seafood too, but I’m usually very considerate of Kevin’s allergies and we don’t go to seafood places. The same way you don’t order chicken in a steak place because it’s not particularly good – it’s not what they “do” after all – steak or other non-seafood dishes in a seafood resturant don’t tend to be very good.) But they had Mahi mahi on their fresh catch selection, which is Kevin’s favorite fish. So, we were all happy with dinner.
It did not, however, take us particularly long to run out of conversation. You’d think there’d be lots to talk about, since Kevin and his father have barely spoken in seven years. As the conversation dragged between the two of them, I mentally shrugged and did what I do best… talk for hours at a time without saying anything of any import whatsoever.
And yesterday we went down to meet them at their hotel and spend some time at the beach. I don’t know that I’ve mentioned this before, but I have only twice even been to the beach, despite living less than two hours away for most of the last four years. Once was in college when my boyfriend (sort of) Richard took me down there, got drunk, almost drowned, and necessitated a phone call to another friend to come pick us up because I couldn’t drive a stick-shift. The other time was at a Sci-Con where they held the con on the waterfront. But that was in November and not really beach-walking season, even in Virginia.
I haven’t really felt the deprivation, though. As I picked my way carefully across the beach sand, avoiding people’s cigarette butts and deciding that sand is neither very good nor very stable footing, I think I am still not all that deprived. Once we got down to the wet sand, it was better, at least for walking. We took Jess down to the edge and let her stand in the waves for a minute, but she did not like it one bit. Actually she was ok with the first few waves that just came up and brushed against her legs, but she decided to sit down just as a larger wave broke and she got drenched and very upset. Kevin and I took her back up the shore some and watched as Fred and Pam splashed about in the water while Jess turned into a sticky-burr baby. She didn’t want to sit in the sand or play with shell bits or anything. She wanted to BE HELD. We saw another baby, about Jess’s age, who didn’t think the beach was all that, either. Guess it’s a little big for them, yet.
After a while they came out and sat on the towels and we talked – again, with my shouldering the burden of the conversation. After chit-chat, Fred got hungry and we wandered over to a dock-side resturant (did you know they charge people $7 to stand at the end of the pier and fish? Jeez. Hope they catch something!) where Jess made yet another fan of a waitress. I had more shellfish (my entire seafood alotment for the next 2 years, probably) and Kevin had flounder, which he said was surprisingly good. Jess had french fries and some bits of fish and was just as cute as she could be during dinner.
After dinner, we made our escape and fled home, where I took a very long shower attempting to rid myself of half the sand from the beach. Literally, I had sand in places I didn’t know I had. Yuck. I think things are going well… Fred hasn’t been particularly much of a jerk, just a bit awkward and I find myself wishing that Kevin would loosen up a bit. Although I know how he feels. My visits with my dad were pretty awkward for a while, too…