Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bodice Rippers and Beach Trips

So Mama J was right - I haven't posted in a while due to unexpected summer travel. Two weeks ago, my dear friend (especially dear since she reads this blog and even posts comments, bless her!) invited us to her family's house in Maine for a night, and then this past weekend, my zany neighbor invited us for a few days to the Cape. I never turn down an invitation to the beach (not since I turned down an invitation to an off-the-hook house in the Hamptons that looked like an Italian villa, and the host looked at me like I was some kind of Martian and said incredulously, "Who turns down an invitation to the Hamptons?" I ended up going!).

I was reminded of this while reading the paper this morning. The Wall Street Journal has an article today about how romance novel authors go to these conferences during which they take workshops about Victorian clothing so as to better describe steamy scenes. But "women wore blouses under their corsets, making actual bodice ripping fairly pointless. Corsets fastened in front and laced up the back and couldn't be undone in a single passionate gesture." A lady in the 1860's would have worn "stockings, garters, bloomers, chemise, corset, crinoline or hoop skirt, petticoats, a shirtwaist or blouse, skirt, vest and bolero jacket."

To you, this sounds like mildly interesting historical footnotage. But to me, it is reminiscent of the incredible amount of stuff I had to pile into my car in order to take a quick vacation with my two girls. I had (for both trips): A high chair, a pack'n'play, sand toys, swim vest, beach tent, suitcase full of clothes (packed - or overpacked - by the Duchess, who wanted to bring everything she owned), stroller and baby carrier for Honey, allergenic food for the Duchess, flip flops, diapers, creams, wipes, suntan lotion, my toiletries...and this to go to a house where towels, sheets, and pillows were provided. As with the imaginary Victorian gentlemen, after you get through all this layers of stuff, you are almost too tired and frustrated to have any fun.

Also, while The Grump came along on our adventure to Maine, he didn't come to the Cape, so while I was at the beach for several days, I often wondered who was really on vacation. The Duchess and Honey were terrible sleepers in Maine (at one point, my little ringleader got the other children to jump into the "ocean" made of pillows), but somehow got tired out enough to sleep pretty well at the Cape. And by well, I mean they woke up at 5:45am instead of at 5am. I ended up taking them out to breakfast every morning, and we were at this diner where truck drivers sat at the counter nursing their coffee. They would see me, and their crinkled faces would burst into a knowing grin. "Looks like you got yer hands full theah," they would say, and cackle. I would stretch out breakfast as long as possible but still end up leaving around 7am. Our hostess and her child would still be sleeping for well over another hour.

Anyway, we had a great time at both places and I am thankful to have nice friends who are so kind to include us. But if anybody has any packing advice, I would love to hear it.


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