Let me preface this post by saying that I have never been one of those people who tunes into Shark Week and afterward is terrified to step foot into the ocean.
Then I saw this YouTube video with a woman who is fishing and a bull shark jumps out of the water and snatches the fish off her pole at the beach we go to every year. Somehow, I managed not to be afraid to send my family into the ocean.
The water was the absolute perfect temperature where it was refreshing yet comfortable enough to walk in up to your crotch without making the I just sucked two dozen lemons face. I fielded lots of questions about pee, more specifically where it goes and why it's okay to pee in the ocean but not the pool. Well, it goes out toward England where our forefathers' pee went and it's okay to pee in the ocean because your pee won't turn purple like it will if you pee in the pool. And if more people in California would start peeing in the ocean, maybe they would have nice warm water like we do on the east coast.
No one was attacked by sharks because I give the kids Great White Shark hormone in their late-afternoon protein shakes and it scares the bull sharks the hell away when the kids warm up the ocean.
We were fine with spending all day on the beach. Until I whipped out my computer and logged onto Shark Attack Monitor (although I refused to Google "Wilms tumor" while Eve was in treatment). Because I think maybe Daniel gets his creative-ways-to-die gene from his mother. And let's focus on how we can get ripped apart by sharks. And while we're at it, please don't point out that few of those sentences are complete. SHARKS!
I then picked up the phone and dialed the number on the airplane that was flying up and down the beach for Pirates Voyage and charged $150 to my credit card so I would have an excuse not to swim in the shark-infested waters for one afternoon. It was, to date, the most expensive visit to sharkattackmonitor.wordpress.com yet.
Pirates Voyage is pretty much like Medieval Times but you get a fork and Dolly Parton sings a cheesy song in the middle of the show. The girls got to participate in a duck race, where they chased ducks to get them across the finish line before the other team, and won a gold medal despite accusations of doping. Daniel won the right to purchase two souvenirs since he wasn't allowed to race. Because even if life isn't fair, your Mommy will still buy away your tears so the car ride back to the sharks will be full of happy and not of the impending death we're sure to face by going back to the beach oh my god HOW LUCKY HAVE I BEEN ALL MY LIFE TO NOT HAVE BEEN ATTACKED BY A SHARK YET WHY ARE WE GOING BACK TO THE SHARK? I WILL TAKE OUT A LOAN IF WE CAN STAY AT PIRATES VOYAGE THE REST OF THE WEEK.
But we went back to the beach, although I wanted a Xanax just so when the shark attacked, he would soon enough not be freaking out when the taste of my blood touched his many, many sharp teeth. And I wanted a gun to shoot the shark in the face, but I had neither gun nor Xanax, and that just made me perturbed. Luckily sharks can't smell perturbed, as they are only able to smell blood, fear, and Budweiser.
Natalie was pissed that I suddenly wouldn't take her out past the breakers and I was pissed that I couldn't spell S-H-A-R-K in front of her, so we ended up in a part of the beach that I'll call "the island." The island area is where the ocean meets the sound and it's very calm (probably because the waves are scared of sharks and/or Chuck Norris) and there is literally an island that you can walk to. An island is a piece of land surrounded by water that is probably surrounded by sharks. There is also a midget who rings a bell and shouts, "Ze plane! Ze plane!" anytime he sees an aircraft that is looking for bodies that have been attacked by sharks.
(Sharks may also be the reason Eve got cancer.)
Walking out to the island, I stepped on two skates, which is a disgusting feeling only magnified by the fact that I was not allowed to have a vacation beer buzz because I was in charge of three kids and needed to make sure that they weren't attacked by sharks. At the island, there was a charming family whose young sons who kept putting their hands underwater and pulling up random sea creatures. KEEP THE SEA CREATURES IN THE SEA, BOYS.
Look, a sea urchin! Sure enough, one of them comes walking around with a sea urchin in their net. Fifteen minutes later, another. The slimy skates were enough to freak me out, and now I have to worry about stepping on sea urchins when I'm running away from an approaching shark.
My dad caught some sharks this morning! Umm, what? Excuse me, miss, your son said your husband caught some sharks...? Yeah, just some baby ones. Umm, WHAT? Crap. Now I have to run really fast over the skates and hope no one steps on a sea urchin before getting attacked by the baby shark before we get back to the beach.
Of course, my mother thought I was crazy to be skeered since they were just baby sharks. As if there wasn't some big-ass momma shark who had just birthed them, swimming around with postpartum depression about to emotionally eat me.
Instead of freaking out, I just let my mother collect non-assuming critters and give them to the kids to appease them since I didn't want to walk out into the ocean, especially during my time of the month. THERE, I SAID IT. I was putting the whole beach in danger.
Daniel got a sea snail, which he named Gary. Eve got a hermit crab, which she named Larry. Natalie was also given a hermit crab, which I named Darryl, with the assumption that his other brother Darryl was killed by a shark. I told them they could keep these creatures until we departed so do NOT get attached. I am not bringing home a sea snail that looks like a shell housing a tongue. If I am bringing home a snail, it had better come with a yellow sponge in square pants.
We survived countless near-death experiences (which may or may not have been obvious to the people involved) and lived to tell about it. Daniel was so excited to have survived another day without being attacked by a shark that he started screaming at the top of his lungs in a mock-British accent before asking, "Why am I talking like this??" BECAUSE YOU SURVIVED. COLIN FIRTH SOUNDS EXACTLY THE SAME WAY WHEN HE VISITS MYRTLE BEACH.
Daniel was less than excited when he overheard me talk about rip tides. If he had never asked what they were, I would never have had to offer an explanation. And no matter how many times I tried to explain the proper way to handle yourself if caught in a rip, Daniel would burst into tears that we were all going to drown. As if we'd have time to get caught in a rip tide and drown before the sharks attack.
Eve wasn't concerned about sharks or rip currents, only that her sister let go of her kite on purpose and now her life has no purpose as the kite flies away so she might as well go in the ocean to be attacked by sharks because there is nothing left to live for without the kite she never knew she wanted until someone else touched it.
On the last day at the beach, I made the kids bring their sand pails down that were housing Gary, Larry, and Darryl, so they could finish dying, but in the ocean. The smell of three small sea creatures was amazing in the most emphatic way possible. Riding in an elevator with them gave me hope that the sharks would smell the snail and crabs first before they noticed the rest of us in the water.
Daniel tried to summon the sharks by filling the sea with his tears (for 45 minutes), because I was a horrible person for making him put Gary the tongue back in the ocean so he could finish fermenting. I'm assuming the sharks didn't come because I was right about them smelling the snail first.
On our way home, we made a detour to Wrightsville Beach so I could get my seafood nacho fill. Which might not technically be a detour if it's the way we come to and from Myrtle Beach since that's where my nachos live. If I don't show up, they might get worried that I was attacked by a shark.
These nachos help firm up that nice little shelf I have to rest my coffee mug on in the morning when I'm in my recliner. They are kind of like body furniture. I can tell I have a deeper shelving unit this summer than I did the summer before and the summer before that. It's okay, though, because I'm always looking to carb up in case I go hiking. To get back in shape. Not that I'm not in shape because I do have a shape. It's just not the same shape I had ten years ago. My shape has no sharp corners. The shape of my belly is "a comfy, squishy, jiggly pillow for my head," says Eve. She gets a pass because she had cancer. But if Nat or Dan try saying that to me, I'm totally going to not share my nachos anymore.
Our last stop before returning home was to Wings because I am Mom of the Year and am replacing Gary, Larry, and Darryl with hermit crabs that don't stink and/or are dead. (Yes, Darryl died. We buried him at sea. His body was most likely soon eaten by a shark.)
I don't want anyone to think I am making fun of this guy who helped us with the crabs because I absolutely AM NOT. This dude was incredibly helpful. I remember coming home with a hermit crab from the beach every year as a kid. I had PeeWee Hermit, then the next year PeeWee Hermit II, then PeeWee Hermit III and so on. I think it was a cursed name because none of mine survived the week. Either that, or it was that I didn't feed them. But most likely it was the name.
So I was astonished that the guy helping us was devoting so much time helping us for something that wasn't going to last two weeks. Until I listened and realized that if you actually feed and water them, they totally want to stay alive! The worker at Wings showed us everything we needed and didn't need, and provided us with lots of random info that he had found by Googling because he admitted Googling hermit crab trivia is something he does to pass the time. So we got a lot of good information. And we didn't need to worry he was trying to sell us anything we don't need because he doesn't work on commission, which is probably good for him because I don't see how one can pay their power bill with the commission off of a $3.99 tropical island themed hermit crab feeder.
Anyway, the crabs have been here with us for almost two weeks, which is a hermit crab record in my universe (although the guy at Wings had a friend who had a crab live to be ten years old and grew to fit in a conch shell which is pretty creepy because it stops being something you can throw away and starts being something more like Thing from the Addams Family which you can obviously NOT throw away because it will probably crawl out of the trashcan and climb up your stairs and into your bed where it will do horrible things to your eyeballs while you sleep). And it appears that the crabs are now my responsibility to keep alive since the children have already forgotten we have them. I'd say this is karma but my mom never took care of mine for me. She let them starve to death.
But starving to death would be nicer than being attacked by a shark.