The laundry was done.
The dishwasher was taking care of a load.
The house had been dusted.
The chicken coop was cleaned and the fish bowl sparkled.
The beds were made, the toys were put away, the day stretched ahead.
Behind me, cartoons laughed and danced their way into my living room. I stared outside and made a decision.
"Let's go to the beach," I said as I turned. The kids jumped from their lounge positions. "We'll have to hurry but I think we can go see the tall ships."
We raced through the house, pulling on long sleeves, taming our hair, and trying to decide whether we should be fiscally responsible or splurge on lunch out.
We decided to splurge.
Twenty minutes after making the decision, we were in the car and on our way. The road twisted and turned in front of us and I had a brief thought that the hills would cut off the blue sky and we'd drive into a foggy embankment. I maneuvered the last turn and the bay stretched before us. The water sparkled in the sunlight under a cool blue sky.
We weren't the only ones with the idea to run away to the beach. We stood in line to see the tall ships only to be told by an employee that we missed the cut off. Disappointed, we walked away to drown our sorrows in salt water taffy.
I'm helpless to resist the allure of the colorful candy. I instantly revert to childhood the moment I walk into the sweet smelling stop. And when the kids asked how many, what else could I say but one of each and watch as they race from bin to bin and fill a bucket so full Elizabeth has a problem carrying it?
We walked outside with bulging paper bags and sat on a bench to dig into our treasure. A sign in front of me caught my eye.
"Harbor Cruise - $10/adult, $5 child"
I mentally calculated the amount of money I'd allocated to this adventure - remember, we're being fiscally responsible this year - and turned to the kids.
"Want to go on a boat ride?"
So we did.
We spent a little over an hour listening to the history of the bay huddled under cozy blankets, taking pictures of sea otters and sea lions, and sipping $1 Shirley Temples. We disembarked on the sand spit and took ten minutes to climb over the dunes and slide along the back sides. We giggled when the captain called us on his "shell phone", the sound of the conch breaking through the waves and wind.
We landed back at the dock, waving good bye to the captain and headed to a local pizza place where we split a pepperoni and olive.
"This was the best day ever," Joseph said with relish.
Elizabeth and I agreed. What could possibly be better than salt water taffy, boats, sand, and pizza?