We spent the past week at the New Jersey shore, in Ocean Grove, the same small town we always visit. We have now been there for a week or so more summers than not since 2006.
As the time stacks up, the place becomes its own draw. We go there because we always go there. And it is a good place to spend a week as a family, particularly the house we have been renting these past few years. It is right by the ocean, with views of the water from the gigantic front porch and almost every bedroom. We went to Days’ Ice Cream every night. I ran on the boardwalk several times. I took the big kids to the Silverball Museum in Asbury, where we played on all manner of pinball machines, and it appears that my daughter’s Under 13 Girls record on one machine still stands. My husband and I went to the Asbury beer garden — so I could cross that one off my summer fun list. The kids jumped a great many waves and built a great many sandcastles.
And a highlight unique to this year: I scored a 1982 copy of Martha Stewart’s Entertaining from the free beach book bin. I’ve been reading through that and learning about Martha before she was Martha. In her catering life, she once produced a 1000-person outdoor party where she hired young actors to create fairy scenes. When she once found herself short on working burners she boiled pasta in an oven. The woman is resourceful to say the least.
The weather was amazingly cooperative. It was warm, but not blazingly hot. We only had rain for half a day toward the end (Hurricane Henri came through after). Travel with a toddler isn’t exactly easy but between my husband and me and my mother-in-law and a family friend who visited for a few days, we had a lot of hands.
The day before we left, my husband’s phone popped up a picture from Ocean Grove in 2014. The kids were 7, 4, and 2 — and there were only three of them! They were so little. Time keeps passing. But it’s nice to come back to the same place as time passes. We like to travel other places too, which is one reason we’ve never really looked into buying a beach place even though we go to the same town every summer. But for a week or so, we settle into the rhythm of shore life, noting the tides, watching the waves and the moon as it glints on the water. I just put in my request for next year’s dates, so it looks like the tradition will continue.
In other news: I took the big kids apple picking on Saturday at the same place we went for peaches a little over a month ago. The peaches were still in season, but so were the early apples, so we got both! We always buy Honeycrisp apples at the grocery store, but I miss the window to pick them every year because — it turns out — it is a mid-August/early September apple, and NOT a fall apple, at least in this growing region. So, if you happen to be a fan of Honeycrisps and similar style apples, and you’re interested in picking them, you might want to look into that soon.
In other, other news: My husband and I are both training for a half marathon here in Philadelphia in mid/late September. I don’t follow a formal plan for half training, though I generally try to do 1-2 10-milers. I’ve done one this summer and plan to do another next weekend. This weekend I did about 9 miles. I focus on trying to accumulate minutes over 60 minutes spent running, with a particular focus on minutes over 90 minutes. I was slow this weekend, so my 9 miles definitely accumulated some of those.
I’m also fascinated by a WSJ article (paywall, but just search around and you’ll see people talking about it) about people working two full-time remote jobs at once. The point several people made is that they were only doing about 10-15 hours of real work in the office and were just wasting time. Once they could work remotely, they simply filled the time with other things. Some people spend time with family or take up hobbies. These people found second jobs. While any time you have to hide something, that suggests some ethical issues, I think this should best be viewed as a wake-up call for managers to really think about how to use employees productively. Time is a valuable resource, and even if you feel you are paying for a certain amount of it, in much white collar work, you’re paying more for tasks than time. So it seems a shame to waste time for no good reason.