Friday, May 13, 2011

(Another) Beach Vacation Gone Awry

by Sarah Ballance

I seldom wonder what it's like to be married to a writer—I seldom have to, as my husband is happy to point out the tragedy of his lot in life—but it's safe to say we come with our hazards. My Riot of Research real-life tale is one example. This … well, this is another.

Last weekend, my long-suffering spouse and I were fortunate enough to escape our brood of children for about 31 hours (yes, I counted, and I bet if you had six kids you'd be counting, too) at the beach. "The beach," mind you, is a whopping handful of minutes from home, but once you leave the mainland behind it's a whole new world. There's something about having a very large body of water between yourself and your offspring that's oddly freeing.

No such luck for the husband, however, when it comes to his "imaginative" wife.

Things started as they always do: with me trying to get him in trouble, or so he says. When we checked into our hotel, the receptionist asked if we'd like one key or two. After some hesitation, he requested two. Upon hearing that—and with NO hesitation on my part—I asked, "Where are you going?" The two receptionists giggled, and I was treated to a Look. As it turns out, he just thought it would be a good idea to have two keys in case we lost one. Oh. There is that.

Fast forward to dinner. (Hang with me for a minute … this all ties in.) We kept our corner table overlooking the ocean for a good two hours after the restaurant kitchen closed, which gave us a fantastic view of an awesome band. They had a big crowd over in the bar/lounge area, but after staff stopped seating in the dining area and the last of the patrons trickled out, we had a private show. (I should also point out that a LIVE BAND made less noise than our kids—I can't tell you the last time we had such a peaceful meal!) Our waitress, bless her, was attentive and never left us staring at the bottom of our drinks for more than a minute, if that.

At some point, my husband noticed he had one of those Bud Light bottles you could mark with a key or a coin. I'd never seen or heard of them, and I'd had just enough to drink to find them utterly fascinating. (I don’t know what I was drinking – some Bahama something). Apparently, there's a version of a post-it note whiteboard on there and you can write your name or a message of your choice on the bottle. Cool concept, but don't these people ever see beer commercials? If I drank the stuff, I don't think I'd put it down long enough to lose it because that's giving someone waaaaay too much time to tamper with it. Ahem. Anyway, adorable guy that my hubby is, he scrawled his cell phone number on the label, pushed the bottle across the table to me, and suggested I hook up with him later that night. I even got the other kind of Look with the offer … the kind a woman is darn lucky to get from her husband after fourteen years of marriage! *gush*

Still with me? So, later, when the bill arrived I suggested we drop a tip that would be considered generous by most standards. He gave me one of those "you're crazy" looks, but when I reminded him how diligent our waitress had been with refills he tossed the extra cash in with the bill. She came back a few moments later with a gracious thank you and left with the empties … at which point I started laughing.

"What?" he asked.

Pfffft! What, indeed. Anyone see what's happening here?

First he gets an extra key to our room. Then he slips his phone number to our waitress, and on top of THAT he leaves her a mega tip.

Oh, if you could have seen the look on his face when I spelled it out. But such is the occupational hazard of being married to an author (or, in some cases, married at all).

We're just always plotting.

These photos were from our trip, so don't say I never brought you anything! There's no pavement out there ... the beach IS the road, and it's not at all unusual to find wild horses meandering right in the middle of it. (Uh, watch where you put that beach towel!) And, hey, if you think the idea of stepping in horse poop is bad, you should see what happens in the pages of my romantic suspense RUN TO YOU!


Dawn said...

LOL!! Love it...Thanks for the Friday afternoon laugh...after a week like I have had I needed it...Have an awesome weekend!!

JoAnne Kenrick said...

LMAO...I needed that, what an amusing tale! Hope you guys manage another getaway, sounds like you have a lot of fun ;) I can't remember the last time the hubby and I got away without the're darn lucky! LUCKY, I say xxx

Sarah Ballance said...

@Dawn, I hope things are looking up for you and I'm SURE glad I provided a meager part of it. (My husband is still not amused; perhaps I should stop telling everyone this story ... especially since I tend to skip to the punchline, LOL!) Thanks for commenting!

@JoAnne, YES! Getting away from the kids is AWESOME! My mom is always there to watch them when needed, but I usually feel pretty guilty dumping them all off on her. It'll get easier as they get older, LOL. (Right now they're all under 13). I hope you and your H can sneak away for a little misbehavin' of your own!

C. Zampa said...

LOL! I'd LOVE to have read that waitress's mind!

Loved the story, and glad you had a nice getaway!

Anonymous said...

I love reading your posts...they always make me chuckle!
My wife often finds herself in the same position. By some miracle, she manages to grin and bear it, even when I obsess over story details when I should be enjoying, er, I think they're called "movies?" we sat down to watch :)
Glad you had a good time, and loved the pic from the beach!

Sarah Ballance said...

@ Zampa, I hope she noticed him playing footsie with me and decided we were a nice COUPLE, LOL. At any rate, she was a nice to me as she was him, so she earned her tip. ;c)

@ JS, aw, seriously, thank you - that made ME smile! I think as writers our research needs to be handled delicately. I believe we can get away with a slip during the "movies" but if we interrupt the REAL action with too much in the way of staging ... well, I think even *I'd* be mad at me! LOL.