Now Big Z is a pretty adventerous guy. He's a 3x ironman finisher, retired military, and generally doesn't have much of a fear factor. He's earned it, dude was a complete international badass in the military. So now he wanted to pick up kite surfing and bought a 10' kite and decided to try it out for the first time that morning on the beach since the wind was ripe for kiting.
Remember the rains we saw earlier? Well just standing on the beach trying to fly the kite and learn how to control it is a pretty tough process. Turns out there's a huge learning curve for flying a 10' kite. When we finally got it up and he was starting to do some turns and learn how to control the upswing I felt some rain starting to fall. The storms hit in these small cells, and as soon as the cell moved over our part of the beach the wind went from 10 knots to 25 knots instantly, and it picked Big Z up about 4' off of the ground and carried him about 20 yards down the beach! Surprise! He hit the emergency release and got the kite headed toward the ground, but the wind was blowing it near where the kids were. Myself and one other adult ran towards the kite to keep it on the ground and control it a bit, but we were running with the wind on the safe side of the kite. Of course Bigun saw me running towards it and started running too, but she was running into the wind on the dangerous side where that thing would have hit her with about 800 lbs of force. ouch. The look on her face was priceless when it turned from the joy of running towards me to the absolute terror when I convinced her that she was heading into a dangerous situation. The screams of "No, run away" kicked in right as the rain started to pour down.
We were still able to get the kite packed up and get everyone and everything back inside the house before the small rain cell turned into a full blown thunderstorm. Lunch and some inside games kept us busy through the middle part of the day, and the dads all had a meeting to line up our activities for the year for the whole tribe. It's going to be a great year.
I have this pink square leg Dolfin swimsuit that I wear to the RAM practices all the time, and the kids love it. It's covered in flowers and always gets a good laugh. I thought the kids would get a kick out of it, so I threw that suit on when we headed back down to the beach for some afternoon fun in the sun. The rain and storms were gone and it turned out to be a beautiful sunny afternoon.
The kids thought it was a Barbie swimsuit. I got the laugh I was looking for from the kids, and the uncomfortable looks I was expecting from the other dads. We hit the beach and it was so hilarious.
Bigun loves that suit. It got a big laugh from all of the kids.
Great picture, I wish I could rotate it left.
Most of the other dads had never seen the tattoos either, so I got a lot of questions about the suit and the tats, and a lot of "I never knew" statements when they were shaking their heads (to which I would always respond "you could be that attracted to another man?" and laughter would erupt). It was fantastic.
You could see this big pier off in the distance, and we knew it was 1.8 miles away. Well, Big Z being an adventerous guy and Ironman, he's always trying to get me to have some fun while we're out on these trips. Saturday afternoon he approached me about swimming to the pier and running back on the beach. He had an extra pair of goggles I could borrow so I actually agreed to it. What's a 2 mile ocean swim between friends? The other dads were all down at the beach too, so they were able to keep track of our kids easily while we swam/ran.
The current was really strong. Like, I would be walking in knee deep water walking against the curent and get knocked down. The waves averaged 3' to 4' high and were breaking about 50 yards offshore. So for Saturday's workout, we swam out past the breakers which was incredibly difficult, then turned left and swam parallel to the shore until we came into the pier. Touch the pier, then turn and run the 1.8 miles back to our kids on the beach.
The swim only took 25 to 30 minutes. Swimming with that strong of a current made it go by really fast. The goggles leaked a lot and fogged up really bad, but it was still a great swim. Big Z was fighting a rotator cuff issue, so I'd tread water to let him stay in my sightline. As long as I could see the houses on the shore and him behind me I felt pretty comfortable. The huge waves were rocking the whole time, but they always came from my right. So I would breathe to my left and a wave would pick me up and drop me down 4' quickly, so that made for a very wild ride. It was a lot of fun in the end, but pretty scary when I would get out there, and the shoreline would dissapear behind a wave and I couldn't see big Z.
What I didn't think about before we agreed to this was the end of the swim. Here I come out of the water, and the pier is a public beach and kind of the gathering point for the whole island. So it's really crowded, and I got out of the water a few minutes before Big Z did. So I just appear out of the water in the pink flowered bathing suit and just stand there. wow. ok, yea, I forgot about that. He came out of the water, we touched the pier then started running back. We kept an easy pace, maybe 9 or 10 minute miles running barefoot in the sand. So there I was holding the blue goggles and running on the beach with another very fit man in my pink flowered bathing suit.
Our part of the beach, while public, was just us and a couple of other families. Not very crowded at all. Turns out, the closer you get to the pier the more crowded that beach gets. It was almost flattering. I mean, I got plenty of whistles and cat calls, people taking pictures and just blatantly staring at us. More than a few kids screamed "Mommy look at that man's bathing suit!" But hands down the funniest one was these two women sitting in beach chairs. One of them threw both arms in the air and screamed "See, the good ones are always gay!" to the other one.
Apparently they thought we were a couple, and we didn't consider that before starting the workout. Z could barely keep running after that one. So funny! And yes if you follow the stereotypes a man in a pink flowered speedo with shaved legs running down the beach with another man does look pretty gay. Stating the obvious has never made me laugh like that. I'm glad I was able to provide quality entertainment for half of Topsail Island while getting my workout done.
After that we played with the kids some more on the beach, Bigun had a sand problem in her bathing suit, so we had to come up to the house a touch early which really let us get showers and knock all of that sand off before the masses came up. After all of the cleanup we had a great dinner of burgers and hot dogs.
Clearly they are eating pancakes here, but let's just pretend I got a picture of the dinner.
After all of that beach play and fun in the sun all day long, you can imagine that the girls stayed up half the night being crazy. But you'd be wrong, they were out like a light before sunset. Another huge thunderstorm rolled in overnight, and they didn't move. I was expecting a few of them to wake up and get scared, but everybody slept like logs all night long. Even the dads got to sleep in until about 9 am.
And of course if you talk to my mom, only report that we did not play poker or drink beer on saturday night. No way that actually happened.
Sunday was another good breakfast, then a few of the dads took the girls down to the beach again while the rest of us cleaned up some. Bigun's suit was still trashed - I could not figure out how that much sand got between the liner and the outside fabric, and I could not figure out how to get the sand out of there. So she was in street clothes and stuck playing in the sand (in theory). She still ended up in the water a little bit.
Big Z and I did get back down to the beach for a run Sunday as well. We went 4 miles in about 34 minutes and change. He was quite relieved when I showed up in running clothes this time instead of the pink suit. We still ran away from the pier just to be safe. Great run at a conversational pace, although he did beat me on the sprint at the end.
Bigun and I in the driveway before leaving
We headed back to Raleigh and got home about 4:15 pm. I was completely exhausted. I actually got a nap in before dinner. I'm not a beach person at all, and this was the most fun I've had at the beach in a very long time. Many many years. The whole trip was fantastic, everybody got along really well, and nobody got seriously injured. I can't wait until next year!