Thursday, May 28, 2015

Surviving the Three Day Weekend

For some reason, Clint's left ankle has mysteriously swollen to about twice its normal size. My friend John had to cancel our dinner plans last night because he has suddenly broken out in a vicious rash that he thinks is either poison oak or poison ivy. It was probably best that he canceled, since I have been fighting off some sort of stomach bug coupled with feeling exhausted for the last two days. This isn't just some coincidental run of health afflictions: clearly, we are the aftermath of the three day weekend.

Fried oysters at Hudson's in Hilton Head. Worth every calorie.
Like a lot of other folks, we packed up the car and drove down to the beach, eager to enjoy some sand and sun over the holiday. There was lobster, and oysters, and shrimp (oh my!). Frozen drinks, guilty pleasure snacks, and I even let myself enjoy a long-anticipated Diet Coke (or five). There was live music, rocking chairs, sandy feet clad in flip flops, and all that beautiful ocean.

Then the weekend ended. We came home and there was a full car to unpack, zero food left in the house, a fair amount of sunburn, and all that not-so-beautiful laundry. Clearly, all good things must come to an end.

I've given some thought as to why the three day weekend wreaks so much havoc (other than the plain and simple fact that I'm getting older, which causes all kinds of havoc in and of itself). You see, I think these extended weekends are even harder to survive than a full week of vacation. It's because we realize that the time is precious, the clock is ticking, and we have to make it count. Cram it all in, soak it all up, and have the maximum amount of fun that 72 carefree hours can possibly provide. And then we spend the better half of the next week trying to rehabilitate ourselves back to a normal existence,which is too sadly free of fried seafood platters and frosty pina coladas.

With a longer vacation, we have time to sit back and let the relaxation seep in. Fun can move at a more leisurely pace. However, if it's Friday afternoon and you know the real world is coming for you bright and early on Tuesday, it's obviously time to buckle down and get serious about your sabbatical. You cannot afford to pass up even one opportunity to eat, drink, and be merry. Carpe diem, YOLO, and all of that. And about the time you take a deep breath, unwind, and start to take it all in, it's time to load up the car and hit the overcrowded highway to head home.

Only when Tuesday does come calling, many of us find that we aren't so bright and chipper for the new, although mercifully shorter, work week. The idea of eating something for breakfast that didn't come out of a pastry case is downright depressing, much less the tragedy of putting comfortably bare feet into a pair of responsible adult shoes. I find myself longing for the days of wasting away again in Margaritaville, where the biggest worries were things like blown out flip flops, lost shakers of salt, and...well, you know where this is going. Apparently, this non-holiday life is a somber process that must be eased into, thus my new realization: I have now reached the age where a three day weekend requires a two day recovery period.

At this point, the laundry is finally done, the cupboards have been dutifully restocked--although that isn't necessarily a good thing considering how tight our clothes are fitting after our three day crash course in Pure Gluttony 101--and our sunburns are fading nicely into early summertime tans. Let's all try and enjoy this feeling of normalcy, because I'm afraid it won't last. July 4th technically falls on a Saturday this year, but I have no doubt that leisure lovers across our nation will find a way to parlay Independence Day into yet another extended weekend. Better go ahead and restock the first aid kit, just to be on the safe side. And I'll try and keep my calendar clear until at least the following Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

An Open Letter to Diet Coke

It's been nine days now since I've experienced that delicious, revitalizing sensation that is Diet Coke. You see, we are headed to the beach for Memorial Day weekend and I have found myself in need of losing somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 pounds before we go. That, or opt to wear a wet suit instead of a swimsuit on the beach. Ever the optimist, I have put down my wine glass and decided to try to actually eat right and act like a healthy human being. I've even stopped counting potato chips as a serving of vegetables.

I started a nutritional cleanse that is supposed to help eliminate toxins and free radicals from your body and give great weight loss results. Hello, cleanse. Good-bye, processed foods, white starches, sugar, and...Diet Coke. Sob. However, I'm not one to just abandon those close to me. I felt it only right to explain to my beloved beverage where I've been, and exactly what has caused my sudden absence.

Dear Diet Coke,

It's only been a week and a half since our last time together, and already, I miss you so. You have no idea how often I've thought of you, wanted to hold you, spend quality time with you, and yes: drink you. But you see, people think that you're bad for me. Some go as far as to say toxic. They've accused you of even (gasp) causing weight gain. I'm not going to listen to them. Obviously, they don't know what we have together. I am, however, going to cool off our romance a bit.

I know we typically see each other every day; to be honest, I don't even know how to start my mornings without you by my side--but it has to end. My family is begging me to reconsider--apparently, I am a much happier person with you than I am without you--but I need to be strong and take this time apart. It's not you, it's me.

We have some wonderful memories together over the years: shopping, eating out, going to the movies. You've seen me through college lectures, long office meetings, years of road trips, and even four seasons of Revenge. I am going to be lost without your bubbly personality and effervescent nature, which always puts a bounce in my step and a smile on my face. You may hear that I'm drinking water now, and I want you to know it is no substitute for your refreshment. You will always be #1 in my heart. Also, no matter what rumors circulate, Perrier means nothing to me.

Know that I'm thinking of you, and wish me well with my healthy choices and swimsuit season endeavors. I still plan to rendezvous with you occasionally, and I will be looking forward to our next tryst with eager, thirsty enthusiasm. You may not be in my refrigerator, but you will always be in my heart.

Love you. Mean it.

I'm not going to lie to you: that was hard. I suppose break ups are never easy. I'm trying to do the right thing, not only for myself (and my thighs), but for the good of those sighted people who will innocently occupy the same section of sand as myself over the upcoming holiday weekend.

In the meantime, if you see me and I seem grouchy...well, I am. In the absence of Diet Coke, the days seem long and my temper is short. I'm not sure if I have one caffeine-deprived nerve left. I've made it nine days, and I'm going to keep soldiering on without looking back. Keep me in your prayers, and if anyone knows of a great wet suit rental place in the Hilton Head area, maybe pass along the information, you know, just in case.