Yesterday morning, I loaded Murphy in the car and went to Cousin C's. We arrived around 10 a.m., and I was sitting poolside with a beer by 10:30. (Hey, I was On Vacation!) It's amazing how much vacationing one can cram into a day if one really puts one's mind into not trying to do anything.
It was lovely. The Relaxation had begun. After the beer and sitting around, we went to High Tides in Flagler Beach for lunch. This may be one of my favorite restaurants EVER. It is basically a shack on the beach, but so wildly popular they have Valet Parking. I am not kidding. In fact, you must valet park, because there is precious little parking and they are very creative about timing and stacking the vehicles.
Most restaurants that look like this smell like grease and serve wads of fried things. High Tides is a gem. It only looks like a dive; the food is amazing. We had the best damn raw oysters I've ever had, huge, plump, sweet and incredibly fresh; C had her favorite coconut shrimp I'm not a fan, but I do agree that theirs is to die for) and I had basic steamed spiced shrimp. It is right on the beach and has been clobbered by hurricanes, hence the spartan and utilitarian shack construction, but damn, the food is better than any high end seafood place. We hurt afterward, but it was a good kind of pain.
Then it was back to C's to lounge in the pool. I know this will sound really weird, me living in FL and all, but it had been years since I had lounged in a pool. Years. Seriously. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know lounging is a rare treat for me. And I realized how much I missed it, and how I miss having a pool in the backyard, but we do have a neighborhood pool and I have vowed to start using it after work, on non-thundering evenings. It's not the same as coming home from work and changing and walking out the back door to set a beer down on the deck and float and swim and unwind from the day, but it'll be far better than not doing it at all. And I will make more lightning trips to C's to use her pool and drink her beer this summer.
Murphy did not swim, but he did test the water. It was very hot and he was in a frenzy, the whole visit to a strange place and an unfamiliar cat (which he treated with great respect) and then mommy got into this giant outdoor bathtub and called him to get in too - it was so cute, he loves water and he really WANTED to do it, but couldn't get the nerve. He'd stand on the edge, quivering with indecision, but couldn't make the leap - which is a good thing, I'd rather have him cautious than fearless, I was afraid he'd be fearless. But it was very hot, and he was running around with his tongue hanging out and looked near heatstroke, so I finally coaxed him to the edge and promised him that I wouldn't let him sink, and held him in the water - he instantly executed a perfect dog paddle, and I gently supported him as he made for the wall. He had his first swimming lesson. He could never be trusted around a pool, of course, because he's too small to climb out, but fortunately he had no desire to press his luck. After his quick dip, he was cooled off and content to run around on the deck hunting lizards.
We retreated indoors after a couple of hours to watch Hitchcock movies and loll about. It was very restful. We watched the neighbors' fireworks from the patio, and called it a night around 10. Murphy was a pain in the ass about sleeping in the guest room with the door shut, and we had Words around 4 a.m. I told him that as a travel companion he gets a C-, but I think he will improve with practice. He hasn't had much practice.
I didn't take many pictures, but did snap one of the bathtub-calm ocean. Note the crowds packing the beach at noon on July 4. I love Flagler Beach, it's still relatively unspoiled, and I hope they keep it this way.