The Keys to My Summer

I find the day after Labor Day to be the second-most depressing day of the year.  Right behind January 2.

I have a problem with transitions.  Parting with revelry.  Going back to reality.  All of that.

But, in my semi-hysterical “Summer, please don’t go — please!” state, I have to step back and say that this was the best summer I’ve had in a long, long time — both near and far.

Sometimes, I keep hotel keys in my wallet long after a trip is over.  There must be some Pinterest-y thing I can do with them at some point.  But in the meantime, they make me feel better.  Like a little piece of my travels stay with me.  Until I try to use them, weeks after my departure, to charge dinner or a round of drinks to my room.  And I’m told that hotel room keys can’t be used as real-world currency.  Which brings me back down to Earth pretty quickly.  Or kicked out of the bar.  Or both.  It’s sort of a chicken-and-egg effect.

Anyway.  The keys to this summer — here they are.



1)  Oh, Madrid.  I’ll love you forever.  The 19 year gap was worth the wait.**



2)   A sisters-only night in Atlantic City, practicing the core gambling skills of our childhood.  I won some money, which was great.  But we won’t speak of my near-miss with fortune and how my favorite roulette number betrayed me.  I was going to tell the story but A) It makes me sound like a gambling addict and B) It still stings.  Which is why I think I sound like a gambling addict.  Which, I swear, I’m not.  So let’s just drop it.**

{**Disclaimer:  These trips were part of Operation 40th Birthday Celebration and well out of scope for my normal summer vacations.  As a result, you can find me within 25 miles of my house for the next 60 summers.}



3)  And a night just across the river, in Manhattan, to attend BlogHer ’12.  To see some of my very favorite bloggers again, and to meet others for the first time.  But, mainly, to be repeatedly slapped with the blatant reminder that my blog is not even a small fish in a big pond.  It’s more like the plankton or maybe a barnacle.



I took a few other trips this summer to visit friends at their beach houses.  But I figured it would be untoward to have a copy of those keys in my possession.  We drove to Rehoboth Beach, DE; Stone Harbor, NJ; and Cape Cod, MA.  Each was a beach we hadn’t seen before, and each was magnificent.  It’s tough having friends in low places.




OH, but speaking of low places, I do have this key as part of our drive to the Cape.

They should alter the key sleeve to read: "We hope you survive your stay without contracting a communicable disease."


We left New Jersey at night and figured we’d drive about two hours with the kids asleep, pull into a hotel and get a room for the night.  Then finish up the drive early the next morning to make the most of the day.

You know.  Just get a hotel room when we got tired.  Wing it.  

In August.  The peak of summer vacation.

And this is where, if you are easily entertained by someone being traumatized for life, you’ll want to keep reading.  Especially if you are more entertained by that someone being me.

So it’s 11:30pm on a Tuesday night and Mr. and Mrs. Roadtrip Jackass decide that, yep, we’re a little tired now, so let’s just find ourselves the next hotel and call it a night.

Uh, no.  That hotel was sold out.

As was every other hotel in about a 40 mile radius.

Except for one.

Upon entering the room, I could literally see the layer of filth on the carpet.  A spider crawled across a pillow.  There was some indescribable smell — a hybrid of mold, dust, cigarettes and other unnamed carcinogens.

It looked like a place that, in the not too distant past, had been a legitimate crime scene.  Or taken from the set of Breaking Bad.  I was reasonably convinced that if you shone one of those police lights around the room in the dark, you would basically come up with nothing but blood.  And maybe some meth.

But everything else was sold out.  Ev-ery-thing.

It was well after midnight with an exhausted family.  So I had to suck it up.  I laid there and thought about lice.  And bed bugs.  And mold poisoning.  And Bubonic Plague.

I didn’t hold onto that key as a keepsake after I snapped its photo for posterity.  I was too busy researching where we could apply for a government-funded decontamination shower, a la Silkwood.

But that was a blip in an otherwise blissful summer.

A summer of big celebrations.

A summer of the road trips that took us to see friends.

A summer of day trips — to amusement parks, to Manhattan, to the pool.

And a summer of no trips at all on the lazier days — with ice cream and backyard playtime and rainy day indoor movies on the couch.




These snapshots — these moments — were the real keys to my summer.

And as I sit here today, getting school supplies (and my heart) ready for the  first day of kindergarten tomorrow, and pre-school on Thursday, I can begin to deal with my reluctant transition to fall.

Because I know we had one hell of a summer.  And I hope you all did, too.


{For more fun photos — or to merely support my addiction to Instagram — come visit me over here.}

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  1. Christie says:

    Great pics! I feel exactly as you so aptly described. And similar to Jan. 2, I’m making all kinds of New School Year Resolutions, like about how I’m going to be more organized this year and how efficiently I’m going to tackle things while they’re at school. Too bad I’m about 0 for 4,023 in keeping any type of resolution, school year-related or otherwise.
    Ps. I also have one starting kindergarten tomorrow. Pass the tissues…

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