Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer of Excitement: The beginning of vacation! - [a case of the summer]

As I've stated in the past, the Summer of Excitement is not necessarily about me doing anything particularly epic.  It's just as much about me making an honest effort to go out there and have fun, particularly in situations where it would be easier to just stay in and relax.  And last night I found myself in such a situation.

The family and I are in Long Beach Island for our yearly vacation (we rent a house).  I woke up relatively early (for me, on a Saturday), packed my bags and the remainder of my car, and then made my way to Beach Haven -- a 2+ hour drive.  I arrived around 4:00 (I made a pit stop at the K-Mart here.  They sell this brand of shorts I really like for softball, and neither of the stores near my hometown had my size.  Who knew I had to travel a few hours to finally find them?) and then had to unpack my car and set myself up in the house.  Not long after that, my nephew, niece, and their cousins (on my brother in law's side) dropped by and I spent a couple of hours playing with them.  By the time dinner was over, I was pretty beat.

By complete coincidence, my brother in law's sister (who is the same age as me) was in LBI as well. She had told us that they're taking it a bit easy tonight, but that they were hanging out and playing drinking games at the house the had rented.  My brother in law and I initially turned down the invitation to join them, but after some contemplation we both agreed, "Hey, why not get out of the house?"

They were celebrating a friend's birthday, so we decided to stop at the liquor store and pick up some drinks.  We happened upon these premade Kaluha mixed drinks, so we decided to buy those (they came in cases of four).  We got two Mudslides (a personal favorite of mine from when I was a lifeguard) and one pack of White Russians.  They ended up being a pretty big hit, actually.

Oh, and I'm wrong.  The night was not devoid of epicness, because Sharknado was on TV.

As I've also explained, the Summer of Excitement is also about facing something difficult.  And that doesn't always bring the happiest results.  This past Thursday my aunt and uncle made the decision to put down their dog, Tyler.  While not my dog, I saw the little fella numerous times a week, every single week, for the near 18 years he's been with my family -- so I can't help but feel a little bit of ownership of him as well.  He's a funny guy, because he's behaved like a grouchy old man even when he was a puppy.  He just didn't seem to like many people.  Yet, for whatever reason, he adored my aunt, one of my two cousins that he lived with, my dad, me, and he'd sell out ALL of us for my grandpa.  So I felt an additional connection with him because of that.

While he's had some health issues -- some even severe -- he always fought back and survived.  Yet over the past couple of months he completely deteriorated.  One night, out of no where, he went completely blind.  He had already been pretty much completely deaf by that point as well.  He also had a bad back and bad hips, so he could barely walk.  And he completely lost his voice, so he couldn't even bark.  For the past few weeks, all he really did was sleep and lie around.  It seemed like my aunt, my cousin and I were the only ones who felt like he was still "alive" because he would still eat and respond to people.  Yet, by the time last week rolled around, even I thought it was time to let go.  And because I came to that realization, I do consider this something worthy of a Summer of Excitement "face something difficult" status.

It is sad that Tyler is gone and I miss him already.  But I do know that this was the right decision and that he's better off now.  It is going to be really strange not seeing him at the house, though.  Here's a photo of us the night before he passed:

Next week's Summer of Excitement will be a little cheerier.  I promise.

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