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Cornelius News

Summer rental: Life’s a beach sometimes

With apologies to “Back to the Beach”

MODERN DAD | By Jon Show

Sept. 08. I got to thinking this summer that our beach trips sure do look a lot different than they used to look.

In 15 summers of dragging our family of four to the coast, 14 have been to the same beach. We went to a different beach one year but there was a lifeguard and she kept blowing the whistle at us so we never went back.

For the first time this summer we had each of the kids bring a friend.

Future Man brought his buddy the ‘Fro. The Blonde Bomber, never to be outdone, managed to bring two friends by inviting the Twins.

On our first beach trip Future Man was only nine months old and I got into an argument with the Mother of Dragons because she wanted me to pull over and wouldn’t breastfeed while I was driving down the highway.

Let’s say we’ve all grown a lot since then. For example, this year we took two cars.

The girls drove separately and stopped as many times as they wanted. The boys had 90 seconds to pee and grab snacks during a gas stop.


We usually do a mix of cooking and dining out but we ate all our meals at the house this year because no one can afford to take seven people out to eat at the beach.

The girls arose each morning to menus of homemade parfaits, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches and frittatas.

The boys found a free breakfast buffet down the street in a hotel where we weren’t staying. Don’t judge me. It’s a victimless crime.

After the early years of dealing with naps I don’t like being pinned down to the house during the day, so lunch was grab-and-go sandwiches, burgers and Caesar salads.

Dinner took us to the countries of Italy (gnocchi and sausage ragu), Germany (braised pork and fermented cabbage), Mexico (enchiladas) and the good ‘ol USA (steak and crab cakes – crabs were caught by the kids).


My trusty beach umbrella was replaced this year by something called a Shibumi, which provides a constantly moving rectangle of shade and a level of noise that truly brings the ambiance of the airport tarmac to the beach.

Future Man alternated between surfing and skim boarding. The ‘Fro invented an entirely new activity I’ll call Boogie Skimming, which consists of jumping on a boogie board and riding the skim out into the waves.

The girls wore matching bathing suits and cover ups each day. I spent most of my time body surfing with them because in my brain I’m 12 and I might love body surfing more than anything.

The kids all carried their own boards to and from the beach without complaint. No one yelled at anyone to hurry up. No one complained about cracked toes on the walk back to the car.

In the afternoons we ended up at the pool after the beach. The kids weren’t around much so it was just the two of us. We read books and ordered appetizers and argued about nothing because the only things we have to argue about were probably ding dong ditching other people’s vacation houses.


We’ve always had bikes at the beach because biking to the beach is objectively awesome until you reach the age of 43 or you need a light duty truck to lug everything to the beach.

This year we rented bikes for the kids and one was stolen midweek. Faced with paying $400 to replace it, the Mother of Dragons scoured the island for an hour and found the bike.

She burst in the house and called for help to retrieve it. As the boys geared for a fight I held up my fishing knife and yelled ‘FRO YOU GOTTA BE THE KNIFE GUY TAKE THE KNIFE! I found the fact that he reached for it without hesitation both exhilarating and concerning. I did not give him the knife.

They returned, incident free, 15 minutes later with the bike.


We used to stay in the same house every year but started moving around for reasons I can’t remember. The Mother of Dragons can be a bit of an AirBnB snob.

Upon arrival I entered the boys’ room to remind them that this was someone else’s home and we weren’t going to trash it all week and leave clothes and junk all over the place.

I was assured that all would be fine, according to Future Man, because they each found a clothes basket and poured all their clothes into their respective baskets for the week.

At the end of the week there were dozens of popsicle sticks strewn about, wet shorts everywhere and there were piles of sand in the bathroom.

The girls stripped off the sheets and remade their bed with the comforter before we checked out.


Years ago I fell asleep on the couch at the beach one night and awoke with marker scribbles on my face that took more than a couple days to completely wear off.

This year, after falling asleep on the couch watching Shark Tank with the kids, I awoke in the middle of the night covered in a blanket and paper towels with words scribbled on them.

The first one read, I’M A GIRL. The second one read, I LOVE UNICORN FARTS.

I guess summer beach trips just look a little different than they used to look.

Jon Show lives in Robbins Park with his wife, who he calls “The Mother of Dragons.” Their 15-year-old son is “Future Man” and their 11-year-old daughter is “The Blonde Bomber.” Their dog is actually named Lightning.


One Response to “Summer rental: Life’s a beach sometimes”

  1. The dad seems really cool!

    Posted by Jon Mazanec | September 8, 2023, 9:01 pm

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