Can you believe that the last time I went to the beach my last name was still Devane?
Yeah, me neither.
So when my father in law said there was a little family reunion this weekend at the beach I ABSOLUTELY was ready.
The Stalnakers are my husband’s father’s mother’s side of the family – I’ve never met any of them and they’re pretty separated across the country. You can find them in North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Texas and Arizona.
The drive down was pretty nice, we learned that it only takes 4 hours from our house to get to Gulf Shores – which is great – which helps me build future cases for weekend beach trips – and luckily my Friday afternoon was cut short at work so we made it down by 8pm.
I guess I don’t go to the beach a lot. The last time was 2013 and before that 2010. It’s okay. Pale people like me really have little business there. I have fun and I get sunburned and then I have less fun. It is a vicious cycle. But anyway – people that do go to the beach often really love this place – Priester’s Pecans – and it’s an Alabamian treasure (as Jordan calls it). There’s ice cream and fudge and pralines and turtles and freakin peacans rolled in different flavored powders and samples everywhere. Devilishly good.
We stayed in a 3 bedroom condo: me + Jord, MIL + FIL, SIL + boyfriend + son, and mamaw and two bathrooms. We made it work. (-IL = respective in law relationships) (SIL = Jenna, boyfriend = Andy, son = Jack)
Saturday was a DREAM. We woke up – made breakfast with the fam and got ready to go to the beach. I packed my two swim suits that still fit me – Jord thought he did too. Except one pair was too big for him and one pair too small…! We had to take a special trip to Alvin’s Island and I was kind of bitter but also extremely psyched because souvenir shops are man’s greatest creation and Alvin’s is on a particular level of greatness. There is an absurd amount of shirts, glasses, hermit crabs, keychains, hairwraps, henna tattoos, alligator heads, baby sharks in formaldehyde – you name it. It’s amazing. And to stick with the times – they even have like 17 different flavors of hand spinners (fidget spinners yall) and a free flowing supply of boogie/body boards. It’s two stories and overwhelming.
On the beach, I lathered SPF 70 on my tiny pale bod (unknowingly missing a good chunk of my left arm) (it got very burned) (it is my fault but it could also be Jordan’s because he interrupted my lather), got a low beach chair and set it down there by the waves. My sister and I talked about babies and diva cups while the men were neck deep in the ocean. I met some of Jordan’s family that’re from Texas – Olivia I think, and her two daughters that’s aren’t twins but really look the same. Like sorority girls do. We took some beer and took a walk down the beach with Jenna and Andy and Jack to the Alabama / Florida state line – I got a little drunk, just a little, and the next thing you know I’m peeing in the ocean and then petting a fish jack caught with his bare hands and then petting a damn CRAB Jord found in the waves.
THAT’S RIGHT. IF YALL HAVE FORGOTTEN – I STILL HAVE A PANIC INDUCING FEAR OF CRABS.
My motto for this trip was beer makes me brave.
It was lunch time. I neglected breakfast so that I could have a bigger lunch and justify the $$$. Me + Jord + SIL + boyfriend + son piled in an Acura with no power steering and headed for this place called Tacky Jacks that was colorful and open and amazing. All the outside seating was waterfront and all of the tables were painted primary colors and all of the hurricanes were full of alcohol. The night before at Shrimp Basket my daiquiri had NO alcohol and I think it was because we were there an hour before closing and also because the waitress (Haile) (wtf) didn’t card me. The sugar consumption was a waste. So the hurricane made up for it and before you knew it I had eaten 3 fish tacos and was almost on the verge of tears because I was thinking about how humans always wave to each other when prompted and it’s so pure.
Back on the beach now, post lunch, clouds have rolled in and everything was 100% more bearable. We met some Stalnaker fam from Arizona, Doug and his son Quinn. Quinn is 7 and he loves Pokémon and his favorite one is Snorlax and he has a YouTube channel that I wish I could promote here except he only has one video on it and was very vocal and bitter about how his parents won’t help him edit and post more. It was so precious. I hope his channel takes off. Doug married a jersey shore gal and his toenails were painted. I don’t know if any of that has correlation.
That night, Jordan’s great uncle Joe (an authentic Italian living in Atlanta) made everyone authentic Italian food in room 6603. There I saw the Arizonians and the Texans again and I met most of the North Carolina crew and I felt tiny and overwhelmed but I really tried to be interactive. Jordan had to go to the doctor (if I forgot to mention it, he had and still has an extremely severe case of poison ivy) so I kind of had to fend for myself. I met Jordan’s great aunts and his 2nd and 3rd cousins – And I met one of my now favorite people on earth – Great Aunt Becky. The spunkiest of the spunk, two time cancer ass kicker and serial tv watcher – I just loved her. I met her grandchildren Berkeley, Zack, Alex and another little one – Wyatt – a small ginger kid with seemingly huge anger issues and deal making abilities on par with Don Trump. I beat him and the undefeated Zack at UNO my first try. There’s just something about being an in law. There’s so much pressure – the only way to relieve it is by laying the smack down in card games against children and nomadic 27 year olds. I had a lot of fun with these people that I don’t know.
I slept hard that night. You know, pasta coma.
Sunday morning we all got up and I did the best I could with the utensils provided to make pancakes for everyone. The general consensus was delicious but I wish we would have packed the griddle so that I really could have shown off. There’s always 2022.
We went back to the beach for awhile – still my left arm is the only sunburn I got this time – said goodbye to the Stalnaker fam and headed to the zoo with SIL + boyfriend + son. The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is a strange one. I had never been – jordan has – and he said it’s the most unsafe zoo in the world so naturally I wanted to subject myself, my family and a 9 year old to it. He wasn’t kidding. Look at this:
But the real reason why I wanted to go to this scary zoo was the lemur experience. UH YEAH. WE GOT TO HANG OUT WITH LEMURS.