Published on September 14, 2021

We vacationed without Internet service

By Edward A. Forbes / The Bulletin

We were settling in our rental beach house. The silence was broken, and the beach house filled with the sound of a 7-year-old crying: “I hate this house, no internet. I don’t want a vacation. I want to go home.”

Welcome to a week at the beach in a two-bathroom rental house big enough for 15 people, four dogs, and a three-month-old baby girl. The house did have internet - as advertised, just not working internet, which did not violate the rental agreement.

The young cell phone and I-pad addicts were not pleased with the lack of service, but the adults liked the house and location. We were on Blue Water Highway with the nearest house about a quarter of a mile away on both sides.

The packing and unpacking of the supplies for this group was impressive. My son’s 12-passenger van had the third-row seats removed for additional space, and his car, my daughter’s car, my grandson’s car and my truck were all loaded to capacity with the provisions necessary to feed this crew. My son’s 16-foot-long kayak was strapped to his car, along with his fishing gear.

Check-in time for the beach house was noon, but we didn’t have everything ready to go until 4 p.m. This resulted in a late start and then carrying the “stuff” up the stairs was a personal trainer’s dream and a nightmare for us mere mortals. After an hour workout hiking up and down the stairs, no one was interested in cooking, so Domino’s to the rescue! We all had pizza and listened to the wailing about “no internet.”

The next day started out better. Our breakfast interrupted the complaints about the internet, and I was entertained by Sissy Boo’s request for unicorn cereal. I was initially baffled, but daughter-in-law Brisa explained that they had actually put a picture of a unicorn on the Lucky Charms cereal box. The cereal’s name will forever be Unicorn in their home; General Mills should take note.

The Unicorn breakfast done - sometimes only the magically colored bits - plans were made to invade the beach, conveniently only a short walk away over the private boardwalk from the beach house. They played in the sand and the water while I worried about sunburn.

I cohabitated the beach briefly, took some photos and retreated to the deck of the beach house, which was large and included a corner that was shaded much of the day. I could still take photos of the merry band on the beach and satisfy my fascination with pelicans as they flew over the house. I saw other birds too, but the pelicans were my favorite.

We settled into a routine. The children and ladies bathed in the evening and the men in the morning. It was far less chaotic that way.

Did I mention that the Dads had to work daily? Todd, father of the three-month-old girl, each morning drove into Houston, and Wes, father of five, each morning drove into Angleton. Todd left at 6 a.m. and Wes left at 5 a.m., and their evening return times were Wes around 5:30 p.m. and Todd around 6 p.m. Wes helped with supper, which the ladies had started earlier, and Todd took over infant feeding and care. They are both such good Dads, and it makes me proud to know them.

Wes was our official contact person with the house rental agency, calling the office as well as emailing it to notify it of issues with the house. He took photos and made a list of deficiencies at the house that need correcting and sent these over.

The house has steel shutters for windows that are powered electrically. There are switches that look like light switches that are labeled and include warning “do not touch.” There is one completely closed, and a couple are partially closed. There are missing balusters on deck railing, screws rusted to non-existing material on deck flooring and boardwalk, and most importantly, the promised barbecue pit is primarily rust.

The property manager sent a young man out, and he fixed balusters, put in some new screws and called them about the barbecue pit. An assembled barbecue pit was delivered for our fajitas cookout.

Wes likes to cook in large quantities, counting on leftovers being available on a subsequent meal. It usually works! Todd was his capable assistant in the cookout.

We settled happily into the daily beach visit for ladies and youngsters. I attended briefly and returned to the deck for my endeavors. I took photos, read books and relaxed. The sound of the surf has always been relaxing to me, and I found that I slept better and enjoyed it more.

And the Internet was still out. We vacationed without it. It can be done.

There are other tales about our week at the beach. Todd’s adventure with his portable grill, Wes’ 16-foot kayak adventure, the birthday dinner - all things to be related at another time.

(Edward Forbes wants to hear from you. Email him at eforbes1946@gmail.com or send comments by snail mail to The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX. 77516.)