Housekeeping trip – Walt


Walt came to the house for a short trip. Last time he was there, the HVAC guy said our furnace needed more work but he didn’t have the parts. So this weekend the part arrived. When Walt got there late mid afternoon, it was cold in the house and the furnace wasn’t working at all. Then the batteries needed replacing for the lights and we were out of them. Then he discovered the freezer stopped working at some point so half frozen food was on the bottom the the freezer.It was a long cold night and morning until the furnace guy showed up. He fixed all the issues and we bought a contract on the unit. Nothing that many hundreds of dollars won’t fix :-( We’ll deal with the freezer when we return in the spring. Walt was most anxious to get back home where everything was working (at least for the moment). Neither of us won’t be back for a while once I have my foot surgery Jan. 6th. Here’s to spring ~ can’t wait for Spring of 2014!!!

Jingle Bell 5 (c-c-c-c-cold) K


(written by Mel)

Winterfest of Lights, Jingle Bell 5K, and Mom & Dad’s anniversary weekend!

Saturday – Mel & Chloe drove down after Zac’s birthday party, so we didn’t arrive until after dinner. Just a quiet evening at the house.

Sunday – We had a low-key day, working on putting finger prints on Christmas cards, and then went running a few errands. Chloe ran into the corner of a wall as she raced toward the bathroom. She was pretty proud of her battle wound. Grandpa, on the other hand, wasn’t feeling very proud (they were playing).

It was VERY windy when the time came for the Winterfest of Lights/ Jingle Bell 5K.

We braved it out, at least for part of it. The course had you go through the Winterfest of Lights displays, where the tram normally runs.

When you loop back to the tent, the course would have taken us around the streets of OC, then back for another loop around the light displays. We decided that 1 loop was enough. We saw the lights at a much slower pace than you can see them on the tram, and got some fresh air and exercise. That was good enough to call it a night, enjoy some hot chocolate, and hit the road! Some of us have school and work the next day! ;)


The brothers & best friends weekend 2014


(written by Kathi)

Oct. 9 – 13:
In a departure from our usual August visit, Les and I headed to the beach in October. Scheduling – and twins! – necessitate the change. But we knew no matter what the season, we’d have a great time – and we did! We were thrilled to find out after we arrived that Melanie and Chloe were coming, too! Needless to say, fun ensued!
The beach in October in the rain can be just as much fun as August in the sun. Other than NOT going to the beach to swim, we enjoyed the perpetually amazing hospitality and made the most of every minute and being able to spend time with my best friend is something I look forward to so much. Got spoiled last year, what with weddings and showers, etc.

A trip to the bookstore with Chloe was great – especially enjoyed watching grandpa and Chloe play!

Mel and Chloe did not accompany the rest of us to the casino where we signed up for ‘free money’ and at least I lost it all almost immediately! It was fun, though. The four of us seem to have fun no matter what.

A visit to the beach wouldn’t be complete without some Skee-Ball, my personal favorite of all the games on any boardwalk. Chloe did a great job – very impressive! She is a joy to watch – always so engaged in what she’s doing and always doing her very best. Our dinner at the Dough Roller was followed by some absolutely delicious-as-always Dumser’s ice cream, a treat from Melanie.
All in all, a fabulous time, as always. I’m sure there are lots of things I’m forgetting – oh, just remembered – Jo and I went to Walmart. I know, I know, how exciting could that possibly be??? But for someone who doesn’t live in close proximity to one, it’s a big deal!

But most of all, it was just being together – reminiscing, laughing, catching up, (and, ok – drinking beer and wine) – and spending time with Chloe. Her stained glass coloring projects were amazing and the one with the giraffes that she did for Annie and Cora is up in their nursery window for them to enjoy. Merielle put it there as soon as we got home! She is such a sweet, loving child and a joy to be with, just like her mom.
So forgive me if I’ve forgotten anything, which I most certainly did…looking forward to making more memories next year!

10th annual Hertz beach trip!


Our tenth annual beach trip! It was the original 3 (Mel, Marlo, Ron, & Jose) plus Jean. We met at the Mexican restaurant so that Jose could feel safe and calm. Marlo and Jose got there first and ordered drinks and food. Later came Mel and Jean. When it was time to meet Ron we paid the check. Mel paid nothing because she was the host and Jean paid nothing because she was cute. Unfortunately Marlo was neither.

Marlo drove down. We went to Pickles and had dinner. Came back to house and all played poker (in the end, Jean cleaned house!). Jose spilled a minimum 4 drinks throughout the weekend. We need to patent mop shorts because as he was leaning down to wipe up spilled drinks he fell and wiped up much of the spill with his ultra absorbent shorts. Later the dry shorts would come in handy as Jose pushed an entire draught Guinness beer onto Jean and himself while eating oysters at Harrison’s and having pickle shots.

Mel rode the zipper for the first time, and decided that the 10th year trip would be the last year for the ride. We then walked the boardwalk and found our way back to the cork bar, where the girls summarized Jean’s trip this time: she was soaking up the compliments and soaking up the beer. There was much disappointment by all that Billy was not there, although the $24 bar tab helped ease the pain of missing Billy. The trip home was full of laughs and discussions of pink people.


Quality time with friends


Left home early afternoon ~ a 4 hour drive now, especially since it started pouring in Cambridge and rained on and off the rest of the trip. We had hamburgers etc. with Woods’ and Moffit’s . After dinner we had a rousing game of Sequence. We ladies skunked the guys even though Chuck kept telling us the guys were ahead (Lorraine’s comment: we may be blondes, but we can count”).

Saturday August 23, 2014:
Another (very) breezy day at the beach, and rough surf as well. We met up with Woods and Moffits at the OP beach. Brought lunch there and stayed until mid afternoon. Did some grocery shopping and had the crew here for snacks then we ordered pizza from DeNovo’s. After dinner a grudge match of Sequence. This time the guys did better and ALMOST beat the ladies, but not quite!!!! Another fun evening with good friends!

Sunday August 24, 2014:
Will this wind ever let up? It was too windy to go to the beach ~ just hung around the house, cleaned the pantry and some drawers then started a cool jigsaw puzzle (“the beaches of Delmarva”). Woods and Moffits left late afternoon. We had dinner at home and watched TV.

Monday August 25, 2014:
We tried the new diner – Abi’s. Food was good (can’t really mess up eggs and/or pancakes) but place is real stark and on-the-cheap. Don’t think it will make it. We went to the OP beach around noon but didn’t bring lunch ~ ate there. A windy day with high waves ~ the life guards earned their paychecks today. Their whistles were blowing constantly trying to keep people safe from the strong rip currents. Ate dinner at home then Walt went to the race track and I worked on my jigsaw puzzle.

Tuesday August 26, 2014:
We had a lazy morning, then I dropped Walt off at the golf course and went to the West OC Outlets looking for shoes to fit my orthotics. That took forever ~ I hope they’ll be OK. I went on the the Children’s Book Garden store for a game for the grandkids. Couldn’t find anything but got card holders for them and a coloring project. On to my favorite store for a bunch of stuff for here and home. By that time it was almost time for Walt to call for a ride home. He enjoyed golfing although never kept score (maybe he’s onto something!) We ate in again and had a quiet night. Working on that gallon of Dumsers ice cream was the high light of the evening :-)

Wednesday August 27, 2014:
As usual, the weather people were predicting dire effects on the surf from Hurricane Christopal and as usual, they were wrong. There was a strong surf, but the waves weren’t as bad as the last two days. Bur we heard bad news ~ another drowning in OC when the life guards were not on duty. That’s the 3rd this year and 3 too many. All happened at night ~ what a shame. :-(
After lunch we went to OP beach but didn’t stay too long. We invited Elaine here for dinner, so had to hit up Food Lion for a few last minute things. She seemed happy to have people to talk to and not have to make her own dinner! She didn’t stay too late. I started some laundry (want to do as much as possible before going home).

Thursday August 28, 2014:
After not hearing from tree people (branches over roof need trimming), Walt went in search of someone from Moore Companies who was working in the Parke. He found Russell who does work on the side. So he said he’d be by after 3:30 to give us an estimate. We went to the Maryland side of Assateague (closer and better bathrooms), had our lunch there and left in time to get back for the tree guy. Just as we were leaving, 3 ponies came trotting on the beach. Two of them hung together at the edge of the water, but another was hungry or just curious as to what people had in their bags. He checked out lots of bags but didn’t seem to find anything to his liking, at least not while we were still there. The tree branches got trimmed, we had dinner then went to Whitehead Park for OP’s Concert in the Park. We got there late, so didn’t know the group. It was billed as the Fabulous 50’s, but they sang 50’s, 60’s, 40’s and everything inbetween. They had pretty good voices for old guys (very old) but we weren’t crazy about the numbers they did. But it was a pleasant night to be outside for awhile. Mel called to tell us about Chloe’s K’indergarten Orientation (it went very well) ~ Chloe wishes school would start tomorrow! Now there’s enthusiasm!!

Friday August 29, 2014:
Another golfing day for Walt and shopping for me. I dropped him off around noon and headed to Fenwick to Floaters. It was fun looking but didn’t find much to buy (a card game for the kids and a crab butter dish for our new house). Got new flip flops from the surf shop on the way home. Did some “pre-organizing” until Walt called for a ride. I packed up some snacks and a beer for me and we went directly to the OP beach. Arrived just before the life guards were leaving for the day. We snacked and watched the waves (very relaxing) until it got chilly (still a bit windy). We then went to Taylor’s for a late dinner. Some more prep for leaving tomorrow laundry, etc), although we plan on one more day of beach time! It’s been a great week ~ wonderful weather, time spent with good friends and lots of R&R!! It will be tough leaving tomorrow :-(

Joanne’s birthday weekend with the whole family!


Thursday Aug. 7, 2014:
Mel and Chloe here early. We saw CJ at his sailing camp (he did GREAT) and had dinner with Janice and the rest of the Burgers (the only fun part of the trip). We got caught in awful traffic on the beltway, had to make a few stops ~ only got here at 10:30 p.m. – ugh! Needless to say, right to bed.

Friday Aug. 8, 2014:
Mel, Chloe and I went school-clothes shopping ~ got her some cute clothes and shoes. Then we went to Walmart to get school supplies ~ the highlight for Chloe :-). Went to OP beach late, therefore dinner was late too. While getting dinner ready, Chris, Beth and boys arrived. So, 5 adults, 3 children and 3 dogs will spend the weekend here. We’ll miss Brian ~ he would have made an even number!

Saturday August 9, 2014:
My unofficial birthday since we all will be together today but Mel and Chloe have to leave early tomorrow. Whatever time we are all together is cause for celebration. Sorry Brian had to work ~ we missed him.
Mel had a SUP yoga class and met us at the OP beach. It was a great beach day ~ hot but low humidity.

After a fun day at OP we had an even better Beach Night/Birthday celebration at Assateague. Chris and Beth had a great idea after doing this when they were here in June: steamed shrimp, caprese salad, corn salad and best of all S’MORES ~ cooked over a fire that Chris built on the beach!!! The kids played well, the weather was cool and dry and the moon was something out of the world (wish I could have gotten a picture of it shining over the water ~a postcard shot).
Then more perfection in the form of Birthday cupcakes and a performance by CJ, Chloe and Henry. Truly a memorable birthday!

Sunday August 10, 2014:
We were all up and out before 10 a.m. and on our way to the Yacht Club for a birthday brunch. We were pleasantly surprised after last years’ brunch. We then went to a playground nearby so the kids could play for a while. Mel and Chloe left :-( and the others went mini-golfing (Beth and I stayed here). We went to the OP beach late again ~ another warm and dry day (is this August???) then back to the house for a home made spaghetti and meatball dinner prepared by Beth and Chris. It’s fun celebrating a birthday for 2 days :-)

Monday August 11, 2014:
Walt and I went to Assateague early in the a.m.. Chris and Beth and boys arrived about 45 minutes later. Another great beach day, a bit warmer but breezy. Henry and I collected shells then it was time to brave the waves (them, not us)! We left around 11:30 to get ready to drive home. On the road early afternoon ~ the rest of the Burgers are staying on for a bit.

A great weekend!

Heckert/Balas weekend – 2014


Thursday July 31 through Monday, August 4th – Bike to the Beach (or not!) weekend and annual Balas/Heckert weekend!

It was Bike to the Beach weekend – but Brian decided against B2B, so we just enjoyed our annual tradition w/ the Heckert & Balas crew!!!

We all arrived Thursday. It was supposed to be a rainy and dreary weekend, but we figured we’d make the best of it anyways. It ended up better than we expected! The weekend activities consisted of beach time twice (with the Woods’/Clements’). One day we didn’t have faith in the weather and didn’t expect to hang at the beach for long before getting rained on, so we didn’t pack lunch. It turned out to be fine, so we ate at the beach club. All the kids had fun playing, making themselves into sand mermaids, finding sand crabs, and just having an overall blast at the beach.

We made a few rainy-day plans and foolishly communicated them to the kiddos – when it ended up not raining, we were still committed to following up on our word! We played indoor mini golf (lesson learned – don’t waste time/money/energy in thinking that the adults can play, too, at least not when the kids are 2, 4, and 5 years old!). Christine hit a hole-in-one on the final hole and won a free game in the future (donated to the beach house – thanks!).

Also on the rainy-day agenda was that Mel and Christine took the kids to the Sports Core pool, so we had fun swimming indoors.

We went to a festival on Saturday at White Horse Park, and checked out the fire station next door! The firemen were very nice to give us a little tour and talk about their equipment. The boys were in heaven!

And a beach trip wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Dumsers!

We value this weekend tradition so much, with such wonderful friends!