How to Pick-up Tarts and Stage a Gong Show

Trip Start Jul 13, 2013
Trip End Aug 05, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Oregon
Sunday, July 21, 2013


Dear son,

You are three. I love you with all my heart and would sacrifice the world to keep you safe. However, you are positively awful to go shopping with.

You've inherited my insufferable lack of patience and your Mother's unyielding stubbornness.

Sorry about that and good luck,

Your loving Father.


Today began with the sound of light rainfall on the trailer roof. It appeared as though it was going to be another overcast and cool day.

After getting in trouble for being impatient (ironically after scolding Henry for the same) we made a quick break for the local American Legion. They hold fundraising breakfasts from 9:00 to 11:30. They served a good, honest breakfast of the thinnest and moistest pancakes, bacon/sausages and scrambled eggs. And glorious coffee that evaporated my frayed nerves in an instant.

From there we went back to Seaside for some shopping at the Seaside Factory Outlet Centre, a strip mall. We loaded up on cheap kids' clothes and a few items for our selves.

We're getting a little concerned about shopping with Henry in Portland (see opening comments). We want to go out with a splash and spend some coin on ourselves but he tends to be a little so-and-so every time you pause to look at something.

His high-pitched grizzle is like a scouring pad on the interior of my skull.

In order to ensure he burned off some energy and had a good nap we took him to the Little Bouncy Castle playroom. The smell of urine outside and the bullet hole in the front window notwithstanding, the set-up was awesome: three inflated bouncy castles, trikes and racing track, basketball, TV, wi-fi, etc.

I would highly recommend this place over coarse language and/or thrashings. $3 for such reprieve.

We drove north about 10 minutes to Gearhart and had lunch at Pacific Way Bakery and Cafe. What a quaint but hip little place this is. At once both 'old timey' and modern.

Unbelievable food. This was the best we've had since our holiday began. I had the French Loaf Beef Dip with Gorgonzola cheese. Mel had the Gyro Sandwich with Fennel Salad. Just done perfectly and delicious to boot. Enough to fill you without desensitizing you to the blend of flavours.

And then we hit up the adjoining bakery. We had gone in the hopes of having a Marionberry Scone that we'd seen a picture of but they were all gone. Instead, I ordered a Peach Tart while Mel had a Goodmorning Muffin.

I took a picture of my dessert but Mel had all but obliterated hers by the time I picked the camera up again.

Oh they were good. If it weren't in the wrong direction we'd be picking up Marionberry Scones nice and early before heading to Yachats tomorrow.

As we drove back to the campsite the sun came out for the first time since we arrived here. Long may it shine.

Tonight we're using the indoor pool as our children's bathtub. I hope they added chlorine.



They have a great indoor pool here. It's heated and saltwater. Henry and I ensured that the yuppie couple drinking their wine poolside were unnerved by our cannonballs and carrying on.

We decided to try Castaways Tiny Tiki Hut Seafood Restaurant again despite our earlier hatred of them.

Mel dove from the car as we drove by and beat out two other couples for the choicest, most baby-friendly seat in the house. And it is actually a renovated house. A tiny one.

We were pleased to have the opportunity to finally order the Caribbean Curried Shrimp that we had read about online. Our guts were expecting great things.

The service itself was of the teasing variety: very pleasant and fun waiter who kept bringing utensils and things periodically, thus sustaining our anticipation and convincing us that we hadn't actually waited thirty minutes for our food to arrive.

But when that plate of curried shrimp arrived in front of me my colon did backflips. As I predicted, I had one glorious mouthful of basmati, peach, blueberry and shrimp when Henry informed me he had to go potty. I had, of course, asked him every minute before the food arrived if he needed to go.

Shortly thereafter, the Garner Gong Show pulled out all the stops.

I've never done well with spicy food though I insist on eating it. I sweat profusely and require a considerable number of napkins to dab my face and neck.

The heat of the curry was starting to catch up to me and I had yet to remove my camping sweater (it makes me feel like Hemingway, what can I say?).

Henry was up to his usual restaurant antics of climbing off his chair and on to me and proclaiming his macaroni and cheese - a work of art in itself, by the way - to be "too spicy" and thus inedible.

Penny, bless her heart, is fighting a cold and, having just had a dug-full of milk, threw up down the front of Mel's sweater.

The young couple sitting off to the side of us had already audibly sworn off children and by the end of this scene they'd broken-up.

Mel scurried off to the restroom leaving me to feed Henry, tend to Penny, clean up vomit, and stop the steady stream of sweat from blinding me.

I shovelled an unreasonably generous mouthful of mac'n cheese into Henry's slack mouth to keep him occupied and went around to Penny's side of the table to wipe her and Mel's seat off.

The milk was already an opaque film of curd on the seat and I didn't want it wafting over to the other patrons.

By this point the curry had really taken hold and, coupled with my self-consciousness of being a circus ringleader who's lost control of his animals, I was glossy with sweat and quietly babbling.

I flung an arm out of my sweater and yanked the rest of it over my head. My awareness of vomit and Mel's yet to be finished curry in the near vicinity forced me to overcompensate this motion.

A four foot tiki mask was dislodged from the wall by my elbow and sent crashing to the ground.

The thud of hard wood on wood flooring was deafening.

Mel's startled form emerged from the restroom having heard my desecration of Polynesian objects of worship.

It was at this point that my rational mind was overthrown and the unexpected but welcome pleasure of no longer giving a shit overcame me. This was my Gong Show. I was in complete control of my lack of control.

We did have a good laugh at the end of the evening. What else are you going to do?

It's funny that this incident happened the same day that Mel and I had concluded that there was no point planning relaxation time for ourselves because we were never going to be able to relax.
Keeping busy is the only way forward.

But having said all of this, we are loving these days and the opportunities to get to know our children.

Tomorrow we're off to Yachats. The wi-fi isn't a sure thing there so if I go into radio silence it's only temporary.
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Wanda on

You said it...keep busy! Love these entertaining stories first thing in the morning. Keeps me smiling!

Sheryl on

I'm sitting here eating my usual bowl of mini-wheats at your dining room table in complete silence reading your gong show story. Makes me laugh and is giving me a happy start to Monday morning. Like I've always said, I do not know how parents do it. Patience, patience, patience I guess and then if that doesn't work, just give in to the chaos and laugh it off :) Before long Penny and Henry will be all grown up and you'll miss these moments! Travel safe and I wish I was with you guys shopping at the malls :)

Mum & Dad on

Oh how we laughed at your latest blog, at the same time sympathizing with you - we have been there and done that !!! Happy days of kids puking, filling their pants and being little 'whats-its'. Provides a good laugh in years to come.
Hope the weather smartens up for you - typical Oregon Coast, either beautiful or crappy.
Safe travels and hugs for everyone.


Yeah!!..just grin and bear it you sure you want to take an eastern trip next year ? .. anyway i,m also having a good laugh your blogs are hilarious.(Of what I can understand ).Penny is soo sweet she looks more blood in her photo..Take care .love to all.Mom

kokes on


Mark on

Really enjoyed this post. I take sick comfort it in. This line in particular:

"The young couple sitting off to the side of us had already audibly sworn off children and by the end of this scene they'd broken-up."

It takes special effort by special children to pull this off. Almost a badge of honour. I believe my own son has actually caused young men to consider a vasectomy.

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