Friday, March 23, 2007

Spring Break with Dad Feets

Most people who do spring break look forward to going with a group of friends or perhaps a romantic partner. This year I had the pleasure of enjoying spring break on South Padre Island with -- my dad. And it was the most fun I have has during break in a long long time.

This is how it came about:
As you may or may not know, I am now the proud (and nervous) owner of a rental unit just upstairs from where I live. For Texas week I had 8 (or more, I never did get a good count) young adults inhabiting the place which I figured would be okay because I would be here to keep an eye on things.

A last minute job offer in Puerto Rico - during Texas week - was the impetus for giving Dad Feets - who had just returned with Mom Feets to Michigan after wintering on the island - a call. He has long enjoyed spring break (see and since he had some projects in mind for the SandBox Inn, and since I had a ton of frequent flyer miles I could not think of a better use for, a deal was struck. He arrived the day that I left and did a great job of caring for my animals, starting some major landscaping projects and befriending my tenants.

We had scheduled things so that he would still be here a few days after my quick turn-around job, giving him more time for more projects and for me to spend some quality time with my Dad, something I have always been trying to get more of. When I was a kid we would go fishing on Glen Lake together. I am not an angler and was happiest when a fish managed to steal the bait without getting hooked. What I liked was having my Dad all to myself for a couple of hours.

So on the afternoon of the last Sat. of Texas week Dad discovered that he needed some mortar to finish up the planter he was building in the middle of my driveway. Ace was out of it, White’s was closed and so it looked like a trip to Brownsville was required. I knew it would be a long wait on the bridge coming back, and he offered to do it himself but I would not dream of making him attempt a journey of such epic proportions on his own.

So we set off at about 5 PM. Traffic was already backed up nearly to Walmart. I called my friend Nancy from the car and she screamed “Abort! Abort! Go back while there is still time!” I called Amazin’, who has a view of the causeway from his front window and he implied that insanity must run in the genes.

Well, we got the mortar -- and a beautiful pygmy date palm to put in the planter he was building -- with no problem. The problem started right about at H.E.B. when our forward progress came to a screeching halt. To make a very long story short, We pulled back into my driveway at just before 1 AM and I’ll tell you what - that trip back from Home Depot almost as much fun as fishing on Glen Lake.

Best image:
Early morning. A late model jeep - one of those tricked out ones that run about a jillion dollars - pulls up to a construction site on my street. The passenger door opens and a young woman climbs out. Fully decked out in her evening wear (skin-tight capris, plunging neckline and stilletto heels) she carefully picks her way through the construction debris to her ultimate goal: the onsite port-a-potty.

Most unpleasant encounter with the law:
I was on the beach carving sand with a gentleman who is trying to market a new sandcastle gizmo (see what I carved from it here). He was obviously not a spring breaker and in fact had his wife and kids with him. At some point the police ATV pulled up and the officer strode up and politely inquired what was in the cooler. “Water and soda-pop” was the answer. But that wasn’t good enough. “May I look inside? We are patrolling for glass -- we need to keep the children safe, you know.”

Give me a break. I have watched these guys drive right past an exposed wine bottle without a second glance and suddenly now they are out inspecting everyone’s coolers? Too far, say I. They have taken this thing too far.

(I also heard stories from eyewitnesses about how they cleared the kids from the beach every day around 5 PM by flooding the area with officers shouting that “the beach is closed” and “you have to leave this area right now.” That cannot possibly be legal. Texas beaches belong to the public and are always open to anyone who wants to enjoy them!

I truly believe that the heavy hand of the law is going to strangle spring break on South Padre Island in my lifetime.)

Worst personal experience: sitting immobile on HWY100 in Port Isabel St. Patty’s day night, hoping for even a glimpse of the bridge... an unwilling if captive audience of the ugly rap music pounding from one nearby vehicle and ugly porn splashed all over the dvd screen of another.

Best experience: the intermission we took after making it through PI. Agreeing we could both use a bathroom break before getting stuck on the bridge, we pulled into Pelican Station for a nice meal, a couple glasses of wine and live entertainment by some of my favorite local musicians (Andy, Omar and Jamie - don’t know what they are calling themselves these days.) Two hours later, we were on the bridge for what would be another two hours of rap, porn and conversation before finally pulling into my driveway. The lubrication definitely helped.

It was my first experience of having spring breakers upstairs and yeah, they were loud. But they weren’t destructive or rude and they seemed to be genuinely enjoying the place. Furthermore, one week of having them up there made my April mortgage payment, and for that I am most grateful.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, this is slightly off subject here. I am hoping to come to South Padre this summer as a graduation present from my parents and myself. I was wondering what kind of rates you have for your inn and what I have to do to get a reservation. Also, I finally got around to watching SandBlasters 2007 on tivo and have to say, congrats! I think you had the best sculpture and should have gotten first but was happy that you got 2nd even after they blew yours up. AWESOME

5:35 PM  

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