Lessons From the Outer Banks During a Surprisingly Rain-Free Week

Having traveled to Michigan, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Alberta (Canada), South Dakota, Missouri, and Kentucky, our next destination was North Carolina – the Outer Banks. It’s a rough life that we lead. Step one in preparing to travel once again was cleaning out the car from our last trip, which meant moving McKenna’s car booster chair.

And revealing the primordial ooze from which new life springs.

The combination of a weird Jet Stream and stalled high pressure system had created a never-ending cycle of storms over much of the East Coast in July. Hatteras Island had been hit by about 20 inches of rain during the month.

That seems like a lot.


Some people were undeterred by the unpredictacble bursts of rain and pools of standing water, like this jogger who plowed through calf-deep water before reaching this relatively shallow pool.

‘I’m running come hell or high water.’

The heavy rains increased the degree of difficulty in unloading the cars.

Time to ferry the suitcases to the door via boogie board and raft.

The next morning, a constellation of small storms was headed our way. The meteorologists thought one or two of the twenty-five micro storms would hit us, but their forecast was basically 🤷‍♂️.

Facebook, in addition to sacrificing your personal privacy, provided a forum for tourists who stayed at the beach last week to publicize how much a beach week full of rain sucks. This message had clearly been received by the next group of tourists, as fear of rained-out beach days motivated many to take advantage of any rain-free beach time.


The clouds were threatening enough that many believed the forecasts that predicted anywhere from a 60% to a 90% chance of rain and started their beach days before 8am.

Danger – Bad weather may soon trap you inside a beach house with nine small children.

If it did end up being a rainy week, we were fortunate that the walk to the beach was relatively easy, enabling us to more readily evacuate with with our numerous beach chairs and umbrellas.


On the beach, there were signs of the earlier storms. Great quantities of seaweed had washed up.

All of the rain had made the pool a bit chilly, but the children soon found a workaround.

By 10am, though, it was clear that the threat of rain on this day was overstated, at least in our area.

Anticipating a rainy week, we had brought a variety of things for kids to do.

Because we had brought a variety of kids.

In the absence of rain, we still benefited from our proactive activity-planning by avoiding potential meltdowns by children in public places.

We could also use this ice cream-maker to teach the youth of the family about the contributions of the Industrial Revolution, after we had them collect the coal we used to power the ice cream-maker‘s steam engine.

The rest of the week was pretty much as rain-free as the first day, giving us ample beach time. Each day of vacation followed a predictable routine.

1. The adults devoted much energy to luring their children away from the now-warm swimming pool and its seductive siren song. 2. Having through threats and promises momentarily neutralized the draw of the swimming pool, our arrival at the beach was followed by the children, now happy to be there, digging holes all over like some new species of coastal prairie dog.3. When the pool’s siren song inevitably reasserted its hold on the children, new efforts were made to convince them to stay a bit longer by yelling about how much fun the beach is.

You will jump at least five more waves and you will LIKE it, young man!!!

4. Finally, worn down by 36,743 requests to go back to the swimming pool, the adults concede to the power of the pool.

You win this round, chlorinated temptress.

The week ended up being a great beach week. The water was very warm, so we didn’t have to even return to the beach house to go to the bathroom. Most of the kids are veteran beach-goers, and could therefore model all of the ways to relieve oneself while at the beach.

The Squatty Potty

  • Pros: By squatting in the surf, rough and/or cold ocean waters can be avoided; less walking is also required, benefitting the lazy
  • Cons: The leg strength necessary to resume standing may be lacking, resulting in both embarrassing failures to rise from the squatting position as well as prolonged exposure to the now urine-saturated water
Don’t be embarrassed to ask for aid if necessary.

The ‘Stand and Deliver’

  • Pros: Recovery from squatting position not required; very little submersion is necessary
  • Cons: PEE. ON. LEG.

The Wave Rinse

  • Pros: Readily washes away urine without requiring potentially embarrassing efforts to stand after squatting; can easily be disguised as ‘playing in the waves’; makes you a better, less disgusting person than the ‘Stand and Deliver’ approach.
  • Cons: Some may find the back-and-forth wave action distracting; requires greater submersion in potentially cold or rough water than other methods.

Our crew’s mastery of the above techniques allowed us to spend more time at the beach and to stay out of sight of the hypnotically attractive swimming pool. This gave us time for a number of activities, some more normal than others.

Normal: boogie boarding
Abnormal: Synchronized wave-fighting

During the beach week, we also had a chance to celebrate Mom’s birthday, which was actually on July 28th, the day before we arrived.

A much more festive occasion than these Candles of Despair would indicate.

Finally, we created mementos of our time at the beach by taking a group picture with all of the people we’d like to remember.

No, not you Poppy. Or you Laura. Not you either, Jodi.

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