by Valerie Nusbaum

Why is it that when we go on vacation, even a short trip, we forget all the rules for healthy eating, throw caution to the wind, and eat as though we’re kids with overactive metabolisms? At least, that’s the way Randy and I behave when we’re away from home.  Maybe you don’t do that. Maybe you have more willpower and common sense.

We just celebrated Mother’s Day, and as part of my mom’s gift, Randy and I took her to Ocean City, Maryland, for a couple of days. Mom is now 89½ (or nearly), and she informed us that this would likely be her last trip to the seashore.  Mom said the exact same thing last time we took her, and we paid as much attention now as we did then.

Since I sell a lot of watercolor prints of Ocean City and all its landmarks, I thought this was a grand opportunity to scout some locations and take photos for future paintings. We had a working vacation of sorts.

We struck out on a Tuesday morning, picked up Miss Wanda (my mom), and went to Burger King for breakfast. Mom likes the little hash rounds and the croissant sandwich, and we had a coupon for two of those. Randy and I split a sandwich and an order of potatoes, and Mom ate a whole order all by herself. I was feeling sort of virtuous because the only other thing I’d had all morning was half of a granola bar, which I shared with Randy while we were getting ready to leave.

By the time we got to the beach, I was starving (which is my natural state most of the time), so I ate a couple of peanut butter crackers and had three barbecued corn chips when Mom cracked open her bag of snacks. Let it be said that I did NOT pack any snacks.  Only water bottles for me. Mom had an entire bag full of goodies, and I discovered that Randy had not only packed a few snacks for himself, but he’d also put together a few things for me. That’s where the crackers came from, and at that moment, I was too hungry to be upset with him.

With Covid restrictions still in place at that time, we’d planned to either order room service or pick up some takeout food and have our meals sitting on the balconies of our hotel suites. Randy and I got a separate suite for Mom so that she could watch what she wanted on television, and she wouldn’t have to share a bathroom with us. She had her own kitchen and living area, too, so she had lots of surfaces to clutter. Miss Wanda packs a LOT of stuff.

Anyway, it was nearly 4:00 p.m. and a perfect time for an early bird special, so Randy and I dragged our tired selves back down to the car and went in search of dinner.  We ended up with fried chicken, biscuits, red beans and rice, and then a pound of steamed jumbo shrimp from the café downstairs.  I made a grocery run to the local Walmart, too, and picked up some yogurt, salads, iced tea, and ice cream. We had ice cream for dessert after eating all that dinner, but I justified it by saying that I hadn’t really eaten lunch and only half a breakfast.

The next morning, Mom and I had yogurt for breakfast, while Randy had milk and corn flakes.  I’d also bought some mini-muffins and we ate half of those.

Mom stayed in her room while Randy and I went out for a few hours to take some photos and walk on the boardwalk. While he took some shots of the pier, I walked up to Fisher’s and bought two boxes of popcorn—one for Mom and one for Randy. I only sneaked one piece for myself. Randy offered me some more of his and, of course, I ate it. We cheated royally and had a slice of fresh, hot pizza because no one can resist that, right? Then we went back to the hotel for our healthy salad lunches. 

Mom ate at least half of her popcorn. There were a lot of Diet Cokes throughout our stay because those have no calories. At that point, what difference did it make?

My cousin and her husband had given Randy and me a gift card for Outback; but, since we’d been in quarantine, we hadn’t used it. So, it was steaks and coconut shrimp, loaded baked potatoes, and healthy steamed veggies for dinner. More ice cream. Did I mention that Randy had brought a package of Hostess cupcakes for me? He knows I love them, and the darned things had been calling to me all day. I ate one while he had more popcorn. Yes, I was feeling sick at that point.

A big breakfast of pancakes, eggs, sausage, and hash browns started off our trip home, followed by a double cheeseburger for lunch.  We dropped Mom off at home, and I refuse to tell you what other things we consumed that evening.  I blamed the over-eating on the salt air and the fact that we’d been housebound for so long. We went wild.

I had oatmeal for breakfast this morning. And the last of those mini-muffins. What?

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