Thursday, August 6, 2009

Work and Play

Visiting Myrtle Beach -- it's one thing we have done every summer for the past five years. It's Rick's second-largest trade show, and usually one of his most successful.

The jury is still out on how well this year's will shake down. It was awfully quiet on the floor this year -- lower attendance, and those who were there didn't seem to be buying all that much.

Even the folks with the big trucks didn't attract the crowds they usually do.

His job is to tell people about the software program he's designed for well drillers. My job is to be the "body snatcher" and rope in potential clients.

He also taught a class on a different program he's developed to help businesses calculate margin, pricing, and that sort of thing. While it's designed for the drilling business, I think I could probably add in things like art supplies, your hourly rate, business expenses, etc. and come up with a totally dismal and depressing look at how one must price to succeed financially.

Do I really want to know how much I undercharge for that felted bag when it seems pretty unlikely I could get more? And when I'd knit it anyway, just to have something productive to do while I watch telly?

But I digress. All work and no play makes Rick and Jeanie dull! So, we find our ways to play.

Of course there is the beach -- that time in the sun, playing in the waves. I'll talk more about that next time.

But there are also the meals out...

Rick had a nice little smile on his face when I took this photo on the last night of our visit at Dirty Don's Oyster Bar. Unfortunately, he wasn't smiling at three in the morning when Dirty Don's grouper came a calling again -- for the next 24 hours. I don't think he much wants to go back there, which is too bad, because the crabcake was great!

Walks on the beach in the evening...

A stop at the Pier.

(We ate at the restaurant here our first year. It was nice, but not a once-a-year thing. A walk on the pier, however, is always worth it!)

Take a look at those snapping flags! It was very windy out there!

There are lots of folks fishing and this fellow caught a shark.

Of course, everyone had to crowd in to see it up close and take pictures (present company included, of course!)

I think I like the pier in part because it adds something different to the landscape. Myrtle Beach is one condo after another on a long expanse of beach. The pier, jetting out into the Atlantic Ocean, breaks up the landscape, offering a break in the action.

We made it home just before the sky opened up with one of its many cloudbursts.

This is something I found interesting and different about Myrtle Beach this year -- every day we were there, it rained. Hard. Relentlessly. And relatively briefly. We very nearly were caught more than once, but managed to elude it.

Here's a great story about one of the people we met, although unfortunately, I have no photo. You'll have to imagine it.

On the first day of the show, en route to the convention center, we stopped at the nearby Subway to share a sandwich. It was a busy place, and behind the counter was a young woman, maybe 18 or 20, but with the snappy comebacks of a seasoned New Yorker. She was African American with naturally colored bangs and a faux-pony tail that was a combination of part maroon, part fuschcia. Her wide grin and sparkling eyes lit up the sandwich shop and despite the thick humidity and warm day, her deep chocolate skin looked cool as a cucumber.

While we eat our sandwich, she does a riff with a customer from South Africa. "You're not from Africa," she tells him. "I'm from Africa!" When asked what he is doing over here, he says he has three wives at home who support him. She'll have none of that! He asks her to be his fourth. As they rib one another back and forth, as smoothly as any skilled comedy duo, we listen and smile. Now and then she catches our eye with a big grin. It's all in fun.

As we leave, I say to her, "You're great!" and she flashes that brilliant smile right back -- "I love my job!" she replies.

We leave the Subway, the sky threatening with those dark gray clouds. We are ten feet from the convention -- after a walk of several blocks cutting through a parking lot -- when we feel the first drops of rain. Moments later, the sky opens up with a torrential dounpour so loud that the sound becomes a din as the water pounds on the roof and the thunder adds its sound effects. We just made it.

So, the next day at lunch, I ask Rick if he wants food from the convention hall or if he prefers I go to Subway. "Go to Subway," he says. "You'll have more fun."

She's there again, and as I walk in she greets me as though we're old friends. "Did y'all make it over there before the rain hit?" she asked. "I was worried about you. I kept wondering..."

I assured her we were quite all right, ordered our sandwiches, and sat in a booth to eat mine, eager for a break from standing at the show.

They were busy again. A pudgy, blond lifeguard, deeply tanned with blond, spiky hair, walked in, wearing a sleeveless yellow t-shirt, baggy shorts and carrying a walkie-talkie.

"Teriaki?" she asks. "You remember!" he says.

Six other lifeguards walk in and they, too, banter as delightfully charming and relaxed as the talk the day before.

What ever they are paying her, it's not enough.

A glass of wine and some trail mix on our hotel balcony made for a good way to relax after a long day.

Next time, you'll see what I love most about going to Myrtle Beach!


Bree said...

Ahh, I love Myrtle Beach.

I have not visited since you started posting Europe pictures because I was waiting for you to finish so I could drool in one long sitting. I didn't realize it was going to go on for a month. I am anxiously looking forward to my leisurely stroll through Europe now.

Janet said...

A little work and a little play....that makes a good trip. I've never been to Myrtle Beach but now you make me want to see it....and stop for a Subway!

~*~Magpie's Nest said...

You have such a way with words Jeanie.....a special gift! I enjoy your story telling and of course you have wonderful photos to round it all out.

Still hoping we may get to slip away to Myrtle Beach first week of September...fingers crossed. I'm not able to follow you to Paris ;)
sure hope I can at least squeeze in Myrtle Beach :)

BONNIE K said...

I want to go to that Subway and watch that woman.

Annie said...

Hi Jeanie, I've been doing some serious catch up on your Myrtle Beach adventures. Trade show, Subway, dune fences, pudgy lifeguard, tiny shark, umbrellas, shells replacing sand. You know you love a place when you can so vivaciously write about your current adventures while remembering how it was in the past.

Joanne Huffman said...

Great photos as always. For some strange reason, I find the tiny shark very appealing. It was fun to read about the Subway lady.

jet1960 said...

Could almost smell the water and imagine the wind blowing on my face.

Dawn said...

You know your description of the lady in Subway brought tears to my eyes - seriously, it is so nice to hear about someone so infectious and friendly, loving her job - sounds like they should bottle that woman or use her in training dvds.
The pictures of Myrtle Beach were fab, sorry about the rain though :-)

Glad to have visited again Jeanie

Love you and I do think of you often xxx

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