Weekends like this last one are why summer is great. After my birthday party on Friday (which Drea, Tom, and Renata planned and executed superbly) we drove up to Ocean City, New Jersey to hang out with our friend Lammy for the weekend. The five of us (me, Drea, Tom, Renata, and baby Hayden) took off around midnight.

While I’ve made the drive by myself multiple times, I decided to let our trusty TomTom choose our route. We were never led astray, although it did feel like it a few times because the New Jersey highway system lacks the faintest hint of human logic or intelligence. If you don’t believe this, try exiting off the NJ Turnpike, and then try to get back on. (“Why can’t I make a U-turn? Or a left turn? What the devil is a jug-handle? Where the #%$@ are we?!”)

Anyway, Tom and I split the driving and we arrived at Lammy’s pimped-out beach house around 3:30. All of us married people enjoyed the reverse-novelty of sleeping in our own individual beds. (Not to worry – we all still love our respective spouses!)

The next day, we hung out at the beach. The weather couldn’t have been nicer; not too hot, a nice breeze, and the water wasn’t too cold. I used that new spray-on sunscreen, which apparently wasn’t up to the challenge of preventing my chest from absorbing so much sun that I was radiating heat by the end of the day. (OK, I also may have forgotten to reapply after swimming in the ocean. Big no-no for a pasty-pale guy like me!)

That night, we hit the boardwalk, gorging ourselves on ice cream, funnel cakes, and French fries. Tom (of course) entertained all of us by feeding a seagull from his bare hand. We took Hayden to the amusement park, and all six of us got on this old, creaking monorail ride that made you stare death in the face every time it made a turn. Good times.

The next morning, we rented bikes and had a great lunch at Kessel’s Korner. After saying goodbye to Lammy, we headed back home. New Jersey’s aforementioned road suckage turned our 3½-hour drive into about 6. But we all managed to stay in good spirits, even little Hayden, who is at that age where he talks all the time, but can’t put words together yet, resulting in those one-of-a-kind words like “aaiishasheesh!” or “whaddisheebay!” Pretty entertaining stuff.

We eventually gave up on getting home in time for our small group meeting, so we pulled off I-95 for a leisurely dinner at the Cracker Barrel (so good).

We got home quite a bit later than expected, but those long, traffic-congested car trips aren’t so bad when you’re with good friends. We had a fun time, and it was great to see Lammy. Vacations, even these little short ones, are the best.