No Joking About My Margate Vacation Hashtag This Year

Less than two weeks and I will officially start my vacation in Margate, New Jersey. If you haven’t read what this place means to me, here’s a blog link.

I took a lot of flak last year (just good natured teasing actually) with my hashtag for my month long Margate getaway #36 days of vacation and fun.

What people who might only know me peripherally, and saw my little cutesy hashtag did not know,  is that I work so relentlessly hard at warp speed all year, including major parental caretaking, full time and part time work, and pro-bono writing work too, that I need the entire month that I get to take off to unwind and decompress. I need it to re-energize and gear up for another year at warp speed and parental caretaking. I am the Energizer bunny and I keep going and going and going. I need my battery recharger during the month of July.

Margate Boardwalk

Europeans take four week vacations all the time; it is us Americans who think it shouldn’t be that way. (OK, mine is five weeks but only because I squeeze a couple more days in on either side.)

This year, more than ever before, I need this time away. My home flooded – badly. It was destroyed, and rebuilding will be a slow and painful process. We will live as gypsies, around the workers if possible, and sometimes with friends in the area, and yes, for five weeks I get to live in Margate NJ, away from all of this absolute nightmarish mess.

I am trying to figure out my hashtag for the season:

Something like

36 days of traumatized flood victim recovery.

36 days of escaping drywall dust, bleach and tears.

36 days of leaving the reality of my torn up house by living in a tiny but cozy intact condo.

Any suggestions out there?? I am open to them.

The pace, while always busy for me has been absolutely grueling since the flood. Every spare moment not working has been packing up, protecting things, moving my dad to a safe place, and cleaning up. The list of things to do, including documenting all of our losses (haven’t gotten to that yet) is absolutely ENDLESS. I have not gone to yoga as much and my regular bike rides are a thing of the past. Yes, I am still on FB, but just in bits here and there, and I am writing my blogs early in the morning, or very late at night when I have to get things off my chest to sleep.

Can you see why I need this more than ever?

Margate List

I feel a bit guilty for escaping from some major responsibility to get my home restored, but there is always skype and computers and what gets done, gets done. The rest of the kitchen will be coming down right before I go, and then the last working bathroom so it will be good timing as my home has been barely habitable up to now. My home will hopefully be that much more on its way to normal when I return, though it is expected to be 3 to 4 months. I am hoping for drywall and cabinetry (more dust I can try to avoid) to be installed in that time. Ambitious plans, I know, but it would be nice to come back to actual walls again.

Besides, this year will be a bit different too – instead of a total lack of responsiblitiles while in Margate, I will be doing some parental caretaking. That’s a big job, and a stressful one.

Still, I am counting the minutes, hours and seconds until I leave this mess. Thanks to my friends on the “other coast” for reaching out to me during this crisis, and I can’t wait to see you all again and give you big hugs.


  • Do you rent your house from my friend, Rhoda?

  • My good friend Betsy Peterman sent me this link as I am from Houston and grew up on South Braeswood. Imagine my surprise when i saw you spent the summer in Margate! I now live in Philly and love to go to memories in Margate to see Jerry Blavat on the weekends. Arlene, if you come by Philly you are always welcome to stay here!

  • Arlene dear, this is your life. In my opinion, I don’t think you have to explain why or when you take a vacation. You have another place to live while your Houston house is being restored and you planned ahead to be there anyway. It is an ideal place for you to really unwind and form a state of normalcy in your mind. Of course now you do have to worry about your dad, but at this time of your life you don’t have to worry where your kids will reside. If they still lived with you, you would have to stay busy with them during the summer. Without that other place, you would not be able to escape from the flood damage so fast if this happened decades ago. Technology did not function the way it does today. Enjoy your time in Margate. Not everyone is as lucky to make the escape. You have worked hard enough so you deserve it. Be well.

  • #from flood water to ocean water
    #from flooded floors to sandy beaches

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