When Nothing Goes According to Plan

Posted: June 29, 2012 in General
Tags: , , , , ,

So, I went on vacation last week to Ocean City, Maryland. It was pretty good, but things didn’t exactly work out how I expected them to.

For one, I didn’t blog once. I had planned on blogging while on vacation because I sincerely enjoy it. That didn’t happen.

I didn’t write either. Not at all. I had the time, I guess, while sitting on the beach, but I decided to spend it getting injured instead.

First I got sunburn. Which would have been fine, normally. Uncomfortable, yes, but fine. This sunburn, however, was completely random. As in, I have a white patch in the middle of my arm because spray sunscreen and I don’t mix.

I also have a strange boomerang-shaped burn on my right leg.

Then I happened to cut my own ankle open with my own toenail. Yeah, I’m not really sure how that works either. But I did it.

Yay, me.

THEN. Then, I was grabbed – nay, ATTACKED – by killer seaweed. I kid you not. One minute I was floating in the ocean, enjoying the pummel of the waves (which, if you know me at all, is something to rejoice about because I’m terrified of water), when something hooks into the side of my foot. And, yes, it was the same foot I had already injured.

I don’t know what it was. It felt like a plant, but whatever actually caught me felt more like a fish hook. It was probably the only thing around for six miles and I found it.


After nearly drowning my best friend in an attempt to keep myself alive (glad to know my instinct to survive is nice and strong), somehow I got unhooked and made it to shore. I was barely bleeding, and I think I was more traumatized than anything.

I did mention large bodies of water scare the crap out of me, right?

So, I didn’t go very far into the ocean since that day (that was on Sunday, a mere day after we had initially arrived). But it’s cool. I was mostly avoiding the sun and having to put on more globs of sunscreen. I hate putting on sunscreen. Maybe that’s why I got burnt… Anyway, next time at the ocean, I’ll still go in. The only way to overcome a fear is to face it head on.

That night we had spaghetti for dinner. I don’t know about you, but that keeps me full for a good hour. Then I’m hungry again. My friends and I (who thankfully were hungry too) stopped at this incredible restaurant. Great service, great prices, great food, and cool chairs you can swing in while you eat.

If you can’t make it out, it says (underneath the chicken), “Big Pecker’s Bar & Grill.”

I’m just going to let that one sit with you for a minute…

On Monday is rained buckets and that just happened to be the day we went to the boardwalk. At least it wasn’t crowded.

That night we hunted for sand crabs. I’m not usually one who goes grabbing for things that scuttle and scurry, but these little guys were kind of cute. I enjoyed digging in the sand for them for a good half hour before I almost caught a REAL crab.

That ended my hunt right then and there. I’d had enough injuries for one week, thank you very much.

On Tuesday, I continued to stay out of the sun. Until my friends and I decided to walk from 77th street to 17th street. On the beach.

I’m still sore.

BUT I got to meet one of my Hypable co-workers. What were the chances that we’d be in the same city on the same day and able to meet up with each other? Definitely not according to plan, but this was one random event that I didn’t mind!

It was the awesome and incredible John Thrasher. I’ve been listening to his voice on Glee Chat for what seems like forever, so it was a strange experience to hear it coming out of someone’s mouth for once (instead of my speakers). He was super fun to talk to and I’m thinking it’s not going to be the last time we meet up.

And I saw this beauty in one of the souvenir shops and just had to snap a picture:


That night we caught the sunset:

And we woke up at 5:15 AM to catch the sunrise:

Then it was Wednesday. Oh, Wednesday. This is the coup de grâce. The big one. The one that beat out even the deadly seaweed plant that nearly drowned me.

So. We were driving home. It was around 3:00. We got hungry and decided to stop at Friendly’s. This was in Middletown, Delaware. We ate, we made good use of the bathrooms, and we left. We hung out in the car for a couple of minutes before taking off. Then we turned right because we couldn’t go left (which is the direction in which we had to go). We went up the road until we could find a place to turn around, and then turn around we did.

On our way back we saw smoke. Dark smoke. Really, really black smoke.

“It’s probably Friendly’s,” Deidre said.

I laughed. “Yeah, right.”

“It’s not Friendly’s,” my mom scoffed.

We drove a little further.

“That’s really thick smoke.”

“Something is definitely on fire.”

“Oh, my God.”

At this point we drove by this:

If a single car had slowed us down on the highway. If one of us had to pee one more time. If our food had been five minutes late.

We would have been in there.

That gives you some perspective on life.

No one was hurt, by the way. All the employees and the patrons got out alive and uninjured. So, really, it wasn’t that close of a call.


It took eight fire companies an hour to put it out. The building was gutted. An educated guess would be that the coolers may have malfunctioned, as they were sitting at the front of the store where the flames appear to have started. But according to this article it actually started outside the building, in the mulch, though it was ruled as accidental.

Who knew going on vacation would be so dangerous and exhausting?

  1. Debra Kristi says:

    I got caught up on all your posts! Fabulous, Karen. I have been out of the social scene lately. Working my craft. I really love your pictures and the accompanying essays are wonderful.

  2. Wow what a experience, I enjoyed reading this & so glad your still with us so I can brag my great niece is an author!

  3. bwtaylor75 says:

    First off, I’m glad you are all right. The writer in me can’t help but sniff a story out of killer seaweed and a deep, dark ocean. Maybe creating a tense piece of fiction will help you with your fears.

    The whole fire thing was, um, too strange. The story freaked me out, and it didn’t even happen to me. Note to self: skip Friendly’s.

    So, when’s the next vacation?

    • Karen Rought says:

      Ha! Yeah, I’ve been thinking about writing something to do with the fire. Writers. We never stop working, do we?

      There’s no more major vacations planned for a while. Maybe that’s a good thing. I’ve had enough near disasters to last me AT LEAST a couple months.

  4. when you described the seaweed scene i immediately thought “grindlylow”. (too much hp?) sounds like you absorbed a lot of interesting experiences that could eek their way into your writing some day. so glad you didn’t get caught in the fire. yikes!

    • Karen Rought says:

      Ha! Don’t worry, I thought the same exact thing. Not at the time, of course. I was too panicked to think about it then. But definitely afterwards. Actually, it would’ve been pretty cool if it had been a grindylow. I would have been all right with that!

  5. Julie Glover says:

    Wow, what a trip! By the way, I LOVE large bodies of water: rivers, lakes, oceans. Adore ’em all. And I think it’s much more fun to swim in a natural body of water than a pool. Anyway…

    I’m so glad you weren’t there when Friendly’s went up in flames. What an amazing pic.

    And you know that cap made me roll my eyes, shake my head, and wonder about the ignorance of people…again.

    Misssed you in the blogosphere. Glad you had some fun among the chaos!

    • Karen Rought says:

      I want to love them, Julie. I really, really do! I enjoy swimming a lot, but there’s just something about the unknown, about what might be swimming below me that really gives me the willies.

      And I was totally thinking of you when I snapped that picture! I had to resist the urge to go up to the cashier and ask them if they knew what an obvious mistake it was. That sad part is, I bet so many people bought caps like that and didn’t even know there was a mistake. *sigh*

  6. S. J. Maylee says:

    Your vacation read like a soap opera 🙂
    Thanks for sharing the beach pictures, very pretty and that cute lil crab, aw
    so do you need a vacation from your vacation? lol

  7. ddog13 says:

    WOW. This is why I am doing a vlog when I’m gone. You never know what could happen. This would make for an awesome TV episode of some sort. Hopefully you’re not too burned or bruised. Sounds like a great trip though! Very exciting. Great post. It feels nice to be back on wordpress after a few days. I understand the feeling of relief.

    • Karen Rought says:

      Ha. PLEASE capture any near death experiences on camera. I’m sure it would look much cooler as a recording than as a single picture like mine was. Oh yeah, and stay safe and all that nonsense…

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