We stopped at the end of the driveway.
"All right, what's the plan once we get to the back door?"
"Mom", elongated, much more like "Mooooahmmm", in two exasperated sighs.
We walked to the back door where, because they are so easy to annoy, I ran through the basic drill, just as a refresher.
"Kick off your shoes outside, hang your towels on the chairs on the deck, run upstairs to rinse off, one in the shower and one in the tub, and then throw your suits down to me, got it?".
Two sandy smiling faces nodded at me, yes, we know they said.
I unlocked the door and stepped inside, followed immediately by two sandal wearing, towel wrapped wet sandy bodies.
"What are you doing?"
They looked at me as if I was crazy.
To be clear, I'm not unreasonable. I know that this was the first trip to the beach this summer, a place they had not been in at least 9 months. I also know that 9 months prior they did this exact thing no less than thirty times so I thought that perhaps it was still in there, this leave your sand at the door routine that we have been perfecting for 8 years.
"We just discussed this, you were going to leave your sandals outside? Anyone?"
Nothing but blank stares. They haven't been to school since Friday, clearly the summer brain drain was in full effect. They had forgotten everything they had learned last summer, or 2 minutes prior.
Kate began to nod, "oh, you wanted us to leave our sandals outside? Oh...". She opened the back door, flung her sandals into the yard, not actually stepping outside herself, and came back in, smiling like the class valedictorian. Mary, not one to be left out, followed along.
"Now what do you think you need to do?"
Another round of confused stares, leading me to believe that catching a flight to Paris might seem just as logical as taking off your wet bathing suits. Mary, our first born, our leader, stepped up, "I know Mom, put on pajamas".
"Yes, correct, eventually, but look around. You are standing here in wet bathing suits, wrapped in wet beach towels. What steps might you take first?", I asked, as if this was not in any way a rhetorical question.
Mary hit the buzzer first once again, this time stripping completely in the kitchen, directly in front of the open back door.
Kate, taking full advantage of a few extra IQ points, shook her head, "um, I don't think so Mary, you are naked!". This immediately devolved into wild fits of laughter, as if they had never seen one another naked before. I opened the refrigerator and helped myself to a Summer Shandy, having no such problems recalling my summer routine.
Mary was now jumping around the room, shaking sand from every bit of her naked body as her sister stood, still wrapped in her towel, watching this side show like a shivering voyeur at a convention for the confused.
"MOM! What do I do NOW?" screamed the naked child.
"Well Mary here's what I need you to do. Hop on your bike and ride into town for a pizza, can you carry a pizza in your basket?
She rolled her eyes at me, "MOM! I am naked!".
Clearly disgusted with me and my lack of specific direction, she marched upstairs, taking matters into her own hands.
Kate watched her go, looked at me, and then walked outside to hang her towel on a deck chair. I was encouraged, hopeful.
"Now what do I do Mom?"
Oh summer, I've missed you.