What happens when you combine:
- 1 shark
- 2 grandparents
- 4 twenty-something males with beer and fishing poles
- 5 grandkids
- 12 black balloons
- 24 assorted glow sticks
- several quarts of ice cream, chocolate and caramel sauces and whipped cream?
While the parents went carousing around Atlantic City, Hoss and I sat the grandkids down and told them we were going to do something hugely fun that they'd never done before:
We were going to build a UFO.
Quizzical looks accompanied a collective "Whuuuut??"
Hoss unboxed the helium tank and began blowing up the big black balloons we'd picked up earlier that day while I passed out the packets of glow sticks.
"We're going to build a UFO and launch it down on the beach, and if we're lucky, someone will report seeing a UFO in New Jersey. Just think - you're walking the dog or driving home from the movies and you see this glowing, floating thing in the air. Aren't you going to freak out and tell everyone you know?"
Then, laughs and approval. Papa Steve and Nana Lett scored a win.
So we tested configurations and weights and decided that two glowing orbs about the size of cantaloupe, connected by a string so one would be suspended about a foot below the other, would draw plenty of attention. We attached them to a dozen balloons that we suspected would be nearly invisible in the dark and would give the contraption lots of lift.
We were ready.
But first, we had to get the USS Proper safely down to the beach, along with the seven of us. Welp, there's only one thing to do: pile everybody in the back of the old Explorer and transport everyone unbelted and illegally down to the beach. Which was a first for all of them and was, in itself, a blast:
(I didn't get a good pic of Laney because she was directly behind me, but she was there!)
We didn't get stopped on the single block long ride to the beach and none of the parents yelled at us, so I guess we got away with it.
We posed for a quick pic before the countdown and launch:
And the USS Proper took to the air for her mission.
We watched her fly north for a few moments, then we noticed a commotion a few hundred feet up the beach. There were shouts and lights and what looked like a really big fish on the sand.
Holy cats! That's a shark!
Four young guys decided to do a little surf fishin' and beer drinkin' and had managed to catch a seven foot sand shark. The hook had him by the tongue and he wasn't too pleased about it:
They managed to get the hook out without losing digits or limbs, tagged him for tracking, then let him go.
After that, we headed back to the house and had gooey, messy, fantabulous ice cream sundaes (pics of that are here).
The next morning, the first thing Laney said was "Did our UFO make the news?"
It didn't, but we sure had fun.