The first weekday of my vacation, and so the first real day of vacation. It's a chilly, rainy September afternoon and we roll out to the Seacoast to take the kids to the Seacoast Science Center at Odiorne Point. It's great despite the rain, or maybe because of it. Kris and I chit chat on the way out, make up new words to country music songs on the radio. Laugh. We have the whole shore to ourselves. We wander along the paths, poke among the rocks, pay a few bucks to take the kids inside when the rain gets bad and look at the exhibits, the aquariums, the indoor touch-tank tidal pool where they can see dog whelks boring (ever so slowly) into the armored backs of blue mussels and touch a starfish. We get a recommendation from one of the Science Center staffers and eat an early dinner at the Bratskeller – where Kris and I discover the charms of artichoke, tomato, bacon and feta cheese pizza and I learn that before four o'clock on a weekday the Bratskeller provides your second IPA for a dollar. We stop at Wallis Sands on the way back down 1A and stroll along the beach. "What's a vacation?" David asks suddenly. He's been very sweet lately, charming, outspoken about his affections. He says things out of the blue like, "I like being with you daddy." I wonder how long it will last. So he asks what a vacation is and I tell him, "It's a stretch of days where your company pays you to do whatever you want to do instead of going to work." "And this is what you want to do?" he asks. And I say, "yes." And I was happy to realize that it was really, enthusiastically, unqualifiedly true.