Another Baran Vacation, Part 2— Featuring Hazardous Puzzles, 17th Century Swords, and Bird Poop

Another Baran Vacation part 2


As you can see, my wit has returned, and I can once again write a decent post.

Hallelujah for that.

In the meantime, I hope you’ve been anxiously awaiting Part 2 of our vacation. If you haven’t,Β  you can get out now, because I don’t need your negativity on my blog.

If you haven’t read the first part, I highly recommend doing so now.

Another Baran Vacation, Part 1β€” Featuring Photogenic Pigeons and a Hurricane

Day 5

The fifth day in Ocean City began when my adrenaline sudden decided there were better places it could be.

The result was a beautiful feeling that can only be described as, “falling off a ten story balcony and promptly being run over by a truck”.

Like the good dad that he is, my dear father took it upon himself to record the spectacle for future generations.


Love you too, dad.

However, it was nothing that a little Starbucks couldn’t fix, and soon I was back on my feet.


Meanwhile, Dad and Anna discovered how relaxing and mentally-rejuvenating a puzzle can be.

I think we can all agree that my sister is Epic.

They literally stared at that thing for three straight hours. It was slightly worrisome.

I’m going to do us all a favor and skip the rest of this day, because honestly, nothing of great importance happened. There were no earth quakes or tornadoes—only a hurricane. No one knocked over a building or anything. The Avengers didn’t show up.

Of course, we did all get locked out of our condo again… and this time, it was with the twenty-something extended family members.


It was rather epic.


Day 6

The hurricane finally decided to bless us with its departure.


Figures, it had to be our last day there.

In honor of aforesaid last day, we all (“All” being us and a few extraneous aunts and cousins) went out to eat breakfast at this cheesy little place called the Sahara Cafe.

Yes, that is a shirt depicting Darth Vader in pastel purple and turquoise. The ghost of Anakin Skywalker is rolling over in his grave right now.

Despite the look on her face, the food was quite good.

(Also, please ignore the extraneous streetlamp that was PERFECTLY positioned to completely block out the ‘S’ in Sahara. That was not my fault.)

After breakfast was eaten, Dad and I managed to sneak away from everyone else and go on a small, covert operation labeled, “The REAL reason I came to Ocean City”.

Guys, prepare to be blown away.

The place we went was…



Please keep in mind that looks can be deceiving. Would you believe from looking at the outside (and frankly, most of the inside) of this cheesy little souvenir shop that, way in the back, there’s a flight of steps leading up to a small museum full of real ship-wrecked treasure?

You wouldn’t believe it.

That’s why looks are so deceiving.


Just a very lovely set of stairs…



Still more lovely stairs (with the added bonus of a lovely lamp, of course)…

And then…

And then the grumpy lady behind the front desk yelled at me for taking pictures, and proceeded to inform me that I couldn’t post them on any social media account anywhere.

So you don’t get pictures of the buried treasure. You’re just going to have to take my word for it when I say that this place is AMAZING. There is nothing so inspiring as walking around a small, dimly lit room with wood paneling and glass cases, gazing at 17th century daggers that were hauled straight out of the sea. (You guys know how much I’m into ancient weaponry, right?)

It was a writer’s paradise.

The GOLD! And the JEWELS! And the scads upon scads of 18th century SPOONS!

I’ve gotta say though, despite all the spoons and jewelry and shiny things, my favorite artifact was probably the small lead bullet that 17th century ship surgeons would have their patients bite on when they had to take off a limb. (In place of anesthesia, you know.)

The thing had teeth marks in it. It was mildly fascinating.

Then some woman and her whiny five-year-old brat came in, and Dad and I decided it was high time we made our exit.

So we returned to the condo, only to pick up mom, Anna, and all the extraneous extended family members and head right back out again, this time to go mini-golfing.


Do you see the expression on my father’s face? Judging from that look, I am 100% sure he’s pulling one of his dad tricks on my brother Joseph and not letting go of the ticket.


For your information, no, I was not about to fall into the moat.

Despite my triumphant stance, my golfing skills were sadly lacking.

I would like to explain something: My mother taught me the rules of mini-golf when I was very young, and her method (if you can call it that) is what some would call… unorthodox.

See the ball, whack the ball.”

So I did.

First shot and it went in the moat.

Cousin-in-law Brett played the knight in shining armor and fished it out for me. I put it back on the green and tried again, this time determined to steer as far away as I could from pirate ships, moats, and all things the color of chlorine.

I am pleased to announce that my ball didn’t go in the drink.

It went in the bushes on the opposite side instead.

I don’t think it will surprise anyone when I say that I came in last place.



Mom at her finest.


IMG_1172 (2)

If you can’t already tell, she had about as much clue what she was doing as me.



Still has no clue.

In fact, she compared her state to this.




You see that sign up there? Back in the day, it used to be a window, with a pair of hands hanging out and holding a severed head.

Apparently, that wasn’t kid friendly. They took it down.

And finally, we have Dad demonstrating the See It, Whack It principle, and how well it works. (Featuring the Voice of Anna being snarky.)

(Apparently, because I have the cheap version of WordPress, it won’t let me upload a video unless it’s on YouTube first. So here you go, stupid WordPress. I hope you’re happy.)

After mini-golf (in which I failed miserably), we went back to the boardwalk, this time with extraneous members of the extended family, because they wanted french fries too.

We met a whale.


In the words of Anna, “I think he’s got back problems…”

Then a sea gull demonstrated its miraculous aim.


We didn’t stick around too long after that.



Do you see that, guys? That was our final sunset in Ocean City. It was only a few hours later, after a parting ice cream with Granny and one of the aunts, that my family set out on the four hour journey home.

To say I was depressed is an understatement.

It was good vacation. It was a VERY good vacation. Spending time with my family (ALL of them! The Extraneous Extended one too!), brainstorming for my new book, looking at the ocean but never QUITE managing to get down and see it up close, ice cream, scary puzzles that suck the life out of people, etc.

It was a good vacation.

I’m ready to do it again.

And that, folks, concludes the extremely late Part le Second. There is no Part le Third. This is it.

Until next time! (And with me, you never know when that will be…)



14 thoughts on “Another Baran Vacation, Part 2— Featuring Hazardous Puzzles, 17th Century Swords, and Bird Poop

  1. Mini golf…lets just say, I’m really bad at it as well. So don’t feel bad Sarah πŸ˜‰. Sounds like you had a good vacation.


  2. What do you mean, inappropriate for children? Obviously any young child would be delighted to see a severed head.
    I’ve been waiting for Pt 2, thank youuu!


  3. Yay, we get to hear more about your vacation!! I love reading your blog, you always have something sarcastic to say. I also love your Darth Vader shirt.


    1. Aw, I’m glad you like my snark. It’s always encouraging to hear that people like reading my things. ❀
      (And ain’t the shirt great? Anna was so happy when she got it. She loves Star Wars enough to submit to degrading Darth Vader with pastel colors…)


  4. Hi Sarah!
    I am glad to hear that your vacation was a success. I suppose we can thank Starbucks for something, even if it was that we only got one picture of you sleeping! πŸ˜‰
    I would have loved to see that shipwreck place. I think I would be willing to go to the beach just for that if I could, and as I might have told you, I’m no beach person.
    I think the pastel colors are an improvement to an otherwise disturbing countenance. (I have never seen any of the Star Wars movies, and so have little to no idea who Darth Vadar really is. I know, I live in a vacuum. I’m homeschooled; what else do you expect? *winks*


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