Jersey Shore Research

(Originally published July 26, 2007).

My husband and I returned last night from several glorious days with friends on the Jersey Shore — the setting I have chosen for FUR BALL FEVER. Naturally, I will write the trip off as a research expense.

Our friends’ home in Sea Isle City is situated directly on the beach. Every day, the five of us sat on their deck overlooking the ocean, sucking down gallons of wine, playing Farkel or Oh Hell, and watching the waves roll in.

We are lucky enough to have been invited to the shore several times, so I can’t say I learned anything new. But I paid more attention to the little details that make a setting come to life — things like small planes flying up and down the beach and trailing signs that say things like “Drink Coors” or “Eat at Quincy’s”, the ocean turning purple and pink in the light of the setting sun, children’s elaborate sand castles on the beach, the lights of Atlantic City twinkling on the horizon across the bay, washing our feet off with a hose in the garage so that we don’t track sand into the house, the salty taste of Philadelphia Cheese Steaks made the authentic way with dollops of Cheese Whiz and plenty of fried onions.

Research is fun. And exhausting. And very, very fattening.

Today, I’m recovering, picking up the pieces of my life. My husband and I will stop drinking wine and pigging out on cheese steaks (sigh). Instead, we will eat healthy stuff like bran and fruit and vegetables and grilled fish; we will go on long bike rides; we will shun most things that taste good like fat and sugar; we will embrace fibre and fitness. The moment of reckoning fast approaches. On Saturday morning, I will step on the scales at Weight Watchers.

Has anyone else noticed that WW scales are always 10 pounds heavier than home scales?