On the road again. I can’t wait to get on the road again. That’s what I tell myself every August, every year I get in the car and drive away from my dirty, messy (how much more of Merwin Meadows can we possibly bring home on our feet) house in search of dirt, mess and sand in the context of someone else’s house, specifically Vrbo.

Public Service Announcement: Your problems travel with you, defy state lines and 90-degree weather, going 80 on the highway with your three kids and 70-something-year-old parents in tow. It goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway, we needed a vacation from our vacation before we even arrived.

I will not throw an entire small city under the wheels of my mom van by disclosing the exact location of “boy, am I glad I hit Ancona’s before we left,” nor will I go so far as to profess my distaste for basically the entire state of “borders Connecticut.” What I will say is “beach community” can apparently take on something lexicographically loose enough to encompass a bathtub or large puddle within the context of our home-away-from-home.

I can’t say enough good things, however, about the house. Truly, if you ever want to stay in a beautiful, two-story by the bay, look no further. I didn’t. The views were something out of a Nicholas Sparks novel, the novelty of those seersucker hammock swings have yet to wear off on me, and nothing, nothing, says you are home, Lesley Kirschner, quite like a fully-stocked cabinet full of complimentary fine wines. I kid you, not.

The owner thought of every (down to the olives and toothpicks with those little umbrellas) last thing you could possibly ever want for. I had central air for the first time in my life for four full days. You can’t unfeel some things. My son slept through the night (okay, in reality, it was like six hours) every night without waking. My girls put their phones down and opened Rummikub and almost played it. I took a shower. Life was good.

Until we went outside. Or rather, drove a block south or two blocks north or three blocks west or east … it didn’t really matter because essentially we were on a moat surrounded by one of the most depressed areas I’ve had the displeasure to patronize in recent memory, and I’ll spare you the details, I’ve seen a lot of shit.

Think “Skid Row” (all you Little Shop fans) meets where Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s characters lived in Goodwill Hunting, took Alice’s Restaurant to dinner, had a somewhat unfortunate-looking baby and brought it to the beach.

After wading through a sea of cigarette butts, lighters, broken beer bottles and please, I want to meet the gals who actually were riding the red wave and discarding it for my almost 2-year-old to step in, we made a solemn vow to leave all swimming to the bathtub.

It was like being on lockdown all over again unless of course, you were a diehard enthusiast for that place that serves boobs or what I think may have been a dollar store/cantina/firework front for some drug lords who possibly had a very good game going just a few blocks from the playground where “Angie wuz here” and “Angie’s a ho” (multiple times, multiple playgrounds). You know, I was really starting to feel sorry for this poor Angie girl and not just because she clearly had a propensity for choosing somewhat illiterate partners who liked to pen their obscenities in Wet ‘n’ Wild but because, um, Angie lived here. I mean, not here on the playground, but here, in the town of boob bars and broken beer bottles, of dollar store drug lords and “hey kids, look … a hypodermic needle.”

I’m not judging. After just 24-four short hours, I understood the very real need to be injected with something. That liquor cabinet was the next best thing, especially after listening to four people with dietary desires both comical and concerning take each other to court over takeout options. We finally settled on frozen pizza.

This was not a wasted trip. Yes, there were times I was sure we’d be murdered or at the very least mulleted while going for our morning stroll. And I can say with confidence I don’t think I’ll ever look at a spicy salmon roll quite the same again (thank you, Sushi Paradise). Nor will I ever take for granted the cleanliness and pride that is taken in maintaining Merwin Meadows, Sherwood Island or Calf Pasture. Yes, you have this in writing to be used against me later.

I’m only sorry I didn’t write it in Wet ‘n’ Wild on a slide somewhere after many a come-to-cantina moment because I made some real-life changes on this trip: brushing my hair, shaving my legs, reading (I opened the book … that counts, right?). Facebook and I took a much-needed break from each other. Notification: Absence does not make the heart grow fonder. I looked out at the sunset, on a harbor of hope every morning that today would finally be the day I found a decent cup of coffee in this godforsaken town that time forgot.

It never happened. I immediately picked up a large latte at Tusk and Cup the minute we got home. This one’s for you, Angie.

Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.