Small, clean waves and minimal crowd, according to the cam. I kept watching while rolling dough. Conditions stayed appealing as dawn shed more light on the scene.

“Hey, Nick! Want to surf? Can you just get from your bed to the truck in five? I’ll load everything, but we have to get Kaylee to school on time and go now!” After yesterday’s weird highs, his blood sugar had stayed in the perfect zone all night. Plan was a go.

Ten minutes later, the three of us were halfway to Arcata. Fifteen minutes after that, Nick and I pulled up to see about 30 people in the water, sun breaking through the clouds. The morning chill whooshed into the truck as soon as we opened the doors.

“It’s cold and crowded and you made me get up so early,” Nick groused.

“Why don’t you finish that homemade empanada and get suited up?” I said.

Another 15 minutes and not only had the crowd thinned, but Mr. Grumpy had disappeared on a wave that took him halfway to Moonstone, then paddled back, grinning ear-to-ear. Apparently life wasn’t so tragic after all.

We spent nearly two hours catching waves, gabbing with old friends, catching more waves. He outsurfed me (typical), but several long, peeling, sweet little shoulder-high opportunities presented themselves to me, most of which I managed to say yes to. Most fun I’ve had at Camel since I learned to surf there.

Best moment: Gliding down the face of a set wave as Nick was paddling back out. “Yeah, Mom!”