Friday, March 20, 2009

Florida in the headlights

As the story rolls:

Florida was just about a reality. I am an Orlando girl in my heart of hearts and whenever I see that welcome sign with the little oranges on it saying "Welcome to Florida" it makes my heart beat faster. This vacation was what I needed more than anything, winter beats the bejabbers out of me and I limped toward the seasonal finish line battered and weary, out of shape and overweight. (dammit). All in all a lot of sunshine and some good food might be just what I needed to set me back to rights.

We drove hard through the Sunshine State seeing some sunshine but nothing having any resemblance to the HEAT that comes from the sun. It was about 40 degrees, too cold for any vacation without skis attached. I wore my handknit wooly socks all the way to Ft. Myers, how is that for depressing. (A side sock note: they DO look like clown barf! My next pair is going to have to be tonal or something.) I was glad to have had my lapful of wooly cabley goodness although I didn't knit on it nearly as much as I thought I would.

I'd barely driven past Ocala when my daughter sent me a text. Apparently she had seen a post from the night before on Facebook. "Where are you in Florida"? Because she is my child I am legally bound to do the right thing and tell her. When she finds out, it is her job to come from her now residence in Georgia. Not mind you that she misses me. Not that she loves her Mama. Not for any other reason than the fact that she is firmly entrenched in the selfish zone, not working but living with a military spouse and thereby full of funds and footloose. Can they (THEY) come and spend the week? Sorry, call me a jerk but NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! First vacay in years, tiny TINY place, one bedroom, and TWO more people? Have I mentioned no? They did end up coming for two days. Shortly after arrival she was wondering if I might cook her favorite dinner. (Refer back to no!) I know that sounds positively hateful, I am a nice person and a good mother, really. Right now my daughter is on the tough love diet. Personally I think it is hardest on me by a landslide.

Day One of vacation was chilly to be sure. We all (read: all) decided to drive the 50 minutes to San*ibel Island to see what we could see. Besides a brand spankin' new causeway and corresponding $6 bucks to drive the bridge---- we arrived to a jam packed island. If you've ever been the island is always crowded, but this was spring break after all. The bored looking traffic directors were everywhere whistling and gesturing, the license plates on the bumper to bumper traffic read like a map. Those on bicycles had the right idea, bundled against the chill they zipped far quicker than the cars in quicksand. First stop was a drive up to C*aptiva, wonderful and every bit as shishi, we ate lunch at the Bubble Room.

Yum. First fish of the trip, can you argue with anything from the grouper family? Nope. I did not take a photo of my fish, I should have. There were two ladies at a table across the room photographing their lunch and I just knew they had to be bloggers! After lunch we paid another six dollars to park for an hour (which is pretty standard) to walk a bit on the beach near the lighthouse. I love the lighthouse there because it really has nothing in common with the more 'known' lighthouses, smaller in scale and without that New England charm.

When I was a kid (like--- a long time ago) we went to S*anibel. Back then there was one motel and one restaurant, The Nutmeg House. The motel is still there under a different name and seemingly going strong. The Nutmeg House has changed hands several times. Back then the island was largely undeveloped and the shelling was nothing short of amazing. Now the island is developed within an inch of it's life and then some and the shelling while not bad is certainly not as it once was. Many find it necessary to go to several of the seashell shops that buy shells from the pros who dive the sandbars in the gulf finding the bigger prizes like the big lurex, and whelks. I still love Sa*nibel. On a trip back a few years we joined friends and indulged in the sport of sand dollaring. Basically, you go out at low tide when you can just reach the first sand bar with your feet, being able to stand comfortably. To dollar, you shuffle your feet along the smooth sand, leading with your toes which you sort of do a digging action with. With practice you learn to feel the sand dollars, kind of suctioned onto the sand. With a little bit of diggy-toes you lift them up and sort of flip them into your hand. They are not the pretty bleached sand dollars you're used to seeing, when they are fresh from the ocean they are damp and dark grey, sort of looking like cement. We go out with puffy air-filled loungers to hold the dollary booty. After a set period of time, the team with the biggest sand dollar wins. Those are our rules and may not be those set forth by the professional sand dollar academy at all. The loser generally has to make dinner or at least provide frosty beverages. Lots of frosty beverages. The sand dollars are tossed back into the sea, we are humane hunters. The willies for me always come when your toes make a scoopy catch and up comes a squirming and angry starfish-------eeeeeeeeeeeek!

We wrapped at the beach and went back to our (very) small little vacation home away from home with the kids in tow. As it was clear that I would not be preparing a big old dinner, Chinese food was brought in. After an evening of watching the girls watch stupid things on television and text endlessly making conversation difficult, they pushed off the next morning for M*iami and the K*eys. Sigh. I love my youngest but it was time for her to head off. I think that just maybe she will be mature by the time she is 50. Or so. I am holding out hope, after all isn't that what mothers do?

The pelicans are crazy on the gulf coast, really crazy. The odd thing is that it seems that just about everything is named after them. I suppose that this makes me wonder why because it isn't like they are cute birds or anything!

A brief Sweater Alert:

The second front of the cabled cardi has been bound off and both of the sleeves are on my longest Denise cables. While waiting for my car during it's oil change this morning I finished the last of the ribbing (1x1 rib, how boring are you?) So now it is time to set the pattern and get cracking on the sleeves.

The story continues to roll -----


Anonymous said...

3 cheers for tough love and saying no to horning in on your vacation!

I'm learning to say that word myself.

yoel said...

Hooray for doing what you want! Adults shouldn't mooch off of other adults. The 9 months of pregnancy, labor, and years and years of devoting time, $, effort, and love should be enough.

rita said...

Sanibel is my favorite place on earth. I'm a Floridian at heart; in two or three years I'll be one in reality (damn the state retirement system!) On one vacation there was a sandbar just offshore and it was ankle-deep and covered with sand dollars. I must have brought home a couple of hundred (dead) bleached dollars.

My favorite place to stay is the Blue Dolphin on the end of West Gulf Drive. I usually go there during the summer; once on spring break on a whim.

Thanks for bringing back memories--I'm looking forward to some of that hot Florida sun the week before Easter!