Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I actually looked forward to a Monday

And I don't have to go to work or take the boys anywhere if I don't want to.

We actually slept in to about 7. The sleeping is refreshing, knowing that if we want to go somewhere, we can or lay around the pool or beach if we decide to do so.

Breakfast was spur of the moment thing. Chuck spotted a NY style bagel shop on Sunday, so that is where we hit for breakfast. And it was a great decision, the food was wonderful and the atmosphere was just fun. Bagel, 2 eggs, sausage, home fries (to die for) and the coffee made breakfast worth going out and getting. It filled us all up and we got ready to get the day moving. All of us enjoyed something different, PJ had the half order of biscuits and gravy. Go figure, a New Yorker making biscuits and gravy. It wasn't all that bad either.

Now we will have to have the breakfast or the cereal for the rest of the week. There are only so many days that you can eat donuts and rank coffee for breakfast.

Chuck wanted to buy me another suit. Ok, but Daytona carries a lot of the trashy stuff. I am a 41 year old mother of 2 boys and in no shape for something that shows more than I want to see myself. So we went around to different shops, nothing. I gave up on getting anything else. I didn't feel like driving around all morning trying to find something.

We got back and decided to go to the boardwalk. Now before I continue, I love the boardwalk. I grew up 2 blocks from the ocean and I enjoyed all the times that we got to go to the boardwalk growing up. There is nothing like it around. The food, the fun and all the little shops on the side. I just love it. I made sure that we all had plenty of sunscreen .. going out to the pier. Off we go!

We have been to this pier before, but for some reason, Chuck couldn't find it. We drove quite a ways up A1A before I mentioned to him that we passed it. He agreed and turned around. Found it without a problem once we found the signs. Park the car, fill the meter and walk around a bit.

The first place that I love to go to is Zeno's Taffy and Candy shop.
Of course we had to go back and grab a bag of taffy before we left the boardwalk.

Chuck spotted one more store to look for the other suit. The selection was much better than the other stores we had gone to. This time I did find something. Tried on one size, didn't like the way it fit, went with the size that I didn't want to buy, but that is fine. I am not happy that I have to buy the 16, it bothers me. I worked so hard to drop inches and I have nothing to show for it.

The pier, we have been there before. The years before the shark was in better condition, but this year, it looked rather rough. I love the stuff that we go to that is free or cheap. It is also something that doesn't take all that long to do. Not that I care, we had nothing but time.

This pier, like any other, you can fish off of. Chuck wanted to take Eric fishing one day. That will be the day that PJ and I spend at the beach, all day.

But today we went out to see what was going on.

Of course the camera was right there with me and I was taking pics.

One person caught a tiny fish, used that as bait and threw it back. We were there for a little while, just enjoying all around us.

Back to Zeno's to pick up some salt water taffy for all of us to enjoy. Eric spotted a caramel apple that he wanted, I told him that it would be more fun for us to make that together in the fall. So he went to pick out the taffy he wanted. We all had flavors we wanted to try, we threw in chocolate chip cookie dough, cake frosting, peppermint and the one that is my favorite, peanut butter. Can't come to Daytona Beach without stopping at Zeno's for taffy.

We came back, only to go out to the beach. Yes, last year we visited Dauphin Island, but the beach was impossible to get to due to the Berm that they built to protect from hurricanes. The year we went to Oak Island, we were across the street from the beach. The boys could only go to the beach if we were with them. This time, it is right out the door and down the stairs. We could see them from the window. So, let's go and have some fun.

I didn't get in this time. Eric refused to leave his glasses in the room. So instead of someone walking off with them or worse yet, washing away in the Atlantic, I sat and watched the boys and guarded the glasses. They don't hang out too long anyways. Once PJ gets hit once or twice, hard, or they had enough, we hit the pool.

People here share their stuff. Noodles, boogie boards, rafts or whatever. One woman mentioned that we could use her raft if we wanted to. I decided that I was gonna lay on one in the pool. Chuck went out and bought the boys a small boogie board. Oh how tickled he was! We spent a little longer at the pool and I felt the heat beating down on me, I thought that it was time to reapply the sunscreen.

I enjoy sitting out here. I write all my stuff out before I post it. That way I don't forget anything. I hate to leave stuff out. Not only for my memory purpose, but I want you all to enjoy and experience the stuff that I have experienced on my vacation.

My lovely blind friend told us before we left, "a picture is worth a thousand words, well, I want the thousand words." Not hard for me to do!

We headed to the pool to ply after the sun went down some. Met a nice family from Kentucky. Chuck got to talking to the husband and I got to talking with the wife. We had a nice conversation about everything. And the boys played in the pool with their one daughter until about 10 or so.

This place is great. No one touches your things, you borrow stuff and return it where it was found.

The owners sold this place to some developers a few years ago. It was one of 11 properties that were sold for condos. Well, they developed most on the western coast of Florida, and tore down a few places in Daytona Beach. They aren't going to touch Shoreline for about 10 more years. The economy is slow right now down there, has been for several years. They figure they can make money with people wanting to stay there instead of tearing it down and having a vacant lot.

The condo that was 2 down from us, just went up in the past 3 years. I was talking with a woman about it, she told me that 3 years ago it was just getting the external stuff put on and that she had gone down there to see what they were like. There was 300 available units, only 17 sold. As of this past week, still only 17 sold. There are high rises all around. A limited of lights on. I think I would rather keep what I have and build if I have to. But when only a little more than 5% is sold, you begin to wonder what were they thinking.

All of my work on Sunday

Sunday at 6:15 I was up, ready for a cup of coffee, sit in the chairs and watch the sunrise. And in that order, that is exactly what I did. We decided that nothing was gonna be done on Sunday.

Our experience here, 5 years ago, was outstanding. We enjoyed it so much that we did decide to come back. The continental breakfast consisted of pastries, croissants, cereal, fruit, bagels, bread and donuts, coffee, tea, cocoa and flavors for the coffees. This time, donuts and fruit, coffee, 1 kind of tea and cocoa. That was it, so, breakfast wasn't what we thought it was gonna be. Really, nothing to write home about. The coffee was ok at best, and we were slightly disappointed with the selection. But it is free, so can't complain too much.

The room was a little smaller than what we thought, but it is separate from the rest, more like a cabana. We both thought it was gonna be too small, but it has worked out nicely, we aren't in the room enough to even notice the size. The window in the living room faces the ocean, so, that is a lovely sight to see.

We took a ride to Wal-Mart, missed it, got directions and turned around, discovered exactly where it was. We did our shopping and headed back to the hotel.

I love the fact in the room that we can open the blinds, look over the ocean, look at the pool and type away. Watch the boys in the chairs while they sit outside the window is a plus too.

Chuck wanted to buy me a new swim suit. But I think I would rather have had my teeth pulled or even an OB/GYN exam. Really now, buying a new swim suit is not something that I enjoy to do. And trying them on, well, I would rather be dead.

Ok, I know that I have lost several inches in my waist, bras are looser too, so I thought buying a new suit wouldn't be too much torture. What the hell was I thinking???? I was really, REALLY wrong.

I like the tankinis. They are cute. They cover what I feel needs to be covered. And I found one that I really liked, plus, it covered all that I know that needed to be covered. Still it was torture to stand in a changing room and try those devilish things on. I did find something that was a tankini, with a beach cover. Not too bad.

I took out my contacts and hit the beach with the boys. Chuck twisted his knee while in St Augustine, so I figured that I could go to the beach and the pool while he rested his knee, and wrapped it too. Walking in the sand would not be good with a weak or twisted knee.

The boys and I headed to the beach. The weather was great, the waves were perfect, the sand was HOT. But it was perfect, it was great, it was wonderful.

I haven't played in the ocean in years. I got sucked in an undertow when I was in 8th grade and it sticks with me until this day.

PJ got knocked down several times, it was worth it.
But it was great to see the boys out there in the water, enjoying it. We don't get this all the time, and this is a treat to them. For all of us, I love the time that we have here.

They had enough of the sand, so the pool was the next stop. We spent about 2 hours in the sun, and I felt as if the sunscreen was wearing thin. So back to the shade or to the room we headed. I was turning into a prune anyways, so I had to go inside.

Chuck and I decided that cooking was something that we really cook very much. I cook so much at home, that cooking on vacation isn't something that I want to do, we come here to rest, not to cook for the boys. Not this time, no major cooking! Easy cooking, easy grilling, easy clean up. Grills are available to us here, so we use them. Hot dogs, cooked shrimp for dinner, sandwiches for lunch and free breakfast is what we decided on.

After dinner we all went to the beach. I love it when there is no one there, or a large number of people there.

The sun isn't as hot as what it was, the tide is low, the sand is cool. It is something we all enjoy doing.

Chuck came out with us.
It was nice to get him out there for a while. I have the chance to snap some shots
while they were in the water.

Well, we were more tired than we all thought, we were in bed and asleep by about 10.

Saturday was wonderful!

We drove to St Augustine on Friday instead of Jacksonville. We took the bypass around the city and realized that the next several exits didn't have a place to spend the night. The one last exit that we looked at had lodging, inland St Augustine. We found a nice Comfort Inn and decided to spend the night.

For dinner we found a NY style pizzeria for dinner, yes, I know that I can have pizza all I want, but this is NY style pizza with pesto garlic bread, I can't get that all the time. Yes, it was worth it. It hit the spot!

I was up at 6:15 looking for coffee. Chuck was up too, so we headed to the continental breakfast and got some coffee. We sat outside on Friday night for Chuck to stretch his legs. I noticed some very nice gazebos, commented to him that he could have picked a more romantic spot, he wasn't looking for romance though!

While out on Saturday morning, over looking the lake, one of the employees asked if we had seen the gator. Nope, not yet. Go get the binoculars Patti and start scanning the lake. And sure enough, there was the nose of a gator, right there in the middle of the lake. And if you watched it carefully, you could see it pop up again and again.

Chuck woke the boys up for breakfast. Those continental breakfasts aren't too bad. We all enjoyed the meal, Belgium waffles, egg, ham, toast, coffee and juice.

Got ready and on the road again…..

I asked about getting on the interstate again, and he said "we have seen all the interstate has, let's go this way." Beautiful ride to Historic St Augustine.

I didn't know where I wanted to go, so we parked and started our 2 ½ hour walk. So we parked and started walking.

Of course the Fort would be one place. We went there and it wasn't a very good walking tour, but you get what you pay for. Walked along the Battery and then cut across to the walking mall. Lovely little shops and very nice places to eat. The breeze was blowing, the shade was cool, the smells were divine, the walk was refreshing.

We walked to the end of St George St and found a little place, JJ's Heritage Café, for lunch. Those little places that are off the beaten path are the best. You know the places that you have to order at the counter and wait for it to be served. I had to be odd man out and order the chicken cordon bleu on a Kaiser roll. Outstanding! Well worth the walk to get to it.

While in St Augustine, I wanted to get to the lighthouse. Now, I don't collect anything, don't really care about it either. I don't hunt out lighthouses to take pictures, but if I am in the area, I will go and see one. I think they are lovely to look at and the history behind them are amazing.

I love this mighty oak. A mighty oak doesn't grow straight up, they grow out, the protect the land that surrounds them by growing outwards. I love the way this one grows.

I mentioned about taking A1A all the way to Daytona Beach. We had enough of the interstate on Friday. So A1A it is! Traffic for a few minutes was bumper to bumper. But that cleared up shortly. Then Chuck read the sign, Daytona Beach 43 miles. Ha ha, 43 miles on a 2 lane road with speed limits fluctuating. But, since we left a day early, we had the chance to do something different.

We got to Shoreline at 2:30, a little early. But we got to our room and we got settled for the night. Of course the boys had to hit the pool and then the beach. We figured since they are a little older they can go out a little more than what they did before. Trust me, I have the binoculars!

Our drive through Georgia

I don't believe Georgia is as bad as driving through Virginia, but it runs a close second.
I guess I have to say that we entered Georgia at noon and left right at 5. The state south of Macon is rather ugly. But no where near as ugly as lower Alabama. The trees there are basically sticks attempting to survivie.
I am not a person that likes any kind of traffic. So Atlanta for me is, well, not for me. Every time we drive through there, I am white knuckled, headback, eyes closed. And God forbid if I had to drive through there myself. Now, generally, I don't drive the speed limit, not even close. But these idiots in Atlanta don't know a number close to the speed limit.
Of course the boys love Atlanta. GA Tech, Turner Field, Turner Broadcasting System and all of those stations. For me, just another large city that I prefer to stay out of. PJ loved watching the planes come in for a landing.
Living in Cleveland, well, the boys don't experience the things that I did growing up. And to see the joy and excitement maes vacation all worth it.
Chuck wanted to stop for lunch just south of Atlanta. The exit he chose was quite difficult to navigate, but we finally ended up at McDonald's. Not what i wanted, but it was either eat or starve.
Ok, now I am slightly picky about where I pee. Ladies, you know what I am talking about here.
I go into the Ladies room in the McDonald's, and one seat was covered wirh pee. Nice! Thankfully, the other was clean. Or I wouldn't have gone. I told the woman tha was taking the trash out and she just shrugged me .
Riding in the MB wasn't all that bad. Better than I thought it was gonna be.
Heading north bound all the troopers were pulling people over. 5 in a row actually. Not as bad as PA, they will pull 10 over at a time. They point and pull over and start writing tickets.
But Chuck knew the area and he knew where the traps were at. We ould watch them speed by and then a few miles down the road, pulled over.
We are crature of habit, I think we all are in some ways. Five years ago we stopped at a CITGO for gas, well, we hit the same place again on this trip. Same exit, same gas station.
Potty break, fill up, get water, stretch legs. Told the boys not to touch anything in the bathroom, wash their hands when the got done. And for me, well, there was a wait for a spot. Only to find a pee covered seat. Hell far women, if you have to stand to pee either A) you are paranoid or B) you are in the wrong bathroom. This time I came prepared, clorox wipes in hand. People are nasty.

Friday is upon us

I didn't sleep well Thrusday night - Friday morning. My head was spinning. Chuck got up to go to the bathroom at 3, and we laid there for about an hour before either one of us fell asleep. Chuck left he room at 5:20, and I wasonly hoping to sleep another hour. It happened, 6:18, I was rolling out of bed. I got the biscuits started. Ended up maing 27 biscuits, sent over homemade strawberry freezer jam and kiwi jam for everyone at work.
Now let's get the day going. Took the biscuits to Chuck, get catfood or my dad would forget. Take Eric to mow the yard. Get the portable DVD player, see how Eric is doing. He killed the mower, run home and get the snips, get the mower started, get PJ, go here, go there, check on Eric again, finally finished (wet grass bogs down the mower). Stop at Hallmark and FINALLY home. Only to meet up with Chuck 10 minutes after I walkedin the door. I still hadn't had breakfast. I also had to make sure the gardens were saturated, water the herbs, get the catfood put up, or she would have found a way into the 18 lb bag and start loading the car. He was serious!
11:15 we are making a left out of the drieway.
We are planning to stop in Jacksonville tonight. And then tomorrow, leave early so I can finally see historic St Augustine.
Vacation has finally begun and I am so looking forward to this time away.
Yes, we stiill have our phones and a computer. So we don't really escape from life, but over 500 miles away from home is an escape enough for me.

So you want to leave tomorrow?????

This was the quote that I received from my beloved, Chuck on Thursday night, before vacation.
Now every year, except when we went to Pigeon Forge, he has threatened to leave a day early. Only who knew that he was serious? Not meI
Considering that I am not working right now, it wouldn't have made adifference when we left.
After all day away from home on Thursday, I still had things to do to get done before we left. Not much, but enough to keep me busy most of Friday morning. Mind you, I already offered to make homemade buttermilk biscuits for Chuck's work. Still hd wash to do, Eric had to mow, sympathy card to pic up, pack the cooler and finish packing the suitcase.
Chuck got home and called his boss to aske permission to leave around 11 on Friday. Permission granted. Oh boy, I have things to get done.
Boys anted to play LIFE, and this particular game took forever. Chuck was trying to explain what we were gonna do, what time we needed t get up and what time we were planning on leaving on Friday.
Once I got done, I got to working on all the things that I could get done, clean sink, sort clothes, and get the cooler ready.
So decision made, we planned on leaving Friday morning at 11:30.
To be continued, same website, same author.
My apologies for any misspelled words, I am sitting in a hotel in St. Augustine on my phone.
Look out beach, here I come!

A little story about the birds and the bees

Birds have nothing to do with this, but not that I have your attention, let’s talk about some REAL bees, and lots of them.
My dad is 69 years old and he will try anything as a hobby. He makes lamps and stained glass items. He has a huge garden, full to the brim with a little bit of everything that they will eat. But he wanted to do something else, something different. Something to get him outside, so now he has 2 bee hives. Therefore, he had to get some bees to fill those hives.
Thursday before we left for vacation he asked if we would go with him to get the bees. Ok, I am deathly afraid of bees and extremely allergic to them too. So I really don’t know what the heck I was thinking, so we all tagged along for the ride.
He arrived to the house right at 8, left for coffee and McDonald’s and I realized that I needed my camera for this trip to Parrotsville TN.
Back to the house we go… We arrived in Knoxville about 9:30 and my dad can’t make a trip up there without stopping at the Best Bagel Shop and Deli. There is a reason why they named it like this, it was the best bagel I have had since I left NJ. Just like the NY bagels I would eat growing up, slathered with butter. I had to buy a dozen, along with 2 freezer bags, so that way when we got home from vacation we would have breakfast the next morning.
Originally I thought that we were heading to Knoxville, that is where my dad kept saying. But when he picked us up, he mentioned Parrotsville. I had no clue where the heck we were going, just along for the ride I guess. Where the heck is this place you may ask…. Good question! It is about 15 miles NW of Newport, which is about 1 hour from Knoxville, like you really care. Because at that point, I didn’t care either. Looking at the map later, we were right at the base of the Appalachian Mountains.
Oh the ride up, until one point, wasn’t all that bad. I was in the front talking to my dad, looking around, enjoying the scenery. It wasn’t until we hit this one lane road, 10 miles an hour for 3 miles, that I wasn’t too comfortable with the ride.
Not my dad’s driving, it was the ones flying down the road the other direction. They didn’t look to slow down, or see what was coming around the corner. Thankfully the road widen up some. As soon as we hit that part, there it was, the hives. Oh boy, not what did I agree to do here? He wanted me to take a pic of the hives for him, he was so excited about them, that he was like a kid.

There were so many photo ops, but getting my dad to stop every time is another story. But I did get some where we were at while waiting for him to collect the bees.
There was a puppy that was going after Eric’s shorts
and before I knew it, PJ took off to the workshop with my dad. I wanted to go in there, but the woman that owns the bees wanted to talk, so, to be polite, I spoke with her for a while.
Out comes her husband with 2 screen boxes full of bees. Lots of them too. The bees can’t be in the trunk or the heat, so they had to be in the front floor board, in the cool and dark. But before we got in the car, they had to get the few that were loose off the boxes.
Most of them got off, but 2 decided they wanted to stay hanging on.
On our way home, I had to sit in the back with the boys. I was not sitting up front with about 3,000 bees in each box.
Before I go any further, let me fill you in on this, so you can feel my pain. My dad drove a truck for many, many years. This driving habit hasn’t left him. Now he drives a Grand Marquis with loosey goosey suspension and steering, it rides like a boat, with no water around. I was getting sick in the backseat. Oh it was awful. I would lay my head back and pray that it would pass. The headache and empty stomach didn’t mix well with the ride either.
He stopped before we got on the interstate, bathroom break and comes out with this huge soft serve vanilla cone for the boys. That really didn’t help matters. The boys shared the cone and I had a lick or 2 off of it. Nothing but getting out of the car would help me now.
My dad put his arm on the door, well, there was bee #1. Got him, not too bad, just a little pinch. Now for bee # 2, it was my turn. I must have set my wrist down on the leg, and it must have been there. I didn’t feel anything, but about 2 minutes later my wrist was swelling and itched. Oh goodness, I didn’t have my benadryl that I meant to bring with me, and being allergic, on the interstate just outside of hickville USA, I am only hoping and praying that it isn’t as bad as what the others have been in years past. So not only am I car sick, I am getting sick from the sting. NOT GOOD! Thankfully, the swelling went down and the itch went away.
Finally after about 300 miles we were home. My dad dropped off the bees at the his house, and well, I had to help carry them in. I don’t know how I get sucked into doing this stuff, I just do.
My dad showed PJ the different levels of the hive and explained to him each one. We looked around his garden and the 3 dozen tomato plants. Everything looked so good.
Home was next for us. The end of the road was in sight, and I just wanted out of the car for a bit. I was tired and so were the boys. But I wanted to make biscuits for Chuck’s work before we left for vacation, so I had to go to the store and get what I needed for them. Return movies, drop off resume somewhere else, and then finally home.
So my day was long, exhausting, different. It isn’t everyday that you drive 300 miles to get bees.