Sunny Florida!

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We got to Florida around 2:00pm and went straight to the Keane’s in Jacksonville. Sean and Candy are friends of mine from San Francisco, but were originally from Florida. So, after some California time, they went back East. We had a nice afternoon and night at their really cool latino/tropical abode. I really felt like I was in the tropics there with all the windows open onto the screened-in pool, surrounded by plants backed up against a lush overgrown canal at the back of the property. We met their pups, Wednesday, the 30 lb. cat, and then heard about Worm, the hiding kitty. We also got the pleasure to meet another of the 3 muses, Nonna, Nanna, not sure how it is spelled, but she is Candy’s Grandmother who is in town to help out with for the Halloween season. While I talked that business with Candy, Jim was learning about Sean’s globe trotting Special Forces antics. After a beer and some stories, Candy and Sean made us a wonderful dinner of grilled swordfish, shrimp and veggies. Now…that is how you cook fish…deep fry free! We enjoyed a great game of Cranium later. Oh, let me rephrase that, we kicked their butts! Okay, beginners luck…but even if we lost it would be worth it to see us all doing the puppet challenges and let me not forget the clay sculpture tasks.

The next morning, after lounging around the house and talking of the country’s current events, Sean whipped us up a great blueberry pancake and bacon breakfast. He then took advantage of the tide and headed out to surf. And we finally got on the road. But we did not go very far, Jim had to get his tires rotated for the last time in a while at Costco. What do you do at Costco when you do not need to buy anything for 2 hours, uh, buy stuff anyway, read books, eat the free samples, get a $1.50 hot dog! Well, thanks to Sean and Candy for a great first night in the last state on our road trip! See you in a year…or maybe down in Hondo!

We got to me Mums in Daytona Beach late afternoon and settled in to lots of talking, eating and avoiding unpacking the car for as long as we could. Not sure if it was Savannah or a flu that got to us, but both Jim and I were under the weather. Chest congestion, coughing, sore throats and for some reason, Jim had pain in his ear too, bad pain. After a couple of days of sleeping in late and not doing much, we took Jim to the Doc. With some antibiotics and ear wax cleaner in hand we got home for him to rest even more. The poor pup, he did do 97% of the driving for 5 weeks straight; 6,500 miles. In our under the weather state, we went through our big stack of mail, paid bills, figured out some other financial issues, did laundry, sucked wax out Jim’s ear with some burning mystical cone, and slowly weeded out the so many things we do not need or can not take with us to Honduras. Good times.

Wednesday, our third day in under the weather hibernation, we had visitors. First, what was becoming early morning to us, Todd, my oldest brother, came over around 9:30 am and hung out for a couple/few hours. We hugged, got caught up, reminisced of our days of youth, got teary-eyed, and hugged some more. After some rest time, Joshie, one of my nephews came over early evening with hurricane 3 year old Braydon! Joshie is Wayne’s younger son and Braydon is Josh’s son, so my nephew and great nephew. You know how I love my family, so it was great to see Josh and play with Braydon. Later that night while working on email our new computer decided to mess up. Every time I pressed the top row of letters the number above each letter also was entered: w3e4ru7i8o9 AHHHHH! Not now!

After several days of being stuck in the house, with my lovingly pampering Mom and Pops we needed to get out, so Thursday, our fourth day in Daytona, was a day to get things done. We divided and conquered. Me and Mom went shopping, yes, someone had to do it and we volunteered. Jim and Paul hit the DMV and insurance company for car issues then off to Best Buy to get the computer fixed. Funnily enough, we all ended up at Chic-Fil-A for lunch. I had to go to my first Chic-Fil-A place ever, in the food court at the mall, of course. I found some needed travel clothing, let’s not forget the shoes we were in need of as well, and then went home full bags in hand.

We had dinner with Wayne, one of my older brothers, and his girlfriend, Patty. Had a nice dinner, then drive, and for those friends of ours who know we like dive bars, we hit a good one. I do not even think it had a name. There was just a big sign that said, “Lounge.” Drinks cheap, dark atmosphere, smoke lingering in the air and darts, who could not love it? After the telling of old times and funny stories, it was time to nurse the flu again back at home.

Friday, we did more chores inside and outside the home trying to take it easy in between. The highlight of the day, for me at least, was meeting up with one Pam Stamey, formerly, Pam McMenamy. A friend of mine from 5th to 10th grade, a best friend of mine. We were inseparable then, but had not seen each other for 27 years. We had not even talked at all until several months ago when I found her online. The first time on the phone, we talked an hour easy. After we said, “You look the same” to each other, we caught up on our lives, our family’s lives and of course, we laughed at the many antics we went through together as kids. We were lucky to survive. I have always wanted to tell her how much I admired her, and I was not going to pass up this chance to do so. It is never too late. We were at the Ocean Deck Bar and Grill, a favorite place of mine as it is right on the beach and is very casual. When it started to get rowdy we decided to call it a night. Pam went her way, after maybe eigthteen hugs, and we went ours…but this time it will not be 27 years apart. With a bit of hunger in our bellies we headed to old Downtown Daytona and ran into a Blues Festival on Beach Street. We walked, listened to some live music and then went in for some appetizers to settle our stomachs. After a bit of an emotional evening we called it an evening.

We did a lot of weeding out on Saturday, no we do not need seven travel books on Central America, nor do we need seventeen magazines to read or twenty-five rings. It got a bit stressful so we finally made our way to the beach for a drive, a walk and sit on the World’s Most Famous Beach. Well, that is what they claim! Hey, you can actually drive your car on it and car racing was basically started in Daytona, so there! The stress just fell off us as the sea air was whipping through the car windows, it was dripping out of our pores when our feet hit the wet sand on the water’s edge, and it completely evacuated our bodies while laying on a blanket with my head in my beloved husband’s lap while kids played around us, boys surfed the waves and seagulls flew overhead.

That evening was good old family time, Josh, Todd, Wayne, Patty, me and Jim back to my fav Daytona hang out, The Ocean Deck. We got there to an overly loaded karaoke session, but after that was done we settled in for some decent pub food and beers. More talk of old times, new jokes, rounds of photos and laughs. We had a good time. Wayne, Patty and Josh took off earlier and it was left up to Todd to entertain us further. We stayed a bit longer, but decided to do the “Main Street Crawl.” Thank goodness we did the mini version and hit only a few bars. All but one I do not recall their names, but I can now say I have finally gone to “The Boothill Saloon.” Main street is the mecca during Bike Week in Daytona and although it is much much less populated, the clientele is of the same Harley loving, leather vest wearing, long hair variety. Good ole boys. And The Boothill Saloon is a mainstay and must see for bike riding visitors. Now, I can check that off my list! Jim and I still needed to nurse the lingering bug, so we called it a night at a bar that is all open-air and is in an old gas station.

Our last Sunday in the good Ole U, S of A for the year was partly spent going through my clothes and Jim at the computer. You see we are having problems with our brand new laptop, the keyboard has gone whacky. We have an extended warrantee, but we have to drop it off at a Best Buy, they send it in to only God knows who, they take 3-5 weeks to get it back into the store. Fun, right? Then my very nice parents have to pick it up and mail it to us for outrageous amounts of money! The trials and tribulations of having technology as part of your life, right? So with that said, we will not have a computer the first 2 -3 months in Honduras, so we will have to rely on Internet Cafes for our communication. Please still email and read our blog, but bear with us if we do not get back to you in a timely fashion.

Around 3:00pm we had a hotdog fest (love that red onion sauce) with the four of us, my nephew, Josh, and his family (Shannon, his wife, that little ball of energy, Braydon – 3, and Araya, 7), and Todd. We ate, played hide and seek, and either tried to feed Paul’s squirrels or scare them to death. The weather was so agreeable, so we hung out in the front yard most of the afternoon. It was nice and relaxing and great to be with family. I sure do miss my OUT West family, so it was nice to be with my BACK East family. Tears are starting up now…and my heart hurts. I do miss you guys. Okay, after the troops left, we watched TV while working on the computer, me blogging and who knows what Jim was doing.

Our last day! Okay, does hectic and stressed sound right, well it was, but with an island of calm in the middle of it when my Mom and I hit the nearby beauty school for some cheap mani-pedis and then lunch with her old friend, Mrs. Petko. Other than that, we packed our bags for Honduras, we packed stuff for storage above my parents garage and we packed some more. My brother’s stopped in for one last hug before our big trip.

To bed we went, excited, but tired and ready for the 5:30am wake up call. This has been a long time coming and here it is, one of our life’s goal starting and on it’s way to being accomplished. Never give up!

We love all our friends and family and you are all so very important to us. Thank you for your support and thank you for reading our blog. I will probably write much shorter blogs, I hear sighs of relief across the country, while in Central America and sometimes even without photos. But will try to keep you all up to date. And remember…email us…we will be so very homsesick!

~ by My Gnome Little World on October 6, 2008.

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