What happens when you go to your childhood vacation spot for a week with your family?
I'll tell you what- fun. A whole lot of fun. My parents did a darn good job of raising us. I know few families who are able to spend 15 hours in the car together and spend a week in the same condo- but we did, and we had a blast every step of the way.
The Drive: Sure, it's about 14/15 hours. But it's a fun trek. Mo Dave and I had a good time. We talked, we sang, we joked, we slept, we ate. We stayed in a gross hotel on the way down to Florida that turned into one of the biggest jokes of the trip. Best car memory? A sign for Buttermilk Pk (Buttermilk Pike). Dave's response? Buttermilk Pancake!
The Beach: The beach at Fort Walton is gorgeous. The sand is white, the ocean a beautiful, perfect blue green combination. Waves crashing in, little kids running up and down the beach building sandcastles and screaming as the water hits their toes. I'm not a big fan of laying on the beach- I always feel gross afterwards- but to just spend some time down there is worth it. I did go in the ocean a few times, but had to stop when I started getting itchy red bumps on my body. Raise your hand if you're allergic to salt water. ::raises hand:: Best beach memory from this trip? Running around the sand dunes with Sara, acting like we were in the Hunger Games.
The Pool: I'm a much bigger fan of the pool. I know people say "you can go to the pool anywhere". But can you, really? I mean yeah, I can go to a pool in Michigan in the summer, but only on weekends, and who wants to do that? It's too crowded. And does Michigan have palm trees? No. The pool in Florida is the best. That's where I spent most of my outdoor time. My best pool memory from this trip was my sister running down the pool steps to save a toddler from drowning. His parents weren't watching him and he wasn't wearing floaties. He took a fall down the pool steps and couldn't get himself up. Mo jumped in and saved him. Go, Mo!
The Food: It wouldn't be a trip to Florida without some amazing seafood. I had raw oysters, shrimp, amberjack, mahi mahi, and crab cakes. Plus an the best omelet I've ever had at an old family favorite restaurant (Joe and Eddies) and two great meals in with everyone. And some enchilada's from a shady Mexican restaurant. I already miss the fresh seafood. Back to salmon, I suppose.
Various Activities: Goofy golf, shopping, games in the room, movies. Besides hanging on the beach/at the pool, we had fun elsewhere. Goofy Golf was a blast and a 1/2. No, it's not your normal "putt putt" and yes it is 100X better than the Pirate golfing in Traverse City. It's old school, dumpy, but so fun. And out of 6 of us, I got third place. Booyah. Sara and I went shopping one day when it was rainy, and we had so much fun. The outlet mall was packed with people, we made our way through the crowds, managed to have quite a few laughs and find some sweet deals. In our condo we had Sorry, Connect 4, and Disney Princess Uno. We played them all. With glee. Sara, JP and I saw Hunger Games Friday night. Sara read the books last year and had not seen the movie yet. I was anxious for her thoughts. Her response "I'm going to write a letter to every single person in the cast telling them thank you for making all my dreams come true." I guess she liked it.
The "activity" that stands out the most? Bingo. It was rainy, and Dave was itching for something to do. So Dave, Mo, and myself went to a Bingo hall called Bingo Castle. Now, if you've never been to a real Bingo hall, it's time you do. It was SO. FUN. Mostly because the three of us had no idea what we were doing (Bingo is not as simple as it was in elementary school, kids) and the locals were laughing at us. The best part was when we were playing a cover all game, so all the numbers on our board had to be called to win. Well Dave was just focused on the Bingo aspect of it, and when he got a straight line, he YELLED "BINGO!" and waved his hands in the air. The lady calling the numbers almost fell out of her chair- and then she came over to us and helped us. It was hilarious, and that is a new tradition for rainy days in Ft. Walton- Bingo Castle.
But you know, more than any of that, it was just a wonderful week of spending time with my family (minus my parents, who were not with us, but we talked to them 2-3 x a day, filling them in on our trip). I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. I am so glad that I have siblings I can spend time with, share things with. I'm glad we have never had a fight that caused a wall between us. I've seen that happen to so many families. Not us. We are strong, and we stand together. On a beach. In Florida.
Personally, this week was just what the dr ordered. I needed to get away. I barely thought about work, only on the day of our big meeting. I didn't worry about who was covering me. I just let it go. That's what I needed.
It's back to reality. I had 113 emails on my personal email account (only about 50 were real) and 188 work emails. Tomorrow is going to be a long day trying to get things back in order. But at least I'm tan. #bazinga
Goodnight kids. And to those coming here from the a-z challenge, tomorrow I'm going to cop out and make a post a-g. Then I'll get started for real.