March 29, 2014
There are just two days left in our Spring Break. Monday is the day when I have to return to work and Beth and CJ have to go back to school. We are all looking forward to it in a big way. Not. However, we cannot be too disappointed with our break as we returned last night from our trip to Florida. I am not going to gush at you about how beautiful the weather was or show pictures of us basking in the sun because that did not happen very much. Mind you, I am not complaining as it turns out our Florida weather was significantly better than the weather in Cincinnati this past week. And, we were on vacation.
They key to an enjoyable vacation, as it turns out, is that Steve not obsess with time tables. In the past I have been so obsessed with what time we were doing stuff or what the next thing we were doing was, that I forgot to chillax and vacate. I never let my brain exit work mode and enter anything resembling carefree mode. I think some of that is due to the fact that we drove and did not fly. As CJ pointed out, the be on time and hurry up and wait lifestyle that is flying can be more stressful than driving 12 hours. That is also an easy statement to make while you are sitting in the back seat texting and looking up fun facts during the whole drive, but point taken nonetheless.
We outsmarted the drive by leaving on Saturday and driving part of the way. Our reservations at The Breakers were not until Sunday, but we had nothing going on Saturday so we just took off. We drove about 75% of the way which landed us in Birmingham, Alabama. We stayed at an Embassy Suites which is our favorite hotel due to the "free" manager's reception and equally "free" brunch. We are smart enough to realize that the price of these things is built into the price of the room, but we still enjoy them anyway. Other than the fact that the hotel had screwed up our reservation (as in did not have it), we still managed to enjoy some local barbeque at a restaurant across the street and get some decent sleep.
The best part about this plan is that we were able to leave early and arrive in Ft Walton Beach around noon. As it turns out, Sunday was the best weather day of the week and this enabled us to catch a good portion of it. If you have never been to the Gulf side of Florida around either side of Destin, you are missing out on some beautiful white beaches and the clear waters of the Gulf.
I don't want this post to turn into a novel, so I won't break down the day-by-day for you, but I will say that our goal of eating great seafood and relaxing was met. We ate at a couple restaurants at The Pier (CJ may never be allowed back to the all-you-can-eat shrimp/flounder place), and ended up visiting a place called Stewby's three times. It was highly rated and deservedly so. Yum. Beth and CJ are also still talking about a Thai place we went to. Mission one: eat some great food-check.
Since mission two was to relax. We did our best to spend time on our balcony, spend time at the beach, and sit and read on the couch. Check, check and check. Our times at the beach were tempered by high winds but CJ and I found time to toss a ball and we all have much nicer skin due to the exfoliating qualities of blowing sand. If you wear sunglasses and keep you mouth closed you will avoid getting grit in unwanted places. We accused CJ of getting unwanted sand in his thongs which grossed him out quite a lot until we were able to convince him that flip flops are also called thongs.
The pools were heated and did not have as many jellyfish as the gulf, so we spent some time there when there were no screaming children at the pool. Beth and I played shuffleboard and I let her win so that she would not pout and withhold sex. We sat on the balcony and watched about 12 dolphins feeding and swimming near the sand bar. What was weird about that was how exciting it was to see them the first time, and then after about 30 minutes of watching them it became like seeing deer in our backyard. We see them often enough that it has become old hat.
I will delve into more details at a later time, but it all came to an end yesterday as we drove the twelve hours home. Fortunately, it did not rain the whole way and construction delays only cost us about 45 extra minutes. It could have been worse. So now we have a couple of days to readjust and do homework. I have not told work that I am back in town as they were great about not contacting me while I was gone. Soon enough I will be back to the grind. And quite possibly still finding sand in my hair.