So, I’ve got to start cranking out the blog posts if I want to meet my 31 post goal in 31 days. Next time I mention doing a blog challenge. Slap me. Hard. Let me continue our vacation saga… I’ve got an award speech to write, and if I have time, I might blog about what my son’s parent-teacher conference taught me about him. Don’t hold me to these. Might happen. Might not.
SHE SPEAKS. SHE IS AWESOME.
1) Lord and Lady R: Apparently there have been some crazy shenanigans while I’ve been gone from work between the couple you might recall from the Day 1 blog. Lord R was in possession of a gun. Yes, a gun people, you read that correctly. And this gun had to be confiscated from Lord R after he threatened to shoot himself because he couldn’t stand to live with THAT woman one minute longer, “I’d rather be dead, or in the hospital, but I can’t put up with her anymore!” Having met her, I take this threat very seriously, and I’m sad for Lord R. I hope they get everything worked out and can move him over to another apartment soon. Prayers for both.
2) My blog yesterday was entitled Burn Notice because we are all quite sunburned. I neglected to mention that fact, although there will be more of that to follow. Apparently, it doesn’t matter how much sunscreen you lather on yourself down here. It’s brutal.
3) I had no idea that my husband wasn’t even fully awake as our son lay next to him wallowing in fever. It is good for him that I didn’t know at the time that I was alone in my worry and terror for little man’s physical health. It’s very good for him. In fact, I actually used my iPhone to calculate how long it would take to walk from Destin to home, and it was like 9 days. You’d think it would be longer, I wonder if that’s without sleep…. Hmmmmm. I’d leave him the map, with coffee checkpoints highlighted and circled. Yes, I know, I’m a giver.
4) And I don’t know who my husband thinks he’s kidding, like he needs to wait for man-child to grow up to check out other women…he does it now, ALL THE TIME. I can’t even tell you how many times he put our life in danger while driving and ogling chicks. He was like a dog with its head hanging out the window, tongue lolling to the side. Excuuuuuuse me for scoping out future husband material to get these girls married off so we can enjoy a relatively early retirement! Far be it from me to think of us and our future happiness!!!! *sigh*
Okay, on to Day 5. We departed this morning for Shell Island, located off Panama City Beach. We drove an hour to get to Andrew’s State Park, only to board a rickety bus with 40 other passengers and loaded down with our chairs, towels, umbrella, assorted beach bags and snorkeling equipment. Daughter #1 gets the front bench, which she shares with man-child, and we hadn’t driven more than 2 seconds, when the bus takes a corner, and man-child goes flying off the seat. Daughter #1’s face turned 6 shades of red as we took turns giving her hard time, accusing her of shoving him out of the seat so she could lie down, etc… It might have been made worse by the fact that a cute boy was sitting opposite her. I think if she could have vanished herself or us right then and there she would have. Poor thing. I didn’t know anyone could quite turn that shade of red; it was more like fuchsia or magenta. It really brought out the blue of her eyes though. man-child was a trooper, he didn’t even cry, although that might have been due to shock. He did throw his sister several hurt and accusatory glances though, and he didn’t offer to sit next to her again.
So after the bus ride, we have to wait on this narrow rickety dock and listen to this guy preach about the oil spill and bad government and how we should all follow him down to his “place” and sign his “special” petition. Ummmm….I think not. I am too worried man-child is going to fall off the dock and I’ll have to dive into the murky fishy depths to retrieve him.
Finally the boat arrives! Away to Shell Island for the promise of snorkeling and dolphins!
I want my money back.
1) The snorkeling experience (at first) was a bit like trying to snorkel the area around my dad’s boat dock, but worse. Plus, we were getting attacked by seaweed, floating plants and other things I couldn’t even identify.
2) The waves were literally back-breaking. I have no “core”, so when I get knocked down, I literally have to wait for the next wave to hit me and use the momentum in the hopes of propelling myself forward and back onto my feet before the undertow sucks me back down again where I struggle to keep my head above water as the next wave hits me and the process begins again until eventually I am able to get up.
3) It was a 3 mile hike across what felt like the Sahara to get from the place the boat docked to where we set up beach camp. Getting back was going to be a bitch.
4) We did finally find some decent snorkeling on the other side of the rocky embankment, and by the time we were done, we had swam with fish, found hermit crabs and got blisters from the flippers.
I walk back to beach camp and inform hubby it’s time to head back. All of us are worn out, and very sunburned. I head back with as much as I can carry, and I don’t stop until I reach the boat dock because I am very afraid if I stop, I won’t get started again. I wait for hubby to show up with man-child and daughter #2. Finally, I see him in the distance, carrying the chairs and something else. What is that? Oh nooooooo. He’s carrying man-child, this is gonna get really ugly. He pretty much drops man-child a few feet from me and by this time I can hear the wailing. Poor little guy is so exhausted. He runs to the comforting arms of mommy (mean Daddy go away!) and everyone takes pity on the poor guy and tries to help cheer him up by pulling hermit crabs out of the water. That does the trick; pretty soon he is smiling again. Hubby on the other hand has put himself in time-out and isn’t speaking….to anyone. We avoid him like the plague, he could ignite upon impact. I am sure he’ll give you some sob story, don’t believe it. Man-child is 4, hubby does have a 4 in his number, but it’s the first number out of two!
So now we take the boat back to the bus and the bus back to the rental car and the rental car back to the RV. Now once we get back, the girls and I go shower. Daughter #1 and I get first dibs, then Daughter #3 and finally Daughter #2. I know how impatient Daughter #3 gets while waiting, so I am performing a running commentary on where I am in the showering process. At one point, I holler out that I am shaving my unmentionables. There is a small silence, then Daughter #3 says “ummm Mom, we aren’t alone in here”. Oh. Oh my. Awesome. Mouth is shut now, and I hurry and finish and do not make eye contact as I exit the building. Daughter #1 almost drowned in the shower trying not to laugh out loud at my shame and embarrassment.
Once we are all showered and dressed, we head to The Twisted Palm for dinner. Each table has its own TV with cable, so man-child is able to watch the Disney Channel….ahhh heaven. I can’t eat though. I might have mentioned before I have issues with using bathrooms other than my own at home. I have only “BEEN” to the bathroom once since we left, so I am feeling a little….backed up shall we say. In fact, I am to the point where I can’t even hold it back and God forbid this moment happens at the RV park with nice bathrooms, no it happens at The Twisted Palm with skanktastic public restrooms. I’ll spare you the details, but awful doesn’t begin to describe that particular adventure.
After dinner, we head to Wal-Mart, so I can buy some Motrin PM and we can get some quarters for laundry. O M G. I can’t even begin to describe the scene that awaited us. It was like a People of Wal-Mart convention (you know the website?). I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
Motrin PM + Purging of my intestines = finally a decent nights sleep.
HE SPEAKS. HE IS ANNOYING.
Ahhh… the sweet smell of the RV in the morning, awesome! Off to another day of fun and sun.
Today our plan includes a visit to the “world famous” Shell Island off the coast of Panama City Florida. We load up the mini rolling turd (aka mini-van rental), get on board, hit the road (again) and head east on the Emerald Coast Highway.
Now I mentioned yesterday that we contributed to our nation’s economy by placing an economic stimulus payment with Wal-Mart in exchange for commercial goods (or crap).
Today, I find out the true significance of the word “obey” as stated in the wedding vows. Meaning? Namely that as the man in this family, I must bundle all this crap on my back and haul it like a pack camel to whatever destination we head for. So there I am, getting out of the car with: Four beach chairs, a basket full of beach toys and the four-year old man-child who at this point is choosing to walk rather than be carried, praise the Lord.
Reader, take a moment of pause to get this mental picture…got it?
Now stop laughing and read on.
My tribe enters, the wife stands in line with the girls to pay for our tickets and fees for snorkeling gear and I stand in the corner of this place straining to stand up with all this crap while our little guy informs me (and the rest of the patrons) that he WANTS a toy!! I ponder the scene and suddenly become convinced of two things at this juncture:
(1) That all of these places are tourist traps that intentionally place hokey souvenirs in strategic places while employees behind hidden cameras in the back room laugh hysterically at parent’s dealing with the kids reactions to the response “NO we are not buying anything!!”. Damn them!!! Damn them all to hell!!!
(2) I need to exit this facility, find shade and drop my load before I pass out. As I contemplate the one I do the other.
With snorkel gear in hand, we board a bus, which will take us to a pier that will in turn provide a boat that will take us to one Shell Island. As we board the bus, I am reminded of the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles starring the late John Candy and Steve Martin. I won’t describe here, just rent the movie and you will get a laugh. The wife mentioned already, as we pull out of the bus stop, the man-child goes flying onto the floor! He is fine, but I take this moment to yell to my oldest daughter sitting with him, “Awesome, now your brother can break your fall should you fall out of the seat!” I think there was a cute boy in the seat next to her, because I am pretty sure the shade of red that materialized on her face was not due to sunburn. Good Times!
Finally, we arrive at the pier and again we wait in line… for the boat. Whilst waiting for our vessel to arrive, we are entertained by some activist in the water with what appears to be a large tarp floating on top of the water and held in place by large trash bags filled with air. I think this is the hillbilly version of a simulated Oil Spill? I really don’t pay much attention, but he is shouting something about the Oil Spill, how bad it is in Louisiana and the impending doom of Florida Beaches. He keeps ranting about BP Oil and the lack of Government response until the boat arrives. Now listen, I like the beach as much as the next guy. I also agree that this crisis in the Gulf is just that, a crisis the likes of which this nation has not seen. However, while I can appreciate this gentleman’s zeal, I really wonder what good it is doing or if this yahoo has any idea on how to fix this problem. Yeah dude, the government sucks. Yeah dude, BP is the devil. Oh hey, how did you get all that crap here? With your 2-ton, Ford F-350 pulling a flat-bed that gets like 4 MPG? Hmmmm. Maybe we should think about our need and desire for Oil that facilitates the urgency and rationale for drilling in risky offshore environments? Just a thought? Ok, enough of that.
The boat pulls on to the Island, we get off, we find a spot right next to the dock to make base camp and then the wife goes and “checks out” another spot. Keep smiling… just keep smiling. One of the children comes back and informs me that we have found better ground around the corner. I load up the crap, and start walking. OMG! As I turn the corner, there is a desert of Sand to cross and two thoughts come to mind. First, I now have a mental picture of what Moses saw when he crossed the desert into Median. Second, the walk back is going to be a B-tch!
We all had a great time of course. The girls found sea-shells, man-child got buried in the sand all the way up to his head, we built sand castles and the ladies went snorkeling. Ironically, the best snorkeling was back at our original location right next to the freaking dock! This is a fact that swam through my head has I walked back to the dock, across the Sahara, with all this crap and man-child in my arms! AHHHHH!!! On the bright side, I got a good work-out in on the way back to the boat.
More to follow…. One more day, then we head back to Dallas!