Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Leaving S. Florida, Thurs., May 24th

Well. We didn't oversleep. We didn't have any breakfast, either, since no one had picked up anything at Dunkin Donuts the night before, and we were all too busy packing to go out.

Look, I'll be honest. We were horribly disorganized and lost on Thursday morning. I was disoriented, and Wesley told me in the middle of packing that he couldn't find our pre-printed driving directions from Pembroke Pines to the glorious Seahorse Oceanfront Inn in Jacksonville, so I had to get on a computer and get directions. And there was no printer, so I had to write out those directions by hand. *And* I had to get directions from the Seahorse to home. I mean, it was not a small task, and I was hot as hell.

Furthermore, in the middle of all this, I had to actually get *other* driving directions. I haven't *even* included the whole Emily-wants-to-meet-an-online-friend-of-hers saga that was unfolding for the entirety of our vacation. Nyxy (not her real name) lives in Port St. Lucie, an hour and forty-five minutes north of Pembroke Pines. For more than half of the week we were there, I kept hearing different plans to get Em and Nyxy together. One of them -- not my favorite -- involved getting up at 6:00, driving 45 minutes north, and picking up Nyxy to take her to Parrot Jungle with us, which was 45 minutes SOUTH. And then there was the whole, "Put Em on a train to Port St. Lucie" scheme. Since I couldn't FIND any freaking trains, I was not eager to do that.

On the other hand, I do know what it's like to want to meet one's online friends. (Hello, online friends!!!!)

Since Port St. Lucie was on our way north, I said we would get off the turnpike and meet her somewhere. I had to talk to her uncle to get a place to meet (Walgreen's???) and get the directions off of Mapquest for both getting there and getting on toward Jacksonville.

That's why things fell apart in the taking-our-leave department.

I dropped the ball. I handed Emily a bag at some point and said, "Check ALL OVER and make sure you get EVERYTHING that belongs to us."

Emily only heard, "Check the upstairs bedroom," and she did not check all over.

Unfortunately, neither did Wesley, and I really kind of thought he was going to at least *check*.

When I finished writing four pages of driving directions (from Pembroke Pines to Port St. Lucie, from there to Jacksonville, and from there to home), I foolishly gathered up my purse and declared that I was going to say goodbye to Peytyn. I went to the Tobins' house and spent forty minutes leisurely chatting with my old friend. I thought the car was being loaded in the meantime.

Foolish. Stupid. Boneheaded. In the extreme. And it was all my fault.

We finally said a tearful goodbye to Peytyn, and as I walked to the car, I really did think, "Hmmmm... that doesn't look as full as I thought it would." But I didn't say anything, because I knew we had gone there with a birdhouse to leave for a hostess gift for Debbie. Maybe the lack of a birdhouse compensated for the emptiness of the car.

We got on the Interstate... and promptly missed our exit. We were lost.

We got off a road (I have no idea which one) and asked at a gas station how to get back to where we needed to be. Time ticked away while we drove around, and finally we were on the road again. I had Emily call Nyxy and tell her we were going to be late because we got lost.

We did manage to find Port St. Lucie, though, and we got off. Scary traffic! You might as well be in Miami! And we met Nyxy at the Walgreen's and walked across the parking lot to the Wendy's, where I had a totally mediocre chicken salad. At least it was cheap! Em and Nyxy squealed a lot and took pics of each other, and I took pics of them together, and they exchanged gifts and were very excited. I tried to talk to Nyxy at one point, but she was *exceedingly* shy and could barely put together three words for me. I'm glad the girls got to meet, though. It made Emily happy, and from what I hear, it made Nyxy *very* happy.

Then we started trying to get out of Port St. Lucie. OMG. I was driving by that time, and I thought I was going to kill us. I crossed three lanes of traffic at one point. That was the scariest traffic moment of the whole trip!!!!!!!

We were back on the turnpike soon, though, and making our way up to Jacksonville.

Unfortunately, we were making such terrible time that I could literally *see* Wesley getting more and more disappointed. We were supposed to have spent at least one afternoon on the beach in Jacksonville, and it was getting so late -- I just knew it wasn't going to happen.

Finally, we reached Jacksonville just in time for 5:00 traffic. Poor Wesley. I know he was dying. We did, however, find the Seahorse Oceanfront Inn, and we got checked in smoothly. It wasn't until we were taking our overnight bags upstairs that things fell apart for real.

Because that's when I discovered... We left our main toiletries bag in Debbie's house in Pembroke Pines.

I had ALL my toiletries in that bag. Claritin, Afrin, skin care products, razors, shampoo, lotions, rash creams, feminine things, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, make-up -- you name it, it was in that bag. Everything was in there. I was having trouble breathing, believing that this was happening.

I called Peytyn's cell phone... and Jim answered.

And he confirmed that we had left our toiletries at Debbie's house.

Now, this is the part where I skip all the histrionics in which I indulged.






I walked toward the beach, where thunderclouds were gathering. It was gorgeous and the light was turning pink, so I went back to the room and got my camera and family for some photos.

The whole time we were at the beach, we were getting misted with ... I can't call it rain. It was sprinkling, I guess, but the wind was blowing so it turned to heavy mist. Some surfers were trying to surf the growing waves. We finally called it quits and headed back to the room.

Then we tried to decide where to have dinner. Wesley wanted real seafood. I looked at the guides in the room and we decided to try to find Sliders. By this time, it was really raining, and although the restaurant was less than two blocks away, we drove there. Just as we parked in the parking lot, the heavens opened up and dropped a deluge on us. We ran to the restaurant door, and we were still soaked when we got there.

As we were seated in a very noisy restaurant, I was literally wringing out my hair. I mean, I was dripping wet. We all were. And it seemed to me that people were *looking* at us. I looked at the thingie on the table which said, "Happy Hour! Thursday night! Beer and oysters!" And then I looked around and realized Woodrow was the youngest person in there.

OH. That's why everyone's staring at us. We just brought our kid to happy hour!

Woodrow -- the kid who won't eat shrimp to save his life -- got a platter of crawdads. *With* the heads still attached. Wesley got a trio of seafood (I totally forget what), and Emily got shrimp tacos. I got the crab-stuffed shrimp.

It was the blandest crab-stuffed shrimp I've ever had, and Emily didn't like her shrimp tacos, either. The boys loved their meals, though. And the restaurant did get quieter as the Happy Hour customers got into their cars and drove away, sloshing with beer and oysters. Wesley got the carrot cake for dessert, and I got the key lime pie. We both ate the pie and I saved half of the cake for later. It was very good carrot cake, with the notable elimination of nuts. Carrot cake usually has nuts, and it's one of those *extremely* rare foods that I'll eat even if it does have nuts. I have to admit that I *missed* the nuts in that carrot cake. It was tasty, but it lacked the crunchiness of nuts.

Weird, I know. I usually don't want the nuts, but in carrot cake... well, they seem necessary.

Then we drove around in search of a drug store and a Dunkin Donuts. We bought toiletries and breakfast food.

Back in the room, I watched "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" -- I didn't even know it was back from hiatus -- and soon crashed. Sleep that night was terrible. I kept waking up. Wesley kept waking up. Woodrow kept waking up. I think Emily was the only person to get a bit of sleep. Lucky her! We should have made *her* drive us home!


At 8/6/07 9:02 PM, Blogger Kathi said...

Bay, I've had such fun reading your trip report. You made me laugh aloud several times and made me snort a few times too.


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