Happy spring! We are home, safe and sound, and the girls are back in school again. Wait. They’re not. We have seven inches of snow and, I believe for the first time since we started at St. P’s, school has been cancelled. It’s the endless spring break! Whoo hoo!1
What a weird thing, to go from the beach/pool on Friday to putting the snow clothes on and throwing snow balls on Monday. It’s March 25, for crying out loud!
Our final two days in Florida were good. We had an excellent dinner at a nice little Mexican place on Wednesday night. We hung out with our friends for ice cream later after dinner and snuck them into our resort for some pool time on Friday. The girls gathered more shells. They each claimed a tennis ball that had bounced into the bushes near the tennis courts.
Wednesday, on the resort trolley, I talked to an attorney from Kansas City who just happens to be a co-worker of a loyal reader of the site. Thursday another attorney from Kansas City, who was wearing a Mizzou shirt, offered us his family’s chairs at the pool. Friday I saw the same guy wearing a KU shirt. He clearly has issues.
Thursday I got waylaid by the cold that L. and M. had been fighting. If you saw me at the pool that day, you would have guessed dad was nursing a serious hangover. I just sat at the edge of the pool with my head hanging down, doing my best not to talk to anyone. Sadly it was just a lack of sleep and completely clogged sinuses and bad cough that knocked me out. I gave up after two hours and went home, alone, to lay down. Pathetic.
Obviously things cost a little more on Captiva, between it being on an island, there not being many stores to compete with each other, and the vacation tax you have to pay. But I really noticed the difference when I went to the one grocery store on the island to get some cold medicine. I spent $30 on Nyquil, some pretend Sudafed, and cough drops. The same combination would have run me $15 or so at your average Midwestern Walgreen’s. Oh well.
Our plans on when to return home were always kind of up in the air. I had been lobbying for us to go to bed early Friday, sleep until 2:00 or so Saturday morning, then get up and go to avoid traffic. S. advocated leaving at midnight, if not earlier. When we got back from the pool Friday and began organizing our things, I could see that look in S.’s eyes that said she was ready to move.
“It kind of seems like you want to leave sooner rather than later,” I said.
I’ve picked up a thing or two in 10 years of marriage.
She said she didn’t think anyone would be able to sleep, and it was going to be hard to keep the girls entertained for four hours before bedtime. I agreed and soon we were loading the van and preparing to get out of town before dinner.
So we left the resort at 6:00 Friday evening2 with me barely having slept the previous two nights. I knew it was going to be an interesting trip.
Long story short, we all survived. Thanks to the flood of caffeine and “non-drowsy” cold medicines, I could barely nap when S. was driving. I think we both got a couple short naps but for the most part were awake the entire time. The pre-dawn hours near Knoxville, when we drove through rain, and the last stretch in Kentucky were kind of a blur. But, again we made it.
The girls were absolutely fantastic. They slept for over 10 hours without complaints or problems. They were well-behaved in the morning when S. and I were thoroughly fried. It was some of their best behavior ever, to be honest.
The drive was not without its exciting moments.
In Tampa we drove through a huge, classic Florida thunderstorm. Much like our trip to Hilton Head two years ago, we found ourselves crawling along at less than 30 MPH through torrential rains. Some of it through narrow lanes because of construction. That was not fun at all.
We drove through more rain around the Georgia-Tennessee border that was nearly as heavy, and then steady rain through most of eastern Tennessee.
Finally, at 3:30 AM in downtown Atlanta, we were passed by an honest-to-goodness high speed chase. I was resting and heard S. say, “What an idiot.” I opened my eyes to see a car streak by us on our left with a policeman in hot pursuit. Then, to our right, another police car raced down an on-ramp with its siren and lights blazing. They quickly disappeared over a hill and by the time we crested the high point, they had either streaked farther out of view, or exited somewhere. There was more traffic than typical for that time of night, so thank goodness whoever was driving the lead car kept it in one lane.
We pulled into the driveway at 12:30 Saturday afternoon, 18.5 hours after leaving Captiva Island. Which is pretty damn good considering we had three kids with us, drove through two rain storms, and were down a DVD player after the girls somehow ruined the power cord on our way down last week.
It was a really great week. We loved Hilton Head two years ago, and may well go back there again some day. But we really liked Captiva and the resort we stayed at and think it will likely be a place we visit again. Although next time we’ll do it in a year we don’t have two other trips planned so we can fly into Ft. Myers rather than brave the roads for 19 hours.
Two trips to Florida in eight weeks. We are very lucky. And now I guess we start the countdown to trip #3 of 2013: my brother-in-law’s Boston wedding in September.
I guess I need to go start the snow blower now.