Events have lined up so that it makes the most sense to combine what should have been two posts into one today. I’ll try to be as brief as I can to both get it out and make it readable.

Spring Break ’22

Spring Break in Siesta Key, FL was largely a success. The weather was mostly good-to-great. We had the pleasure of spending time with a few sets of good friends. The girls all had friends close by for at least parts of the week. Our location was ideal – a block from the Village, Siesta Key’s central dining and shopping area – and our house served its purpose.

M brought one of her best friends with us and she stayed through Thursday. They had a couple good friends on the island and we rarely saw them other than when they came home at night and before they left in the morning.

C didn’t have any friends close, but one of her besties was up on Anna Maria, and she came down for a day, then C went up and spent the next day with her.

L had a few friends about that she kind of drifted in-and-out with throughout the week.

L’s godparents were staying not too far from us, and we spent three days with them on the beach. Two of their adult kids drifted in-and-out for parts of the week.

Our old neighbors – who we have traveled to Hawaii, Mexico, and Captiva with – flew into Ft Myers Wednesday and came up to spend Thursday with us.

There were also about a million Indianapolis Catholics on the island, so we were constantly running into people we knew.

Ahhh, I mentioned a few rough spots.

The winds were outrageous Wednesday and Thursday, while Friday morning was rainy. We still got decent beach time in each of those days.

When we arrived last Saturday the line for rental cars was massive. I stood in it for about 20 minutes when a guy came over and told us he had been in line for four hours and while he had been checked through, he was still waiting for them to give him his keys. He claimed there were two people working the desk and had to run back-and-forth to the lot to grab keys as cars were turned in and cleaned.

Who knows if that part was true, but the four-hour wait looked legit. Since we just had a reservation but had not paid, we decided to bail and get an Uber to our house. Two problems: we had M’s friend, which put us at six people and we couldn’t find a ride that would take six plus luggage. Second, only S had the Uber app on her phone and the network was fried, so my download was going to take hours.

We reserved the biggest car we could find, then asked that driver if he could hook us up with a second.

“I can call my brother! Is that ok with you!”

That was indeed ok! Especially if he let us pay cash.

Turns out they were two brothers from Colombia and thoroughly delightful. They got us where we needed to be and I had a great conversation with Mauricio over the half hour trip.

Monday I Ubered back and waited less than five minutes to grab a minivan for the rest of the week. If we didn’t have to take C to Anna Maria and bring M’s friend back to the airport, we could have skipped it. But it was nice to have.

That was minor compared to our issues getting home.

You may have heard Southwest had some issues this weekend (and may still be struggling). We got to the airport early for our 1:35 PM flight. Grabbed some seats near our gate. And sat and watched as we heard rumors that Southwest flights were having issues getting out while also watching the radar that looked completely awful just to our north. Soon the entire airport was on a ground hold because of that weather.

But our plane had made it in from St. Louis, and we watched a fresh crew walk onto it. Once the airport reopened, we would be good.

Or so we thought.

We waited for four hours before our flight was cancelled. Along with every other Southwest flight that had been sitting around. Sarasota is not a huge airport, but there were at least five completely full flights that just got taken off the schedule. Ticket counters had lines hours long. We heard there were also massive waits for help on the Southwest phone line.

As we sat around and tried to figure out what to do one of L’s friend’s moms texted me. “Mallory told me your flight got cancelled,” the text read. “We have a big SUV and I think we have room for all five of you. Do you want to ride with us?”

Yes, we did want to ride with them!

They were down in Ft. Myers, so it took some back-and-forth to figure out a plan, but they arrived about 90 minutes later, we piled all our shit in, and headed north.

We’ve made the spring break drive home from Florida at least twice, and know how much it sucks. I have to say, we totally lucked out. We drove through some weather for an hour or so, then some heavy fog for about an hour after that. But otherwise it was clear sailing all the way to Indiana. We had to make a brief detour to avoid a big slowdown near Seymour, but otherwise never wavered from our course or hit any stop-and-go traffic at all. It seemed like any other Saturday night, not one when a quarter of the country is making the same trip.

With three adult drivers we just passed off to each other and never stopped for longer than it took for eight people to use the bathroom, fill up with gas, and grab some snacks. We rolled into our driveway exactly 15 hours after we left Sarasota, which is pretty great time!

We heard lots of other people were driving back Sunday and traffic was its usual, awful spring break self. We are super thankful that our friends ignored the texts they were getting from other people looking for a ride and reached out to us, and that our drive home was uneventful.

So that was spring break 2022. Siesta Key certainly felt more traditionally “spring break” than anywhere we’ve ever gone before, between its packs of kids roaming around, more open drinking, and less stringent rules. Anna Maria, where we stayed last year, is getting more crowded, but still has a strict 10:00 PM noise curfew and more families with small kids than high school and college kids running around.[1] We would have loved to take our house from last year and plop it down on Siesta Key.

Jayhawk Talk: Marble Time

For the tenth time in history, and sixth time in my life, the Kansas Jayhawks will play for a national championship tonight.

I have vivd memories of most of those days, mostly of being unable to concentrate at school or work, or that I had a stomach bug in 2008 and watched KU win while in pain and with my head on a pillow.

I wonder how I will remember today years from now, or if being nearly 51 means the game will be imprinted into my brain much differently than the previous five.

I would love to set up tonight’s game with a recounting of KU’s cathartic win over Villanova in Saturday’s national semifinal.

However, as part of our travel issues Saturday, I didn’t see a minute of that game live. The Sarasota airport is tiny, and has only one restaurant/bar outside security. And that place was not seating anyone because they were closing.

Down in the baggage area, where we waited for about two hours after our flight was cancelled, there were no TVs at all. And because there were thousands of people flooding the cell network, I couldn’t get any sports site to load to even do a simple game cast, let alone watch CBS video of the game. I chatted with or waved to a handful of other very nervous Jayhawks looking for a way to follow the game.

So I relied on friends texting me at every TV timeout with score updates. I have to say, that’s a pretty stress-free way to follow a game! Especially when your team jumps out to a 10–0 lead and never looks back.

Our ride arrived with about 6:00 left in the game, just as Villanova cut the KU lead to six. We made a quick stop at Chick-Fil-A then I was given the first driving shift. While I ate my dinner. In a driving rainstorm. Fortunately we had a couple long red lights before we hit I–75 and I knew KU that had basically closed out the game before we got on the road.

It was the most anti-climactic Final Four game of my life. Well, I guess Villanova blowing us out four years ago was pretty anticlimactic, too. But this time I wasn’t feeling the full, pure joy I would be feeling had I watched live. I couldn’t really celebrate until we stopped in Valdosta, GA and I was able to catch up on texts and Tweets.

I did watch the game after we got home. What a performance! Ochai Agbaji found it again. David McCormack played the best game of his career. KU was fantastic on defense. DaJuan Harris and Christian Braun both hit some huge and timely shots. Jalen Wilson continued to destroy people on the boards. It may have been a reduced Villanova team, but they are still a bitch to play against and never stopped playing hard even when down 19. If KU had slipped up, they were fully capable of winning.

So much to be excited about after that game. But also so much to worry about, like the odds that Ochai starts 6–6 again, that Dave can play like that against Carolina’s bigs, that DaJuan will drill 3–5 3’s, that Jalen can do his rebounding thing against UNC, that we won’t leave Brady Manek open for 3’s, etc.

But I LOVE how this team is playing. Carolina presents some tough challenges and are playing as well as anyone in the country. In fact, over the last 10 games, UNC and KU are the two best teams in the country according to one statistical measure, with nearly identical offensive and defensive effectiveness numbers.

Maybe Carolina’s athletes are too much for KU, and having just beaten Duke they play free-and-loose and run the Jayhawks out of the building.

But they also have a first-year coach and just won a massively emotional game. Can do they bounce back and be as focused tonight?

I keep getting vibes off this KU team. The way they act on and off the court. Before, during, and after games. They way they keep picking each other up, with a different set of guys being the stars each night. I love how Bill Self has embraced the moment, saying it’s time for KU to make runs like this and finish them off. I love how the national narrative has become that this year is about finishing what the 2020 team was unable to do thanks to Covid.

I feel like this is their night and this is KU’s year. It’s been 14 years since they grabbed all the marbles. Anthony Davis and company kept KU from doing that again in 2012. I think Ochai, DaJuan, CB, J-Will, Big Dave, Remy, and Mitch get it done tonight, winning one for Jayhawks everywhere, and for Wilt Chamberlain, who came so close against Carolina in 1957.

Rock Chalk, bitches!

  1. The night C stayed up there she said one of her friend’s parents got a $75 fine for having kids out on the balcony after 10. They weren’t drinking or smoking, just hanging out, making a little noise. Along with the fine came a warning that a second offense would mean they get kicked out of their home. They don’t play on AMI.  ↩