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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Island Time

I hope you all had an enjoyable and safe 4th of July weekend. To celebrate the 4th and my son's birthday, the whole family headed down to Key Largo for some fishing and boating.

Traveling, even if only for a few days, always poses a challenge for me. With a dog, a guinea pig, two boys, a boat and the grandparents, getting everything coordinated does not always prove easy especially if you are like me and you always over pack. Seriously, we only went away for four days and we each packed a small suitcase, not to mention all the food and items for the dog and guinea pig. In addition, numerous bottles of sunscreen, aloe vera lotions and mosquito repellent filled my rather large beach bag that also contained towels and hats.

Because our garage is filled with so much "stuff" my husband could only park his large truck halfway in so we could load the luggage and bags without getting soaked. Even the boat was piled high with fishing buckets, bait and tackle boxes, fishing poles, coolers...please note I am using the plural form. What I dreaded most was knowing that when we arrived at our rental house, we would have to unload all that "stuff" and unpack, but well we were on our way to our island paradise. Nothing could dampen our expectations or so we thought.

However, minutes after leaving my house and in the middle of a thunderstorm, we had to return because the boat's gasoline hose loosened and precious gasoline spilled. The men had not yet repaired the hose and cleaned up the mess when my step father slipped and fell on my driveway. I turned around as I heard the loud bang to find him flat on the floor. He quickly raised his head and said...well I can't tell you what he said. We all helped him up and he continued about his business as if nothing had happened. My mother and I initially were worried, but our worry turned into uncontrollable laughter the kind I wrote about a few posts ago. We laughed until we cried. To make matters worse the rain continued and before heading out again, we were all drenched, but there was no time to shower or change because it would rob us of vital "island time." So, my husband quickly ordered everyone to board his "island express" and we set out in hopes of finding clear skies as we drove south. Fortunately, the farther away we got from the mainland, the clearer the skies. Things were looking up!

Upon arrival, my sons gave a quick home inspection both inside and out and expressed their great satisfaction. As I walked around the house, I noticed the vast collection of sea shells, rattan furniture decorated with pink, yellow and blue pillows and the paintings of whales, boats and dolphins that decorated the walls and filled the rooms with a relaxed and unpretentious feel. Outside the coconut trees, bougainvilleas and pine trees wrapped around the lanai to offer shade and a cozy laid back feeling, too. Of course, every one's favorite spot was the dock and the deep water canal that lead to the ocean. There is nothing better than parking your boat on the water, jumping in and setting off any time you wish. The sunsets and ocean breezes are magical, and the air smells like Coppertone lotion.

On July 4th, we sat on the beach and watched an awesome fireworks display, and we even watched a few Florida Marlins games in the evenings. I read a little, ate a lot and of course enjoyed a couple of early afternoon naps. Seeing my boys so happy and seeing my husband so proud of his "big catch" filled me with great joy. Despite the minor inconveniences, we really did have a great weekend and can't wait to go back.

If you are wondering about the nurse shark, don't worry. After the petting and picture taking, my husband of course let it go.


  1. I don't remember going to the keys,but i've heard wonderful stories about the keys,and how one time when i was very small they would rent a van and go there.My family have caught some beautiful snapper fishs & Crabs down least they

  2. Thanks for sharing all the ups and downs and ins and outs of your family vacation weekend. I laughed and smiled as I read your account. I also recalled the crazy family weekends we had when I was younger. The craziness included my grandparents as well as our 5 kids and a dog and recalling them made me laugh again. The photos are really great.

  3. Hi Mar, This is an EXCELLENT story of your vacation. I just loved it. I also love that you did NOT gloss over all the setbacks, because when we went to Chaco Canyon it was a bit like that, only we didn't have the dog, "pig" or kids, but we had some setbacks and yet we finally arrived there and absolutely filled those 3 days, which seemed like a whole month; the days were so packed with living. I really admire that you do this with dog and kids, because so many people don't. Even though it's hard...all the is SO worth it. And your kids won't EVER forget these times. Nor will you when they are off on their own. These are the times that make our lives so invaluable. Thank you for taking the time to share this and so honestly. It was absolutely delightful. Like TimeThief said, it reminded me of when my parents did this with all 6 of us kids. What a GIFT!!! Big hugs and love to you "Amazing One". :) RainforestRobin

  4. I love the fact that you brought your guinea pig!

    And, of course you need to pack for every contingency: you are a mother, and that is part of your job. I'm still getting there ...

  5. This story about you and your family going on vacation was great I loved all the details you gave about the trip. It was a great story.


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