Beach Vacation 2014

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This year’s beach vacation was lovely. Perdido Key, Florida is such a charming little town. Due to going during “peak summer” season and the fact that my friends and I live on budgets, we stayed at a more affordable condo than we usually do when we go during “late summer” and can afford a place right on the beach. We didn’t have an unobstructed view of the Gulf and our swimming pool was the temperature of a bath tub most of the time, but I would stay there again without hesitation. It was great. Next time I might mosey on down to my favorite condo’s pool that feels refreshing and not like a bath tub!

The weather was beautiful. It rained for about five to ten minutes after we got our luggage carried inside the first night and we never saw another rain drop until we were somewhere in Mississippi on the way back home. The Gulf was beautiful. I never encountered any seaweed, but only the occasional fish that would kiss my leg (and make me squirm!) and a school of jellyfish that sent us scrambling back to the shore on the last day. (They didn’t sting us!) If anything, the water was cold some days. It never got over 90 degrees the entire time we were there. We all got a little sunkissed and only Amber ended up with a sunburn bad enough to be uncomfortable.

We started with a three car caravan and managed to turn a seven hour trip into thirteen. Yes, I said thirteen. Partially, that is because we had to make frequent “clot stops”. Mama had a blood clot in her leg a month earlier so we wanted to make sure to stretch our legs. At the Mississippi Welcome Center in Vicksburg – clot stop #1 – I realized this was going to be an ordeal. I had to tell Mama and Mrs. Barnes that we weren’t taking clot stops to make new friends. We were simply there to stretch our legs and get back on the road. We were probably at that clot stop for half an hour. Mama had been carrying on her own long conversation with a staff member, but finally made her way outside. Once we finally sent Joe inside to find Mrs. Barnes, she was discussing a sewing table with a staff member, and then Joe himself got sucked into a conversation about civil war history. Then Mama had to go inside and get them both. This was when we realized it was going to be a long trip.

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The other major time block was due to a long wait at Lambert’s in Foley. Throwed rolls are a necessary experience for someone who has never been. On this trip, that was Stacy. Okra man was chatting (ie: flirting) with Mrs. Barnes so much that Amber and I were ready to serve okra to ourselves right out of his bowl. We were starving and he was just standing there with that giant bowl of delicious okra just outside our grasp. It was torturous. Black eyed pea girl walked around looking sad, hanging her head, because nobody wanted any of her peas. Sad black eyed pea girl actually became a running joke on this trip. The boy throwing the rolls seemed to be taking out his frustrations. He would fire hot rolls at diners as if he were trying out for the New York Yankees and then stare in disappointment if a roll was dropped. I got the look one time. You’d think he’d be happier what with having such a fun job! Amber started giving him dialogue as he fired his rolls at people – “This is for all you who made fun of me on the playground!” and “This is for not making the team in high school!”, etc.

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We finally got to Perdido around 9:00 Monday night. This is the first time I can remember actually arriving at our condo after the sun went down. I have to admit, it kind of bummed me out. I love being able to catch glimpses of the Gulf as we’re driving that stretch of road through Orange Beach and Perdido. We unloaded our stuff and then made our shopping list and headed to Walmart for some late night grocery shopping. We came in under budget (Dave would be proud!) and finally got everything back to the condo and put away around midnight. I think we went to sleep around 1:00 AM or later that first night.

Amber and I picked the right room to sleep in. It was in the very back of the condo and we had a ceiling fan and a small personal fan we brought from home. We never heard anyone else in the mornings until we wanted to. I think we consistently slept the latest every day and our sleep friendly room gets the credit. Plus, we got the room with an attached bathroom! Hooray! We just made sure to share it with Melissa and it all worked out well. (I’ve decided that since I’m the one who always has to do the research to find and secure a condo for our trips, I deserve the master bedroom! Sounds fair!)

Throughout the week, we ate a lot; it never ceases to amaze me how quickly we can devour multiple pans of brownies and an entire double recipe of taco layer dip.

We shivered in the Gulf waters until we became acclimated.

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That also blows my mind – we shivered in the Gulf at the end of July. We stuck pretty close to the shore on account of all the sharks who were in the area earlier this summer.

We had some Sonic happy hour drinks.

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We ate at Tacky Jack’s Tavern and Amber found what I’ve been searching for – children’s aviator sunglasses. They claimed to be polarized, but are not. I still love them anyway.

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We laughed more than I’ve laughed in a while. We revisited a memory Melissa, Joe, and I had from our 2007 beach trip where we wore funny hats in a gift shop as our elderly alter egos – Francis, Hagatha, & Eudell. Only this time, we had Stacy and Amber along. Joe’s serious facial expression in every photo just made it even better. We were that loud, obnoxious, laughing group you sometimes come across in public places. Our apologies, fellow tourists.

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We told funny stories: “Karl/you can close that box”, “Yeeeeeeah!”, and “yard dogs” come to mind.

A few of us saw dolphins and Joe even saw them from our balcony on the last day, even though we weren’t right on the beach. (He has freakishly good vision.)

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It was fun. It was great. We all were wishing we had another day or two before we had to come home.

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The return trip took 12 hours. How can we turn 14 hours on the road into 25? How?! It’s a good thing I like Amber and Joe, because we sure were stuck with each other a long time in the car! We ended up splitting up our caravan, so that probably got us home a little sooner than if we had stuck together. My car managed to stop at Dairy Queen, Zaxby’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Jimmy John’s, and Starbucks on the way home. Weight gain mystery solved!

Fun times, y’all. Fun times.

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