I haven’t been on a family vacation in five years. In fact, I haven’t been on ANY vacation in five years. My honeymoon to Cancun was the last real trip and that was indeed a trip. When my mom proposed I join them on an excursion to Destin, Florida, I thought, “YES finally a real vacation.” My sister and her SF (Special Friend) went, too, although they stayed in a condo down the street from ours. Husband did not, for reasons I will not go into here, accompany us to the Sunshine State. My mom and dad and I drove ten hours to the panhandle in a lovely rental SUV-thingy. My sister and her SF drove separately and we met periodically through the week.
During the week I was in Florida I managed to get a raging head cold AND start my Dirty Lady Time. I also have eczema. As biological disasters go, I was batting a thousand. I spent the first three nights of the trip stoned out of my mind on cold medicine. But let me tell you, that generic ny-quil blue stuff for sore throats is the magic elixir of sinus colds as far as I’m concerned. In the absence of a good hot toddy, try the blue stuff. Also good if you have crippling cramps from the aforementioned DLT.
As a big word nerd* I read all the signs on the road. The top three signs from this trip:
1. FREE HOT! breakfast WordPress’s font capabilities prevent me from illustrating this better, but the first two words and punctuation were HUUUGE and then ‘breakfast’ was tiny. This sign prompted a fifteen-minute conversation between me and my dad including – Do they charge for COLD? Can you get a side of cold? Can you take the HOT! around with you places?
2. TOURIST INFO HOSPITAL My dad was way more tickled about the idea that there is a special hospital for tourists and info.
3. Boobie BungalowObviously a purveyor of Adult distractions. The impressively large piece of plywood sported a hand-painted blonde in a red bikini. If only we’d had time to stop and snap a photo… I just think saying the phrase ‘boobie bungalow’ is funny. “Boobie” is a funny word anyway and the alliteration of ‘boobie’ and ‘bungalow’…well, hilarity ensues.
There was a lot of lying on the beach and jumping around in the waves. The best day was a few hours before Tropical Storm Claudette rolled in and the waves were choppy and strong. That’s the best time to jump in, I think, when there’s a slight chance that the sea might eat you. Of course, I am always coated in a thick layer of Banana Boat’s best SPF 212 T-shirt In A Bottle. I have fair skin that doesn’t tan well, so I tend to use the thick stuff that takes half an hour to apply and then you look sort of atomically bright white. Whatever. I’m not getting skin cancer if I can help it.
We shopped at the outlet malls and ate dinner in restaurants that served pretty much the same thing, but who cares, fried scallops ROCK. Naturally every night featured a screeching serenade from whatever sandy sunburned kids happened to be sitting nearby. What is it with me and screeching children? They follow me – restaurants, movie theaters, concerts – they’re always there.
My whole life my dad has dragged us out to the backyard to look for meteors.** The Perseids, the Leonids, whatever comet is flying by. There have been two instances when this really paid off – once, on a lake in Canada my dad and I were the only two who happened to see the most spectacular shooting star ever. It was like the fake kind in movies, glittering with a trillion-mile-long tail. The second time was somewhere in Florida when the shooting star broke into two pieces and one flamed green. This year, on our Florida vacation, Dad and I made the ten-minute trek to the beach to spread out a blanket and see what we could see. We knew we couldn’t see much before midnight but you never know. The first night was a total bust. The second night proved more fruitful on many fronts – we saw about five actual meteors, but the real show was the couple in the middle of their respective Big Finishes about twenty yards away. Yes, I walked onto the beach with my dad (who’s 66) just in time to hear Cletus give Bobby Sue a Saturday Night Special. Just when I thought we’d gotten past the supreme awkwardness of that bit, a trio of people twenty yards in the other direction started having a huge argument about TRAAAACEEEYYYYY. I know her name was Tracey because the one woman kept hoarsely hissing “TRAAAAYY-SAAAAY.”
I got a little tan, got some great clothes, ate more seafood than you can shake a trident at. And I was ready to be home. I missed Husband and the Ferrets. Thank God I got home before ALL the plants died (Husband didn’t water them and they were pretty crispy). I was glad to be in my OLB*** and see my garden glowy balls changing color in the dark.
* I always want to write that ‘werd nerd’ or ‘werd nord.’
** Meteors? Meteorites? We never know which is correct.
*** Own Little Bed