Hat on Top, Coat Below


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Sunshine State

December 29, 2005

Today I am back at work after five days off and have to say that this whole getting up early without then heading somewhere warm and/or fun does not seem like a good idea at all. It isn’t that my job is so horrible, but it sure isn’t as enjoyable as sitting around eating Triscuits and cream cheese or taking pictures of the backs of birds’ heads or even arguing with family about where we had the initial argument about what size bed was in a certain bedroom in a certain house twenty-some years ago, which is the kind of thing I grew accustomed to on the trip I returned from last night.

This was our annual holiday trip to visit Mr. Karen’s parents at the their winter home in Florida. It really began Friday night after work with the packing. Mr. Karen asked if we were going to share a suitcase, which was quite clearly crazy talk. I love him more than a lot, but that love does not extend to sharing one piece of luggage on a trip that requires clothes for two church services, two non-casual dinners, warm weather, cool weather, and a trip to the beach. Nope, not going to happen, especially since this was a Christmas trip. I wasn’t expecting Santa to bring any bulky gifts, but I wanted to have room to pack them if he did.

We got up well before the sun on Saturday morning because I wanted to make sure we had enough time to deal with any holiday crowds at the airport. We ended up having plenty, as it all went much more smoothly than I expected. Our first choice of parking was full, but the adjacent lot had spaces and inside the terminal there was no line at all for domestic travel–we just walked right up to the kiosk and checked in. Cool. We spent the rest of the day flying and eating and going to church. Oh, and we saw a snake. This reptile is evidently a regular visitor to the space under Dale and Joan’s garage door, but after I took its picture that night we never saw it again the whole time we were there.

Sunday we slept in as much as possible before heading to church, which was not cancelled even though it was Christmas–how old school is that? Then there was more eating, and then a walk so we’d have room for the really serious eating that came later. We finished our day by watching the Vikings lose to the Ravens and thus end any chance they had of making the playoffs. Ah, well, at least they had a scenario this late in the season. I think the Lions were mathematically eliminated a couple months ago.

Monday we went to the beach, where both the wind and the surf were more active than we’d seen them there before. We walked a long way along the sand and shells and got to see kite boarders (or maybe they were kite surfers, I’m not sure of the lingo) doing their thing. Then we spent the whole evening at a dinner we hadn’t known about until that morning, which meant I hadn’t brought the right clothes so the neighbors just had to meet me wearing my retro-trendy Disneyland tee. Oh well. At least being dressed down more than anyone else meant I had no hesitation about letting the little white dog sit in my lap during the pre-dinner portion of the program.

Tuesday we visited someplace new to us, the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. It’s an interesting place. We got kind of a late start so only had a couple hours to explore the varied habitats; I could have spent probably twice that. We saw squirrels and a raccoon and a little brown lizard and lots of different kinds of birds and even some deer, none of which I got good photographs of. (You can see for yourself in the gallery.) I would have bought some postcards, but the sanctuary does not subscribe to the Disney philosophy of letting people buy stuff after the official closing time so the doors to the shop were shut by the time we got back there.

Wednesday there was time for one more walk in the warmth and sunshine before packing up and heading back to the airport for the trip home. Once again we didn’t need as much time as we allowed to check-in but better that than the alternative. We didn’t even have to shovel snow when we got home–that’s what I call a happy ending.


One year ago, I shared a starfish.

Two years ago, I wrote about what I did when I wasn’t writing.

Three years ago, there was no entry because I was gone and not so dedicated to posting every day during Holidailies as I am right now.

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