Can’t sit… might as well shop!

Day Four

Well after the shenanigans of Day 3, I woke up and could have cried out in pain trying to sit up and get out of bed. I didn’t though, because there was a very guilt-ridden boy in my room who was still sleeping.

My dad was only in Florida for 10 days, and our Day 4 was his Day 10, and what he wanted to do on his last day was golf. So a tee-time was made for him and the boy to go and bond on the golf course, with my Godfather and his son-in-law… a boys day out if you will.

That left mom and I to hit the stores and do some damage.

First stop, The Best of Everything. A little gem in Bonita Springs filled with costume jewelery and small hostess gifts, or pashminas – most things are well under $20. On my list was to try and find a collection of silver necklaces as seen in stores like Banana Republic for $70. Lets be honest I work for a non-profit – I can’t justify $70 on a necklace… usually. This is where The Best of Everything comes in. I was able to put together 3 different silver necklaces – for $8 each. AWESOME!

I also found some Christmas gifts, which allowed me to justify the presents I bought for myself – one for you, one for me! I can’t say which ones – I can’t risk ruining surprises for my devoted followers – I’ve already said too much!

Second stop, Coconut Point this is a WONDERFUL experience for any shopper. This is one of the things I love about Florida – it’s nice there all the time so all of their malls are outside. If you’re from Toronto think Shoppes at Don Mills. You don’t feel guilty for wasting a beautiful day indoors – because you have to walk outside between stores. I think it’s brilliant.

We started at Dillards – and American department store that has a GREAT shoe selection. What I hadn’t bet on was the crazy sales… shoes for $39 – 59, leather boots for under $100. I don’t know about you but I cannot find shoes for these prices in Canada. And the selection – I’m sorry Bay, but when I walk into your shoe department I am hard pressed to find one pair that I like. Mom and I had at least a dozen choices to make. To give you an idea click here it will take you to the Dillards online shoe department where you will find 2433 records that match the search “shoe.” Try and compete with that HBC!

Well I restrained myself and came away with only 2 pair… one pair of boots and one pair of brown wedges. Both very practical. Mom came away with a pair of “cruise” sandals, and a pair of flats. And we couldn’t leave without a little something for the lady left at home with the dogs… your welcome Lisa. So with 5 pairs of shoes under arm we clearly had to make a quick trip back to the car.

Next stop lunch. Shoe shopping is exhausting – especially when you can’t move without wincing. California Pizza Kitchen. If you haven’t eaten their I recommend it on your next trip to the U.S. of A. It’s delicious, not greasy, great prices, and reasonable portions.

Walking through Coconut Point I was wishing we had more time but couldn’t leave without hitting the book store. So we made that our last stop. Mom said she was done with book shopping, because she had bought too many books already – but we still left with at least 5 more.

Off to pick up the men from the links. Turns out they had already hit the pool… and we picked them up just wrapping up an intense shuffle board tournament. The boy lost both games – he was not impressed at his defeat – but still had a great day.

Mom and I made sure to bring everything up before the boys came up – it may have required the aide of a shopping cart. But the boy still asked for shoe fashion show, and as I suspected was impressed with how few shoes I actually have in relation to how many I COULD have. I really restrained myself.

Off to Dad’s last supper before his flight out. He was flying out of Fort Myers International Airport which made our airport look even more like a portable in the middle of a field! It’s a small airport – but it has more than a dozen staff working there so it’s leaps and bounds beyond where we flew out of and into.

After we thanked Dad for an awesome trip so far, we ditched him and hit the hot tub to try and loosen up my side. Just to put into perspective how much pain I had, my mom was quite concerned that I may have fractured a rib.

Off to bed – tried to nurse the injury by sleeping with a lavender hot pack… had the boy reheat it after lying awake for an hour or so.

Good day

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

All this reliving Florida a MONTH later – I know I’m disappointed in myself too – has made me neglect what’s going on right now. So I thought I’d just write a quick post to say that I’m getting excited about the upcoming holiday.

Today in Northern Ontario – a steady fluffy snowfall all day. We went grocery shopping, where I picked up some President’s Choice Candy Cane Ice Cream. Had some tonight while curled under a blanket blogging, while the boy faithfully cheers on the Maple Leafs, who are only two points out of a play-off spot.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, our first living together – although we won’t spend it in our apartment. And I just thought I’d let you know I’m grateful and happy to be where I am right now.

Happy last minute shopping!

Swimming wtih Dolphins

Day Three:

One of the great things about Fort Myers Beach Florida in November is my parents move all of their friends south. And that means that their friends children come to Fort Myers Beach for a vacation as well. Our closest family friends had two of their three kids down the week that we were there, which was great since we don’t see each other often and we got to ditch the old people together and re-bonded by Sea-Dooing with the dolphins in the ocean!

Let’s start out by saying – day three was definitely one of the highlights… and lowlights.

We started our day bright and early meeting in front of the condo at 9:00, we drove down to Times Square in Fort Myers Beach. We met our captain – I don’t remember his name either, but we named him Captain Jack, as in Captain Jack Sparrow.

After signing our lives away, and initialing about 50 different statements about which we were told, “Don’t worry about those we’ll go over it with our safety demo,” we were off to the safety demo. There, Captain Jack’s assistant told us how to make the Sea-Doo go, how to stop, and the various signals that our fearless Captain would be giving us out on the water. The last demo was about the safety clip, that clips to your life jacket, and to the emergency stop so should you fall off the Sea-Doo will stop, “but don’t worry, it’s pretty calm out there today, so no one should fall off.” Famous last words.

We were told to idle out between some buoys and wait for Captain Jack. When he got there our Cap’n said “Alright! Let’s go find some dolphins!” and he was off, before I even knew what was happening our leader was gone like a shot!

I should mention here two side notes. One, the boy was unsure about participating at all, because he generally worries about safety and doesn’t really like to do anything dangerous, unless of course there’s alcohol involved in which case all inhibition goes right out the window. So, he didn’t want to drive – too nervous. Two, when we were signing our lives away Captain Jack’s assistant asked the boy and I who would be driving. I said I would but we would like to switch half way through. The assistant said to the boy, “How old are you?” The boy answered, “28” First mate, “Oh, okay that’s old enough.” What?!

So I was driving, and the boy was holding on saying “Slow down!” Well, I couldn’t very well slow down, we’d lose them completely so I went about 60-65 km/h. Before we knew it Captain Jack was telling us to cut the engines as we floated around 2 dolphins. We watched them for a while, and then moved on to find some more.

At our next stop we found 3 very active dolphins and a manatee! The boy was very surprised how big the dolphins were, and as for the manatee, while it was cool to know we were right near one, we mostly only saw a grey hump in the water – it could have been an old tire for all we knew. We did learn that a manatee’s closest relative is an elephant! This stop was one of our best views of a dolphin up close, we were floating around watching them when one came out of the water right in front of us, and swam alongside our Sea-Doo, very cool.

Next stop, 2 more… more of the same, and time to switch. With a little instruction on how to switch without getting wet, (from our friends, not Jack) we managed and I was now the passenger. Now timid boy was driving and I was feeling slightly nauseous as he figured out how to accelerate and how to slow down. More of the same by way of dolphins, although the next group included some babies.

Now that we had seen A LOT of dolphins, Captain Jack took us out to play on the Sea-Doos, as we made our way back home. The boy’s confidence was growing as he started jumping the wakes from those in front of us and going much faster than he had requested that I go. At one point I told him, “I’m going to be sick on the back of your head if you don’t slow down.” He laughed at me… malicious.

Off we go, heading for home, I’m holding on with all my might, thinking “my inner thighs are going to be sore tomorrow… I’m going to fly off this thing if we don’t get back soon… this is WAY faster than he wanted me to go… I’m going to be sick… I can’t believe I’m holding his hat… if I fall off that’s the end of this hat… I’m going to be sick.” When we hit a wave, and I flew up off my bum, we hit another wave, I flew up again, and I was actually standing, not letting go… and screaming “SLOW DOWN!” We hit another wave, I flew off the back, but I don’t let go… I’ll teach that boy, you throw me off the Sea-Doo, you’re coming too! What choice did I have really, if I hadn’t taken him with me he probably wouldn’t have noticed I was gone. After all, he obviously didn’t hear me screaming at him that I was going to fall, or to slow down!

We’re in the water, swimming in the very water that the dolphins are… we are swimming with the dolphins. The Sea-Doo, did indeed stop, but it still required a swim, I told the boy to go get it and come and get me. Our friends stopped to see we were okay and then cheered, “That was awesome!” Captain Jack, NO WHERE TO BE SEEN! In fact it took the time for us to fall off, swim, get back on and starting driving for a few minutes before we saw any sign of our mighty Captain. He gave us a thumbs up, we gave one back and we drove the final 2 minutes back to the buoys. That’s right, our adventure was 4 minutes from home.

We definitely earned our drinks with lunch, as we recounted in play-by-play how exactly we ended up in the water.

What about the hat? Oh I saved it, I lost the sunglasses that I had on though, so I was forced to spend the afternoon shopping for new glasses, Oakley Outlet $60 SWEET!

So that was the highlight.

The lowlight, while immediately afterward I was in quite a bit of pain, about 2 hours later it wasn’t going away and my ribs were really hurting, and I really couldn’t get comfortable sitting, and especially lying down. I tried the hot tub, which felt good while I was in it, but unfortunately I couldn’t sleep in the hot tub.

As for the boy, well he was feeling fine although to be fair feeling REALLY guilty, as he should. But his guilt and sad puppy face made me try not to complain about the pain too much, because he just looked so sad every time I winced.

Silver lining, another delicious dinner.

Tomorrow, can’t sleep, can’t golf, can barely walk… might as well shop!

Where are the pictures? We didn’t bring a camera because I didn’t want it to get wet, now we know that there is a glove compartment in a Sea-Doo, and we could have kept one there, so there are no pictures… alas, earwax.

Hangin’ out with Jungle Erv

I logged in today to give a vacation recap – giving up on the idea of blogging each day of my vacation. I logged on and found most of this post already written that I had apparently completely forgotten about!!

Still no real vacation pictures because I still haven’t fond my camera cord… I should really start looking for it!

~ Enjoy!

Day Two:

Another beautiful day in sunny Florida, after much debate over how we should spend the day we hit the highway to venture south to the Everglades for an airboat tour with Jungle Erv.
After about an hour in the car we came upon the Everglades information booth, where we learned that Jungle Erv is not the only game in town – there were lots of airboat tour options, some promising to be the quietest, others the most comfortable, others the best value… but we came to see Erv, so we stuck with our choice.
The boy really enjoyed the information centre, especially the alligator heads they had on display and for sale… after much effort to convice me that one would look GREAT in our apartment, we left… without one.
10 more minutes in the car and a hard left, and we had arrived, Jungle Erv’s… let’s just say sketchy would be an understatement. But we did immediately see an alligator – I named him Fluffy, he lives beside Erv’s hut and I assume is fed to entertain the tourists. Next tour 1215.

We got in the boat and were slightly disappointed that our tour guide was not Erv in the flesh, but one of his croneys… Jim or Bob or something like that. I may not know his name, but I do know he had a few missing teeth, and looked like he grew up with the alligators, as the brochure had promised.

After going over a few rules like, you don’t have to wear the hearing protection, that’s your choice but I recommend you do, don’t get out of the boat, and don’t try and pet the alligators we were off.
The tour was pretty cool we learned some fun facts which I’m always a fan of:

1. There are 2.5 million alligators in Florida

2. The last person to die of an alligator attack was not killed by the alligator but by the infection from the bite 2 weeks later.

3. An alligator has no interest in you – unless you make yourself small and look like food.

4. Alligators are really lazy.

5. Alligators are really wonderful mothers for the first year, but after that they will eat their babies if they don’t leave the nest.

6. Alligators can’t chew they swallow everything hole, so they kill something and then hide it and wait for it to rot so they can pull away at the meat.

7. Raccoons are a favourite alligator meal

8. Jungle Erv is more afraid of the smaller ones because they are able to think about attacking you and then quickly act on it, where as big ones are slower in the whole process.

9. An alligator’s brain is the size of a walnut.

10. The only thing that eats alligators is humans and other alligators.

We saw 4 alligators, two big, one medium, one small. Jungle Erv got them to come out of the water by feeding them marshmallows… not sure why but my best guess is because they float – so they will come up and out of the water for them.

Following our hour long tour we went out for lunch where my dad was brave enough to try the local delicacy… you guessed deep fried alligator tail! We all tried some, tastes like chicken – but a little chewier.

Next stop – the Naples wool store – Knitting with Nancy. I had seen a wrap on the Anthropologie website and thought that’s beautiful but like I am going to pay $164 for something I can easily make for a fraction of the price, so mom and I told the men to find a beer and we went wool shopping. This would be one of the culprits to my delayed posts – sometimes I get wrapped up in something and have a hard time turning away and doing something else… I just want it done so I can wear it! It’s done now – and beautiful… and once I find that blasted camera cord I’ll take a picture and post it for you. I’m confident you’ll all be putting in orders and I’ll soon be charging you $164 for your very own…. but that’s another story.

After much time spent with Nancy, and too much money spent on wool… we were off again. The boy was glad to be home and was challenged to a game of beach volleyball – him against four. I wasn’t keeping score but I’m pretty sure our friend’s four year-old twins kicked some serious butt! Home for dinner – walnut encrusted Mahi-Mahi – the boy’s favourite meal of the whole trip, and another beautiful sunset!

Day Three… swimming with the dolphins.