I get it now. The whole "snowbird" thing - I get it.
I mean, I got it before, but now I really get it!
Our direct flight from Baltimore to Tampa landed 25 minutes early giving us an excellent start to what would be an excellent weekend.
We got in after 10 PM, so Friday night we really didn't have a chance to do much except breathe in the warm, moist Florida air that was the same temperature as the air we left in Harrisburg (at 4 PM). Oh, and I almost fell out the side of the van when my right foot caught on the cuff of my left pant leg. Beth found this hilarious.
Saturday, Beth and I both slept in (Beth more than me). After a late breakfast we went to John's Pass, a shopping area in Madeira Beach. When we got there, we all got out of the van and while I was waiting of everyone to catch up I reached up and grabbed one of the sprinkler pipes in the parking garage. I got black stuff all over my hands. Beth found this hilarious.
We checked out all the shops, many of which had the typical touristy trinkets, but there were a couple of quality surf shops which I liked going into, even though I wasn't prepared to spend $50 on a pair of board shorts. I did, however nearly shell out $50 for a pair of Sanuk sandles, until I tried them on and discovered that they didn't fit me all that well.
We ate lunch/dinner (as is the Bertram family tradition) at Bubba Gump's at John's Pass. It was my first Bubba Gump experience and it was terrific. So good that I picked up a Bubba Gump hat at the gift shop.
Sunday we slept in. Especially me. The strange thing about having Daylight Savings start when you're on vacation is that you don't really need to adapt to the new time. You don't lose an hour of sleep, you just sleep an hour later.
That afternoon, Dave and Linda went to the airport to pick up yet another fellow vacationer. Linda's friend Marylou flew in from Indianapolis and is still there enjoying the sand and the sun.
Speaking of sand, that's exactly where Beth and I spent a good chunk of the afternoon - parked out on beach chairs by the shore. After we walked down to the mini-golf place, that is. I've always liked mini-golf, but Beth really likes mini-golf.
Beth isn't really all that competitive, but she did take a fair amount of joy in beating me by TEN strokes. She tore that course apart. As did I, but in a completely different way. Later at the beach, I almost tipped my chair over in the sand. Beth found this hilarious.
We had another late start on Monday, since I was finding it increasingly difficult to drag myself out of bed. It's good to know that isn't just an effect of having to go to work every day.
Once we were all up, moving and fed, we went to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which isn't really as much an aquarium as it is a wildlife rehab center for dolphins, sea turtles and river otters. It was a really interesting place, we watched a dolphin presentation, I touched a stingray (I was the only one willing to try) and Beth and Linda fell in love with an Otter named Cooper.
We another great seafood lunch/dinner at Crabby Bill's in Clearwater, where they don't only serve crabs - they serve everybody.
Tuesday was sadly our last day at the beach, so that's where we spent the morning (and a bit of the afternoon). On the beach. It was a bit too cold to get in the water, but the weather was perfect for sitting in the sand with a book, just taking in some rays.
Although, I guess you can't really say I was taking in rays with that SPF 50 sunblock. It was either that or come home with a painful burn - a lesson I've learned with oozing blisters in the past. I once heard a comedian say that "an Irishman at the beach is like putting a fork in the microwave. Just a lot of sparks, and a lot of pain." I have a considerable amount of Irish blood.
Reality hit hard once we landed in Baltimore where the temperature was a "balmy" 45 degrees. It hit even harder when my alarm clock went off at 6:20 telling me that daylight savings time has arrived, and it will be needing that hour of sleep now.