Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sober in Margaritaville

Warning - this is long, but this is my journal.... so sorry.
Click HERE for all pictures.
I should probably preface by saying that the whole reason this trip came to pass is because my sister, Lisa, was attending a conference there - Dermatology for the non-Dermatologist. So, she got to learn all about weird skin issues, biopsies, etc, while I got burned to a crisp. (Hopefully I won't have to use her skills someday). So, after she worked hard all day, we provided her entertainment in the evening. I hope she had half as much fun as we did!

As we pulled into Key West we had a cranky kid and hungry, crying baby. We picked up our keys to the condo from the management company and headed in search of our new pad. We were pleased to find a lovely condo with lots of space, clean floors, two nice bedrooms, beautifully manicured grounds (notice the orchids in the tree), and a wonderful pool.

We headed out to see the beach and swim a bit. The beaches in Key West aren't the best for swimming because they are naturally rocky - they actually bring sand in from the Bahamas. We enjoyed our little walk, though, then came to the conclusion that the pool really was the place to be! After all, you get to swim in nice clean water, sit on a chair in the shade, and you have a beautiful view of the ocean. We swam until almost 8:00 then showered and headed to dinner at 9:00! We had the yummiest pizza at Upper Crust and just as we were heading home, my mom and Lisa pulled into town.
We met them at the condo with a very excited boy and stayed up too late for our morning plans!
We had reservations for a Glass Bottom boat tour at 9:00 Wednesday morning. Lucas was so excited to go on a boat, as were Ben and I. We hopped on our boat with our captain, Jenn, and headed waaaay out in the water in search for dolphins. (Evan fell asleep within a few minutes, life jacket and all). As we headed out, it was really neat to see the difference the water depth and plant life have on the appearance of the water. The really pretty turquoise water is the result of the sandy bottom, no plants. The dolphins were in one of these areas with a depth of about 10 feet. They like it there because the fish have nowhere to hide and there aren't any predators. We managed to see several different groups of dolphins. Some came right up close to the boat and we saw one jump out of the water several times just like he was in a show at Sea World. Captain Jenn said he was most likely angry or trying to get something off of his body.

After we watched the dolphins for about 30 minutes we headed to the reef to do some snorkeling. Evan was still sound asleep and Lucas decided to get in the water, too. He held onto me or Ben while we looked around. We saw lots of rays, pretty fish, and huge tarpons. When we were just about done, Evan woke up so I headed back to the boat. Lucas enjoyed jumping off the back of the boat to Lisa for a while and we eventually headed back to Key West. When we got back to the dock, Lucas was near tears because he had to go potty so bad. He wasn't a fan of trying to go off the boat in the ocean, so Ben carried him and ran to the bathroom.

Lisa had to start her conference that afternoon, so she, Mom, and Lucas headed home while Ben and I ran to the grocery store with Evan. We all hung around the condo most of the afternoon and evening. Ben and Lisa did go on a key lime pie run to Kermit's before bed.
Thursday morning Lisa went to her conference at 8:00 leaving the rest of us to explore Key West in the heat while she learned all about weird skin issues. We went to lunch and then the Butterfly Museum. We saw a lot of pretty butterflies and they landed on some people, but not on us. Just as beautiful as the butterflies were the beautiful plants they had. It was enough to make you want to move there!

After the museum we were all exhausted. We headed home and managed some naps. We met up with Lisa at her conference hotel and looked around the beautiful grounds before heading to dinner at B.O.'s Fishwagon. This place was crazy.... Kind of like the ocean threw up on a fish stand, but in an artistic way, not a gross dead fish way.

We ate our fishy food whilst trying not to sweat (vowing to wear much less clothing the next day), then headed on a walk around the docks then over to Mallory Square, where they have nightly shows at sunset - magicians, fire dancers, etc. We were late, but managed to see a guy chain himself up in a straitjacket and get out - he also managed to teach Lucas a few new swear words. Lucas laughed at all his naughty jokes even though he didn't understand them at all. After him we saw a fire dancer. He was precious and didn't teach Lucas any bad words. Evan cried most of the time because he was hot and exhausted and hated all the applause. I tried to keep him away from the crowd and he eventually fell asleep.
We were all ready for bed time when it rolled around, especially poor little sweaty Evan. I mentioned it was hot, right?
Friday Lisa got to practice sewing on pig feet while we spent the morning at the pool and just wasted time. In the afternoon we decided to head to Ft. Zachary State Park, but as we were pulling up Lisa called and told us she got out early, so we went to get her. Meanwhile we decided not to pay to go to the state park after we found out it was mostly for swimming. Apparently Ft. Zachary is where the best beaches are on the island. I wish we would have planned better and gone Friday morning... Oh well. We weren't ready for such an adventure, so we headed downtown instead.
That night we ate dinner at Hogs Breath, picked up a pie at Blonde Giraffe, and headed home to swim some more before bed. We decided that the Blonde Giraffe pie beat out the Kermit's pie.

Saturday morning Ben and I had to pack up to leave. Mom and Lisa didn't leave until Sunday. We pulled out at about 11:20 and made it to Ft. Lauderdale to return our car and be some of the last passengers to board the plane. Ben sat with Lucas and I took a crying, hungry, poopy-diapered baby to the back row. Our vacation ended when we landed in Austin at 7:00. Clay was kind enough to pick us up at the airport and we headed home...

We had a great time in Key West. It was so nice to get away and be with my boys, as well as my mom and sister. Thanks Lisa for inviting us to come stay with you. It was really awesome! I have been thinking fondly about our trip every day this week as I battle the monotony of real life, a bored little boy, and the usual post-vacation blues when you realize that you are the lone adult during the day and that your family is once again far away.

During our time away, I couldn't help but think about what was happening a year ago... Last May we had our car accident. A week later Lij and Logan came out for Memorial Day. We headed to Hamilton Pool with them. On the drive I started to feel sick. Really sick. When we got there I didn't know if I would be able to survive because of what I thought was the sulfur smell... it turned out to be a gassy boy. That drive was when I realized I had Evan in my belly. A couple days later I was in a parking lot after buying a pregnancy test with Jeana. I got a phone call from Ben informing me that Lij took a tumble off a 50 foot cliff when he was hiking with the Young Men. Our sweet Lij suffered broken ribs, a collapsed lung, broken wrists, and a long hospital stay in front of him. Along with the broken bones, he knocked something in place helping him figure out that Hilaree was the one. In February they were married.

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