Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Weekend in Florida

     So I haven't taken the time to write on this blog on a regular basis this year. As the new year began I couldn't decide if I wanted to keep up weekly entries. Now time has gotten away from me and it seems that I have been busier so far - I started going to the gym pretty much every day and added in some abdominal exercises too. Plus I've been spending more time with work related things.
     But this last weekend was just too special to not write down some memories. A few weeks ago Beth underwent an endoscopic procedure in London (using conscious sedation) to remove a lesion from her esophagus. Everything went well but still she was having a rough week dealing with that, along with a root canal. So I had this brilliant idea to see about flying down to Florida for the Family Day weekend in February, to see mom and dad and stay at the trailer they were renting in St. Petersburg. I was able to find direct flights there and back so I decided we would pay a bit extra and have a nice warm holiday. It was great to see Beth's reaction when I told her the tickets were already purchased so she couldn't say no.
     The only problem ended up being that mom and dad had to fly back a week ago because doctors down there discovered severe blockages in dad's carotid arteries. So the insurance company flew both of them back on the 15th. We lent them our green car so they had transportation around town and Dad was able to see his family doctor right away. He's had 2 tests so far and will hopefully get referred to a surgeon quickly.
    So then Beth and I ended up at the trailer all on our own, which seemed kind of strange. Mom had quickly packed up their things but left some food for us. It's quite a nice trailer and park and we had the use of mom & dad's van (and their GPS, which was very handy for finding our way around!). Their friends Rocco and Maxine picked us up at the Tampa airport Friday night and we used the GPS to find a nearby Five Guys restaurant right away - we got there 5 minutes before they closed at 10:00. Saturday morning we drove downtown to a substantial arts & crafts market where Beth found a cool jacket and I got a new tie-dyed shirt. Then we headed to a mall near the trailer for some more shopping. We spent a chunk of the afternoon at the park pool which is very nice (and heated!). In the evening we went to a wonderful concert by Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul & Mary fame. I've listened to his music for years and have actually learned to play a number of his songs (his most famous is 'The Wedding Song'). He's a great guitar player, songwriter, and storyteller but I never expected I'd see him live (he's 74, but sure doesn't seem that old). So it was a neat surprise when I found out he was going to be in St. Pete's while we were there.
     Sunday morning Beth insisted we go to the amazing breakfast buffet at The Golden Corral. In the afternoon we drove to Port Richie for a nice visit with my Uncle Gordie and Aunt Shirley who have a fifth wheel they're camping with for the month. In the evening we drove down to the beach, where we took a walk along the shore and visited some of the shops at St. John's Pass. I got a couple of bathing suits for a good price and we picked up some fudge for the kids (for not a good price!)
     Monday morning we packed up the van and then headed to the beach for the afternoon. It was really nice soaking up some sunshine, but the water was way too cold to go in swimming. A pod of about 5 dolphins were swimming pretty close to the shore. We had packed some sandwiches for lunch and used mom and dad's cooler for drinks and snacks. Listened to music, read, did some puzzles, got a sunburn - in fact, when we got back to Toronto airport later that night Beth looked pretty red. We met the fellow who was driving mom & dad's van back to Canada at the Tampa airport and then had a nice meal at TGI Friday's in the waiting area.
    Overall, it was a very nice weekend, but it was also pretty bittersweet as we couldn't be with mom and dad. We enjoyed ourselves for sure, but couldn't help but be thinking of them.

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