Lucy and I returned from Florida this past Wednesday. I suppose it's time to wrap up the chronicle of our adventures!
The Thursday after St. Pat's, mom and I went to the Venice area to shop for more used books. For anyone who happens to be in that neck of the woods, there is a fantastic Goodwill Used Book Store off the main drag going into Venice (across the street from a Denny's Diner). I was mucho impressed by both the size of the place, the selection of books, and the condition of said books. Two asides here: This was, obviously, the trip of trips for finding used books (I came home with a box full of them) and I get a huge kick out of how Florida's elite communities borrow their city/town names from Italy (Venice, Naples, etc.)
After the book shopping spree, we had lunch at a cute French cafe in Venice called "Le Jardin". We ate there last year and, like last year, it was just as crowded. The weather was obviously improving sufficiently to bring everyone out for a day of shopping, sight seeing, and lunch in cute little French cafes!
Since the weather was nice, we rushed back to the RV resort to try to get a few hours in by the pool. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the pool, the sun was going behind massive clouds and, worse than this, the wind was picking up. Mom and I sat in our pool chairs covered with our towels but determined to brave it out for at least one drink.
Back at the RV, we played cards and waited for Dad to get back from golf (he was frozen through; Mom made a hearty lentil soup for dinner).
Friday brought a bit more sunshine and not quite as much wind. Mom and I took advantage of this and rode bikes around the resort. After, we raced up to the pool, where, for the most part, we had a nice, warm afternoon.
That evening, we went to karaoke night. We were joined by Mom and Dad's good friends Phyllis and Al for pizza, beer and wine. Then, several hours of being entertained by other people getting up and making fools of themselves. Well, that's not quite fair; many of them were talented, including an octogenarian named Stan who serenaded his wife of over 50 years with a tune by Englebert Humperdinck entitled "After the Lovin'". Later, both Stan and his wife boogied down to "Greased Lightening" (from the movie "Grease"). I have to admit, I thought I'd seen it all until I observed this!
Dad and Al bearing pizzas
Mrs. B and Phyllis
Mom, me, Phyllis
Checking out the karaoke fools (just kidding). Note my red face; a bit more sun than I'd realized!
Saturday, Lucy and I bade farewell to Mom, Dad and Brook and drove back up to Weeki Wachee for two nights. Saturday's weather was absolutely beautiful! Margot made an outstanding dinner of standing rib, we had some great wine, and Father and I watched "Star Trek" (the new version, which I'd already seen but was ok with watching it again since there were parts of it I'd somehow missed understanding the first time around). Unfortunately, it rained pretty much all day Sunday.
Monday meant heading back up to Ocala for two nights with Jack and Roberta. After breakfast at The Cracker Barrel (BTW, Monday mornings are a lot less crowded than, say, a Sunday), Father helped me load up the car with all my loot. This took some maneuvering, I must admit, and, it was a bit perplexing that it did so considering I had less stuff than I had when Mr. B loaded the car up for me three weeks prior. It must have been that box full of Bombay Sapphire gin I was bringing back (note to Jon T....I have your hooch!) Another aside; this particular brand of gin is considerably cheaper in FL than it is here.
Mom B had a pork loin prepared for dinner. Yum! Tuesday, we had a fairly nice day! After hitting Bealls (AGAIN...I love that store!), we took the dogs for a long walk and then sat outside soaking up some warmth. Later, they treated me to dinner at The Olive Garden (I haven't been to this restaurant in some years and found myself impressed by the positive changes they appear to have made to the menu, wine list, etc.)
Since I had an early call in the am, we went to bed pretty early. I was ready to leave by 7:00 am but waited a bit longer to let it get light since there was a considerable amount of fog. I pulled away at 7:20 am. The drive home was, thankfully, uneventful and passed by enjoyably enough as I listened to "American Wife" on CD.
We pulled into our driveway right around 5:30 pm. The cats seemed happy enough to see me and tolerated Lucy's presence. More on the cats and their adventures while I was away in another entry!
Mr. B came home by 6:30 and it was sunny and pleasant enough still outside to take our evening martini out onto the patio.
I had a great time and everyone at all three stops were welcoming and generous. I'm so lucky to have six such wonderful parents! Lucy did well all in all (a few minor altercations with dogs in the RV resort) but minded her manners with her "relative" pets. She's a great travel dog; in fact, she'd probably just assume be back out on the road now!