Friday, November 15, 2013

the mini-mini vacation

In the past few weeks, life has felt like I've entered every race and contest in the "adult olympics", and more than often I'm coming in last.

I'm trying to decipher the new health insurance. I'm trying to register for college classes and finding that each prerequisite comes with its own set of prerequisites. I'm squinting at massively complicated websites for the tiny 'contact us' number and then waiting on hold for hours, searching for high school records that do not exist from a high school that evaporated.

I'm putting my head on the table and yelling at the dog.

And so it was declared that a mini vacation was in order. We left on a Friday evening, leaving behind the coinsurance and the deductibles and the math placement tests.

A 5:30 post-work departure, driving south in darkness, watching as palm trees floated past the windows on 1-95. The two boys indulged in the sugar-high-madness of roadtrip glee as colorful bags of sour skittles and X-TREME sour patch kids accumulated on the floor of the car. This was followed by the predictable post-sugar crash, the restless sleep, and I took a very quiet 11:30-3:30am shift that took us all the way to Ocala, Florida.
The next day we found ourselves floating in Rainbow Springs, me and Erich and my boyfriend who magically does not appear in photos, looking for the gators we'd been promised. Finding none, we asked the incredibly bored ranger where to go for something to eat, and he told us, essentially, "Don't eat around here."

We found a local place called Swampies. It was on a swamp.

Don't eat there.
We parted ways the next afternoon, the boys and the dog heading back home, me pointed South to Naples. 
A few days before, I'd texted my friend Kelle "I have this crazy idea..." And now here I was, rolling up to that familiar, chalked up driveway littered with tiny scooters and plastic cars. Kelle greeted me at the door holding a baby and choking on candy, grabbed her bag, and we were off to the races. 

Post sunset, still light on the gulf:
What followed is exactly what you would expect from a visit to Naples: beer, limes, a piece of chocolate malted pie which I now want 100% of the time, sneaking into a hot tub late at night, a riotous trip to the grocery store for more beers, Kelle trying to hide her horror when I suggested a six pack of the non-refrigerated type. We had that giddy, anything-goes-into-the-cart, no subject is off limit, stay up as late as we want, sleep sideways in a giant bed feeling of vacation. 

The morning brought us more beach, coffee, the promise of a little breakfast joint called Heavenly Biscuit:
Which proceeded to break our hungry, light and flaky craving hearts:
But we managed to find love again, with wild cats roaming.
Kelle took me to a white sand beach, and the sand felt as soft as pastry flour. The water was so clear and soft it almost had the properties of light, the horizon so clean and straight.    

Between New England and the Northwest, I don't see much of these things. 

When I wasn't swimming and gaping West, we sat on the shore and watched Dash crawl towards the water like a newly hatched sea turtle. 
And the no-longer-ship flask came too, finally adding sunny Florida to its list of states visited. It's seen its fair share of Canadian rocks, Montana mountains, Dakota Badlands, the moody Puget Sound and the butterfly hills of North Carolina, but this was the first time it spilled whiskey on white sand and warm salt water.  
And then it was afternoon, and we were sitting on the floor in her living room floor. Nella was pulling book after book from the shelf and then collapsing into my lap as Lainey drew stars and her favorite phrase - I love You!- on my legs in shimmery pen, and Dash was just crawling into whatever space he could find between the three of us and wiggling around. That house is a happy place. 
Then goodbye, fifteen more hours in the car alone, watching the digits drop on the dashboard as the air grew cooler and palm trees turn into Spanish moss-draped oaks turn into the bare limbs of red maples. It was 28 degrees when I got home to Asheville, and I was grateful for it. I slept well in the cold, dry air, back at home in the bed I love so much. 

And the next morning I picked up the phone, got back online, called the health insurance place, the office of registration, picked up where I left off. 

Long drives to visit friends are always, always worth it. Especially when friends live here:


CaliGal said...

:) Great post! Love your pics, as usual.

Glad you had a chance to getaway.

My flight leaves Thursday and I'll be on the opposite side - Ft Lauderdale - and even though it's raining a lot, I'm still real excited for all that awaits!

Happy your home safe and sound.

Good luck with "all that".... Fear not for it will all work out just as it's suppose too. :)

Be well!

Lisa said...

That sounds wonderful! Glad you had fun. :-)

EmHacket said...

I loved it when Nici and Kelle got together last Spring, and love seeing this post, too. I'm finding more and more that I love blogging and writing, and it's inspiring to see real-life relationships evolve from it. Impromptu vacations are always a great idea. We're off to find some snow this weekend.

Rachel @ Existation said...

It makes me so happy to see two bloggers I follow hang out in real life, even though I don't know either of you. Mini-mini vacations are necessary and should happen often, in my opinion.

adventurekate said...

Sounds like the perfect antidote to the boring adult to-do lists. Are those kiddos not the cutest? Unlike others, I found Kelle through YOU! Thanks for reminding me that impromptu adventures can solve some of the serious stuff "bog-down".

Aimee LH said...

Just spent half my day on your blog…and I am a hard core follower now. Love it! And yes, traveling to see friends is always worth it. Keep writing, and I'll keep reading :)

Aimee LH said...

Just spent half my day reading your blog. Love it! And you're absolutely right, traveling to see friends is always worth it! Keep writing, I'll keep reading!

Theresa said...

I absolutely LOVE the picture of Kelle holding the gentlemen's flask. The blurred flask, her sharp eyes, the Gulf stretching out in the background. Excellent photograph! I discovered your blog through Kelle's back in March. I loved this post. An excellent marrying of my favorite mama and favorite adventure-er blog. I feel like I know you both - strange seeing you two together!

Anyway, keep writing, Melina. I am always so happy to read your words. I savor them with a good cup of tea after my kids are in bed. It's like treating yourself to chocolate after doing your chores for the day.

I was thinking of you today, actually. I remembered a few weeks ago (months ago?) you had a couple of friends in a kayaking accident who were missing and were eventually found. I had a friend's brother have the same thing happen but with a canoe this past Friday. I kept hoping for the same outcome. Sadly he didn't make it. Please be thinking of his family - Ben was an adventure-seeking person, too.

<3 Theresa

Abby S said...

Umm, why is no one commenting on your boobs?! They look ahh-mazing in the swimsuit pic. (As a married woman, I feel I can get away with saying such.....)

Abby S said...

Umm, why is no one commenting on your boobs?! They look ahh-mazing in the swimsuit pic. (As a married woman, I feel I can get away with saying such.....)

Summer B said...

Beautiful pictures. I relaxed a little just reading.