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My Second Home - Destin, Florida

Issue Date: Wednesday, Jun. 21, 2006

Oh dear Lord, why the hell does it always happened that after you get back from a vacation you are twice as tired as you where when you freakin left!? I would like to state for the record, “Yawn.” And you can quote me on that.

The vacation was sublime. I truly enjoyed spending time on the beach, time with my husband on the way there and the way home and time with my family.

Also, good news, I didn’t catch the Ebola virus or Parvo (that I normally catch from my sister and her carrier monkeys) while we were there like I did the last time we went.

Wanna know a little bit about the trip?

Good, because I want to tell you too.

How about a list? You hate lists… hmmm… well, why the hell didn’t you tell me sooner? I have already compiled a little listy for the past (how long have I been gone? Eighteen days? now… nineteen days?) eighteen nineteen days. I’ll give you a list… in paragraph form. There… it is a win win situation. No? No… what do you mean no? Look. We are never going to get very far if you keep arguing with me. And you know how it goes… the longer I wait, the more I have to say and then the task; she looks daunting; and then I put it off and then the pile of shit I have to say just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Ok, fine. Now I am all anxious.

Go Mavs!!!!!!!! (Shit. They lost last night. Yeah, this is taking me two days to write, what of it?)

Let’s start out with the last conference I did. It was in San Antonio and it went over very well. Smooth sailing and all that. But while I was there I looked at my little blackberry to check the stats of another project I was working on (multi-tasker? Why, yes.) and I found a very disturbing email, one that said that our COO had just been let go.

Wha?

Hi, we are a tiny little nonprofit association that has less that 60 people on staff.

(My last job with hand boss, I was one of three people on staff. Why, oh why do I choose association work? Well, mainly it is for the wicked-crazy amounts of cash that I make…

Yeah, I know. That didn’t even fool me.)

They let our COO go… for money reasons. To flatten our bottom line or something. We just had a record year. So why did the COO have to go? I just thought about this because she just came by my desk and I was all, “I miss you!!!!!” and she was all, “Well, you just keep missing me…” She was a bit misty and I almost cried. I liked her. Apparently there won’t be anymore changes for a while, but man…

So I got back from the conference where everything went smooth like buttah and had approximately forty-seven minutes (two days) to unpack my suitcase, do all the laundry in the free world, reconcile the conference, close out the fiscal year with finance, board the cat and pack our stuff for eleventy days in Florida.

If you didn’t click on the link above that referenced the last time we went to Destin, I will paraphrase… or just cut and paste… about the last time we packed for this trip because I am helpful like that and also it was basically same shit, different year.

I got home around 2:30pm and we started the mad-dash packing that we now realize is the worst way to start off a vacation of any length.

Mister = a loving and kind man with the ability to prioritize event he smallest detail, systematic to the nines, with the mind of a programmer and the heart of an air traffic controller. Heavy on the controller part.

Me = a sweet and generous woman with a day dreaming quality applied to anything unpleasant, detail oriented but in a completely nonsystematic way… mind of an artist and the heart of an escapist. Heavy on the flighty.

The way Mister packs. Start with one objective. Complete objective and move on to the next task, only when the first one is completed.

The way I pack. Start with one objective, an object reminds me that I may need to pick up the film for the camera that reminds me that I may want to bring the Berry colored lip gloss in case we take some pictures in New Orleans, that pair of shoes would be great to wear in the car on the way, easy on and easy off… ooh look a butterfly!

Annnnnnnnnnnd repeat.

Off topic for a second: Don’t you love it when I quote… Myself? It is sort of like Bon Jovi singing about Tommy and Gina from “Living on a Prayer” in one of their latest, “It’s My Life”… and twice as cheesey (without the leather and good hair). Back on topic.

Guess what happened this time? Well, we had Friday the 9th off so Thursday… night… I threw our bathing suits on the guest bed (also known as “the staging area”) found like eighteen pairs of flip flops I wanted to take, threw those in the vicinity of the guest bedroom door and started hyperventilating about all the stuff I knew needed to be done before we left.

So what did I do? Watched Discovery Health Channel’s “101 Things Found in the Human Body” of course.

I fell into a fitful sleep that Thursday night and awoke around the ass crack of dawn with my heart pounding and the earplugs that I had been wearing to sleep the previous evening stuck to various places on my person. One had made a nest in my hair and the other had stuffed itself under my left breast.

I took a shower early Friday morning and ran around packing while naked. I was so out of sorts that I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to wear or pack. “Should I wear this or pack it? Wear it or Pack it?” Mister parked himself on his throne (the chair and a half in the living room) and started paying bills while I scurried and flitted around like a gnat. “Do you want to take these shorts?” “How about this shirt?” “How many pairs of manties do you want to bring?” “Would you like a hair cut before we leave?” “Don’t forget the recipes for our cooking night. Do you want this cast iron skillet?” “You really need some more shorts baby.”

No wonder he didn’t just up and throw a magazine or an unsuspecting cat at me, “Dammit woman, would you please shut the hell up? I am doing finances here, pack my deodorant and some KY and I’ll be fine!”

Heh. He didn’t say that. He should of though… would have been funny as shit.

He did say, “Why don’t you just go take a nap or something?” Because clearly I had lost my mind with the entire last minute minutia and the worry of not having enough shit to cram into our car.

Oh, did I mention that we sacked the Lincoln and bought a Tahoe? Well, we did. Last Saturday (the 27th one). And thank God we did. We had enough shit in that thing to choke a fairly large mule. Two large suitcases, toys for my sister’s kids, a kid gate (for me?), a heavy ass stone thing for my father for Father’s Day, three small bags, a large bag with the skillet and our spices, and overnight bag for the drive down, a bag with at least eight books inside, a beach bag with towels and various sundry, a bag for Herschel and all of our chargers, a bag of dvd’s, two pillows, a blanket and three hanging shirts. And a fucking partridge in an avocado tree.

I finally got everything rounded up, Mister and I packed the car and then I went to shove the cat in a cardboard box. What? It has holes in it. I have kept the cardboard cat carrier that I got when I rescued Max from the Irving SPCA. We don’t board him that often so I haven’t gotten around to getting him one of those pet carriers like I see all the time in SkyMall®*.

*Holy shit those things are funny. Max would crap in my shoes if I made him get in one of those.

And for the first time? Max ran and hid from me. He normally just looks at you when you lift him under the little kitty armpits and lower him into the box. This time he was all, “Suckah!” And he took off and ran to hide under the guest room bed. I shoved a broom in under him and Mister succeeded in catching him and putting him in his little box.

So we got Max all boarded at his day spa… the Cat Connection… and then went to get something to eat.

Have you guys heard of this incredible new dish at KFC? Now, I am not a Kentucky Fried Chicken fan by any stretch of means but kick me in the ass and call me Polly, those famous bowls are a delicious way to work on a heart attack if I may say so myself.

So I had one of those (with a side of diabetic coma), Mister got his chicken strip meal and after we ate we headed out of town. Time? Three fucking o’clock.

Here’s the dish. Destin is a twelve to thirteen hour drive from Dallas. It was Friday at 3 p.m… Dallas weekend traffic starts… well, it starts the week before, really. We couldn’t check into our condo until Saturday at 3 p.m. (the next day) so I was looking at 24 hours to get there. No problem, I am used to long drives across the country. My issue was that we had not planned on where we wanted to stop. The no plans thing really kind of freaks me out. I am a planner ya’ll. I plan for a living. Not having a freaking plan makes me want to yell things at shrubbery and massage your grandmother.

But off we went.

We stopped in Slidell, LA at about 2 a.m. and got raped with a $149 room rate at a mother whacking Best Western. Best? Best, my ass.

Anyway, moving on.

I was all hyper about stopping in or around Mobile, AL so we would go to the Original Oyster House for lunch. The next morning we awoke and packed up our stuff. We didn’t eat breakfast because I wanted to save my taste buds for the she-crab soup.

The last time I went to the Original Oyster House I had the she-crab soup. Ya’ll? Ya’ll. This soup was creamy and buttery and tasted like sin itself. It was freaking pink but just about the best thing I had ever put in my mouth. I have lusted for the soup. I have yearned. I was so upset the last time we went through because we were running a little on the late side to get to the condo by 3 p.m. so we forwent the trip to The Original Oyster House for a trip to a rickety Wendy’s on Hwy 110.

So Saturday morning we woke up, peeled ourselves off of the sticky mattress (shudder) and took showers to wash the filth away. After our showers, repacking the Tahoe and filling up the gas tank we headed east towards Mobile and the Original Oyster House.

I called my parents on the way to let them know where we were and to tell them about my plans for lunch (I was with them for the miracle that was the she-crab soup) and my mother was all, “Oh, honey… I am so glad you told me what your plans were. The Original Oyster House got completely demolished by the hurricane.” I started to say something akin to disbelief and sorrow… I am sure it would have been totally eloquent… but then she said, “They rebuilt it about two miles up the road; you can see it from the highway.”

The relief that flooded me was absurd. It is a restaurant for Pete’s sake… not a hospital in Baghdad.

Hi, I am a fat girl. Can you tell? I have typed approximately five pages of information and roughly half of it is about freaking food.

So, yeah… back to the restaurant.

Heh.

Mister and I didn’t go the last time we passed by on our way to Destin (in 2004) and I met him after the family went in 2002 so I have been hyping this Oyster House for… oh, say, four years. So it had a lot to live up too. We passed the old one that had been basically blown off of its stilts. We found the new one on Battleship Parkway (or whatever) two miles up from the busted up old place just like my mother said. Mister parked the Tahoe and I bounded out of the car like Tigger on crack all, “Hee! Race ya!”

We got inside and were seated by a sweet girl who introduced us to our waitress, Chatty McThroatyTalky. Chatty told us about the specials of the day and while she was rambling on in that ‘I have totally swallowed my voice box and I am speaking to you from my thorax’ voice it was all I could do to listen politely and not scream, “Just bring me the she-crab soup, woman!”

She finished her spiel, handed us menus, took our drink order and then asked if we had any questions. I looked from the soup section of the menu into her moonlike face, big teeth and vacuous eyes and asked her sweetly, “I don’t see it here on the menu, but does the chef still make the she-crab soup?” The “Dear God, Please!” was unspoken but totally out there. She blinked like four times then dashed my hopes and dreams (for lunch) by saying, “Oh, noooooo, we stopped making that years ago.” And she trotted off.

Bless Mister’s heart, I had asked him to wait on breakfast to we could dine on the sweet nectar of the she-crab soup and now it was two p.m., but yet… he still asked me, “I’m sorry that they don’t have the soup baby. Would you like to go somewhere else for lunch?”

“no.” I said, in a very small voice.

So we ordered, ate and then headed on to Destin. But before we left, we took a picture.

Click to make all pictures bigger. Thank you.

Not Worth the Hype
I would like to dub thee The Original Oyster Disappointment.

Destin, ahhh… Destin. I asked my parents because I truly could not remember how long we have been visiting this little piece of paradise on the emerald coast. They started coming even before my sister and I were born. As a family, we used to vacation in Destin every year when we lived in Georgia (Marietta) but we started just coming every other year when we moved to Texas in … 198…3? (My sense of time is so completely off.)

The first day we were there was Saturday. It was mainly for grocery shopping, getting the kids acclimated to the beach and the ocean, unpacking and getting things ready for the week. My sister and I decided to walk each morning… well actually, Colonel Klink (what I have decided to call her from now on) declared, nay proclaimed that we would walk every morning for our exercise and that we were going to go out every night.

Sunday morning we were up at 7:30, well, Col. Klink was up at around 5 a.m. with her youngest and I applauded her for not waking me sooner. We went for a 1.7 mile walk and sweated profusely. We went to the west that morning and the next morning I had a bright idea to walk to the east and maybe even to the Walgreens “just down around the corner”. Ya’ll? It was a 3.2 mile hike. That is like a 5K, or so Col. Klink says. I am not too bright with the whole mile to kilometer exchange.

Let’s discuss this for a moment shall we?

I walked 1.7 miles further than I have walked any morning previous to that Sunday and we even went out Sunday night. To a BAR. So that next morning when we walked the 5K… I… well, let’s just say that I am out of shape. Seriously and incredibly out of shape. Monday night we went out dancing and drinking as well, so Tuesday we took it easy on only walked a mile and a half. Wednesday we walked a bit more, a little over two miles… and Thursday morning? I gagged and bound Col. Klink, stuffed her into a closet and was back in bed sleeping like a baby by 8 a.m.

Other than my sister trying to kill me help me get into shape, we mainly spent the time cooking, laying on the beach, swimming in the ocean, lounging by the pool, going out to bars and nightlife arenas that made me feel so very very old, spending time with friends and family and looking at this:

View from the balcony.
Look at this view. If my hair would not be all nappy, I could probably live here just for the scenery.

Oh, and Mister shaved off his beard. He looks ten years younger. He did it, I think, Tuesday. I wish I could shave my face (or my back… heh) and look like I was 26 again. He looks great. He is all clean cut and doubly handsome. He had his beard and moustache for fourteen years. Fourteen years.

I’m rambling. There is so much to tell. New house, new car, clean shaven man, vacation to Destin, the tropical storm/hurricane that didn’t touch us at all… just made the waves really high and poundy, the drive there, the drive back, the great conversations and laughter, cute bunnies in my yard, Max being home from the boarders, seeing several movies including The Omen and Nacho Libre (Could there be two such different films to see so close together? I submit that there can not.)… oh, and fantastic po’boys from this awesome little gas station off of I-20 and I-59.

One last little picture because I have been on hold with TXU Electric now for 56 minutes (so not kidding) and I am about to loose my ladylike charm and go carnival psycho crazy on these poor customer service representatives.

Beach
See the yellow flag? The next day they put up a red over red flag which means ‘Danger Will Robinson… Do NOT go in the water’. At least they didn’t put up the purple flag, that means ‘Dangerous Marine Pests Present’.

I am glad to be home!

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To understand this dear reward (above) at all, you must hie thee on and read gatsby’s grape ape entry and my comments.

And because of said comments he sent me my very own dream turtle in an email titled wee gift with these words attached, “my purple monkey is booked solid so i ordered you a tangerine turtle. hope he proves helpful.”

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