Saturday, May 5, 2012

Wahoo! It's Florida!

Just checking in at the halfway point of our vacation… Short version: we came, we saw, we’re eating all the food.  Long version: here goes…

One good thing about taking an afternoon flight is that it’s much easier for me to get to sleep the night before.  When I have an early flight, I usually lay in bed worrying about oversleeping, or making sure I get to sleep right away so that I’m not overtired.  This is guaranteed to delay falling asleep by 2 hours.

But with a 1:45 flight, I could prep the night before, sleep well, pack in the morning, set sail at the pre-determined time and enjoy an easy trip around the beltway, without any rush hour traffic.

We only had one hiccup at the airport… This was the first time I had to go through one of those body-scanning machines, (they were sending everyone through), so I wasn’t sure of the drill.   I’d already taken off my shoes and belt and emptied my pockets of all metal.  But that wasn’t good enough.  As I stepped in, the dude was all, “Please empty your pocket of whatever is in your left back pocket.”

I was like, “What, my ass?

OK, I didn’t really say that.  I know that if you joke with the security people, they take you right to the smart-ass section of Airport Jail.  So I just took out my wallet and put it in one of those plastic bowls, to go through the scanner.

Then when they scanned me again, they were like, “PLEASE REMOVE WHATEVER IS IN YOUR FRONT LEFT POCKET!

Gingerly, I reached two fingers in and pulled out…
…my tiny plastic package of Listerine Flash Strips. 

They had to pat me down to be sure that’s all I was packing and then they sent me on my way.  Another aviation crisis averted.

Our plan was to get dinner while we had a layover in Atlanta, but Air Tran messed up my calculations.  I was counting on boarding the plane 20 minutes prior to take-off, like Southwest does.  But Air Tran boards 40 minutes prior, so that carved a good chunk out of our mealtime.  Because we didn’t have time now to have a sit-down dinner, we had to settle for a dash through Wendy’s. 

OK, Pinky “settled.”  I was in hog heaven.  I love me some Wendy’s.  But anyway, we got in just fine and the Oldes met us at Security.

I had planned on eating at the airport so that it would be one less meal Mom would have to make, but it didn’t quite work out that way.  We still had a cheese/crackers/pepperoni/olives plate, then soup and sandwich.  I suppose I could have just “not eaten,” but come on.  I could never insult my mother that way.

We got up Friday morning to a most inauspicious start.
Luckily it didn’t rain like that for very long; in fact it had stopped by the time we arrived at the place we were going for brunch.
Omelets, courtesy of "Another Broken Egg."

Because it had cleared up, we took a ride by the new ballpark that just opened this spring.  Pensacola houses a minor league AA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, called the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.
A “blue wahoo” is a kind of fish that’s caught locally.  It also sounds like what you’d call a sad redneck.  

I’m not exactly sure of what we’re supposed to call it.  There was no sign on the building, and even online, there seemed to be a couple of names in use.  Mostly, it’s referred to as “Blue Wahoo Park,” but there were also references to “Community Maritme Park,” and even more formally, “Vince J Whibbs Community Maritime Park.”  I’m envisioning Chris Berman, right now, referring to it as “The Big Whibbs.”

Anyway, the park was beautiful, sitting right on Pensacola Bay, holding 5270, including “standing room.”  At first I thought we were just going to drive by, but Dad noticed that the gate was open, so we strolled in like we owned the place and had a walkabout.

Shot toward the right field wall.  Pensacola Bay is just beyond the wall.

They have a very cool “lounge” area out beyond right field.

You can also sit or stand on the grass, just behind the outfield wall.

We were prepared to be tossed out, but nobody really gave a crap that we were there.  Little did they know how dangerous I actually was…  After all, I was still packing my Flash Strips.

Once we exited the Park, we decided to mosey down to the edge of the Bay.  Once there, we spotted a couple of blue herons, which were pretty cool.  They even posed for me.

 He even gave me the perfect “profile” shot.  Must be used to the paparazzi.

I named this one Chester the Molester.  Totally looks like he’s flashing.

"I've got my eye on you..." 

“Just a regular heron, out for a stroll…”

When we got back, it was nice enough for a swim, so out to the pool we went.  Dad pointed out where he had to have a limb cut down from a big tree, so now it looks like the tree is, um, “excited,”
Now I call it, “The Boner Tree.”

It even looks like it has the hole on the end.

He had to have it cut down, because it was blocking the sunlight from one of his Bradford Pear trees, which was planted to block the sightlines from the apartments behind them.

To go along with the tumescent nature of their back yard, they also have this thing:

Presenting: The Balsam Barometric Weather Stick.  Right now, I'd say it's pretty darned excited about today's weather.

It’s supposed to raise up when the barometric pressure goes up and lower when it goes down.  I asked what that meant in terms of the weather but they didn’t know.  They just liked to watch it go up and down.  Such is the nature of Life in Retirement.

Also, I liked these flowers, (mandavilla), that Bluz Sister had given the folks.
This one will be in my next year’s calendar.

After pool, (and drinks) it was dinner time again, where we assembled for stuffed shells.

We only ate just over half, so I know we’ll be seeing these again.  (I can’t wait!)

Amidst all our yakking, Dad laid another great story on me, from back in his travelling days.  He was out in Boston, taking in another baseball game at Fenway with his friend “The Lob.”  They were sitting in the lower bowl, about halfway between first base and the outfield wall.

A big power-hitter named George Cooper was up at bat and smashed a screaming line drive right in Dad’s direction.  With beer in hand, he quickly leaned over, in classic “kiss your ass goodbye” position and the ball just grazed his back and landed under some seats.  Out of danger, Dad popped back up, un-spilled beer still firmly in hand, and received a nice round of applause from his section.

You know how you can drop a cat from any angle and it will land on its feet?  My family is like that with drinks.  I think we are genetically programmed to do a front handspring and not spill a drop of our drink.

Evolution is a wonderful thing.

PS. Happy Cinco de Mayo and happy Kentucky Derby Day.  In honor of our Mexican friends, we will be substituting the usual Derby favorites of Kentucky bourbon and mint juleps, with margaritas.  Arriba!



Cher Duncombe said...

I am so jealous, Bluz. This looks like such a wonderful vacation, and don't even get me started on your Mom's stuffed shells! Please give your folks our best, and if you can get through airport security with them, how about slipping me some shells?

bluzdude said...

I could try to bring some back, but I can't vouch for their being able to survive the trip. I have a feeling they might disappear during our layover in Atlanta.

Christy said...

My vacations never go the way I think they are supposed. Apparently the vacation didn't get the notes that were taken in my brain.

And let me just say, I'm so jealous you were able to get the shots of the Herons. We have them here, because we have a lot of water here, but they don't seem to like anyone trying to shoot them. They flee as soon as I get near.

bluzdude said...

I'm pretty sure the birds were used to people. They kept an eye on me but I was able to get about 15 feet away before they'd walk away. I'm just glad I have a 10x zoom lens (as opposed to the 3x I used to have before), so I could get a detailed shot.

Judie said...

Well, we'll be at a beach in less than a month! We're going back to Jekyll Island and taking our boys and the grandkids.

As for mint juleps. UGHHHHH! Those things are nasty! Southern Comfort has some sort of secret ingredient in it that not only throws me into a psychotic episode, but makes me puke my brains out.

The bird photos are terrific! And so is the photo of you and that sweet little bird, your mom!!

I have a short rant for my Saturday Centus. The first photo speaks volumes, so be sure to check it out!!

bluzdude said...

If I were home, I would have cropped the bird pictures differently to make the birds bigger, but I don't have my usual photoshopping programs here. You see them the way they were framed in the camera (which I could barely see through the frame window... I had to just hope that I was pointing straight.)

Yes, that's me with Lil' Mother. Hard to believe that a big lug like me came out of that...

Deb K said...

I loved the post but totally became preoccupied by the fact that your family has the same dishes as my inlaws. Whenever we have family dinner (extended family) those are the dishes that are used. Glad you are having a great time! And those heron photos are wonderful!

Miley said...

I LOVE the barometric strip! omigosh, that's hilarious! "I don't know what it means, it is just neat to watch"
Glad to see you having a good time. Wahoo!

In a few hours you should check out - I am ACTUALLY WRITING. I'll be going on a trip soon as well :)

bluzdude said...

Family china... the great equalizer. Yeah, those are mom's fancy "good" dishes. The shells tasted extra good coming off of those.

bluzdude said...

Oh, sure... you're writing now, but will you stick with it? You've teased us up before...

And hey, congratulations, in advance!

Anonymous said...

Do I spy you in the exact same outfit from your picture last year? Is that on purpose? Or do Baltimoreans (Baltimorons?) only have one set of beachwear?

Now get some sun on those pink legs of yours.

Tip one back for me!

bluzdude said...

I'm in the same outfit. I only have one bathing suit (that still fits) and that's it. And among my sleeveless T-shirts, the red goes best with the green trunks, so that's my Go-To ensemble.

And I'm working on those legs...

injaynesworld said...

That blue heron is totally flashing you. I love those things. The first time I saw one spread its wings and take off it reminded me of some awesome prehistoric creature. And Holy Tums Batman! If I ate all that food I'd be buying an extra seat for my ass on the way home. But that's what vacations are for, aren't they. I think my aunt had those same dishes.

Miley said...

Probably not.
At least I'm honest.

I do miss reading your posts though!

bluzdude said...

We just got back from the Chinese Buffet, and now as a further indignity, we're about to get into our suits and swim. I'm going to have to check my ass into the cargo hold.

bluzdude said...

Well, I'll do my part... I'll write them. I can't exactly come to Texas and read them to you... I'm pretty sure that's a more expensive service from Blogger.

Jessica R. said...

We were in Florida, about 30 miles apart, at the exact same time. Freaky. We even drove through Pensacola.

bluzdude said...

Aw, man, I could have run out to the interstate and waved. Oh well… we’ll be meeting up soon enough.

How bout that storm Friday morning? Yoi!