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ushope777
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10 January 2014 - 5:57pm

NOT Going to Disneyland, but.................

27 replies • Last post

..............I AM going to Florida! WOOT! Smile

If there was EVER a winter where I wanted to ESCAPE, this is the one, and I am blessed with an awesome mom who is paying my flight to Florida in February to spend SIX days (NOT including two travel days) with her in SUNNY Florida! (At least I HOPE we have excellent weather while I am there, but if not, it will have to be better than it is HERE!).

I am leaving on February 17th, and I am returning on February 24th. I have no classes going on during that time, so the best thing is I don't have to bring my computer! I visited maybe three to four years ago, when we went to Key West, but this time we will just hang out around Bonita Springs, do the pool and beach and have some excellent seafood (my favorite kind of food).

It is going to literally break my heart to leave my Otis, but I know he will be in good hands with my sons. Also, my mom is not getting any younger either, so this is the right thing (and the FUN thing) to do. Mom just turned 85, and Otis will be 14 years old in March.

When I return, I will have to get RIGHT BACK to reality and teach a class in the classroom that has a brand new format I have to learn. I hope to study some BEFORE I go so I am not as stressed during and when I return.

I know it is a ways off, but I just had to share the good news. I love to travel, but I always hesitate to leave Otis, and I really don't travel as often as I did in the past.

Sunny Florida, here I come! Smile

Hope777

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usLuckyMe
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10 January 2014 - 11:56pm
#1

Good for you. That sounds so nice to be away from the ice and snow. It is hard leaving pets I know. That's partly why we never took any vacations while our pets were alive. I think it's important to spend time with your mom. I hope you take some photos to share with us. Are there any casinos there?

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ushope777
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11 January 2014 - 5:25am
#2
LuckyMe wrote:

Good for you. That sounds so nice to be away from the ice and snow. It is hard leaving pets I know. That's partly why we never took any vacations while our pets were alive. I think it's important to spend time with your mom. I hope you take some photos to share with us. Are there any casinos there?

Mom does NOT like casinos. However, she did take the bus with some other seniors to the Seminole Hardrock casino and hotel (where Anna Nicole Smith died) a couple of times, when she signed up for the group trip with some of her friends. They get transportation and lunch and not sure what else for the deal. She is not a big gambler, though, so I doubt that will be on our agenda.

I will definitely try to take lots of photos. Smile

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13 January 2014 - 1:47pm
#3

That's great news, Hope. I hope you have a blast! I need to move down there. I can deal with hurricanes much more than the cold.

Make sure to take lotsa photos!

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ushope777
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13 January 2014 - 6:27pm
#4
barbadosslim93 wrote:

That's great news, Hope. I hope you have a blast! I need to move down there. I can deal with hurricanes much more than the cold.

Make sure to take lotsa photos!

The hurricanes AND the summer time humidity. But I figure we could hibernate in the summer months which are not as long as the winter months here, in which we must hibernate! Personally, I do find it much easier to cool down than I do to warm up. I could just live at the ocean in the summer, lol.

I will definitely bring my camera. I will also be following mom's agenda, just tagging along, but I don't care what we do, as long as I am soaking up the sunshine! Smile

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20 January 2014 - 3:31am
#5

That sounds awesome after the weather you have been served up with recently hope. Have a great time!

I'm also off on a trip soon. Last year my family bought us tickets on a cruise which is leaving on Thursday. We're headed for New Caledonia so hopefully there will be lots of fun in the sun. My kids are super excited, especially after grandma told them the ship has an ice cream machine with unlimited ice cream for kids. My wife and I, we're not so sure... we have never been on a cruise and 9 days on a boat with small kids eating copious amounts of ice cream could really test our patience if it goes bad!

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20 January 2014 - 4:41am
#6

Lol! Too funny. I know you we have an excellent time. I have some dear friends who started cruising many years ago, and now they go EVERY year. They just can't resist. This summer my friend told me she didn't think they could afford to go this year. They just booked one for her spring break, lol! They usually go somewhere nice and warm, but one year they did the Alaska cruise. I really want to go on a cruise someday! HAVE FUN, even with all that ice cream! Wink Smile

P.S. I have seen photos of the foods and desserts laid out, and most adults gain a few on those cruises, too! Luxury at its best!

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auCL-Ed
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20 January 2014 - 9:23pm
#7

I was reading about the ship yesterday and its amazing, like a city on water. There looks like there is so much to do on there. While I was doing that I found a forum where people were cruise fanatics and yeah they go every year and have lists of all the cruises they have been on. Maybe I'll get converted...

I'm not too concerned about gaining weight as I'm a lightweight and no matter what I eat or do I don't seem to put on weight!

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21 January 2014 - 12:11am
#8

My friends say they would rather spend their money cruising than on a nursing home at the end of their lives. lol I think they are so smart to do that. She lost her parents very young, and within two years of one another, so they are smart to live life NOW. I just wish I could go with them. lol

I am the same as you, CL-Ed, when it comes to weight. My family constantly stresses about MY weight, but I just cannot seem to gain. Funny thing, I was a little chubby as a child and teenager, and now I have a metabolism that does not allow me to gain an ounce. After that I kept a normal weight (except after my divorce when I got VERY thin) until about ten years ago when I tried on my fall clothing and they were all falling off me. I don't get much sympathy from others, but I really WOULD like to gain 10 to 15 pounds and KEEP it on. Have seconds and thirds on dessert for me! lol Do you have a sweet tooth? I do, and I wish I did not. (Even though I can eat whatever I want, I know I should eat more healthy).

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4 February 2014 - 4:25am
#9

Well I'm back now and I can report that as far as cruising goes, I won't be in a hurry to go on another one. It wasn't terrible and there was heaps to do and see on the ship, but 9 days with the kids in a small room started to wear thin after a while! I was a little bit seasick initially so it was a relief to get off the ship after the first 3 days to visit a few islands, but after that I was mostly fine. I guess ultimately its not really my thing - if you would enjoy going to a hotel and staying there for a week and not doing much else then you would probably enjoy it but I'm more the sort that likes to get out and about and explore a bit.

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5 February 2014 - 12:59am
#10

My friends are just totally addicted, CL-Ed, but you are correct that it is not for everyone. They do sound as if they do a lot of exploring at the different places: I hope you will tell us which places you were able to visit when you get more time. Sorry it was not your thing. How was the food? Did the kiddos have fun? I still want to try it someday.

Welcome home!

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7 February 2014 - 7:06pm
#11

I was going to add: Isn't there just a TON to do right on the ship? And isn't there free kids clubs, etc so you and your wife could have a break? I just know my friend goes on and on about all the activities right on the ship. I see your daughter did do the rock wall. that looks like fun. I am a lake/pool person, so I would be happy just laying by the pool all the day long, lol.

I also wanted to ask you about the casino? Did they have a decent one on this ship? I know my friend says some are okay and some are pretty lame, so just curious.

Love the cool crab towel - what talent! lol

Also, are you and your wife drinkers of adult beverages? I know alcohol is crazy expensive on those cruises, but that wouldn't be a problem for me, as I rarely have a cocktail. I know some are shocked to get their alcohol bill when they get off the ship if they enjoy such things, lol.

Glad you at least tried it. Sorry you got sea sick but glad to hear that passed. Smile

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17 February 2014 - 1:17am
#12

Flying out in the morning. Sunshine, here I come! Smile

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17 February 2014 - 11:26pm
#13

There is a ton to do on the ship but after you have been on it for a few days it starts to get a little repetitive. They do try really hard to mix things up and keep you entertained though. They have a different show every night and we saw things like singers and dancers, a magician, comedian, a hypnotist (very funny) and there were ones we missed like ballroom dancers and a few others.

They did have a casino on board but would you believe I never even played it. They had slot machines - I noticed a few Aristocrat games which you see in the pubs here in Australia - and a few tables of blackjack, three card poker, craps, roulette and a few others. Obviously with the kids onboard we couldn't really go in and I completely forgot about it for most of the trip. I wouldn't like to imagine how bad the payouts on the slots are though.

We are drinkers but having the kids with us helped to moderate our consumption! They sell drinking packages to people starting at $40 a day and it can go up to $120 I think (for the complete alcos) so you can avoid getting the bill shock at the end. But we just chose to pay for whatever we drank as we were never going to get close to making those packages worth it.

We did get a bit of a bill shock though as we only found out on our final bill that they charge you a mandatory $12 per day per person "gratuity", so that worked out to be $432 at the end that we weren't expecting. Apparently you can pay this up front when you buy your ticket but seeing as the trip was a gift we didn't know anything about it. And for non-Americans, mandatory tips are just weird, although I understand its necessary because they probably don't pay their employees a proper wage.

Anyway enjoy your sunshine. Cool

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25 February 2014 - 11:28pm
#14

Wow that gratuity bill WOULD be quite the shock. Ouch! I don't like places where the tips are built in, but I do appreciate "suggested tips" at the end of the receipt so I don't have to do the math, lol. I am sure it comes from those who don't bother to tip at all, ruining it for the rest of us. My brother was a waiter, and he drummed into my head, "if you can't afford to tip, then you can't afford to go out," lol, but that high of a bill, especially unexpected would be worse than the liquor bill, I am sure. Thanks for answering my questions. I forgot to ask about the beaches and if you did do some exploring off ship? Glad you at least had the experience, so now you know.

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25 February 2014 - 11:44pm
#15

Well, as you can now imagine I am back home safely, and I am cuddling Otis on my couch, recovering from my vacation. My flight was on time from Fort Myers Florida to Minneapolis MN, even a little early. Such was NOT the case on the escape out as we had snow again. We drove about 25 to 30 miles all the way to the airport, and when I left the site said, "on time," but I knew it could not be true. I was right, unfortunately, and I was a little over two hours late in arriving. They kept changing the time so many times that I finally told mom I would call when boarding the airplane. Ridiculous!

The main thing is I made it, and I am so glad I did, as a few days later Minnesota received a foot of snow. My oldest son got my car stuck and my middle son hit a snow bank that damaged the front end of his vehicle. This is the same son whose girlfriend rolled their other car on New Year's Eve day and totaled it (thank goodness they are both okay, as that is the main concern). Still, I feel sorry for them both, as they have had such bad luck this year due to Minnesota weather and horrible snow and road conditions.

When oldest son called our insurance towing plan to get him out they first told him an eight-hour wait. Later they said they didn't know when they would be there, as emergencies, such as people stuck off highways, had to be the priority. Some neighbors and my youngest son ended up helping him push my car into the garage and he was able to catch a ride with my youngest son.

I am more than thrilled that I missed all THAT excitement!

I fall in love with Florida every time I go there, and it is just a paradise like no other. My mom stays in a very large park where there is SO much to do. You name an activity and they have it. There are three pools on site and two club houses, tennis, softball, shuffle board (of course, lol), and much more. There are simple homes like trailers and there are huge, gorgeous year-round homes in different sections but the people are all the same: very friendly and fun. There are the "young retireds" as they call them and the older folks, but you can't always tell the difference. The place is the fountain of youth. Of course I felt very young there among the seniors, lol. Many had family visiting, though, so it is nice there all ages from children to the older folks. I danced with my mom's 93-year old friend, Rosemary, if that gives you an idea, lol. Rosemary is beautiful, and you would never now she is 93 years old as she runs out to the dance floor to do the electric slide. haha!

My mom's place is in the trailer section now (her and dad have lived in many different places since they started going to FL together some 25 years ago, but now this is just right for her). All the homes have what they call a "Florida room" built off whatever home they have, which is basically a big screened in room to sit in and catch the breeze. Her place is just the right size for her, and easy to clean, etc., but decorate so cute. When they sell down there they typically sell the places fully stocked with everything you need, which is very nice. And her shower is out back in a little shed! lol The inside one is very tiny, but mom just loves going outside to her shower, lol!

We went to the beach my first full day there, and my mom's seventy something friend picked us up in her mustang convertible to bring us there. There are these HUGE mansions all along the beach road: some look like hotels or apartment complexes, but they are just huge mansions. Beautiful, but I swear all I would need is a hut to live in if I could be in that climate year around. The next day my mom's friends from Minnesota called to ask if we wanted to go out in their boat! We were so happy to receive that invitation. We had a blast in the giant speed boat, and we even saw some dolphins. We bought subway and stopped at a sandbar to eat our sandwiches, walked in the sand, and just enjoyed the weather and company.

It was very difficult to leave, but of course I was missing Otis like crazy. It was so wonderful to see my baby Otis, who will be 14 years old next month. My sons, too, of course. haha! Wink

I am VERY lazy today and highly doubt I will accomplish much before bedtime. I hope to get some photos uploaded to share with you all soon.

I would say it is nice to be back, but it really is not. lol! I would like to get Oti in the car and go back until May and if it were up to me I would. So tough to get back into the old routine, CL friends. Smile

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2 March 2014 - 11:23pm
#16

Sounds like you had a great time. I'm with you on the sun vs snow thing, give me the warmth every time. Is moving down there an option?

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3 March 2014 - 9:28pm
#17
CL-Ed wrote:

Sounds like you had a great time. I'm with you on the sun vs snow thing, give me the warmth every time. Is moving down there an option?

Not at this time, but it is included in my hopes and dreams, CL-Ed. Smile

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3 March 2014 - 9:39pm
#18

Florida is home to many different types of birds. Seagulls are one, and one almost got my sandwich on the beach! lol It swooped down for my only sandwich, and thankfully, I had a good grip on it, but I actually felt the birds claws on my fingers - it was that close!

They also have the Egrets, big ones and smaller ones. At night all the Egrets go to the "rookery" which is their sleeping place along a little pond in the park. We took the golf cart over to the rookery to see the birds bedding down. Some already had their heads tucked into their bodies, and some were still arguing with others about not stealing their sleeping spots. lol

I am posting a few pics of the rookery. Remember to click on the photo to enlarge a bit.

I will post some other pictures later on, but this is all I have time for right now.

rookery_1.jpg
rookery_2.jpg

Hope777

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7 March 2014 - 4:22am
#19

I enjoyed hearing about your trip, Hope. Those birds are huge in size. That must have been one big tree. Your description of Florida makes me want to visit there.

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11 March 2014 - 12:38am
#20

Great pics hope. Don't forget to post more!

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12 March 2014 - 4:20pm
#21

I will soon. Been so busy lately! Smile

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25 March 2014 - 6:55pm
#22

Posting a few more pics. Here is the boat we were on (see post above) and some of the beach. There is a pic of mom and I in front of the boat, but she would not want me to post that pic, lol. The sand all along where we were boating was even more fine and whiter than where we went to the beach. Pelicans hanging out at the dock at the marina.I will post the pools later. This ship one is pretty cool, because I had NO IDEA that bird was there until I uploaded to the computer. That is my 85 year old mom walking into the freezing cold numbing ocean. Her and her friend made it all the way in. I did not. lol Finally, that is a LEMON on mom's lemon tree which is the size of a grapefruit.

boat_1.jpg
boat_2.jpg
mom.jpg
joes_boat.jpg
pelicans.jpg
lemon.jpg

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25 March 2014 - 10:42pm
#23

i mean sail boat at the top not ship, lol. That was a photo I took from the beach. The first one is just the sail boat, Enlarge the second and you can see I caught the bird flying across just at that moment without even realizing it.

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26 March 2014 - 11:39am
#24

lol , never saw such big lemons in shops Smile
good pictures, thanks for sharing!

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26 March 2014 - 6:05pm
#25
belaff wrote:

lol , never saw such big lemons in shops Smile
good pictures, thanks for sharing!

And my mom had freshly squeezed lemonade waiting for me when I arrived - yum! Smile

Thanks!

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28 March 2014 - 3:45am
#26

How nice it would be to go pick a fresh lemon off a tree. My dad brought back a lemon tree from Florida to Ohio, but the tree didn't survive. Love the photos. Your mom looks to have a good tan.

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28 March 2014 - 7:17am
#27

"How do you like dem lemons..."

We used to have a lemon tree when I was a kid and were encouraged to piss on it to help it grow. After seeing that picture I'm left wondering what your mother has been doing there!

That water looks so beautiful. I love how the oldies are the ones that can stand the cold water. Reminds me of the crazies around here who fill up the beach pool with ice in the middle of winter and all dive in for "fun". They are all old!

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