Florida – September 2008

Day 25 – Jax – more old friends visiting

Thursday 16th October

We never did have that breakfast as planned for this morning. Dave’s brothers and sisters were travelling in from all different directions and it was understandable that the family were occupied with themselves given the circumstances.

Free of any other obligations, we thought we’d try our luck at Mimi’s Café again this morning. With today being neither a Sunday nor a school holiday, we were hopeful that there wouldn’t be a substantial wait this time. Indeed that turned out to be exactly the case and we were seated straight away. For some bizarre reason, Sandy felt the need to order some runny eggs for Jennifer, who diligently sat there and smothered her hands in them repeatedly. I wouldn’t mind ordinarily, but each time she grabbed a handful she then immediately wanted her hands wiped again. This cycle repeated itself a few dozen times before I gave up and surreptitiously slid her plate to elsewhere on the table. It didn’t stop her making a mess of herself but at least I was able to eat my breakfast in relative peace … albeit only briefly.

We dropped in briefly at AnnMarie’s shop and handed her back her laptop, now with all the software installed as promised. We also dropped into the Apple store to see if the new laptops that were released just yesterday were in stock but, alas, they weren’t.

When we went down to Orlando, we loaded up the car from the condo with the aid of Jennifer’s collapsible shopping crate. Not only did I break it when lifting it into the car but I also forgot to pack it again when we left the house in Orlando and we’ve been looking around for a new one ever since. Sandy disappeared into Target with Jennifer so I popped into Staples to see if they had something similar in stock. As luck would have it they did so I picked one up by means of replacing Jennifer’s. I went back over to Target to find Sandy had already half filled another shopping trolley full of ‘stuff’. We only have an allowance of 8 bags of up to 23Kg each for our return journey and I’m now seriously starting to get concerned that we’re going to be over the limit one way or another. I think Dad’s going to have a fit when he collects us from the airport next Wednesday morning and sees everything he’s going to have to cram into the two cars.

We stopped off on the way back to the car at the Marble Slab to indulge in some rather tasty ice cream for us all. Some of our purchases have been building up in the back of the van over the past few days and I thought I detected a slight tilt in the suspension as we made our way back to the condo. I wouldn’t mind but most of the ‘stuff’ we’ve collected is clothing or shoes for the kids and they’ll grow out of everything before too long anyway.

Back at the condo again, we put the kids into bed and Sandy took a nap whilst I partook in another rather relaxing shower and a Jacuzzi soaking. Bliss! And yes, I did remember to switch off the jets before standing up this time.

We were to be entertaining this evening with Gerald and Reyna swinging by for dinner but this was still a few hours off yet and it was such a lovely day out that we decided to get the kids into their swimming attire and wander down to the beach for an hour. There was a lovely breeze and it was a very relaxing little distraction. Jennifer was again very skittish with the sand and especially with the water. She came round a bit after a while but never really seemed particularly comfortable. Another woman enjoying the beach with her family offered to take a family photo for us but despite her best efforts, none of the photos she took had everybody looking at the camera at the same time. It’s amazing that with all the hundreds of photos we take every day, we still don’t have a really nice photo of the whole family.

Once we’d exhausted the entertainment that was to be had down on the beach, we headed back up to the condo and got the kids bathed and ready for Gerald and Reyna’s arrival. Reyna is still sporting that cast on her leg from a few weeks ago but otherwise they both seem very well. I popped out briefly to collect a few provisions and Sandy set about cooking some food for us all. After the kids eventually went to bed, we enjoyed a lovely meal around the table. Sandy and Reyna retired to chat with each other whilst Gerald and I talked mostly about my days at CSX and who was still there and who had moved on. We eventually had to draw an end to the evening with them and bid them goodnight.

The moon was out in force this fine and balmy evening and the views from the balcony were spectacular, with he shimmering light from the full moon dancing tantalisingly over the waves rocking gently against the shore directly beneath us. Life is good.