Sunday, October 26, 2014

I'm Not Ready for the Senior Discount Yet!

I never thought looking older would bother me much. I'm not a vain person and have always felt like you either like me or you don't and what I look like should have nothing to do with it.

If it does, I'd rather not have friends like that anyway.

Every once in a while people will make a comment about me being my kid's grandmother and that irks me a little but not too bad.

But then I met the waitress in the IHOP.

Dad, the Island Girl and I stopped in for dinner on our way to an event in Rome and our waitress was a woman in her mid 60s who seemed really nice.

Until I gave her my order and she said “You want that from the Senior menu, right?”

I stared at her with my mouth hanging open while my dad and daughter tried not to laugh.

She seemed a little surprised by my reaction and said “You are 50 aren't you?”


She stammered a minute, took the rest of the orders and off she went.

I will admit that I'm 49 and will be 50 in March but for the time being I am NOT 50 and plan on being in my 40s until the very last minute.

The waitress returned and said “I think I'm going to let my natural hair color come out too. It will be salt and pepper like yours which looks so pretty with the gray in it.”

Seriously? First, I look old enough to order from the senior menu, second, I can't possibly be a day under 50 and third, I have pretty “gray” hair.

It's a good thing Dad was buying because her tip meter was at zero for me.

They say you're only as old as you feel and most days I waiver between 2 and 22 so looking old really shouldn't bother me but I'm not crazy about people pointing it out to me.

I should send her a bill for the anti-aging cream I bathed in that night.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cheaha Mountain

One of the things on my bucket list is to visit the highest point in every state so I was really excited when my Dad agreed to turn our trip to Rome into an extended vacation to visit the mountains.

Our first stop was Cheaha Mountain in Alabama. At 2,407 feet it's the highest point in Alabama and from the pictures we've seen, looked stunning.

We left home early Wednesday morning and got close the the mountain around 1pm. From there things started to fall apart pretty fast.

Have I ever mentioned that I'm scared of heights? I can be a little neurotic about a lot few things but I have two true phobias. Snakes and heights.

And there I was, on a small two lane road, winding our way up the mountain. No guardrail or anything to keep up from plunging over the cliff to our deaths.

The Island Girl, on the other hand, loved every minute of it and hung her head out the window looking down all the way to the top.

The farther up we went the more I started to panic. I have anti anxiety meds but one obviously wasn't enough.

We made it to the top of the mountain and went inside Bunker Tower, which is a stunning stone building built by the CCC in the 1930s.

I felt a little better inside of the building and decided that maybe I could look at the view from inside and not be so worried about gravity plucking me up and throwing me off the mountain.

But then I saw the stairs.

I don't do well on normal stairs but if I can see through them I get vertigo. If I can see through them and they wind I get really bad vertigo.

I told Dad and the Island Girl to take pictures of the view and sat down on a bench to wait for them.

As I sat there it hit me. I have done a LOT of dumb things in my life but this has to be the stupidest thing ever. What person with a fear of heights puts “Stand on the highest point in each state” on their bucket list?

I'm sending my picture to Webster so they can put it next to 'Stupid' in the dictionary.

They came back down from the tower and off we went to explore the top of the mountain.

We were on a boardwalk that ran through a beautiful tree stand and I couldn't see the edge at all so it wasn't a bad walk. Until we got to the end.

I'm not sure how I didn't see this one coming but one minute we were on a boardwalk in the trees and the next we were standing at the edge of the mountain.

My child did not develop my fear of heights (thank goodness) so off the boardwalk she went. She climbed around on the rocks then plopped herself right on the edge of the mountain - where she sat with a huge smile on her face.

I'm trying not freak out about her sitting out there when my Dad heads off on the rocks saying there is a geocache about 40 feet away.

I can't breathe, I'm doing everything I can not to fall out in the middle of the boardwalk and cry like a baby and now Dad is climbing around on these big rocks and hanging his head over the side trying to find the cache. If he falls here he'll roll off the mountain, which is totally different from sliding down a hill on Eglin.

I did not want to look at the view or find a cache – all I wanted to do was GO HOME but that wasn't happening so I decided that Island Girl was fine and sitting still but I needed to help Dad because Mom would have been furious if I let the old guy fall off the mountain.

I crawled around the rocks for a minute and then flashed to something I saw on tv the other night about Timber Rattlesnakes denning up under rocks just like these.

At that exact moment I knew I was in hell. Heights and snakes, right here, right now.

I hightailed it back up to the boardwalk and decided that if he fell I'd tell Mom that I'd tried to warn the old fool but he wouldn't listen to me.

I sat on a bench desperately wanting to go home but also dreading the fact that there would be another terrifying drive back down the mountain.

But before we could leave they wanted a picture of them at the edge of the boardwalk

And then it was my turn. 

The Island King asked why I couldn't at least have tried to smile and I told him that was the happiest face I could muster. 

After what seemed like an eternity they were ready to go so we drove around the park and then headed on to Rome.

Back down the mountain we go, same winding, narrow road, same horrifying experience.

Halfway down the mountain he realized he'd taken the wrong road down.


There are no words to describe him turning the truck around on this narrow road - while eating a Milky Way bar.

Now we have to go back up the mountain and then back down another road.

I am not ashamed to tell you that I took another pill, buried my head under a pillow and hid until I fell asleep and then slept the rest of the way to Rome.

I'm glad the Island Girl took a lot of pictures because now I can see how beautiful it really was up there. Looking at things through a haze of panic can really mess up the view.

After the event in Rome, Dad and the Island Girl continued their trip to higher parts and I jumped in the car with the Librarian and came home.

I've now changed my bucket list to “Stand at the lowest spot in each state” and I should be able to handle that one – as long as I don't have to go over a mountain to get there.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Prison Guard Incident

Attending a mega event in Rome meant seeing groups of geocachers everywhere and as we were driving along we see a couple climbing up a hill on the side of the road. Next to where they were climbing appeared to be a cave so we turned around and went back to help find the cache and explore the cave.

After we pulled off the road, the Librarian checked her phone and discovered that there was indeed a cache there named Isolation.

It turns out that it wasn't a cave but an isolation cell belonging to the jail on the other side of the fence and that many years ago this bunker was used as an isolation cell for disruptive inmates.

The idea of spending even 5 minutes in there gave me the creeps.

The cache instructions told us that the cache was not hidden inside the cell so we joined the other couple, climbed up the hill and started poking around.

After we'd looked for a few minutes the woman who was there originally pulled the cache page up on her phone to see if there were any clues to help us find it.

Instead she saw that the cache had been archived sometime in the previous five minutes.

I've never had that happen. One minute it was there and the next it was gone.

We climbed down off the hill just in time to see the prison guard walking towards us.


The couple started walking down the hill to talk to him and as they were walking the woman looked over her shoulder and yelled “Save yourselves!”

We weren't sure what was going to happen so we did. We jumped in the car and the Librarian peeled out of there, blew past the guard and we never looked back.

After we made our getaway we pulled the cache page up again and read that whichever jail official approved a geocache originally was no longer employed there and that no geocache would ever be approved along the jail perimeter.

It's too bad we didn't pay attention to this sign.

I really hope the folks who were talking to the guard talked their way out of trouble.

Flash Mob in Rome

I've just returned from Rome (I love saying that – even if it's Rome, Georgia not Rome, Italy) after an amazing Geocaching Mega Event

We began our Roman Holiday by dressing in Togas and meeting the rest of our tribe at the clocktower in downtown Rome for a Flash Mob.

As we left our hotel that morning the desk clerk asked if we were going to a party. I couldn't resist telling her no and acting like we dress this way all of the time.

Actually, I was a little surprised that we attracted so much attention. We were in Rome after all and here in Destin no one thinks twice when they see a pirate walking down the street.

Of course there were a LOT of us and it was fun to watch people come out of the surrounding businesses to see this huge bunch of toga clad geoachers invade the tower.

It was so fun to see all of the Roman inspired costumes.

I got to meet Signal the Frog!

My Dad and the Librarian looked good in their togas.

This was just a small portion of our local caching buddies that were there. Northwest Florida represented very well. 

After the Flash Mob I really wanted to spend time caching in my toga but it's a lot chillier in Georgia than it is in Italy so back to the hotel we went to change into warm clothes.

The rest of the day was spent caching, eating, caching and more caching. Absolute heaven!

Now I want to go back to Rome so I can spend more time just wandering that beautiful city.