Monday, April 7, 2008

Our Perdido Trip

We had such a good time this weekend! I grew up on Perdido Key so going over there is always a trip down memory lane for me. We stayed in our friend D's condo and man was it nice. It's a small condo but everything in there is beyond nice. Most condos are on the rental market and they get beat up pretty bad but D's condo is only for friends and family to use and he has this place completely decked out with state of the art everything. The building is a low rise (4 story) and I thought it was right on the Gulf but it's actually tucked behind one of those giant monstrosities that sit right on the Gulf. The builder did a great job planning this condo though because every balcony has a Gulf view and there is a boardwalk leading over to the beach. We were on the 3rd floor in a corner unit and had a nice view of the Gulf but there are also a bunch of palm trees planted at the corner of the building and they made kind of a screen so we could sit on the balcony, see the Gulf yet not really be seen ourselves. The view The view from a different area of the balcony The view from the side of the balcony. The condo straight across is part of the same complex and the building we stayed in looks just like it
We got there Friday afternoon and it was cloudy and overcast but it was in the upper 70s so it was nice and warm. The Island Girl chose not to go with us but to stay with her grandmother instead (what teenage girl would want to spend time with her brothers when she can have her grandmother all to herself for a weekend of shopping? LOL)so as soon as we got to the condo the boys wanted to hit the pool. I don't have a picture of the hot tub at the other end of the pool but that's where I spent most of my time :) We went for what would have been a sunset walk if there had been sun. The sky was still really pretty because a storm was moving in and there were dark storm clouds all out over the Gulf. It was way too rough for swimming so the boys chased the waves in and out and still had fun We had dinner on the balcony and spent a lot of time in the pool and hot tub. After the boys went to bed the Island King and I spent hours sitting on the balcony drinking rum, listening to the Gulf and talking. It was so nice to just relax and enjoy it all. It started raining during the night and was storming pretty good when I woke up Saturday morning. The Youngest Island Boy and the Island King slept in so the Oldest and I had a quiet breakfast and watched the waves. The storm passed on about noon so we drove down Johnson's Beach. This is an incredible National Seashore park that extends all the way to the Pensacola Pass. I forget how long it is but it's miles and miles of unspoiled beach. We walked along the Gulf picking up seashells and watching the huge waves roll in We walked back to the van on the Bay side of the island and found even more shells
There is a boat ramp there and while we were looking around a heron landed on a branch right above us. They're so used to fisherman that they aren't scared of people at all and this guy posed for the camera for a long time before realizing that we didn't have any fish and flying off. We left there and drove over to Big Lagoon State Park which is one of our favorite parks. It was still very cloudy and sprinkling on and off so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. The boys fished and I wandered around with the camera and relaxed in a comfortable chair with a good book. Catching bait They caught a little crab on a pinfish hook and baited him up in hopes of catching a big red fish.
There is a big nice playground at this beach so the Youngest Island Boy (who's not much into fishing yet) could play on the playground while the Oldest and his dad fished and I could see all of them at the same time. Lots of boats came by while we were there. The captain of this tug got on his loudspeaker as he came by and told the Oldest Island Boy that he was in a good fishing spot and to catch lots of fish LOL From where we were sitting you could look across the water and see where I grew up. See that empty lot between those two houses? That's where the house I grew up in was. It was completely demolished by Ivan (a 62 foot sailboat was tossed up onto the house during the storm so between that and the waves the house just fell down) We drove by later and this is the lot from the street. There is one little bit of dock left but even the concrete slab that was under the house is gone. It was sad going by there and everything being gone or different. The houses on each side have been rebuilt but most of the street is still filled with empty lots. The house was partially destroyed during hurricane Frederick and we rebuilt and then it was damaged even worse during hurricane Opal and they rebuilt again. Several years later they wanted to move to Gulf Breeze to be closer to my grandmother so they sold the house. I've heard that the new owner didn't have good insurance and hasn't been able to rebuild. It seems like they would have been lucky to have sold before Ivan but Ivan completely destroyed their new home in Gulf Breeze as well. So anyway, I sat on the beach at Big Lagoon looking over at where I grew up and after I got over being sad it was a nice stroll down memory lane. The boys were fascinated to learn that I got my own little john boat when I turned 12 and spent all of my time running up and down the waterway fishing and wandering on the beach. Perdido Key was extremely isolated back then and we were part of only a handful of people living out there. There were no condos, tourists or stores at all. It was heaven.
We found this King conch (or Crown conch) walking along the shore. It's rare to find one this big that's still alive these days. We do find smaller ones but they've been taken over by hermit crabs. It was nice to see this guy is still alive and growing that magnificent shell. We tossed him out deeper so that no one would come along and try to keep him for his shell. After a lot of waiting it was decided that there were no fish to be had. We were getting ready to go back to the condo when the wind died down and we were swarmed with no-see-ums. We practically ran back to the car and still got ate up.
We cooked dinner on the grill and spent the rest of the night in the hot tub. While we were sitting in the hot tub the Youngest Island Boy says he's always wanted to go skinny dipping. Well it was late at night and there was no one on the pool deck and no one on any of the balconies (that we saw LOL) so I told him to go for it. His eyes got real big and then in a flash he yanked his bathing suit off and was sitting there naked in the hot tub LOL I couldn't believe it because he's extremely shy and very private so for him to be sitting there naked was shocking. He swam around the hot tub with a huge grin on his face saying "I'm skinny dipping - I really am!" I asked the Oldest if he wanted to skinny dip too and he wouldn't have any part of it. I was surprised because this is the kid who walks butt naked through the house on a regular basis without thinking anything of it. The Island King had been sitting quietly through the whole thing so I looked over at him and suddenly he got a look on his face that could only mean trouble. He grins real big and tells the boys that he's going to take his bathing suit off, run over to the pool, dive in and swim to the other end, swim back and then run get back in the hot tub. I start telling him that NO absolutely not can he do that but he completely ignores me. The Youngest immediately wants to do it too and the Oldest must have been inspired because he ripped his bathing suit off and yelled "I'm In!" I'm still trying to say that I don't think this is a good idea (there are balconies everywhere and I know that even though I couldn't see them a lot of people could see us) but the man's mind was made up. He flashed me an evil grin, counted to 3 and they all took off. Naked. Running across the pool deck. They dove in the pool and swam to the other end - the far end no less - whispered to each other and then the 2 boys started swimming back. The Island King's naked self just stayed in the water at the other end of the pool. What is he doing? Why isn't he hurrying back? The Boys get back to the end of the pool and run across to the hot tub where they sunk back down beneath the water. "What is Dad doing?" I ask. Both of them are grinning ear to ear and the Oldest says "Dad said to ask you if you remember the song The Streak". OH NO HE'S NOT! Oh yes he did LOL He got out of the far end of the pool and did a little dance and then skipped halfway back, stopped, did some sort of piriot and then skipped on over to the hot tub. Take me now Lord. There was my husband doing some sort of odd redneck ballet - naked - on the pool deck. He was so proud of himself and of course the boys were in complete awe that Dad just danced naked around the pool. I swear the whole thing was just shocking and if this isn't how to turn your kids into nudists I don't know what is LOL LOL
We woke up Sunday and it was still very cloudy out but luckily there was no rain so off we went. The boys wanted to go back to Big Lagoon and fish some more and there is a geoacache there that I wanted to hunt so we packed a lunch and spent the day there. The cache we were after was down a short trail and then hidden under an oak tree. We saw lots of animal tracks but no animals. The Youngest spent his time climbing trees The Oldest caught the only fish - which wasn't a keeper LOL I wandered around taking pictures but the day was so grey that nothing came out good. I might be able to get some black and whites out of the bunch I took but probably not any really good ones. This heron walked right up to us wanting our bait He got very indignant when he realized we weren't sharing.
There was a family having a cookout near us and they were playing their radio. I'm a music lover so normally when I am forced to listen to someone else's radio it's not a problem as long as it's not rap or hip hop. But these people must have been sent from the Devil himself because they were playing the worst kind of music of all - disco. I hated disco music when it was in and I still hate it today. I was a hard core member of the disco sucks group and still am LOL Apparently the man who was in charge of the radio was not a member of that group and he had one hell of a playlist going on. Every song Donna Summer ever made mixed with quite a bit of Barry Manilow and topped off with a large helping of Air Supply played over and over again all afternoon. The Island King loves disco and was in hog heaven. He was dancing and singing along and at one point I looked at him and wondered how I ended up married to a man who loves Donna Summer and misses his parachute pants LOL When I was a teenager I would never in a million years have guessed that one day I'd be married to a man who liked disco music LOL I played Led Zepplin all the way home last night and I'm still not right LOL I don't know what was more traumatic - watching the Island King streak around the pool or listening to Donna Summer and Air Supply all afternoon LOL
We got back to the condo that evening and the Island King took the boys down to the pool so I could clean the condo before we left. Don't you know that 5 minutes later the sun came out and there was a beautiful sunset. I was supposed to be cleaning but after a cloudy, rainy weekend there was no way I was missing the sunset so I made myself a daquiri and sat down on the balcony to watch. When I finished cleaning and got down to the pool the Island King said "Wow that really took you a long time - we must have made a bigger mess than I thought we did. Sit down in the hot tub and I'll rub your neck." I could have told him that it only took me a few minutes to clean the condo and I was up there for an hour drinking and watching the sunset while he babysat the kids - but I didn't. I sat down in the hot tub and enjoyed my neck rub LOL When we were driving home last night I commented on how relaxed I was after the neck massage and he said "Are you sure it wasn't that time alone on the balcony, watching the sunset and drinking that daquiri?" What? How did he know that? Turns out you can see the deck from the corner of the pool deck LOL He knew how rejuvinating that time was for me and let me enjoy it. He's a good guy.

So it rained and was cloudy for our trip but it was warm and we still had a really good time. We've got an open invitation to stay there whenever we want so we might go back next month and spend our anniversary there. But this time all of the kids can stay with their grandmother LOL
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