It may have taken a year and a half, but I finally made it back to Florida at the end of October. Coordinating schedules and time off between two busy people is hard, but we eventually made it happen. The timing turned out to be perfect, anyway, since work was just about to get insane due to a project launch. I told my manager I wasn't going to work at all during the week, needing to come back feeling refreshed, and that wasn't a problem at all, thankfully. I hadn't been on a real vacation in six months, and during that one I still had to do some work, so this was a much-needed break. (Plus, that last trip was to Arizona, which I think only half counts, since I'm there so often.)
My flight came in Tuesday evening, and we spent the following day in Sarasota. Although it was too wet to kayak alongside gators, we saw plenty during (and after) an air boat tour. We also collected several air plants, however a giant one fought back via at least a hundred fire ants that came pouring out of it. One of them bit me, but beer tasting and giant Connect 4 afterwards helped.
This was the view for most of Thursday, and honestly I could seriously get used to it. No fair... Seattle beaches are so dirty from bonfires and the water is so cold.
Friday was fairly perfect, beginning with kayaking/paddleboarding with a new manatee friend that played with us for several minutes and ending with beers on a rooftop bar where the average age was 60. I even (finally!) got to see a dolphin off in the distance during beach time.
Apparently I like to go to Florida for holidays. My last visit coincided with St. Patrick's Day, which we spent in Key West, and this time I was there for Halloween. I really do love Halloween, even though I'm generally too indecisive to make costume decisions. Even if I start thinking about them a month in advance, nothing is decided until Goodwill. We spent a lot (LOT) of time on Pinterest, and I think we made a good call going as treasure troll dolls. The idea came together really well, especially for being last-minute, and we got a ton of compliments, including from another fellow troll! Strangely not many people were dressed up for the CHVRCHES show (though Lauren Mayberry herself was dressed as Edward Scissorhands), but that just meant our costumes were that much better. (And CHVRCHES, for the record, was 10x better than either of the other times I've seen them. That new album is amazing.)
It was so hard to come home at the end of the trip, especially knowing that Seattle was already dark and cold. (The whole "fall back" thing is such a blessing and a curse.) Frankly, it was more than a little tempting to "accidentally" miss my flight and stay another day or two, but logistically that wouldn't have panned out so well. Now, though, I kind of just want to go back.
Mariana, thank you for being such an awesome host (again!) and for making sure I had a great time (again!). I would have had fun no matter what, I'm sure, but petting a manatee, seeing gators, drinking on beaches, and dancing along to an awesome CHVRCHES show made the trip all the better. I loved being able to spend time together, sharing stories and laughing, watching Walking Dead and doing nothing at all. Those are the things I miss every day. All the x's and all the o's, bap!