"Not all those who wander are lost" J.R.R. Tolkien

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saying Farewell to Island life

Tomorrow we are headed north.  It's been a long time since we headed that direction and it feels a bit strange after all our work at getting south.  It's just a state of mind though, because when you've been 90 miles from Cuba, everything in the US is north!  Up till now I have never (well, not since high school when I thought I could get a tan for cheerleading) been a sun seeker or been remotely interested in anything resembling a tropical island.  I have always been more inclined toward rainy, chilly islands like England.  It goes without saying that England will always be my first and favorite love but I finally understand why people head south in the winter.  It is so relaxing, laying on a beach in the warm sun, watching your children play in the surf, knowing the rest of the country is under ice, snow, and frigid air.  Hard to believe it is only mid-February when you are down here!

We've been having a difficult time determining our next travel plan.  We are definitely headed to West Palm Beach in order to see a friend from graduate school and we intended on being at Cape Canaveral for the shuttle launch on the 24th.  Apparently everyone in the country is going to the shuttle launch because every RV park between Miami and Jacksonville is booked for that same reason.  Sadly, we may have to scrap the launch idea.  In our internet searching of RV parks we did determine, however, where we will not be staying, a very innocuous sounding Sunsport Gardens Family Naturist Camp.  Naturist turns out to be a  gentle euphemism for Nudist.  The salient point is that whenever we've looked up an RV camp, people are never, ever shown on the website.  Not so with the "Naturist" camp.  We innocently opened up the site, read it with jaw agape and left it with tears of hysterics rolling down our cheeks.  No kidding.  It is a family camp (read:  all ages of nudist are welcome) and large groups of them were photographed and displayed on the website.  Even now, typing this blog, I am laughing at the craziness!  Because laundry facilities are quite expensive here in the Keys we have an inordinate amount of laundry stacked up.  We decided that the Sunsport Gardens would not be the place for us since they do not have a laundry facility on site.   Not to mention that we are most definitely not nudists!

An interesting topic that has been broached from time to time is the idea that we are on "vacation for a year."  I haven't really thought of what we are doing as a vacation.  The last vacation I took was in October when I had the fortune to visit England and France with a dear friend.  We stayed in hotels and we ate all our meals whenever we felt like it, in restaurants.  It was the ultimate girls getaway - no children or spouses for a week.  That, to me, was a vacation.  Yes, we may be traveling more extensively than a normal year but when travel entails hauling the entire house to each destination there will always be housekeeping whether it is setting up the house upon arrival, battening down the hatches for take off or the inevitable house cleaning in between.  Then there is the matter of teaching school, which happens every day, in various, but scheduled, forms.  If we are traveling, there is a certain amount of school happening in the truck, on the road.  When we are parked we have regular school hours and the boys have regular jobs they must accomplish before school begins.  The boys have to show competency by taking achievement tests each spring which means I can't let them slack off in their regular school work, regardless of our travel schedule.  On top of all this, I regularly exercise, cook meals and bake yummy things just as I would be doing in the suburbs, which means that other than parking my house in some really great locations, everything in the Twist house is business as usual.  The only real difference to any of this is that Donald is home all the time.  He has his own responsibilities dealing with the truck, RV, and school, and yes, sometimes we want to kill each other from living 24/7 in a small space but even then we have managed to work things out fairly admirably!

My final thoughts are of Shakespeare.  Some of you have queried his results with the herbal calming medicine.  I will preface that thought by casually mentioning that when he was 9 months old our vet gave us tranquilizers for his travel needs.  We gave him three (one over the max dose) and he never even closed his eyes until six hours into the trip.  Even then he only rested for 30 minutes and was back up again.  So you see, I really had small hopes for the herbal stuff.  The max dose was five teaspoons.  I gave him three with his breakfast.  Less than an hour into the trip I was pouring the remaining two teaspoons down his throat.  Not only did it spectacularly NOT work, I decided to keep a tallied score of how many times I had to tell him to either sit or lie down during the six hour drive from Orlando to Marathon, FL.  The total?  106.  That's an average of 17 times an hour.  This does not take into account the fact that I fell asleep for nearly an hour of the trip.  I really think there is no hope for this dog.  All I know is that on tomorrow's trip there will be no more tallying or drugs.  He's just going to have to be his freakish, neurotic self while Holly sleeps the day away, just as a good dog should.

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