…Gonna Have a Fine Vacation

This was a short work week for Ann & I. On Monday, Matt went to football practice during an extreme heat advisory. After work on Tuesday, we grabbed a quick bite to eat, packed up the car and headed on down the highway. Originally, we had planned to take the kids to Holiday World for a couple days, but at the last minute Dan & George had a cancellation on the condo in Panama City Beach and offered it up to us. Can you say upgrade?? The kids had no idea. Luke thought it was Holiday World; Abby thought it was a cave in Kentucky and Matt thought it was somewhere in Cincinnati. We thought it was a good idea to keep it a secret…however; the suspense kept the kids up the entire night! Grouchy kids up 24 straight hours and cramped in to a car for the final 12 does not make for well-behaved children. We made it in exactly 12 hours and hit the beach shortly after sunrise, about 7 am. We were on the beach because we couldn’t get in to our room due to manager not putting our room keys in the night drop box! Thankfully security came in within a half hour and let us in. We no longer got our stuff in to the room before I was headed to the gulf. Although the kids were the first to put their feet in the water, I was the first to get all the way in the gulf! We ran to the store to get food and supplies for our stay and headed straight to the beach afterwards. The water and weather was gorgeous! We couldn’t ask for the water temperature to be any nicer. It was by far the warmest I’ve ever experienced. We spent several hours at the beach and then another couple at the pool before coming up to take a well-deserved nap up in the condo. That night, we ate at Pineapple Willy’s. They have a great signature margarita (dubbed appropriately the Pineapple Willy) that is even better when served in their extra-large cups that you get to take home (you may see a couple of them pop up in the video below). The kids loved the alligator appetizer! After we finished supper, we came back to the condo and went for a walk out on the beach, enjoying the gorgeous evening as the tide came in…

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On Thursday, we slept in pretty late in the morning. Shortly after lunch, the kids were caught totally off-guard when Mom & Dad B walked through the door. They actually caught Ann in the parking lot just as she was returning from a quick run to the store, so they didn’t even knock on the door, but simply walked right in after Ann…and you should’ve seen the look on Lukey’s face – it was simply precious. If I had only known they were coming through that door at that moment! It was sooo good to see them. We hadn’t seen them in nearly 2 years…and although they looked about the same, I can only imagine what our kids looked like to them. We see them everyday, but to not see them in nearly a couple years, I’m sure they looked completely different than what they remembered. Luke really enjoyed the Jacuzzi bathtub in the master bathroom. On this day, he took four “baths” alone! 😛 We visited for a couple hours and then as grandma & grandpa recuperated from their 8 hour road trip, I took the kids down to the gulf for a couple hours or so before a storm began blowing in so we headed up to the pool. We played in the sprinkling rain in the pool for close to an hour before it began really storming hard and eventually drove us inside. Like most Florida rainstorms, it didn’t last long. Within no time it was beautiful outside so we decided to go for a short drive over to St Andrew’s to one of our favorite haunts that we frequent when in the area – Uncle Ernie’s Bayfront Grill and Brewery. Uncle Ernie’s is not only an historic landmark and a local brewery, but also serve great local sea food as well. After a calamari appetizer, a couple Bloody Mary’s for Dad & I and some of the local brews (Ann had a blueberry homebrew and I tried a unique cider that everyone at the table had to try), Ann and I went for the house special – which was a grilled grouper with shrimp and a unique sauce that created a taste unlike anything I had ever tasted. After dinner, we went for a walk along the bayfront and checked out all the fishing boats. There was a really cool tree with fish designs carved in to the trunk and pelicans sculpted in to the tops. It was another beautiful evening in paradise. We went back to the condo after sunset and played a game of euchre. Of course the boys beat the girls again – as it should be! 🙂

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On Friday, we were back at early at the beach. The gulf has a flag system that tells swimmers & surfers about the condition of the water. When we arrived, it was already showing a yellow flag. By Friday, it had gone from a single red (meaning strong under currents) to a double red flag (no swimmers / surfers due to rip currents). So on our last full day, we allowed the little ones only to stay on the shoreline or to get in knee deep. Matt & I went on out a little further and discovered how hard it was to get back to shore. It took quite a bit of effort and a little strategy to get back in. We played a little Frisbee but it was so windy that it made it really difficult for Matt to get the disc back to me, no matter which direction we threw, so we didn’t play long. It was so windy the whole time that even though it was hot & muggy, the breeze was so nice that you really didn’t notice. Dad & I took a cooler full of beverages down to our chairs & umbrella. We got some good sun as the kids built a really big sand castle. Mom didn’t venture down to the beach due to her hip being so sore. She did make it to the pool though and had fun playing with the kids until we got hungry and had to stop and come up for a quick bite to eat. Matt enjoyed the scenery at the pool and had to tell Grandpa and Dad about it. After yet another brief rain storm and a nap, we headed out for an early supper. We decided to go down the beach to Pier Park. We ended up eating at Jimmy Buffett’s place called adeptly Margaritaville. We had about a half hour wait, but it was more than worth it. What a cool place this was! It was one of the neatest places decorated on the inside – complete with a banana boat, prop plane, sea birds & fish…and two cute blonds on stilts (don’t ask me)…and of course a couple large screens with Buffett playing. Lukey had a prime seat with a great view… We started off with another dish of calamari and a HUGE dish of nachos. I had a couple of the “Off to See the Lizard” margaritas, while Ann had the award-winning large margarita and Dad had a wonderful Petron-fueled margarita that he had me try and I was hooked at my first taste! I can’t wait to make my own ‘ritas with some of this juice! Matt had the house specialty – Cheeseburger in Paradise – of course. I had the fish tacos, which I had never had before. They were OK but needed some hot sauce. The kids all had balloon creations made for them by the “tall ladies.” Luke of course went for a sward; Abby a monkey and Matt a really cool shark fin hat. Afterwards, we parted ways with Mom & Dad – who went back to the hotel. We went across the street to the beach and tried to get a couple of cool sundown pictures on the beach but were a little too late. We went back in towards town and decided to see the sights and decided to go go-karting. Luke was a little too young to drive on his own, so he had to ride with me while Matt & Bu got to ride their own karts. Unfortunately, we were too slow to keep up with the single riders, so we made the most of it and tried to do a little rubbing in the corners. It was a blast but went too fast. By the time we got back home, we were pooped and went up and vegged in the condo and fell asleep on the couches watching movies…

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On Saturday, Mom & Dad were up early and hit the road back down to Largo. It was a tearful good-bye as we watched their car drive out of sight from the 16th floor of the Sterling Condos. It was raining pretty solidly all that morning which made it easier to get motivated and on the road ourselves. On our way out of town, we stopped at the Mr. Surf’s surf shop on the main drag again as we had last time and bought Bu a new boogie board, since Molly had chewed her old one up earlier this month. Luke decided he also needed one, so he got a cool one with a shark on it while Abby got a neat one with peace signs. It was a long trip home, but made it in about 13 hours, stopping a couple times for longer breaks than on the way down, since we had to have lunch and dinner on the road. We were very lucky to have mostly good traffic, not see (nor become involved) in any bad accidents and the law enforcement was surprisingly sparse as well (although the radar detector helped us a few times). On Sunday, we slept in before getting started on putting everything away and doing our weekly chores. As the boys vegged on the couch with the race and football, the girls met up with Amy & Baili and went up the State Fair in Indy to catch a concert with one of Bu’s favorite singer / actresses – Selena Gomez. She is the star in the Disney comedy series Wizards of Waverly Place. More on that next time…

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We have several videos to share this go round. Included below are four from our vacation and a couple Zep-related videos just for fun:

Before we end this edition, let’s take a quick peak at a few Waybacs. Leading off, we have Grandpa Owens with his prom date, circa ’56; Gigi in the Greensburg Daily News paper in the early 80’s; Ann in about her freshman year in the mid eighties and then again in her senior picture in the fall of ’87.

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The middle section has three from our Christmas in LaPorte in ’89: the first is Rob giving Grandpaw Brown what is likely a bottle of bourbon by gauging the size of the present; Rob proudly showing off his new Nintendo and Dad B, Rob, Peanuts and I enjoying the morning (rockin’ that mullet baby!) and then Mom & Dad B with Rob in their tea & crumpets room in the front house in Rossville during the Bryan Christmas in what I think is ’92.

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In the final bunch, we start with the three amigos (or is it amigas?) in Downtown Disney in March of ’96 (Week 19 crew, I suspect) – Evelyn, Mom and the now-deceased Sue Yokham. They were inseparable for several years with their boats up in LP and their condos in Treasure Island; then Dad B with his studly shirt and pose for his lovely wife from earlier this year (she was impressed too!) and finally a little note we received in the mail this past week of my Cousin Wendy’s oldest girl Bethany. She is as pretty as I remember her momma being at that age. I don’t know which I can’t believe more – that she is graduating already or that Wendy has a kid that is graduating! She is having a party across the street from Dad Scheu’s bar & grill – The Parkside Deli in Lafayette in the old building where I used to practice park plays when I was little…which reminds me Mom, I’ll have to look and see if there are any old pictures in of me during that time – those were fun summers. I’m nearly out of Waybacs and will need to open up another box soon and scour the thousands more pictures in the next box for more treasures!!

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Well that wraps it up for now. Thanks for keeping up with us as always and we’ll catch up to ya next time. Until then, have a good one.
Later, Scheu

3 comments to …Gonna Have a Fine Vacation

  • Mom

    Great comments Tom on your past week and great pictures!! We enjoyed our time spent with you and it was soooo good to see you all!! We had some laughs huh?? And the mention of the eucher game was not at all necessary you know. Also, it was dads hip and back and my knee that has been bothering us. Just to keep the facts straight. It’s sooo much fun to get older!! The golden years are NOT fun!! Yes, it is another world at the beach isn’t it. The wind was unbelievable though and I hated that it kept you guys out of the Gulf. Anyway, take care and hope back to school has gone well. Love you all and XXXOOO’s

  • Mom; thought you might like to see the comment Aunt Shar left on FB:
    wow whata wonderful surprise and an awesome trip. Loved this weeks blog. Everyone looked so good, I love skype but nothing like the real thing.:) It has been 2 1/2 yr. since we have seen Ron and Sandy.:( They looked so good… Love, Aunt Sharon

  • Yeah; we had some good laughs…wish we could’ve had more!! The only thing that visit did for me was make me realize how much I miss our time together. I really wish we lived closer to you guys. As for the card game, just statin’ the facts, ma’am. 😛 Again, I wish we could’ve played more and enjoyed a few cold ones like in the old days…and no; I don’t want to get old. We love you guys…
    – Tom & Ann

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