Home Sweet Home

We’re home. We left on Friday afternoon after a final walk on the beach. It was VERY tough leaving. I suspect that everyone who crosses the bridge on the way out discusses how they could possibly stay there for ever and somehow make a living. We’ll get over it, though, and will probably go back next year.

We took a different route home this time, driving up 41 via Punta Gorda. We didn’t stop there, but could see the place was still a mess, months after Hurricane Charley. Plywood was still nailed to many of the buildings, including a McDonald’s and a Holiday Inn. We stopped in Tallahassee for the night and then drove straight to Houston, only stopping for gas.

I’ve added a few final pictures to the album.

Our cats were happy to see us. Very happy. They bounced around the house for hours.

Incidentally, if anyone in Houston is ever looking for a cat sitter, look no further. Rob from Home Sweet Home Pet Tenders is THE BEST. He’s been looking after our pets for ten years and we’ve never had a problem. He waters plants, brings in the mail, walks your dog if you have one, feeds the cats, brushes them; in fact, he’ll take care of anything you need in a 45-minute visit, including putting your paper towel roll in the microwave, if he deems it necessary. His number is 713-772-4317. And no, he doesn’t know I’m giving him a free ad. In fact, I’m not even sure if he’s looking for more business.

So . . . it’s back to work tomorrow. But not long to wait until the next three-day weekend.

Sanibel — Day Four

Sanibel Island. What can I say? The temperature is in the low 80s. The water is warm, but just cold enough that it takes wusses (sp?) like me about five minutes to walk in slowly. Once in, you can swim for ever along the coastline. You can see the bottom, and there’s nothing nasty, such as sea snakes (Saudi Arabia), mud (Galveston), jelly fish (Saudi Arabia), tar (Cornwall), seaweed (Galveston). The only drawback for me is that there are no waves of any significance. My boogie board remains in the car. A slight breeze has been blowing every day, but not enough to blow over our umbrella which we’ve stuck in the sand to hold off the sunburn. The beach goes on forever. Miles and miles of white sand and millions of shells. There is a public beach about two hundred yards to the North of our area, but no one is using it this year because there is no road access. Hurricane Charlie took care of that.

We do miss our cats, though.

We drove up to Captiva Island yesterday evening. What a mess! If you’re a roofing contractor, this is the place to be right now.

The house we’re renting (see right) is more luxurious than home. It is fully carpeted. There are two bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, living room, dining room, kitchen, balconies upstairs and downstairs, three televisions, two VCRs, washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, telephones, and all extras — such as paper goods, soap, towels (6 beach, 12 bath, 6 hand, 6 face) — supplied. There is even a cupboard full of beach chairs, tubes, umbrella, buckets, spades, beachmats, and even a boogie board. There are also two tennis courts and a swimming pool — one tennis court is out of service after the hurricane, but then there aren’t that many people here to complain right now. The house in fact sleeps six (there are two fold out beds), and we got all this for $850 for seven nights. Habershons, it’s time to plan a Florida trip!

I wonder if our cats miss us?

The island itself is beautiful and clean. It costs $6 to drive onto it, and the speed limit is 35 mph. You can’t get lost, as there’s really only one road down the middle, with side streets. There are restaurants galore, one movie theatre, a school, a lighthouse, a library, small specialty shops, and a supermarket. There are miles of bike paths and if we can ever drag ourselves away from the beach we may rent bicycles and check out the lighthouse.

Did I mention that we miss our cats?

There is a room with a computer and WI-FI next to the pool, so once I’ve finished typing this I can just walk over closer to the pool and upload. One evening we may walk around with the laptop and see which apartments get the signal — then we’ll know where to book next year.

There are no pets allowed here.

Hurricane ravaged Sanibel

We’re here in Sanibel, and getting an idea of how badly Florida was hit by the hurricanes. Sanibel took a direct hit from Charlie, as you will see from the pictures I’m adding to the album. Captiva Island just north of here was actually split in half. We haven’t driven up that way yet. The repairs are continuing around the clock, and as far as we can see, only 50 percent of the units at Blind Pass, where we’re staying, are rentable. This, of course, has an upside to it. We have the beach to ourselves!

Beach time

It’s official. We’re on vacation! In a couple of hours we’ll be driving to Sanibel Island, Florida, for a week of glorious laziness. Wendy is sitting in the driveway, eagerly waiting to be packed up with books and shorts and swimsuits and boogie boards and suntan lotion and CDs.

We’re taking two days to drive the 1200 or so miles. We’ll stop tonight in New Orleans and then drive as far as we feel like driving on Friday. Our beach rental begins at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

You may remember that we took the same trip last year. This year John’s family won’t be there, so we’ve rented a smaller place. We can walk to the beach, and there is a pool near our townhome with WI-FI, so I’ll be talking to y’all shortly!

I love this lady

President Bush today chose Dr. Condoleezza Rice as the next Secretary of State.

Condoleezza was named after the musical term “con dolcezza” — “with sweetness.” Her mother was a pianist and teacher, and Condi herself is a brilliant pianist.

I won’t go into all her other qualifications and achievements, except to say that she is an amazing person. Hey, we even named our cat after her.

Good luck, Condi!

Worst and best movies of my year (so far)

Last weekend we went to see Team America. The best I can say for it is that it had a good message, and probably upset Alec Baldwin more than it did me. However, I hated it and couldn’t wait for it to end. It was just plain vulgar. I would have left after ten minutes, but John seemed to like it; in fact, every male I’ve mentioned it to seemed to like it as well. It just grossed me out, and I felt weird all week trying to erase it from my mind.

Today, however, my mind is completely cleared, because we’ve just returned home from watching The Incredibles. Brilliant! Don’t miss it. It’s got something for everyone.