I fly to Florida at least once per year. My mom and dad and my sister all live down here. This year, my brother flew in as well. We all decided that the last time we were all in the same place at the same time together, was back in 2004. Whoa. That’s way too long!
My brother was supposed to bring his girlfriend and we were excited about meeting her. But unfortunately, she broke her leg the week prior to the flight. He left Florida early to go and be with her and return to work. I figured she broke her leg while they were biking on a mountaintop in Colorado. But no. They were on a concrete bike path and she was riding a cruiser bike. It was a bad break in three places, so she is laid up for a few months, or more.
Our flight departing Springfield was an hour late. Nothing new this time of year with storms here and lightning at our destination. When we landed, my brother and sister and my 7 year old niece were in route to pick us up. We were totally excited. We stopped for a 12-pack of Bud Light Lime, got the kids some junk food (I know, we’re awful) and headed to mom’s. Once there the kids jumped in the pool and it didn’t matter if it was midnight. We stayed up late and had a great time.
The following day we loaded the boat and headed to Stump Pass. All of us. All 7 of us fit in the boat comfortably. The boat launch is just 5 minutes (or less) from mom’s house so really no time at all. It actually took longer to get the boat ready than it did to drive to the launch and launch and load it. Stump Pass is a short boat ride from the launch. It’s a nice sand bar with a coastal waterway on one side. A short walk across it takes you to the Gulf side, so the best of both worlds. My dad caught 3 catfish while we swam, ate sandwiches and drank a few sodas. I got totally sunburned on my shoulders so no sun for me for a few days!
We enjoyed the boat and the water for a few hours and had a great time. We headed back to the house and my brother asked me to go for a bike ride. Of course he had rented a pretty nice road bike and brought his own pedals since he has the snazzy shoes and all. I hopped on my mom’s cruiser and off we went. We rode about 8 miles down Manasota Key to Middle Beach almost to Englewood. There’s a great picnic table there and we watched the sun start to set. I was totally tired of pedaling by our return, as my bike had like no gears. I felt like Mrs. Gulch in the Wizard of Oz. My cruiser was black with a basket on the front. Hilarious. Pretty comfortable ride though.
When my brother was 10 years old, I came home from work one summer day to find him sitting on the couch all alone. I was 16 at this time. I asked him where all of his buddies were and he said they were out riding bikes. I asked why he wasn’t with them and he said it was because he didn’t know how to ride. I was like what in the hell? How did this happen? I said ok, let’s go right now. So we did. He learned to ride on my bitchin’ green Schwinn with the ape hangers and the banana seat. He learned in no time flat.
Bikes have been a huge part of my brother’s life. Once he graduated from MU and moved to Boulder, he worked and managed University Bikes in Boulder and Performance Bikes in Denver. Today he works for Yakima, which is a serious bike rack (amongst other things)company. He had to fly home two days after my arrival. It was super great to see him and have our entire family at the same place at the same time.
Today I am lounging on Pine Island with my sister who is still seriously unemployed. She’s making ends meet with e-bay. They have great thrift stores here and the best ones require lots of patience and digging as I experienced yesterday. She found 10 pairs of shoes for $20 and a few purses for $1 each. In the shoe lot were one pair of Birkenstocks, one pair of Donald Pliner sandals, one pair of J Crew fancy sandals, 3 pairs of Ferragamo’s (not kidding). I was blown away. The purse lot included a red leather vintage Fossil purse in perfect condition, a baby alligator purse (needed some TLC) from Mexico made in the 1940’s, two purses from the same era that are crewel (needle work) and beautiful with change purses inside still intact. She also scored a pair of Teva sandals for herself for $2. When we got home I raided her e-bay shoe stash and found lots of stuff I loved, but only purchased a pair of Teva sandals. They were totally like brand new.
Tomorrow we head back to the thrift shops and then back to my mom’s to celebrate my dad’s birthday and Father’s Day. I’d better go. My sister just handed me a frozen margarita and I know better than to drink and blog.