Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May 18 - 24, 2015, FL

UITuesday, May 19, FL.  I left Jonnie's yesterday afternoon to spend a couple of nights with Rudy and Sonja, special friends from when we lived here.  It all started when Mike worked on Rudy's computer, then they invited us to dinner, and then we visited them every year when they were here from Switzerland.  We also had the vacation of a lifetime with them at their home in Switzerland plus train trips to Italy and France.  Good friends remain good friends and they are one of the reasons that I came back to this area.  Our reunion was wonderful and we spent the evening eating and talking, with a cocktail or two.

Sonja is fixing us a wonderful dinner.

My friends had to go to The Villages today for some errands and when that was done, we went to The Grand Oaks Resort and Carriage Museum, had a nice lunch while sitting on the patio overlooking the lush green fields and a majestic live oak tree.  The carriage museum was a collection of original and restored horse drawn carriages from Europe and America.  They were staged with beautiful models of life-sized horses modeled after the Morgan horses at the ranch on the grounds.  We got a history lesson in addition to seeing beautifully restored carriages. 

Wednesday, May 20, FL.  I was so sleepy last night that I couldn't keep my eyes closed, so headed off to bed about 9:00.  I just got into bed and this darling photo came to me:

Shortly after getting the photo, Ben called and I learned that she fell down and got a little abrasion on her chin.  Daddy gave her the special treatment, cleaned it up and covered it with a bandage and she was a happy little girl.  I couldn't help laughing when he told the story of the babysitter's experience the night before.  The twins were all ready for bed and she only needed to get them in their cribs and do pjs and stories with Charlotte before tucking her in.  Charlotte went scrambling to the bathroom but didn't make it, so she put her in the walk-in shower, then ran downstairs to check on Camille.  There she was on top of the dining room table and she prevented her from falling off.  Back upstairs, she found that Norah had joined Charlotte in the shower, pj's and all, so she put Camille in there too and all 3 played together for a while.  Ben keeps telling me to be prepared, that things can get pretty hectic around there, but I think I'm ready for some hectic from the grandkids.

Now, we are sitting in the shade on the patio enjoying the bird's singing and a light breeze.

It has been another wonderful day with these great friends.  We went to Cedar Key this afternoon, had a light lunch and then a boat ride to visit some of the nearby islands.  Seahorse Key was a rookery for native (Brown Pelicans, Egrets, gulls, Cormorants, and Osprey) and migrating birds (Magnificent Frigate Birds - they can stay in flight for up to 30 days) and is also home to the largest population of Cottonmouth snakes in Florida.  They all lived happily together until April 22 of this year when the birds all mysteriously disappeared and relocated to nearby Snake Key.  The question is why and nobody has determined the answer yet.  Could it be the F-18's that fly closely on their practice runs or the helicopter's that do practice drop-downs and takeoffs or was it some natural phenomenon that caused it to happen? 

We were lucky to see very large numbers of Dolphins swimming very close to the boat and it was very exciting.  Many were leaping 3-4 feet out of the water.  Our narrator thinks that they respond to her speaking on the microphone.  Whatever the reason, we were happy to be able to see so many of them.  I also spotted a Loggerhead Turtle that looked like an Otter or Seal space that came to the surface.  It felt very good to be on the Gulf of Mexico again and Cedar Key was always a favorite spot.  We reminisced a lot about the time that we visited this place as a foursome.

Thursday, May 21.   My time with Rudy and Sonja came to to an end this morning and we had to say goodbye until the next time - maybe in Switzerland?  Before I left, I washed the bedding and got the room ready for their next guests that arrive next week.  What a wonderful time we had together, as always, and I will really miss them.

I got back to Jonnie's just long enough to go to meet Marie, a gal that Mike and I met back in 2007 when we worked together at Walmart doing a remodel project (we took the job to earn money to pay for our trip to Switzerland) later that year.  Mike, Marie, and I became friends because we had lunch together and we were the Rebels of the group - we didn't like the Walmart game and kind of decided where we wanted to work each day and it was usually accepted by the incompetent supervisors - I guess because we learned quickly and actually worked.  She took me to a cute little cafe in Belleview that was covered with interesting works of art and we had a very nice conversation after not seeing each other for the last 8 years. 

Jonnie was tired after a long hot day at work and we just lounged n the couch and watched the tube - HGTV of course.

Saturday May 22, FL.  It was another non-stop day, somehow, we manage to stay busy.  First on the list this morning, after my coffee and walk with Frisco was to get my trailer more level.  Jonnie noticed yesterday, that there was a pool of water in the AC compartment - that it wasn't flowing into the drainage hole because it was lower on the opposite side.  I pondered the best way to get it right between the hours of 3 and 4 am to this morning and had it all figured out before I even got up.  First, I had to take down the awning, then hook up the car.  With Jonnie's guidance, I moved it back about a foot and then positioned the leveling blocks in front on the tire on the low side, pulled forward, raising that corner just enough to make it level.  Immediately, the water started draining down the hole and believe it or not, the AC even worked more efficiently.  I don't think it was too bad until the last 2 days when it has been in the mid-90s and probably 90% humidity.

I had a nice, long FaceTime conversation with Ben and the girls this morning.  I gave Charlotte a video tour of Jonnie's yard and she enjoyed that.  They all showed me their jumping on the trampoline skills. Charlotte told me a really funny joke.  What do you get when you cross a cow and a duck? Milk and quackers.

I helped Jonnie with some cleanup in her shed and then we cleaned ourselves up and went to the grocery store.  Mike's sister, Patty and her husband, Hobe came over this afternoon and we had a nice dinner together.  They really liked Jonnie's wide open spaces out here.  We had great conversations and lots of laughs.

Other than some shopping yesterday, we stuck around the house.  In the evening, my friend and neighbor from Oak Run, Connie and her friend Kathy came over for a visit in the evening. Again, great conversations and lots of catching up was done.  Good times!

Sunday, May 24, FL.  When Jonnie went to church this morning, I did some cleanup and then went to the Villages to do my laundry (Jonnie's washer quit working yesterday).  When I got back, we had a lazy day of just putzing around, watching tv, and just hanging out.  Not a bad way to spend my last day here.

    Me and cousin Jonnie.

   My home for the last week and a half.