So weíre three days into the vacation and this is my first legitimate opportunity to spend some quality time with high-speed access. Iím in such withdrawal! Iím not even kidding. Merrin is worse Ė she gets the shakes sometimes if I even mention ďcomputÖĒ Ė just to be safe I wonít finish that word.
As I said, weíre three days in and I think weíre both still waiting for the whole vacation concept (i.e. relaxation) to kick in. We presume it will, but it just hasnít yet.
Friday night after work was a big, ďKevin you still havenít packed shit!Ē kind of night. Merrin had spent day one of her two weeks off (Two weeks off?! How fair is that?!) trying to get me ready for the trip to Florida. I think she washed everything Iíve ever owned. By the time I made it home from work, I had to wade through what resembled a giant sale at Old Navy to make my way to the closet Ė just stacks & stacks of khakis, polos, and boxers as far as the eye could see. Merrin was high on Bounce dryer sheets and chanting something that sounded like Carpenters lyrics set to Nine Inch Nails.
Saturday morning came early Ė we were up and headed to the airport by 4:00am. (Thank you very much, orange alert!) The trip included two calls to information for the telephone number to The Parking Spot and two more calls to for directions. I canít begin to express what a joy it is to speak to a "human" at 4:00am and attempt to get directions. Are we having fun yet?
We touched down in Tampa about 10:00a and were greeted by my parents. That was a good thing. We got our bags together and headed out to their house Ė which (despite my huge hookup in the hotel industry) will serve as our forward base during our Florida deployment. We stopped off for a little food and dropped our bags in the ďKevin & Merrin SuiteĒ at Chez Donahue. And then it was back in the car for a trip to my brotherís house to see the new niece.
(Elapsed consecutive travel time: 8 straight hours in to cars, a shuttle, and a DC-80.)
Have you ever met someone for the first time and just been in awe of them? Thatís the exact reaction I had when I met my new niece, Kailey Anne Donahue. First of all, sheís really small. I mean Ė I know sheís a baby and all, but sheís like the size of a football or something. My first reaction when Merrin asked if I wanted to hold her was, ďOh my God. Iím going to break the baby.Ē
Saturday night it was off to Beef OíBradyís for their fabulous chicken wings. I think it was Courtney & Brianís first trip out of the house for a meal. Kailey stayed home with Courtneyís mother and we all chowed down on chicken wings and beer. Brian & Courtney wanted to have a couple of old friends over that night, so we stayed with them until 1:30a drinking beer, holding the baby, and sharing old stories. It was a great night. I learned that I was an exceptionally gifted uncle as I could indeed hold the baby correctly. I even mastered the art of talking to the baby! I added my much celebrated skills of humming and was instantly transformed into Uncle Kevin Ė Human Crib. Got a fussy baby? Throw Ďem my way and Iíll instantly put them to sleep. (In retrospect, this is just a repackaging of an effect Iíve had on women for years. A few minutes around me and theyíre instantly asleep! HA!)
We returned to Chez Donahue at 1:30a, approximately 23 hours after we had awoken in Texas. And so ends Vacation Day One.
If youíre still reading this, whatís wrong with you?
Day two was a typical Donahue adventure/borderline disaster/cluster. It had been deemed by the powers that be that my Dad, brother, and I would embark on a mission to several local car dealerships to check out new cars for my Dad. While Brian & Dad had undertaken this same trek every week for the past five weeks, somehow my trip to Florida would cause the heavens to part and the meaning of the quest would somehow be revealed to us all. Meanwhile, Merrin & Mom would be responsible for the ďwomanís workĒ of going grocery shopping.
We went to four car dealerships to find what my Dad was looking for. Each one exactly like the last, in that they all sold exactly the same make of car. You have to know my Dad to understand how this would be productive. Iím certain that I could not explain it to you because Ė to me Ė it seemed that we just kept looking at the same models with the same options. Apparently this is the exact same exercise that has taken place over the five previous weeks, but Dad assures me that he has almost decided which car, option package, and color he wants. Great!
The car process dragged on way too long, as evidenced by Merrin & my Mom taking off to head to the mall following the grocery shopping. Since Merrinís birthday is Thursday, they ended up coming home with bag upon bag of new clothes. Iím told that they were all gifts, but I wonít know for sure until all the credit card bills have been scanned. ūüôā
Day 2 moved toward an end with Dad asking me to setup a new computer system in the office Ė bringing the Chez Donahue in-home network to six computers. (And you wondered where I got it?!) I think there are still some in boxes somewhere, but Iím afraid to ask.
Afterwards it was dinner out with Brian, Courtney, Mom, Dad, Merrin and myself. We wrapped up the night with another round of drinking @ Brianís house that night.
Day three was pretty much a repeat of Day two Ė except we didnít have the ďcar questĒ. Instead, we were on a birthday present quest. Multiple stops for a present from Mom coupled with two stops for Dad to pick something up for me. The problem with turning 30, so I have learned, is that there really isnít a ďtoyĒ or absolute must-have present. Iíve wavered between getting a couple new suits (yawn!) and a Home Depot gift card. Do I want to look good (hopeless) at work, or would I rather feel like my house looks good when Iím home? Hmm – the great debate. Unable to decide, we headed back to the house sans presents.
Last night wrapped with a big family barbeque. Dad & I manned the grill while Brian kept everyone stocked with beer and wine. We all wrapped it up early and made it an early night.
What will Day Four bring? I donít know for sure, but Iím hoping to get a little rest before this whole trip is over. We were trying to find some time to see Robyn & Todd while we were in town. Iím still hopeful that we can, but with my grandparents rolling into Tampa tomorrow and Merrin & I celebrating birthdays before our Friday flight out Ė itís starting to look doubtful for this trip. ūüôĀ