Tuesday April 28, 2015
My parents are in Fort Lauderdale visiting us, and this is the first time I have seen them in nearly two and a half years. Sure, there was that time in March ’13 where they had bought plane tickets to meet us in Panama where we never showed up (still in Florida!!) or when they were just about to pin down a condo in Turkey this past fall when we had to phone them and say “Guess what? We bought a boat in Florida, so we’re not actually going to make it to the Med!”, but this is the first time they’ve been able to catch us in a place we said we’d actually be. Cause let’s be honest. The middle of Florida beats out all those places anyway, why wouldn’t we want to spend the next 9 months of our lives here?
With all of those previous mis-plans however, a two bedroom suite was booked in Fort Lauderdale and plane tickets were purchased with the hope we’d still be around when they arrived. Luckily for them, we were. Since we’re still vehicle-less at the moment they took a night to settle in before making the run out to Indiantown to pick us up and wrap us in extremely long bear hugs that had been postponed for way too long. A tour of Serendipity wasn’t necessary since they’d been on her a few times in Michigan but we did get to show them the newest project on our hands.
Finding the most stable ladder we could find, we guided them up to the mess that is currently Daze Off to show them what kind of trouble we had gotten ourselves into. My mom was quite optimistic and kept commenting on all those house flipping shows you see on tv and said, “You can do the same thing to this boat.”. Let’s hope she’s right. My dad, who has built four of our houses himself, could easily see the long road we have ahead of us.
Loading all our belongings plus Georgie into the rental car, we made our way out of the marina only to head further into the center of Florida. My grandparents (on my dad’s side) happen to live only 90 minutes from where we are staying and since the whole fam happened to be here (well, enough of us anyway) we couldn’t miss out on a trip to see them. A few hours were spent in their house catching up on the past year of our lives, and also watching how Georgie interacted with their two cats. For once she actually wasn’t the dominating one chasing others down, but instead cowering behind curtains and pretending she was invisible.
When it was time for an early dinner the six of us piled into our cars and made our way out to a nice restaurant where Matt and I excitedly chowed down on the first steaks we’d had in probably over a year. Extra bloody for me….mmmmm. When the plates were clean and we’d stuffed enough biscuits and cinnamon butter into a doggy bag to last us all week, we took the long road back to Fort Lauderdale. Traveling through the one road that leads through the Everglades going east, we found ourselves in a traffic jam due to a terrible accident.
Directly in front of us was a biker gang and their supply vehicle. Since no one was making any progress forward we’d see plenty of people stepping out of their vehicles or off their bikes and wandering around. Lots of the bikers were meandering back to the support vehicle which was directly in front of us to grab bottles of water…but then a few of them looked like they were reaching into a cooler to snatch a jell-o shot and throw it back. The first time we were confused, but then we watched it happen again and again. Just before traffic began inching forward I was tempted to go up and ask for one myself.
Once at the condo we were greeted with all the luxuries we’d been missing for so long. Air conditioning, storage space for all our belongings, television, and a bed we could actually spread out in and let our feet dangle off the side. Come to think of it, the AC might have been the best part of it all since the boat has been getting upwards of 95 degrees every afternoon lately. It didn’t take us long to settle in and even Georgie had fun exploring all these new and unknown spaces.
Since Matt and I had spent a good month in Fort Lauderdale with Serendipity last year, we decided to tak my parents to our old stomping grounds including Pier 66, the marina where we luckily had a friend that let us tie our dinghy to his boat since there are little to no dinghy landings around here. Driving toward the shore we had them park the rental car just past one of the main lift bridges that we always used to have to traverse to get to the grocery store, and took a stroll up to the center to give them an idea of what kind of yachts were kept in this area. Spoiler alert: not small ones!
Taking in a luxury that none of us will ever be acquainted with, we walked back down the bridge and into Pier 66 so they could get a look at some of these yachts up close. Matt and I told them a story of how we had been here just a year ago with his mom and step-dad and had seen Steven Spielberg’s mega yacht parked right up on the side with it’s 30 or so full time crew members taking a break in the galley, and how we’d thought it would be the largest thing we’d ever see…until we arrived in Sint Maarten a few months earlier and saw yachts that doubled the size of his.
Next item of the day was lunch and Las Olas Beach. Even though the sky was overcast and rain was threatening to pour down at any moment and there was no way we’d spent our afternoon sunning ourselves in the sand, it was still worth checking out. Before we could get there though we ran them up to the highest floor we could reach to give them a glimpse of Lake Sylvia and where we had Serendipity anchored for a month last year. The perfect little protected area just off the ICW where we even felt fine leaving her on her own for a 2 day run down to Miami.
It wasn’t quite as impressive as when the sun is shining and everything is bright, so after just a few glances back and forth we went back to the car and Las Olas. Just like Ocean Drive in South Beach, there is a huge strip of restaurants that advertise their drink specials more than what is on their menu. And while a few of those beer buckets did look tempting, we had plenty of those back at the condo and good food is what we were really after. When we’d passed by the happy hour hot spots, I remembered that when we were here last year a friend had recommended a little place called Lulu’s Bait Shack as a good place on the beach to grab a bite to eat.
Situated right between Hooters and Fat Tuesday, Lulu’s wasn’t quite the authentic fish shack that it’s name might suggest, but it looked quirky and fun and was certainly different than most of the other restaurants around. Perusing the menu, both my mom and I ordered a Lulu’s exclusive ale while the boys went for the bigger domestics on special, and I thought gator bites would be a nice little lunch, especially since I didn’t like the way the ones we encountered on the St. Lucie River were looking at Georgie on our way into Indiantown.
When lunch was over we took a quick stroll through the sand and realized the rain we’d been seeing off the in distance was probably going to hit us sooner rather than later, so we packed it in for the afternoon.
Two years has been much too long since my last visit with my parents, but I’m so overjoyed that not only are they here now, but we’ve been able to squeeze so much into our time together already, plus all of our time has been spent together. Sightseeing in the afternoon, dinners back at the condo, and finishing off our nights with a movie and ice cream. I an tell the rest of this week is going to go by way too fast!