Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Last Day

Today was my last day in paradise so I got to choose the activities. We spent the morning at the massive South Sarasota Y. G-Ma and Kyra played in the water park while I worked out and then I joined them for what felt like a million trips down the slide. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of G-Ma going down. It was impressive.

The afternoon was spent at Siesta Key Beach, where the sand is like sugar. We body surfed, covered ourselves in sand and played big frisbee. Kyra and I sported our matching pink suits:

In the evening I jumped in what I thought would be a low key 2 mile race on the beach. It was pretty low key, but definitely not small:

I guess that's what happens when the local running club offers free races. I was hoping for 5th, but I got outkicked by one of the many youngsters who ended up ahead of me:

My mom pointed out that all the girls ahead of me were much younger. I finally made it through a day without Mom making fun of my (lack of) boobs and she tells me I'm old. Geez.

Kyra accidentally made me my own personal sports drink when she filled my empty bottle with ocean water to build a sand castle. Of course, I grabbed it and took a swig post run before anyone gave me a warning. My dad says this is what I get for always peeing in the ocean.

That dark storm in the picture rolled in immediately when I finished so my cool down consisted of a mad dash to the car and a daiquiri. I'm gonna be sore on that plane ride tomorrow!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Girl Time

My sister left on Saturday and left her youngest at Grandma and Grandpa's house with me. We've pretty much (quite literally) torn the place up. Here's where we sleep:

The first morning she woke up with her head under one bed and her feet under the other. I should probably be taking my last opportunity to sleep in a bed before returning to the van, but who can deny a 9 year old a sleepover in a fort? At least the fort has air conditioning. 

So far we've spent 90 percent of our time here in our bathing suits. We now have two that match, and our cousin Kailen even joined in on the fun.

Kailen told me I was the "coolest cousin over 20." Just for that compliment, I went for full-on girlie and let them paint my toenails too.

Today was a good day for Kyra. She got to drive the boat and go fishing.

Shortly after she caught this fish, this guy planted himself behind her hoping she'd catch him one for supper:

Unfortunately, the fish figured out how to get our shrimp off the hooks without getting caught so we ran out of bait before we got him one. As Kyra put it, "Next time we need to find some dumber fish to catch."

Tomorrow we'll be at the beach in our matching hot pink suits! Afterwards it's time for more daiquiris!

Sailing Race

My uncle Joel (a.k.a Poppy) entered his sailboat in a race yesterday. It was father-daughter day so Nikki and I came along to help our dads race. Unfortunately, two of my biggest race nightmares came true in the same day- we missed the start and then had no idea where we were going. Not that I really minded all that much since Nikki and I hopped on the boat in our bikinis and planted ourselves on the bow for the remainder of the trip.  

I did help hook a pole on one sail, but other than that, my usefulness was reduced to yelling, "Go Poppy, you're catching them!" for two hours and learning how to pee with my butt dragging in the water. We actually weren't last. We were, however, disqualified. There's always next time.

We soothed our bruised egos with daiquiris at the Daquiri Deck and then headed out to meet the rest of the family here:

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Lots of beach time:

Lots of pool time:

A fierce game of mini-golf:

Girl's Night Out with the cousins:

My own personal bike escort while running:

Tonight was supposed to be a sunset sail, but a huge storm put a damper on our plans so we put suits on the kids and sent them out to dance in the puddles.

Tomorrow Kyra and I will race in the lap pool in our new matching suits before my cousin Nikki and I head out to race the sailboat with our dads. FUN FUN!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Somehow I always end up in first class on the airplane when I’m in the midst of my most homeless bum moments. The last time this happened, I was on the way home from a 5 week backpacking trip in Colorado. I didn’t even have any clean clothes so I put my sweatshirt on inside out for the trip. When coach class got overbooked, I ended up sitting with the classy folks after 5 weeks of sleeping in the dirt.

At least this time I was a little more prepared. There were no frequent flyer tickets left in coach class so I had to upgrade. Still, it’s always a little disconcerting to suddenly be immersed in comfort after days of sleeping in the car. I did at least have the chance to ease into it. When I discovered that I didn’t really have a place to stay or leave my car in Sacramento the night before my 6 am flight, I had two options. Stay at a truck stop again and pay $70 for a week of parking or pay $89 for a hotel that offered free parking and a shuttle. It was over 90 degrees in Sacramento yesterday. The only shower I’d had in two days was in the sink at the Y. Every one in first class was very happy I chose the hotel.

That said, first class still feels a little odd, mostly because the seats are so big my feet don’t touch the ground. In my attempt to try to make more room in my car, I put on some clothes that I wanted to leave at my parent’s house, which left me wearing a mismatched dress and sweater and a beat up pair of flip flops. When they called the first class boarding, the businessmen all got up with their briefcases. I’m pretty sure an older lady gasped when I got up with my backpack and then tripped over my own feet on the way to the gate.

At least she couldn’t see the contents of the backpack, which at least made it through security this time. The last two times I flew I was relieved of a pedal wrench and a CO2 cartridge by the security personnel. This time there were no potential weapons, but instead a collection of random things to get out of the car- bike shoes, a pair of heels and about 20 keys that go to the random bike locks I’ve strung throughout the van to ward off any thieves. At this point, it takes so long to unlock my stuff when I need it that it looks like I’m trying to steal my own things every time I get something out of the car.

I increased my classiness later in the flight when I fell asleep so hard the flight attendant had to wake me up for landing, which wouldn’t have been a big deal if I hadn’t yelled when she tapped my shoulder. Of course I was also drooling all over the first class pillow.

So it’s off to FL in style for a week with the family before resuming the road trip. I have a coach ticket for the way home so I can ease back into unclassiness after my week of luxury! For now though, I’ll be enjoying lots of these:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Beginning

After nearly a year of dreaming about it, I finally moved out of my place last Friday. In a matter of weeks, I went from a two bedroom, two car garage townhome to a van and a 4 x 6 storage unit. I sold more than I kept. I gave away even more than I sold. If I could describe how freeing that feels, I would. I can’t, but I think the adventures of the first 5 days paint a pretty good picture.

I finished working at 1:15 on Friday. I finally left San Diego about 5 pm on Sunday. I might have left sooner had I ever been sober enough. By 11 pm on Sunday I was lost for the first time. Lost, hungover and jacked up on coffee is an interesting combination at 11 pm. Fortunately for me, when I got unlost, I woke up here:

Later in the day, I went to sleep here:

In the last five days, I’ve slept at a friend’s house, two different campgrounds and a truck stop. I woke up to a couple fighting at the house, a woman sobbing at the first campground, a three year old throwing a temper tantrum at the second campground and, ironically, birds chirping at the truck stop.

In the last five days, I’ve been lost in the mountains, in a small town and in a city. I’ve managed to find my way by driving in circles, asking strangers for help and busting out the new Blackberry to check Google.

In the last five days, I’ve been to three YMCA’s and discovered that not all of them have a shower. I’ve also discovered that after two days and over three hours of sweaty running without a shower, the sink at the Y will do just fine. In fact, you can even wash your hair and shave your legs in the sink at the Y. Trust me on this one.

In the last five days, I’ve learned that men aren’t looking at the parts of my body I thought they were during sex. (Thankfully I was told this and not shown it.  It was still traumatizing.) I’ve learned that when you’re homeless you have to suck up your crazy independent streak and let friends cook for you and take care of you. (Why did it take me so long to figure out that I’d like being taken care of once in awhile?) I’ve learned that when you’ve gone too many days without a shower, coconut body lotion can work a minor miracle. I've also learned that life is almost never as you expect it. It's almost always better, especially when you're on the road.