So last week I went on vacation down in Fort Walton Beach, following through on my commitment to do this once a year (starting last year). I had a wonderful time but even though I still refer to FWB as “home” in conversation, I think I see Durham as my real home now. Everything was very familiar down in Florida, but I didn’t find myself missing anything except the people. It didn’t feel like the place where I used to live as much as a place I visit regularly (that’s the best I can describe the feeling). TYG wasn’t able to accompany me due to schedule conflicts (and with Plush Dog on cage rest, I doubt she’d have come anyway).
Unlike last year, I didn’t spend time in a hotel. My sister Tracy and our mutual best friend Cindy are rooming together, so I got to stay at their place (nice morning window view, huh?). This worked out great as I saw much more of Cindy than I did last year, and I do miss her. I saw more of Tracy too, but that would have happened anyway, as we popped by the nursing home to visit my mother every day.
Mum is not in great shape—she’s deteriorated a lot since I saw her sixteen months ago. And the wing she’s in is not a very stimulating environment, which doesn’t help, but she needs constant watching and this is the best place (no criticism intended of the staff, who work hard on what must be a very stressful detail). Her voice is very faint too, which makes conversation difficult. I did my best, though.
Tracy nudged me into going to see Dad in Pensacola; I didn’t really want to make the drive, but I’m glad she got me to do it. We had a pleasant evening watching TV, and went out to breakfast. Veggie eggs benedict for me, which is not something I’d had before. Two thumbs up. Rained furiously on the way home, but I made it okay.
I also saw my beloved drama teacher Jo Yeager, and drew comfort from the fact she’s still active at 80-something (she just finished a children’s book). She’s still an inspiration to me. I hung out with lots of other friends, although I missed a few due to the time needed for parental visits (I think everyone will understand).
I hit several stores I used to shop in, and was pleasantly surprised some of the staff remembered me.
I read a lot, as you can tell from yesterday’s post. I actually used up everything I’d brought with me and fell back on some PDFs I’d downloaded to my laptop.
Overall everything was great and reasonably affordable, until the last day. Somehow I lost the spare key to my rental car, which is the high-tech kind without an actual key (the rental desk staff had to show me how to start it). So that’s going to cost me a couple of hundred extra. Good thing I saved on the hotel.
Barring my making a shit-ton of money in the next few months, or some awful parental health crisis, I doubt I’ll be back until next year. But I’m looking forward to it.
I have a couple more posts about the trip I’ll put up later this week.