Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sanibel Island

Ahhh, this time last week the Mrs. and I were in the thick of a sorta spontaneous jaunt a thousand miles south to Sanibel Island, Florida.

It was the first vacation we’ve had sans children in five years.

It was absolutely fantastic!

And like all vacations, too short. Way, way too short. We were only down there for four days, but really it should’ve been a solid week. At least.

It came about sometime in February. Fresh in from shoveling some fresh snow, I shucked off my gloves and hat and puffy winter jacket and said, “Man, I just want to be somewhere warm.”

The wife took it as her cue to book us a vacation.

Now, I’m the sort that has to build up to these things. I’m adventurous in a lot of ways, just not in the traditional ways. For example, traveling makes me a little anxious. So I nixed any trips out of the country and anything within that might tear our bank account asunder.

The trip was also her way of rewarding my first year as a tax pro. Thus she scheduled the flight out for Wednesday, April 19, the day after tax season, and my seasonal employment, ended.

I was in the office that Tuesday until 9:30. I was also basically unpacked. I celebrated the death of Tax Season 17 with my coworkers, then rushed home, nuked a tortellini dinner, packed with the Mrs. and went to bed by 11:30.

To wake up at 3:30, drive to Newark Airport, to catch a 7:30 am flight.

I’m kind of a nervous flyer, so I need to be distracted. And I adequately was. I brought The Numbers Game by Alan Schwarz, succinctly summarized by its subtitle, Baseball’s Lifelong Fascination with Statistics. In fact, I couldn’t put it down, reading it during the next few days while the wife shopped, while lounging under an umbrella on the beach, and while out on the balcony of our room overlooking the pool and the Gulf of Mexico.

We arrived at Fort Myers airport at 11, grabbed our bags, picked up the rental car, and got to the resort, the Sanibel Inn, by 1, hungry, thirsty, and exhausted. At the cabana I sharked down a salmon sandwich and savored – alright, chugged – two of the most delicious beers I’ve ever drank. The wife had a salad with all sorts of seafood mixed in, and chased it with a piƱa colada.

Suffice it to say the entire four days we ate like royalty. If I were to rank the eight meals we consumed (lunch and dinners; we hit a grocery store for breakfast food to keep in the fridge in the room) the worst would still be one of the best dishes ever proffered me. Despite that, though, we didn’t gain any weight. The wife did a three-mile walk on the beach every day and I, uh, well, I read a lot.

My balcony ... top right, just round the corner!

The most exciting part of the vacation for me was swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, something I had never done before. More specifically, something that happened five minutes after I exited the waters: a dolphin surfaced ten yards off the surf, waving a fin, dove back under and up again, delighting those still swimming and a horde of beachcombers. The Mrs. grabbed her cellphone and chased it a hundred yards down the beach, trying unsuccessfully to snap a photo. At the time I said I was disappointed I wasn’t in the water with it, but in retrospect, recalling the large amorphous black shape shooting beneath the waves, it’s probably best I wasn’t.

There was a lot of chillin’ in the 85 degree sun (it only drizzled a bit on Saturday and sporadically thunderstormed on Sunday). We listened to a lot of Eagles on the balcony, sipping cocktails. The wife convinced me to put some shades for my glasses. Another afternoon I listened from the cozy balcony chair to a live singer (performing over a soundtrack at the cabana) warble greatest hits of the 70s. I scoped out the island’s only bookstore, a bookstore crazily devoted solely to mysteries. It was divided by geographical location. Though America and England had the lengthiest stacks of paperbacks, I had no idea the huge mystery market in Scandinavia and Africa.

The big thing down there is “shelling,” i.e., hunting for shells at low tide. We went to a local hot spot, the bridge that adjoins Sanibel with Captiva Island, and found enough quality shells to fill a small bag for the little ones. We returned later to that spot to walk on the beach at sunset, and to eat later that night at an Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter themed restaurant.

So, overall, a great, if too short, respite for recharging and recovering from a very tough winter. If the wife’s family didn’t live in similar-climated Hilton Head, we’d definitely return to Sanibel year after year.

Some pictures in tomorrow’s post …

Readers note: I also put away a hundred pages of Larry Niven’s sci-fi classic The Mote in God’s Eye, to be reviewed here once completed, as well as a hundred pages in a newly-released hardcover on modern-day physics and its history thereof, entitled Quantum Fuzz.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A well deserved get-away! Glad you enjoyed!