Summer Vacation: 2013 Edition

My family recently returned from vacationing in the Sunshine State. Although, really, the whole Southeast is so soggy right now the name Overcast State would’ve been just as applicable. Nevertheless, it was a ridiculously fun trip. I’ve compiled a list highlighting some of the more…interesting…moments of Summer Vacation: 2013 Edition.

– On Saturday, my family loaded up in our vehicle like clowns piling into a clown car. There were six people, a car seat, and enough luggage and beach supplies for all of those people. Plus a guinea pig and her supplies. That last passenger was a surprise. We were already several hours south when I realized Toula had tagged along for the trip, since my sister Abby was convinced the guinea pig would be too lonely at home. I reminded everyone that we have a cat who would’ve gladly kept the rodent company, but no one liked my idea.

On the way home from the beach, Toula sat beside me in her cage. I was tucked way into the back with all of the luggage, so I tried to carry on a conversation with Toula. Toula hid under her little log hutch. She adores me.

Anyway, this is Toula enjoying the beach. Notice what the ocean air does to Toula’s hair:


– Speaking of unexpected guests, one night my dad went out back to grill dinner. He quickly came back upstairs and announced what—or rather, who—he’d found living under the grill. Warning: The following pictures may be slightly disturbing. Here we go:


Oh, yikes. A snake. Of course, my sisters and I all went outside and observed from a safe distance. See those eyes? The snake was easily 4 feet long.

Here’s the whole enchilada:


Photo cred goes to Erin Schaeffer, who thought to bring a camera and had the boldness to get close enough to take some pictures.

There was an interesting dialogue going on as we tried to figure out how to handle the situation. It went something like this:

Dad: How should I move him?

Abby: Beat him with the broom! Beat him with the broom!

Everyone else: NO!

Me: Back up! He’s going to kill you!

Abby: He’s going to eat Toula!

Me: Use Toula as bait!

Abby: NO!

Snake: Hisssssss

In case you were wondering, no fatalities resulted. A neighbor came and removed the snake, and my dad was able to get back to grilling. It’s not like we don’t have snakes where I’m from, it’s just that I don’t hang around places where snakes live…because they make me scream, as the next-door neighbors discovered before they came and rescued us.

Speaking of reptiles, I’m convinced lizards are plotting to take over Florida. While everyone is so caught up in reading all of these dystopian books in which the government becomes totalitarian and controls everyone, the lizards are hiding out in bushes, planning an attack. After going out to dinner one night, we stopped by a little garden to take a picture and there were lizards ever-y-where. I didn’t scream because we were in a public place, but I did quickly jog my way out of there. We have lizards at home, obviously, but sweet Pete, that place was crawling with ‘em. Like the snake situation, I don’t usually hang around their dwellings. Except there’s one at my house who lives by the back door and vacations on the water spigot. I call him Lucifer.

Moving on.

– We witnessed a lot of rain, like I mentioned, but one afternoon the power went out. My family’s biggest concern was that there wouldn’t be coffee after dinner. By the time the power came back on 1 1/2 hours later, there was talk of lighting up the charcoal grill and setting an old kettle on it. We’ve got a thing for coffee.

– There’s an inlet (which apparently doubles as a snake breeding ground) behind the house. We’ve seen dolphins, manatees, and mullet. Mullet are  smallish fish that fling themselves into the air at random intervals and belly flop back into the water. I start laughing whenever I see one pop out of the water. One day, something large was swimming just beneath the surface, causing wide ripples to spread across the water. At first, my family couldn’t determine what the creature was, but then we came to the obvious conclusion that it was the Loch Ness Monster. Because even Nessie needs a vacation.

– At night, bonding time amongst the women on the trip (including my mom, sisters, grandmother, and great aunt) meant sitting around the living room with our various electronic devices and having intense Words with Friends matches. This was complete with random exclamations of: “Hey! That’s not very nice!” and “Whoot! Sixty-pointer!” Good times, indeed.

– Another fun part of the trip was that I read–with the exception of the last day—a novel a day. I’d start one while sitting on the beach, then finish it off with a cup of coffee and a blanket that evening. It was marvelous.

– Speaking of novels, the other day I passed the 25k word mark in my manuscript! I didn’t write as much as I’d planned while on vacation (the novel-a-day program consumes a little bit of time), but I was able to type up some key scenes. I always think best when I’m near water for some reason, whether it’s washing dishes (Mom, you did not see that) or overlooking the ocean. Especially the ocean. Maybe it’s the salt air, I don’t know. After all, salt flavors things, and the ocean kicks my creativity into gear.

Plus, it’s always nice to spend some time relaxing and taking in some of God’s handiwork. It always a spiritual, mental, and yes, creative recharge for me. I love it.

Speaking of writing, I’m itching to go spend some time with my imaginary friends characters, so I’ll end this post. Thanks for reading this recap! We did lots of other stuff, too, like riding waves and building sandcastles and all of that fun stuff, but these are some of the moments that’ll stay with me for a long time…or at least until we go back to the beach for some more memory makin’. 

Until next time,




2 thoughts on “Summer Vacation: 2013 Edition”

  1. Great recalling highlights of the week. The best part for me was spending time with the people I love more than life itself. Nothing puts this mother’s heart at ease more than knowing all of my people are in the same country, the same state, and the same roof- even if on three different levels. I’m glad to know you get bursts of creativity while washing dishes. I like to be very supportive of your writing!


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