"I was born lost, and take no
pleasure in being found"
"Your life is what has happened to you
while you were busy making other plans."
"The Sure Sign of Life is Death. Why Else Would humanity Thrive So Hard To Leave Its Mark on This World"
The journey of life as as much in ones self as the roads one travels
"To have faith is
to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the
water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and
"I Have Learned Something About Creating Art. People Do Not Want to Hear What You Are Going To Do, People Want To Hear About What You Done Did."
"I like to think that one
of the best brews is the one handed to you by a new friend"
What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
"You step into the road, and if you don't
keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to."
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
"....I travel not to go anywhere, but to
go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move."
A Birth Certificate shows that
"No matter where you go, there you are"
Pat's November 2010 Blog
If this is your first time here, you might want to start from the beginning of our fulltime Journey with our Past Blogs
Since I'm not updating the blog on a daily basis, I'm going to go back to logging it in reverse order, so the reader starts from the top and reads right through to the bottom like they're reading a book.
So you wont have to jump between the past two months, I'll combine that last few days of October into the beginning of November so they all read as one.
Wednesday October 27th - Getting Ready to Leave for New Orleans
This past week, I've been running the motel by myself while Cindy and our good friend Luz have been in New Orleans tying up the loose ends in preparation for the wedding.
I feel so bad for Cindy to have to be there without my help, but Thank The Lord she has Luz with her. Cindy has called me numerous times in tears because of all the drama associated with the wedding.
Problem is everyone in our family is Type-A personalities and there are just too many chiefs trying to control the whole ordeal.
Cindy is also the type that rather than stand up, tell everyone to shut the hell up and listen to her, since she IS the one organizing the entire thing, instead she lets them all think they're in control because she doesn't want to add to the drama.
You should know by now that neither of us are too into the whole drama thing, and we try our hardest to stay away from it. But when you have a group of girls all trying to make decisions on a wedding, one of them being pregnant, or Bridezilla as she's now calls herself, it makes for a stressful situation.
The entire reason that Cindy and Luz went early and left me at home was so I could stay and work at the motel rather than lose out on not renting rooms.
Since this is still our first year in the business, we have no idea what to expect when it comes to certain holidays and various times of the year.
We now know that I could have went with them and simply answered the numerous phone calls we received while being there to help out with the wedding planning. The reason I know this is we never had one person stay in the motel while Cindy was gone. She had left on Monday morning at 6am, and I simply spent the week cleaning the rooms and working around the yard. I guess Halloween isn't a big time for people to go on vacation and I never rented a single room the entire time Cindy was gone.
Cedar Key has a big Halloween Celebration where they invite the neighboring communities from all around to come into the Safe, Close-Knit community we offer and walk the streets trick-or-treating. From what I hear, the town was packed with people and Luz's husband Walter said he gave out all his candy within the first hour he was on the front porch. Over 180 pieces were gone before he went inside to hide from the swarms of kids begging for more!!!
So we know for next year that it's a great weekend to be in town watching all the ghosts and goblins wandering the streets in search of that sack full of sugar, but dont plan on selling too many rooms.
Now back to the ordeal of me making my plane on time.
I had headed into Crystal River earlier today with our cargo trailer in tow to get a load of wood. I've been wanting to build a Arch over the walkway leading back to the tiki bar and allow the Confederate Jasmine Vine we have growing there to create a living tunnel to walk through.
As I'm standing in line at Home Depot, I start fumbling through my wallet to find that my dear wife has taken it upon herself to devoid me of any credit cards because she thinks I have a spending problem.
I ask the woman behind the register if she can suspend my sale and I move my giant cart full of wood out of line and over to the side.
I go outside and call Cindy to question where my Home Depot Credit Card is.
She chuckles and says "Honey, I told you to not use the credit cards on ANYTHING, so I had to take them out of your wallet."
I'm sure she could feel the steam coming through the phone as I gave her an earful of what I thought of her at this second.
Being the all knowing woman that she is, she simply says, "Just give them your drivers license and social security number and they can look up your account for you." Her last words are "I dont need any stress from you, I have enough here in New Orleans!" and she hangs up on me.
I had to walk around the store a few laps to cool down before I could go back up to the register and explain to the woman that I had left my Home Depot credit card in my wife's purse and could I please have her look it up for me.
This also meant that since I didn't have any credit cards in my wallet, I wouldn't be able to fuel up the truck which we normally do when we go to Crystal River. Cedar Key's fuel is about .30¢ higher than Crystal Rivers, so I always top the tank off when I head down here. Cindy's lucky she wouldn't be at home when I got there because I was pretty hot tonight after this little incident.
Getting back into Cedar Key just as the sun was setting, I figured I'd sink the first few 4x4's into the ground to burn off this anger floating around in my head and at least get it started tonight. This way when Cindy returned on Sunday night, it would look like I had actually done something while she was gone.
Like everything else I do around here, a little job always turns into more than I bargained for and this chore became the icing on the cake.
Where I was digging the hole for the first 4x4 was pretty close to a mature palm tree. With each drive of the post-hole digger, I'd be cutting through the finger sized roots of the palm tree. I was a good 8' away from the actual tree, so the post-hole digger was slicing through the roots with ease as long as I put a little muscle behind each throw.
It was dark by now, so every now and then I'd shine my flashlight into the hole to make sure I wasn't hitting anything other than roots and take a measurement to see how deep my hole was.
Then the night took a drastic change when I dropped the post-hole digger into the hole for what I thought would be my last scoop of dirt for the night. I heard a crack, a loud hiss and water started spraying everywhere.
Cuss words were flying as I shined the flashlight into the hole to see it filling up with water at an alarming rate.
Remember I was simply planning on digging two, 2' deep holes to drop these 10' 4x4's into so I could shower up and start packing to be on a plane for my daughters wedding early in the morning.
With the cuss words still flowing out of my mouth, I ran to the main water shut off and cut the water to the entire building.
I ran back to the hole and with my headlamp guiding my way, I was now scooping out muddy water with my hands trying to see what I had hit.
This was one time I was very thankful that our property is nothing more than a big sand pit atop the bayou, because you only have to wait a few minutes for any standing water to simply absorb into the ground.
With the light of my headlamp illuminating the hole, I saw a little 1/2" CPVC line that had a large crack running the length of the pipe where my post-hole digger had caught it.
Of course by this time of the night, our local hardware store is closed and by the time I'd make it back to Crystal River, which is a 45 minute drive in the opposite direction, Home Depot would be closed too.
So I guess I was without water for the night and this would have to be fixed in the morning before I leave for the airport.
I packed up all my tools and turned the water on again before running into the house so I could take a shower really quick. By this time I was covered in sweat, dirt and mud and there was no way I was going to go to bed like this.
Maybe it was a blessing that we didn't have any guests in the rooms.
The rest of the night was spent packing my things and deciding which photography gear to bring.
I simply loaded the ThinkTank Backpack with my two Full-Frame camera bodies, a 24-70 f/2.8 lens, a 70-200 f/2.8 lens and my favorite new lens, the 16-35 f/2.8 that gives me such cool wide angle perspectives on my photos.
This would be a really short weekend and I didn't need any of our long lenses or extra gear. My camera bag was heavier than the small bag carrying my clothes. Since I'd be wearing a tux the night of the wedding and that was already in New Orleans, I simply needed the clothes I'd wear on Thursday, a change of clothes to wear on Friday morning and I'd be flying home first thing on Saturday morning, so I was packing really light.
I went to bed around 2am knowing tomorrow would be nothing but stress, so I was hoping I'd get a few hours of good sleep.
Thursday October 28th - What a Long Day Today Was
I was up at 6am getting ready for the hardware store to open at 7am so I could buy some pipe to fix my water leak.
As they unlocked the door and said "Good Morning!", I ran to the back and filled up a plastic bag with 1/2" fittings, 90° bends, T's and a shut-off valve. I figured if I was going to be fixing the main supply that leads out to the campground, I might as well ad a shut-off to it.
Back at the motel, I started digging a larger hole than the little one the post was to drop into. Something large enough I could fit both arms down into so I could make the needed repair.
Problem was where the hole was located, is right up against the wooden walkway leading to the tiki-bar. I was basically digging underneath the walkway and using a small gardening shovel to do the digging.
Yes, I was cussing myself the entire time as I lay on the walkway on my stomach, face lying in the dirt and struggling to reach to the bottom of the hole where the broken pipe was.
Once I found the line, I made my cuts, rerouted the pipe up and out of the ground so I could add a shut-off valve and buried everything back into the hole.
By this time, I was looking at 9am and I still needed to go take a shower before leaving to get into Gainesville which would be another hours drive. I was now pushing the boundaries of missing my plane.
Shower, dogs fed and taken on a quick walk (Side Note - I come inside and the beagle, you know the one I hate with a passion! Well she's lying INSIDE my packed duffle bag sleeping on my clean clothes that were neatly folded for the trip!?!?!?! So now all my clothes I'm bringing to the wedding are covered in white dog hair. And Cindy wonders why I hate this dog so much.) and I'm flying down HWY24 out of Cedar Key.
Cindy calls to ask if I'm at the airport yet and if my planes on time to which I start to tell her about my morning.
She screams into the phone, "I DONT NEED THIS STRESS RIGHT NOW, DO NOT MISS YOUR PLANE!" and she hangs up on me.
Its right about that point that the fuel light on the truck comes on to let me know I need more diesel.
Of course the only station heading out of town is a BP that has gone out of business because no one would buy fuel there after the oil disaster. I'm now praying the entire way out of town that I'll make it to Bronson, which is where the next fuel station is.
I pull into the fuel station with the truck sputtering after about a thousand successful Hail Mary's and sprint inside to top off the tank.
Leaving a cloud of black smoke behind me, I fly out of the gas station heading to Gainesville Airport much fast than I should be.
Pulling into the little airport, I run inside and find the ticket counter.
I tell the guy behind the counter that I'm late and I need to make this plane. He looks up my info and says "I'm sorry sir, but that plane has already given their final boarding call and you've now missed your flight."
I'm sure the guy didn't want to see a grown man cry, and I start to plead with him. I say "Look man, If I miss that plane, I miss my daughters wedding and I HAVE to be on it or my wife will Kill Me!" Obviously this ticket attendant was married and has a daughter because he picked up his hand held walkie-talkie and says "Can you stop Flight# so and so."
He hands me my ticket and says "You're going to have to get your next ticket in Miami where you make your connection and you'll have to RUN as fast as you can to Gate 3"
I'm sprinting through the airport and literally almost threw my luggage through the security check-point x-ray machine.
The guy looks at me and asks "What's the rush?" I said "I'm about to miss my flight for my daughters wedding and they're holding the plane for me on the tarmac."
He just looks at my ticket and says "You'd better hurry up then!"
I come running out of the airport onto the Tarmac and they're wheeling the ladder back to the plane. The girl on the top of the staircase says "You cant bring that bag onto the plane, it's too big!"
I tell her that the guy at the ticket counter said "You'd check it for me."
She lets out a loud, very annoyed 'Huff' that tells me how pissed off she is at me and grabs her radio saying they need baggage handlers to re-open the hatch so they can put in another piece of luggage.
Of course my seat is at the very back of the plane so I have to walk through the entire plane like I'm being paraded in front of a firing line. Every person on the plane gives me that look of disappointment and disgust because I'm the guy who has made them wait in the plane breathing stale, recirculated air.
For some reason there are no flights that go from Gainesville directly to New Orleans, so I have to fly in the opposite direction and get off my plane to board another that then takes me back up to New Orleans. Doesn't make much sense to me, but hey, I dont own a airline that is close to bankruptcy.
When I land in Miami, I have one hour to get from one end of the airport to the other and I dont have a ticket to board my next plane.
When I walk up to the counter where my next flight is, I tell the guy that I'm booked on this flight, but I dont have a ticket. He looks at me a little funny and says "That's impossible, how did you get through security?"
I explain what happened in Gainesville and he informs me that I'm going to have to exit out of the secured area, go all the way back out to ticketing and come back in through security in order to board the plane.
Remember they've already started boarding my plane.
I tell him that I'll miss it if I do all of this and I'm booked on the plane, I just dont have my ticket. Cant he make an exception for me. I then drop my piece of pity that has gotten me this far and say "Look man, I'm heading to New Orleans for my daughters wedding. My wife is already there and is waiting for me at the airport. If I miss this plane, I miss my daughters wedding and I'll have to deal with both a pissed off wife and a Bridezilla from hell."
The guy lets out a loud 'Huff' that I've heard numerous times already today and starts typing on his keyboard. He hands me my ticket and says "Good luck with the wedding and the wife!"
I plop down in my seat exhausted by this point and realize I've yet to eat anything today, I'm dying of thirst and I'm in need of a nap.
Of course the plane doesn't serve any food and even peanuts are out of the question because they've been told someone on the plane has a peanut allergy. I'm afraid to order a drink because on this empty of a stomach, I'd be wasted after one sip and I'm too hungry to even fall asleep.
I land in New Orleans and my beautiful wife is waiting for me at the curb.
It's not hard to spot my duffle bag on the luggage carousel. Some people go all out to buy luggage that will stand out so it doesn't get lost or mistaken for a similar piece. Mine, I just let the beagle sleep in it for a few hours and it's so covered in Dog Hair, no one else would think to touch it. I felt bad for whose ever luggage was beside mine because it now was covered in dog hair too...LOL
I let out a much needed sigh and throw my designer dog luggage in the back of the truck.
My nephew Avery (The Wedding Photographer) is with Cindy and we're headed to the motel where we're to meet the rest of the family.
I keep my mouth shut as to the events leading up to this point and listen to the antics the rest of the family has put Cindy through earlier this week.
She looks at me and says "I need a drink in a bad way! I'm so glad you're here to offload some of this stress for me."
Traffic is horrendous as it's 5 o'clock on a Thursday afternoon. As we're sitting in traffic a few blocks from the hotel, I point out that we're sitting right beside a neighborhood bar.
Up and over the curb Cindy takes us as we pile out of the car like it's on fire.
We walk into this little corner pub that is as dark as a dungeon and belly up to the bar. Cindy says to the barkeep "3 shots of Cuervo please" and as the bartender is done pouring the first one, Cindy grabs it and throws it back before the lady is even done pouring the other two.
I say "Hey, Hold up, we didn't even get a chance to toast or anything!"
She just grabs the shot glass, asks the bartender to fill it up again and holds it up and says "Here's to this wedding being over!"
The 3 of us throw them back, throw down some money and we walk back out to go meet the family.
Remember, except for Cindy and I and a few others in the family, most of our family doesn't drink and drinking isn't to be brought up or talked about in front of them.
It hasn't always been this way, but in the last few years we've learned that it's best to keep our goofiness away from them and just try and act as Saintly as possible when we're around them.
The next few hours were spent at the rehearsal dinner and I came to realize what Cindy had been going through all week. I also came to understand why a wedding planner is so valuable and paid so highly.
To have someone from outside the family be able to give direction and tell everyone what they need to do, without worrying if you've hurt anyone's feelings actually makes the whole ordeal much less stressful.
If you're in the process of planning a wedding, do yourself a favor and hire a wedding planner.
Mid-way through the rehearsal, I pulled Cindy aside and said "I have to eat something, it's 8pm and I've yet to eat ANYTHING today. I think I'm going to pass out at any second."
She scolds me for how stupid I am to do that to myself and tells me to suck it up. I've yet to explain anything to her about what I've gone through today because up to this point, she's been so busy I haven't wanted to even bother her. I just ask Luz for the keys to her truck and I leave to go find some food.
A foot long Sub and I feel like a human again and I walk in just as the rehearsal ends. The entire family, all 30 of us, say they want to go out to eat. This is just silly because no restaurant will be able to handle 30 people and trying to put that many people together in anything other than a casual setting just means you only get to talk to the person seated right beside you.
But remember, I'm just here for the ride and to help write checks.
We end up at Chili's or something like that and I sit talking with my parents and my nieces who live in New Orleans.
By this point, it's late and almost everyone has either spent the day in an airport or behind the wheel of their vehicle driving from another state, so the party breaks up and everyone heads in their own directions.
Luz, Avery, Cindy and I all head back to Luz's hotel that has a nice bar, pool table and sitting area. We kick back and can finally talk amongst ourselves. We play a few games of pool while listening to the stories from Cindy and Luz of what has gone on all week long.
I wouldn't have wanted to be in Cindy and Luz's shoes for all the money in the world. I'd rather have walked to New Orleans than deal with the drama they've had to put up with and I dont think Cindy and I will ever be able to thank Luz enough for all her help.
Late in the evening, Avery's dad calls to say they just got into town after a 15 hour drive from South Carolina.
We give him directions to where Luz's hotel is and he drops the rest of the family off and comes over for a nightcap.
The bar is closing just as he gets there, but we all sit around in the lobby seating area till the wee hours of the morning just talking, laughing and allowing Luz to be introduced to our wacky family one story at a time.
When we finally get back to the hotel room, I've almost been up for 24 hours and I'm about as exhausted as one can get.
I bounced a toothbrush around in my mouth for a few minutes and hit the pillow asleep before my head even sunk in.
Friday October 29th - The Big Wedding Day
We wake up early despite the lack of sleep. With the entire family in town, everyone is breaking off into groups to go do separate things.
All the girls are heading to the hall to decorate and us men, well we have a free pass to go do what ever we want.
Me, my brother Joe and my Brother-In-Law Sean all head into Downtown New Orleans to walk around and see the sights. Something that New Orleans with it's hundreds of years of architecture is not lacking in.
This will be their first time in the Big Easy and being Halloween weekend, it should be a great introduction.
Town is packed for multiple reasons. This weekend is the annual VooDoo Festival which brings in people from all over the world. The Saints have a home football game against the Steelers which has brought in a ton of people from Pittsburg and folks from Nawlin's, as they pronounce it, love any reason to dress up and hit the town.
Being Halloween weekend, it's a great excuse to find the funkiest outfit or costume and stroll the French Quarter.
After walking around for a few hours, my brother says to me, "I thought New Orleans would be more wild than this."
I looked at my watch and said "You do realize it's only 10am dont you?"
He looked at his watch and laughed and said "Ok, I take that back. To see this many freaks, drunk people and crazy antics going on and it's just now 10am on a weekday, I can only imagine how wild it's gonna be around midnight tonight."
After hours of wandering the various districts, quarters and historic buildings, we called Cindy's brother Ron and his family who we knew were doing the same thing we were and ask if they want to meet up for lunch.
We all decide where to meet and I knew just the spot to do it at.
One of my favorite restaurants in New Orleans simply for the building itself is the House of Blues. If you've never been in this place, do yourself a favor and stop by for a visit.
I love the architecture, the wall art and the funkiness of it all. Plus their food is top notch, so it's a win-win.
We sit back and fill ourselves up on delicious food, funny stories and talk about the different people we've seen today. New Orleans is known for their street performers, their street people and just the artists that set up on each corner.
After lunch, it's getting late and we need to head back to the hotel to start getting ready for the wedding.
By the time we pull up, Ron and Avery have found one of the many Frozen Daiquiri places that sell these strong drinks right out the drive-thru window.
We all sit around like true hillbilly's on the hotel balcony drinking daiquiri's and talking as everyone takes turns showering and getting changed into their monkey suits.
Donielle's fiancée has picked up my tuxedo for me and has it at the hall, so I look like a chump and I'm simply wearing jeans and a t-shirt as we walk up to the wedding. His side of the family is all looking at me like I'm the biggest dirtball on Earth since everyone is dressed to the 9's and I'm simple dressed in ratty jeans.
Like Superman and a street side phone booth, I go into the bathroom and come out feeling like I'm in a straight jacket with the tux and Patton leather shoes on.
The wedding goes off like a charm, and all of Cindy and Luz's work really pays off. Donielle was gorgeous, the decorations were beautiful and it was a great night.
As I danced with Donielle for the father/daughter dance, I wiped away tears saying "I've never cried while taking photos before, but I've been bawling like a little baby all night long watching you in that dress!"
It was one of those nights I'll remember for as long as I live, and it was a very happy moment for both Cindy and I.
By the time the wedding ended, everyone was exhausted. Even though it was a Friday night in New Orleans, everyone simply went back to their hotel rooms and crashed out for some much needed rest.
Saturday October 30th - Halloween in New Orleans
We slept in a little later this morning and I decided to miss my flight home. Cindy had scheduled me to fly out at 7am as we had someone checking into the RV Campground tonight.
I called the girl who was watching the dogs for us and asked her to boot up the work computer to get the guests phone number for me.
I called and left her a message saying that we wouldn't be there, but explained what slot she was camping in and go ahead and hook up and we'd settle up when we returned on Sunday night.
I figure it's silly to leave Cindy and Luz to finish everything up after the week they've put in here in New Orleans. Plus, you have to remember that Cindy has had Strep Throat and a Sinus Infection this entire time, so she's not feeling all that well.
I figured I could drive home and allow her to sleep as much as possible to get her back to a healthy state of being.
We spent the morning packing things up, going through the boxes of decorations and deciding what could be returned and what would need to be kept.
Many of the family members were leaving first thing to head home and some were sticking around to spend the day in New Orleans.
After all our returns were done, we headed into Downtown to see if we could meet up with the rest of them and spend some family time together.
This is much harder than one would expect. The streets were wall to wall people and trying to keep a large group together when there is this much to see and do is more frustrating than it is worth.
After an hour of non-stop regrouping because the group kept getting split up, we all decided it would be easier to just go our own ways and we all said goodbye to one another.
My family went in one direction, Cindy's family went in another direction and Cindy, Luz and I all went in our own direction.
We walked around for a few hours till the hunger took over and had us searching for a spot to kick our feet up and just sit down for awhile.
We spied a prime balcony that was on the corner of Bourbon Street and Orleans Street, two of the main intersections for the French Quarter.
We found a table right against the balcony and plopped ourselves down. Who knew that we'd spend the better part of the rest of the day right in this same location?
As we ate, we toasted to a successful wedding. The girls had done an amazing job of pulling off a beautiful event, taming all the drama and bringing together multiple families from 5 different states making it look like a total success.
I'm sure it was a total relief for them to be sitting back and not having to think about anything too serious or stress out about anything for a change.
As we sat on the balcony and the day grew longer, the people watching kept getting better and better as the night grew nearer.
I got a call from my sister who asked where we were as they wanted to meet up for food. We gave them our location and soon my whole family was together up on the balcony screaming at the passing Trick-Or-Treaters and laughing away the afternoon.
Luz was on the phone for awhile with her husband and all of a sudden she hung up and stood up. She exclaimed in her typical hyper fashion, "I have great news!" Cindy and I looked at her to hear her say "I was talking to Walter explaining how much fun we were having and he said he'd call me back.
He made a few phone calls and said he just booked us a room for tonight at the Westin Hotel which is right downtown."
How he did this I have no idea? Everything in New Orleans had been booked for months solid because of how big of a weekend this is.
We had planned on driving home later and just finding a room along the interstate once we got out of New Orleans and the rates would be less expensive and the availability would be easier to come by.
This meant we had to have outfits for tonight since we'd be trick-or-treating in New Orleans on Halloween.
Luz ran across the street and came back with a large shopping bag filled with masks. We all dug through the bag finding ones that fit our personalities and we soon fit in with everyone else who was dressed up.
Just as it was starting to get dark, we got kicked off the balcony because the restaurant was closing for a private party. No big deal, we were ready to start walking around and mingling with the party goers.
I dont know what was more crazy...Walking around downtown New Orleans during Halloween, or doing it with my parents in tow.
Remember that my mother is as religious as they come and except for the bar we once owned, I cant recall her ever being seen in one. So to see her surrounded by Drag Queens, drunken street people and women with next to nothing on was just as hilarious as the rest of the town was.
My brother and sister and I all kept laughing saying "Can you believe Mom & Dad are with us during all of this!?"
In and out of saloons, bars and clubs we went. All masked and having too much fun the entire time.
As the afternoon turned into night, we said our goodbyes to my family as they needed to get back to their motel room as they were leaving early in the morning.
Luz, Cindy and I walked across town and found our new Hotel Room. We had parked a few blocks away and simply moved the car to the valet at the Westin and had them bring our luggage up to the room.
The girl at the front desk looked at the reservation as Luz was checking in and said with a confused look "I have no idea how you made these reservations today as we've been sold out for months now! You must have had to pull some serious strings to get this room!"
What ever Walter had to do to get this room, I was just glad we were going to be staying another night. I only wish Walter could have been here to enjoy it with us.
We all showered up and got ready to go out. This basically consisted of the girls changing 100 times and trying on EVERY combination of what they had in their bags in every configuration possible.
They finally ended up wearing the first outfits they had tried on. Yep, the ones that I said "Ok, You both look great lets go!"
I think the only reason they finally decided it was time to go was I was about to fall asleep from sitting around and waiting for so long.
The rest of the night was somewhat of a blur. Between dancing on the bar in Coyote Ugly Saloon, to dancing in the streets with a group of Drag Queens, it was one wild night.
Cindy's sister who knows this city like the back of her hand had warned us of a few areas to stay out of so we'd remain safe. But like little kids trying to get into trouble, we had some of the most fun in those areas. Even with me carrying around a large camera with two beautiful women in tow.
Cindy and I have been to New Orleans on numerous occasions. We've been to multiple Mardi-Gras celebrations, been to Jazz Fest, Strawberry Festivals and Cajun parties, but I think Halloween is now my favorite time in the Big Easy.
You dont have the thousands of tourists trying to over do it with how drunk and wild they get. It's more the locals who see this sort of thing every weekend just out having fun and being able to dress up and get crazy themselves.
I know we had a wild time and saw things I'll never forget. It was such an amazing night and I finally had to drag the girls back to the hotel room when I could see we were going to get in trouble if we stayed out any longer.
Of course this was one of those things that as we're riding the elevator up the 33rd floor, Cindy is all pouting that I'm making them go home at 2am. I'm trying to explain that we've been up since 7am, we've been drinking since 2pm and it's time to call it a night.
Luz is somewhat agreeing with me, but she's also being talked into more partying by her friend Cindy who is ready to take on the world.
The last words I remember as I fell into bed was Cindy saying "Well just wait till Pat passes out and you and I will go back out!"
I mumbled something like "Have fun, we're leaving early to drive home so make sure you're back in the room by the time I leave."
Sunday October 31st - Driving Home to Cedar Key
I woke up this morning thinking I had slept in a bears den.
Luz is in one bed sawing logs like a lumberjack, and Cindy is right beside me with her cowboy boots still on. She's sleeping in the same position she was in the last I saw her. Lying in bed with her hands crossed on her lap like she's watching TV.
There is a giant stack of stainless steel dishes on the table that sort of confuses me because none of it looks like it's been touched.
I wake Cindy up by pulling off her boots and look at the room service ticket. I see that at around 3am, they decided they were hungry and ordered a salad, a grilled cheese sandwich and two cheeseburgers. Only one of the cheeseburgers is gone and nothing else is touched.
I wake her up again to ask what all this food is about and she says she doesn't remember it getting here or ordering it.
We get up and pack up our stuff allowing Luz to sleep in some more. We take our showers and get ready and finally Luz wakes up.
She tells us that after I passed out, Cindy said she was hungry and she wanted to watch a movie if they werent going to go back out.
Luz ordered some room service and found a movie Cindy wanted to watch on the pay-per-view. She started the movie and went to go to the bathroom so she wouldn't miss any of it once it got going.
By the time she came out, Cindy was sound asleep snoring and said the building could have collapsed and she wouldn't have woken up.
I asked who ate the cheeseburger that is missing since Luz is a vegetarian?
She just laughs and says "Oh man, once it got here it looked so good, I ate the whole thing while watching that stupid movie Cindy wanted to watch."
Cindy decided that even though it was cold and a few hours old, she would finish the cheeseburger and the grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast. Something tells me that the diet she was on to build up to this wedding is now officially over.
We load up the car and get situated and before we even get out of downtown New Orleans, Cindy and Luz have switched seats and Cindy is in the back seat sound asleep.
Thank Goodness for Luz. Remember that we compare Luz to Hammy from Over the Fence. She talks about 100 miles per minute and you have to pay serious attention because she usually has 3 or 4 conversations going at the same time. Usually about totally different subjects.
This means that our 10 hour drive home felt all of 45 minutes because the conversation kept going non-stop and had us talking about everything from People, Future Plans, Environmentalism, to our Childhood. It was great and I'm glad I missed my flight and stayed an extra day simple for the ride home.
Cindy woke up once when we stopped for fuel and asked where we were.
"Alabama I think." Was our reply. "Oh Ok", and she was back asleep before we got back onto the interstate."
We pulled over again in Florida late in the afternoon for something to eat and woke her up so she could go to the bathroom and come in to eat with us.
The next time she sat up, she asked "Where are we?"
"An hour from home." we said. She laughed and said "No Really, where are we?"
Just then we passed a sing that said 'Cedar Key - 55 miles' and she says "Oh My God, I've been asleep for almost 9 hours! Wow do I feel great."
I'm thinking that the cold, the stress from the wedding and all the family, she needed some sleep.
Monday November 8th 2010 - Settling Back in to Our Routine
It's been a week that we've been home now. Our first few days we spent unpacking and getting everything back to normal. Something that we're still not 100% finished with.
Our friend Heath and Jolie are redoing two of their rooms down in the Kingfisher Motel and we've been helping them with the demolishing of the old, and the putting up of the new.
I finished the arbor that caused all the trouble right before I left. I spent a day Tearing down an old fence that used to be beside the motel and put up a new one with lattice to hide the side of the building where all the garbage cans are stored.
We've planted two, big Live Oak trees in the RV campground area hoping to add some shade to the RV's and the motel itself. My friend Heath was able to get me a crazy, cheap deal on these trees. They're over 20' tall and were only $100 delivered and put in the ground and the guy gave us a 1 year guarantee on them.
On Saturday Luz invited us over to a dinner she was having at her place that was catered by a local Chef.
I guess Dana works at one of the restaurants in town, but isn't allowed to use the skills he's learned in his career as a chef. He was telling Luz about his training and she asked if he'd be interested in cooking up some of his dishes for a group of her friends.
So she gave him free reign over her kitchen and all we had to do was show up and taste course after course. All were magnificent and each one was something that could be a main entree for an award winning restaurant.
Starting with a salad with homemade dressing, to a cucumber salad made with herbs out of Luz's garden. Next came hand rolled pirogues stuffed with sausage and a pumpkin, sage dressing. My mouth is watering just typing it and remembering what we ate.
He had Chicken Cordon-Blue that was something I could eat twice a day, 7 days a week and there was about 8 other things to sample that I cant even remember.
All of this was served with great red wine and top notch conversation around a smoking fire pit in the cozy confines of Luz and Walters back yard. I mean this is the kind of stuff people talk about for years on end, but when around Luz and Walter, it seems to be a weekly occurrence. I seriously dont know how we could ever get bored with having them as friends.
We had a crazy storm blow through this week that brought in some serious wind that just so happen to hit at High Tide. It was the first time I've seen waves crashing up and into the Low-Key Floataway that is marooned behind our property. Pretty wild to see the water that high.
The tiki-bar is as close as it's ever been to being opened and I actually have a stack of paperwork sitting beside me on my desk that needs to be signed and a few phone calls made and I think it will be 100%, but I told Cindy I was so far behind on my Blog that if I didn't get caught up on it today, I'd be too stressed out to complete anything else.
So hopefully within the next week or so, the Tiki-Bar will be opened and this whole Cedar Key thing will change yet again. I know for as many reservations as we've made for this upcoming season, it looks like it's going to be a great year already, I'm only hoping the tiki-bar is as much of a success as the motel and rv-campground is.
Camper Check List - A list of things we do before leaving camp. Again, this isn't gospel, but its a good start for those who might not already have a list made up.