Friday: May 24, 2019: We both got up early today, around 6:30am. We were eager to get going and get all packed up and up to Joe’s. By 8:00am, we had eaten and were about 1/2 packed up. I rolled the dice and walked up to the front office to see if anyone had cancelled their reservations for today to see if we could stay one more day. Sadly, the place was still booked solid. So I headed back to the RV disappointed we had to leave but not surprised.
I continued packing up while Fred jumped in the shower. I was nearly finished prepping the interior for the road, when the phone rang. The manager informed me that one person couldn’t make it in until tomorrow, so we could stay one more night. The spot did however, come at holiday pricing… 3X the normal rate! But I really wanted to stay and hang out with my family some more. I took the offer to stay.🥳
I unpacked everything I just spent the last hour and a half packing up and texted Joe that we could hang out the whole day now. I was very excited. It really is amazing how a phone call can change your whole perspective on the day… and how different I felt after today’s phone call versus yesterday’s.
We got ready and drove up to Joe’s house. Getting to his place took about 45 minutes so it was nearly lunch time when we got there.
Joe gave us the grand tour of his house. It was gorgeous. Kristin has done a wonderful job turning it into a well decorated, modern home (with a giant TV!) And she converted the pool into a salt-water pool. I was thoroughly impressed!! I can see myself vacationing here, often!
Kristin introduced us to the newest member of their family, Marky-Marky, a teddy bear-brown, soft, fuzzy puppy. He totally looks like teddy bear! I played with the puppy while we watched “The Office” on the giant TV and chatted about life. We decided on grabbing some Chick-Fil-A from the drive-thru for lunch while Fred took a little nap.
Kristin was very careful to make the guestroom pet-free so Fred would be able to sleep in it. It worked out great. Thank you Kristin!🤗 (Warm hugs for being so caring!)
Joe’s family loves animals and can’t turn way any stray, ever. So Joe is pretty much the leader of a small Wolfpack, kind of like a better looking, more practical, “Dog Whisperer.” So Kristin keeping this room so pristine was no easy task.
Fred stretched out for a rest and Joe, Kristin, and I went to grab lunch. Before Chick-Fil-A, we hit the Walmart real quick for some puppy chow and some pool noodles. Joe was not excited about going to a Florida Walmart on Memorial Day Weekend. However, as far as Walmarts go, it wasn’t that bad, even for a normal weekend. We were in an out fairly quickly. The Chick-Fil-A was right across the street so it was a very efficient trip.
Joe is always entertained by this Chick-Fil-A drive thru. He prepped me before we got there that it was going to be interesting and impressive at how quickly they moved the line along.
They had two lines and 3 women who stood outside organizing the lines and taking orders on tablets (The way In and Out does on busy days) Then ladies merged the two lines back into one line as the cars approach the take-out window. It seems complicated but they seem to make it work.
We got up to the window and the man inside handed us a bag that said “Joe in the white van.” We ere it in white van, but it was the same sandwhich Joe had ordered and the drinks the man handed us next were also what we orderd, so we thought perhaps they just wrote down the wrong color and type of car.
Then man then realized he had mixed up the orders, and he should’ve handed us the order for “Joe in the black truck.” But he let us keep the incorrect order he already handed us. So we were happy, and entertained that two dudes named Joe had ordered the exact chicken sandwich at the same time. Joe was pretty stoked to get an extra chicken sandwich out of the deal also.
We got back to the house just as Fred was waking up from his nap. The timing was perfect. It was turning out to be a great day.
After we ate, we adjourned to the living room and hung out until Fred was ready for another rest. We drove back to the RV for this one. The midday nap is usually the most important one for Fred. We made plans with Joe and Kristen to bring the kids by the RV later for a BBQ.
As we neared Okaloosa Island, traffic was getting thick. The holiday herds arriving and the travelers seemed to have an aggressive, impatient energy about them. The choke point was the bridge and the three traffic signals proceeding up to it. We missed the lights several times, but it was fine after we crossed the bridge.
I texted Joe that we would understand if they didn’t want to brave the traffic and crazy motorists that evening. He said they were still game to come over and would just grab some food on the way down to make it less stressful.
Fred napped pretty soundly for about an hour and but woke up feeling good and ready to BBQ. Even though Joe was going to bring us some food, Fred still grilled the chicken we had in the refrigerator for about a week so it didn’t go to bad.
Joe and the family arrived and he had brought take out from “Pounder’s Hawaiian Grill.” It was so good!! It easily took 1st place as my new favorite food in Florida.
After we devoured that delicious food, Kristin and the kids played and ran around in the grass. It was such a perfect evening! And so chill!
Joe had earlier introduced me to the Thermocell Mosquito Repellent. He uses them in the field & loves them. (Although he had forgotten his during the training he just completed and was completely peppered with mosquito bites. He specifically put it on the nightstand next to his bed so he wouldn’t forget to take it with him. And he still forgot it.) I bought one earlier when we were at Walmart. Since we were sitting out on the patio, I broke it out to give it a try. Joe showed me how easy it was to set up and use. It worked great too. I didn’t get a single bite!
It looks like everyone is napping in this photo. But that was taken after they ran themselves silly and finally laid down to rest and rehydrate. It actually wasn’t too hot after the sun went down and was quite pleasant outside. (It was still humid of course.)
About 8pm we called it a night. Between stuffing ourselves on the amazing food, and the kids running around for an hour, everybody was pretty tired. Plus, Kristin had left her car here the day before so they were going to have to drive two cars back tonight. The older kids drove back with Joe and the youngest rode with Kristin. It was like musical chairs but with cars there for a minute as the kids went back and forth over who they were going to ride home with. Joe’s family is so fun and entertaining to be with.
We all said our formal good-byes with hugs and all. Fred always marvels at how awkward it is for my family to hug and be affectionate. We are working very hard to get better at it. 😋 We were raised to be very stoic so it’s taking some time to loosen up. We are much better at it these days. 😁
We made plans with Joe to meet him tomorrow at the Walmart near the I-10. He had some old external hard drives loaded with movies he was going to give us for the trip. I can’t wait to see what all is on those drives… Joe has amazing taste in movies. Its going to be epic!
I am so grateful that this extra day magically appeared for us. And I’m grateful that we got to spend so much time with Joe and his family. I wish we could stay longer! But I know we need to get back to California and we still need to see a few people along the way. (We are on our way Nadene).
I realized I didn’t take very many photos of my family and us together 😞 So thankfully Kristen is an amazing photographer and has plenty of beautiful photos on her Facebook page. I stole a few to share here 😁
Joe and Kristin’s kids (Dylin. Jackson, Jamison). I bet you can’t figure out who the goofy prankster is… (Hint…Bowtie)
Until next time you guys… I love you ❤️ Thank you for showing us such a great time!