Tues. June 18, 2013:
My first thought of the day: I could really go for some key lime pie. There was no Fudgey The Whale left, I had to eat regular food for breakfast. Marianne mentioned that she knows a good place with an awesome key lime pie, the official state dessert. We were all very groggy, everyone dragging their collective butts. We did not make it out of the house until noon, not good when your destination is the beach, Ft. Lauderdale beach to be exact, the tackiest, tourist beach of the trip. We were partly distracted by the fact that we had all started taking our sunglasses off and making dramatic CSI: Miami faces while giggling madly. We stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts in order to further fuel the giddy mood. Sunglass-taking-off ensued on the patio with our coffees. It had taken a few days, but I had managed to get everyone thoroughly addicted to Dunkin’ Donuts, no longer was I alone in my maniacal pursuit of a semi-good cup of coffee.
We stopped at a gas station/post office so Camilla and Lucy could mail their postcards (as opposed to just handing them over the next day when we were back in Canada). I took the opportunity to shop for some candy, my vacation self was in full swing and was hankering for some sugar. I ended up buying Surf & Turf nerds (tropical flavours) and Now & Later candies, but I decided to save them for Brent as a souvenir (though I came close to eating them a few times).
Coffee in hand we embarked on the beach. The flags by the lifeguard tower warned of jellyfish and a medium strength current, further adding to my case that the ocean is mean. Cheezers (stuffed rat, mascot sort of) joined us for our beach day. We hung him in a bag from one of the umbrellas (it’s much cuter than it sounds).
I went in for a bit while Marianne stayed back with our stuff- and I came right back out after about 10 minutes. I had tilted my head back so as to soak it without getting salt water in my eyes, only a giant wave came by and hit me in the face… while my head was tilted back. Let’s just leave it at having your sinuses irrigated with ocean water is HORRIBLE. I retreated to the safety of dry land and lay about on my towel moping while my eyes and sinuses burned.
I cheered up once lunch time rolled around; we had packed burritos and mango salsa: who could be mopey?! Their mom had made the burritos for us the night before; they were so good I actually made a note to myself in my notebook to get the recipe later. Having refueled, they set about digging a giant hole; I parked my chair nearby and pretended to be the site supervisor. The supervisor should never leave the site, when I returned I found that they had instead decided to bury Camilla and Ela to their shoulders. Camilla and Ela were even helping bury each other! I wondered how long I was gone for?!
I went back to the ocean again, this time just to round up the troops, this time only walking along the edge but even then the ocean was mean: the current was strong and kept trying to knock me over. It was amusing however to see the others get knocked down. We packed up the car and got changed to go for a walk along the tourist strip. On my way back from the bathrooms some people asked me how to use the parking meter, implying that I was a local- it felt so good.
As we walked along I commented that something smelled like Parmesan cheese, we turned and there was a garbage truck stinking to high heavens of cheese. It was all the same version of the souvenir shop and a couple of tacky restaurants interspersed, very quickly it got old, as if were walking in place. On the way back I noticed a self-serve frozen yogurt, ice cream and frozen custard shop. My eyes lit up, I love frozen custard and cannot find it in Toronto (as in close by). I dragged everyone inside. It turns out the sign was a lie; there was no frozen custard on offer. I was about to leave, but the guy had suckered everyone else in with little sample cups! I said my heart was broken that there was no frozen custard and he proceeded to insult frozen custard saying it was just frozen yogurt with more fat. I wanted to leave, alas by then we were in the “gotta buy something” guilt zone. We literally caved, one by one. I was going to get one and share but as soon as I turned around half the group had caved, and then the rest followed suit. So much for our plans of going to Menchie’s in the evening. It was good, but not as good as Menchie’s- and nowhere near as good as frozen custard.
We stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts for yet more caffeine as we were planning on staying up really late; it was our last night in Florida. The lemonade donut was delicious, but not as good as the key lime pie one. We sat on the patio and yet again had a giggle fit while taking off/putting on our sunglasses. The people who work there must’ve thought we were nuts because we made daily trips there, sometimes a few times a day and of course we held up the line when one of us (it varied) had no idea what to get. In keeping with the spirit of giddy merriment, we kept taking off/putting on our sunglasses in the car.
After much shaking, wiping etc.. I still could not get all the sand off of me. It was a terrible mess, sunscreen and sand do not mix, or else they mix too well. I couldn’t shower yet as we still had a bonfire planned, a messy affair between all the smoke and gooey marshmallows. We got the fire going after 10pm, but it took a while to get it really burning. Everything was damp from the humidity but all of a sudden (thanks to the banana leaves we threw in) it ignited into a huge roaring fire. It was too hot, my first marshmallow caught on fire. The second one only ended up lightly toasted, as I was afraid of it catching on fire again.
Stinking of smoking and sweat, we retreated back inside to make bread. Florida is hot even at 11 at night. While we waited for the dough to rise we watched sunglasses clips of CSI:Miami resulting in a terrible laughing fit. We started making our own puns and this somehow resulted in a joke about an alternate universe wherein my double puts on weight no matter what she eats, even if she exercises (everyone had by now seen the full extent to which my hungry-vacation-self can eat). Once the laughter subsided we took the brief moment of quiet and posed for a recreation of a photograph taken 10 years ago at the cottage, when we first started eating campfire smores (now a staple in our diet). The quiet did not last very long.
The cats were attacking a palmetto bug and we all freaked out, as they were just batting it, not maiming and killing it. We had to take matters into our own hands, I especially wanted it smooshed as I was convinced it was the one that had dropped down on me from a vent a few days before. We put a paper towel over it and dropped the cooler on it. Then Ela sat on the cooler. When we lifted it, the bug was still “3D” as someone had yelled. More screaming ensued, as it tried to run away, we repositioned the paper towel and dropped Kuchnia Polska (giant Polish cookbook, about the size of a bible) on it with a loud THUD. The evil bug was dead, the cats were confused and we were all hoarse.
The midnight crazies (see above) were clearly in full swing. They were also hungry for sugar, for key lime pie specifically. I had never had key lime pie before, though I had eaten key lime: donut, cookie, ice cream, yogurt, frozen yogurt, and cheesecake. I could finally add pie to that list. It was delicious and refreshing. It felt so fancy and civilized to be sitting there, eating a fancy pie and sipping tea. Never mind what had happened in the kitchen less than 5 minutes before.
My feet were starting to hurt; I looked down and to my horror realized: I had forgotten to put sunscreen on the tops of them. My sunburn was kicking in. I had also missed the base of my rib cage. It all hurt like hell. It was not the kind of souvenir I had intended to bring home with me.
It was closing in on 2am and everyone was starting to lose steam. We did not have a midnight Dunkin’ Donuts run, maybe that was it? Or the screaming and bug smooshing took a lot of energy. Either way we were crashing, and fast. We were past the point of no return, it was sleepytime.