Buckle Up, 5th Grade Is Upon Us!

And, by virtue of working from home and being right down the street from the school, it looks like I’ll be before and after school care for The Kid.

The school offers before and after care, but the spaces are still limited. Perhaps you’ve heard about our record low unemployment numbers lately? Yeah, so that means that there really aren’t a ton of qualified people clamoring to work part time for shit money in the county schools’ before and after care programs. And private slots are equally hard to come by for the same reasons.

She’s going into 5th grade and really is mature enough to walk home and not get into trouble in the hour between when she gets there and when her mom gets home, BUT, this is Florida, and the heat and the storms around 3 p.m. are epic.

So, I work from home about a mile from the school, and I can mostly flex my hours as needed. So it was kind of a no-brainer that the kid could walk to school from my place, and also a no-brainer that I’ll give her a lift for a chunk of it and she can meet up with friends and do the last leg with them. I can be at my desk by 8:30. Same drill in the afternoon, she can walk toward me and I’ll snag her along the way and save her from heatstroke.

She really wants to be a walker, but I’m guessing two days of walking will cure her of that. I walk this neighborhood regularly very early in the morning before the real heat, and though Florida is flat compared to places with real hills, the road to her school is a steady, subtle uphill grade. I know this because I’ve been walking it daily lately. Add a huge, heavy backpack on her 90 lb. back and that walk will get old fast. Maybe in the winter it’ll be fun, but maybe by then she’ll have a slot in the before and after program.

So, tomorrow is Meet the Teacher, and once again I’ll be Ubering her to the school so she can lead me around and do her social thing. Wednesday the school year begins. I think it will be fine.

Sad, Neglected Blog.

Sorry about that. No drama, except surrounding my daughter’s car, which simultaneously need a new battery AND a new starter in the space of a month. We had planned our mutual birthday lunch at Art Smith’s and the day of, when I’d already taken the day off, my daughter ran a “quick errand” early in the morning, and her car would not start. Four hours later it was dragged to a nearby shop and was diagnosed with a dead starter. Starter replaced, yay! We had to cancel our lunch reservation and I burned a day off as an unpaid Uber getting her and her kid to their various destinations. We could not get another reservation for weeks, because yes, it’s that kind of place.

I finally scored one for last Thursday, so I took a half day Thursday and also Friday off, because fuck it, I have vacation days again.

Lunch was lovely. We ordered a bunch of appetizers and desserts. Our waiter was so ridiculously handsome, we decided he was waiting tables until a slot as a Disney Prince opens up in the parks. He also had a delightful but un-placeable accent – Italian-ish? My daughter suggested a Hallmark Movie with him as a hot exchange student as an alternative. He’s just filling time waiting tables, for sure, but he was a pleasant and very competent waiter. (Sorry, I’ll never be the kind of blogger who accosts a busy waiter for a picture for my blog.)

Desserts: I ordered the summer version of my beloved Shine Cake – the summer version is lemon and poppyseed with blueberry compote and ice cream. It was delicious. My daughter ordered the chocolate pecan pie. It also was delicious.

The Kid got the doughnuts. I know, doughnuts? But these are freshly made mini-doughnuts with powdered sugar and some sort of golden syrup for dipping. Apparently they are amazing, though her mother and I will never know. When her mom asked for a bite, The Kid hunched over the basket and growled like a dog. Apparently they are very, very good.

After we ate, The Kid (next nickname TBD) asked for a trip to Basin. I was already planning a stop there for shower bombs, so her wish was granted. We made the short but very, very hot slog from the restaurant to the store.

That store just smells so amazing! You walk in and take a deep breath, and have an uncontrollable urge to spend money. (Especially after a couple of moonshine margaritas at the aforementioned restaurant.) I got my bath bombs and The Kid filled a small bottle of bubble bath, and we wandered and sniffed things and decided what to get on our next visit. My daughter got a slice of the cute hedgehog soap for her kitchen sink. And of course it’s at Disney, so there’s a ton of handmade soaps for every character and Florida specific things like sea turtles and just everything you ever desired in bar soap form, and the staff is so nice and helpful and patient, it’s worth a visit.

It was INSANELY hot. Yes, I know it’s Florida, I’ve only been here over 40 years, but my car in the shade of the Disney Springs parking garage was 109 degrees on the dashboard thermometer when I returned to it. That’s 109 in the shade. That’s…extreme, even for here. I have a reservation for Epcot for Sunday, but the odds are 50-50 that I’ll keep it. We are in the “even the most crazy Disney addicts think twice” stage of the year.

I promise another update about things that are not Disney this weekend. I’m actually making progress on the life improvement stuff.

Life Improvement Plans.

I’ve been giving myself a pity party lately. I spend my days in my home office staring into monitors, doing tedious and technical work that is slowly, slowly, killing my soul.

Did I tell you what my granddaughter said while she was here in June? She wandered into my home office bored, and I decided to briefly explain my job to her. I made it seem interesting, I kept it really brief and light. She looked, listened, and said, “This is not good for you.” It was such a blunt, serious statement I was taken aback. All I could say was, “I know kid, but I need the money.”

It’s SO HOT I cannot even psych myself to go to my Happy Place. I may do Epcot next weekend, if we aren’t under threat of severe thunderstorms AGAIN. I have, after so many years of visiting the parks, finally assembled the summer Disney Parks wardrobe of my dreams: cool and comfortable as is possible under those conditions, age appropriate, where have these clothes been all my life? Apparently in obscure corners of Amazon, because that’s where I found all the components.

I still haven’t started that Disney blog I’ve been threatening, and I should be focused on that, but focus has been sorely lacking lately. More on that in a bit.

I very much like my new paycheck, but don’t like the new job much. My previous position, which I also didn’t like much but now seems much more engaging in hindsight, is still open. They had a FOURTH person lined up for it and that person too bailed the day before they were to start. The job market is like this now, a qualified person has many options, and my former contractor position apparently is not very appealing. Qualified people don’t have to settle for contracting now. If only upper management understood this….

But anyway, back to my topic. I am rolling with the weather and life in general, but I have identified a few things I can do that will help my body and my attitude, starting now.

I’ve drifted away into moderate anxiety and mild depression, not in a big, OMG I really do need meds way, but in that vague, “I’m far from my best and I know it” way. I’ve been analyzing what changed in my life over the last couple of years, and yeah, I fell off the walking wagon, the yoga wagon, and – the easiest and least sweaty – the meditation wagon.

Why? I don’t know! Once my schedule changes even a bit, all the habits just fall away and I have to make a conscious effort to get back on track. I have been making only a half-assed effort and of course, getting half-assed results.

I’m a huge audiobook fan. I listen to variety of genres and get them from many sources, but Audible Plus had an included (you don’t have to spend a credit) 3 hour book that I clicked on on a whim: How to Train Your Mind. I have been feeling frustrated about my job and my job performance and clicked on it on a whim, and damn, this was just the kind of no bullshit reinforcement of what I already know about the benefits of meditation.

I listened while cleaning the house today. It is so no woo-woo, evidence-based, practical, it reminded me that when I meditated for 10 minutes every morning, my life really was objectively better. Why did I stop? It was comforting to hear that the author has quit for days or weeks at a time too, only to realize how life changed for the worse.

So, from now until Labor Day I am doing a meditation experiment. I will meditate for 10 minutes every day before work. I will work hard to get 10k steps a day. I will get off my ass and do at least a few minutes of yoga.

Back to the basics that I know will work.

We Are Almost Done With Summer

The summer heat will last until Halloween, I’m just talking about school time off. Classes start again in a few weeks. At least we did a weekend at AKL. There was that.

So, today was The Dancer’s Last Competition. Not for the year, but forever. She’s ready to give it up and try other things, like swimming and softball.

I was sort of hoping she’d go out of this big national competition with another championship jacket, winning overall for the group dances that have racked up awards all year.

Don’t ask me how they define National Competition, but teams from other states competed today. Dance is a weird commercial “sport.”

I watched on livestream from my personal computer while at work.”Watch” is overstating it, I had the livestream on over my shoulder on my personal desk while working, listening with half an ear until I heard her dance called, then I rolled my chair to my personal computer setup.

Somehow, despite their dances winning all year and scoring the highest at regional, when they performed it at the national the next day, and even I could see they were flawless, dramatic, had tons of lifts and aerials and amazing coordination, they were totally on it, they brought their A game…it didn’t win anything.

Another dance from her (former) studio somehow won, and there was some sketchy shit about that team competing on that level against their own “teammates”, and I won’t put the details out here, but sketchy shit went down at the studio to make that happen. They pitted dances against each other, and one of the two (my favorite) that should have made the finals did not, and one that shouldn’t have been in that group somehow was in that group and won, and confirmed my long-held belief that it’s all bullshit.

I texted my daughter, “Well fuck that.” My daughter’s response was “Good riddance (studio).”

So, anyway, The Former Dancer will go on to be The Swimmer or other athlete, without the false eyelashes and costumes and obscene competition fees. She says she’s ready and didn’t walk away mad. She seems to be done with it, and we are all supporting her in pursuing other interests.

As I told her, it’s just not fair to her that her mom put her into dance for fun at 2.5 because she needed to burn off energy, and by 5 she got drafted for the little kid team and then she was sucked into that life and never had time for anything else, and she’s almost 11. She had to choose between Girl Scouts and dance team because there wasn’t time for both. All of this while still a straight A student in elementary school. Her mom was never a Dance Mom, she was always reluctantly making her kid happy because she truly loved it, until the last couple of years when the politics became so obvious a ten year old could see it.

Anyway, she’s talked about karate and already loves swim team, and would like to try softball and take piano lessons, and, and…I’m glad she will finally have time to be a normal kid, with one or two activities, and not live at a dance studio when she’s not at school. She’s breaking out of dance prison, and I’m here for it.

Those years of dance were not wasted. Her discipline, her physical conditioning, OMG she’s solid muscle and insanely fit and coordinated and will take that into her next accomplishments, but it’s time for new things.

We only have a couple of weeks of summer left. School starts here in early August. I’ve rescheduled our lunch at Homecomin’ for before the grind begins again for them. My grind never quits.

I Spent Some Money on Amazon Prime Day.

I’ve been contemplating a new coffeemaker for a while. I had been using a very basic Mr. Coffee, but it didn’t hold up well. It got loud and spluttery and the coffee wasn’t all that hot. I also waste a lot of coffee, because I don’t drink coffee all day and that pot wasn’t good about keeping it warm anyway, I’d end up throwing out at least a portion of whatever amount I’d brewed.

I’ve had a Keurig in the past (like, over a decade ago) and after it finally died I went back to a regular coffeemaker, because it was cheaper. Lately I’d been thinking of getting another one, after using the basic single serve version in the room during our Animal Kingdom Lodge weekend.

I’d been comparing versions online, because now there’s a zillion variations, and had settled on this one. Yesterday morning it popped up on Prime Day for over 50% off! That made it a no-brainer. I used it for the first time this morning and the coffee was actually hotter than my old Mr. Coffee’s output. It takes up very little of my limited counter space too.

I’m sharing this just in case any of my many tens of readers have been considering a Keurig, because that really is a deal and it’s still available today.

Disclosure: I’m an Amazon Associate, so if anyone buys anything I’ve shared I get a small commission. (Obviously I’m really bad at this and will never be an influencer.) Anyway it’s a great price and I’m very happy with it.

A post-4th Dog Walk Story.

So, I took a couple of days off (now that I finally have PTO after SIX years) and it didn’t exactly go as planned, but this isn’t about that. This is about an encounter with some woman around my age, I didn’t recognize her but we have lots of new neighbors.

So, Independence Day is one of the four listed holidays on our county’s “No Trash Pickup” days. They don’t pick up on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Independence Day. A lot of people don’t actually use The Google, so they put out their trash for pickup on the 4th, and it did not happen. The majority figured out their error and dragged the trash in for the next pickup day, a mild annoyance but No Big Deal.

So, I was walking Gidget early on the 5th and there were still a few trash cans out. A woman I did not recognize, not dressed for a morning walk, came out of a side street and complained that the trash had not been picked up, and she’d “Checked the website and the 4th of July was not listed as a holiday!” She had a mad, and wanted to talk to a manager.

I said, “It is on the website, it’s one of the no pickup holidays.”

She insisted she had checked and IT WAS NOT LISTED! I said yeah, it was, and the neighborhood Facebook page sent a reminder too. She Was Insulted and crossed the street, harrumphing, and Gidget and I got on with our walk. Whatever.

It took me a bit, but it dawned on me: She was looking for The 4th of July! It’s listed on the county website as Independence Day, and she didn’t know it meant the 4th of July. None of the holidays are listed by specific date: Thanksgiving is a floating holiday on the calendar, so is Christmas, so is New Year’s Day, so Independence Day was listed the same way, if it falls on your trash day they are not picking up and will pick up on the next scheduled day. Monday was our trash day, and was the 4th.

Reminder: I do not live in one of the gator wrasslin’ and cousin-marryin’ parts of Florida, which is a small portion of the state but a useful setting for fiction. I live in one of the very many educated and affluent (and purple) big city areas, where we who have only bachelor’s degrees and mid-level corporate jobs are lucky to find affordable housing options. This well-heeled white lady knew enough to check the county website, but didn’t make the connection that “Independence Day” happens on the 4th of July.

Our current issues started a long time ago.

A True Story…

that might make you giggle, or at least make you feel less shitty.

I was coming home with groceries on Saturday when a large, expensive white SUV was idling in the middle of the street, blocking my way. A blonde woman dressed in red, white and blue hopped out, went to a door, came back in under a minute, glanced at her phone, crossed the street, came back…all while her vehicle blocked the road. I had no idea what she was doing, dropping flyers for a business maybe?

Eventually whoever was driving noticed that they were blocking the road and made room for me to get around, and I proceeded to my home to unload the bags of groceries.

I live in a small condo community where each building has a central courtyard. We enter and leave via the courtyard and a shared sidewalk, so we all see each other a few times a day. I’m describing this because it becomes relevant, I promise.

My elderly Fox-watching, Trump-voting, Evangelical church attending neighbor was outside doing his weekly cleaning of his stairs. Perky blonde woman approached him and announced she’s running for county commission.

Neighbor promptly asks her party affiliation. “Oh, I’m a Republican!” He was glad to hear it, and they proceeded to commiserate that our formerly deep red county is now PURPLE! Can you imagine? More sharing about the horror of LIBERALS invading their world, and how they must be stopped! I’m listening to this from across the courtyard as I go back and forth with groceries, torn between inwardly giggling and eye rolling.

After shared horror at the evil of liberals, she asked for his vote and turned to leave. As I was coming down my stairs I was less than 12 feet from this woman, and I put a pleasant expression on my face, prepared to just smile and say hello, unless I was asked for my vote, when I would smile brightly and tell her I was voting for her opponent, but have a nice day!

It never happened. I swear to God, the woman saw me right there and scurried away without making eye contact, let alone a nod or “Good morning.” This was noticeable in an area where everybody greets everybody. (I have occasionally raised a bag of dog poop in greeting to return waves from people I don’t know. It’s just what we do here.) It was definitely weird for someone running for office to duck somebody like that. Of course she was only door-knocking Republicans, but avoiding ANY contact with me was…weird. So, two interesting things:

This is a historically deeply red county. My condo neighborhood is still mostly fairly affluent, mostly retired white folks, and last time I checked was still mostly Republican. Red, White and Blue Karen (not her actual name) should have made many contacts and chatted with many neighbors. She only approached one neighbor in my building, and had hopscotched down the road, spending only seconds dropping her flyer. Interesting. She obviously had a map of registered Republicans on her phone, and was sweating her ass off for very little return.

But HILARIOUS: Apparently having to be polite and say hello to a Democrat was too much for her! I wanted to laugh while watching her red, white and blue ass scuttle down the driveway. (Yes, she did know I was a Democrat. Party affiliation isn’t a secret here, and she was consulting her phone before every contact so she knew an Evil Liberal lived at that address.)

Dear Democrats: There are way more of us than there are Republicans. But they vote in every election, for school boards and county commissions and freaking dog catcher, and sadly, Democrats tend to sit out local elections and don’t turn out in big numbers for the midterms. Republicans have an outsized share of power because WE LET THAT HAPPEN. That shit has to change RIGHT FUCKING NOW.

Which is why my focus will be on people and organizations registering new voters and convincing the apathetic to get off their asses to save our country, and also getting Val Demings into the Senate. We can do it. We have to do it. Apathy is not an option, and neither is defeatism.

To quote one of my favorite podcasters: “Don’t drink despair juice.” I actually was listening to their podcast while editing this and Bluegal just said this, and it’s perfect. “Walk the path and make the path. ” (Driftglass quote.)

If you are blessed to live in a safe state where you don’t have horrible Senators (and a fascist governor) to defeat, may I humbly ask if you could send Val Demings a few bucks? She’s the real deal. I actually got to meet her during her first run for Congress, and she’s just as awesome as she seems on TV. (She’s also a lot shorter than I expected, her voice is six inches taller than she is.)

If you have trash to take out in your own state, please focus on that, of course.

And that was my political post for the month of July, because any commentary would just be incoherent swearing. Back to de-cluttering and Disney and sanity-saving topics.

Still Here, Much to Say, Stand By.

Today was the last day of keeping/feeding The Dancer (more on that soon) three days a week. My food budget is heaving a huge sigh of relief, because damn, that kid can eat. Feeding a 5′ tall 10 y.o. dancer is a reminder that dance is a sport and athletes are bottomless pits. Keeping her also messed up my exercise plans, because she arrived at around 7:15 am, making it awkward for me to get any exercise before I had to shower and be at my desk by 8 (and before 6 there are Giant Mosquitoes).

Not that I’m complaining, the kid is fabulous and was no bother at all and I enjoyed having her, but we did treat ourselves to McDonald’s a few times and there were cookies and otherwise things that would normally not be in my house, and if they are in my house, I will eat them. Add the aforementioned lack of walking in the morning, and yeah, tomorrow the regrouping begins. I have plans for July.

I turned 64 yesterday. I swear in my head I still feel like I’m in my 40s, which is not possible in real time. So far my body is holding up better than expected so I’m okay with this in general, but damn, why can’t I just retire in a year? Retirement was always at 65 when I was growing up, now I can’t get full Social Security until I’m 66 years 8 months. The difference isn’t really life-changing, so I’m still thinking 65, if I can stand this job beyond that it’s gravy

Anyway, July will be all mine, outside of work, which is…work. My ass is in a chair, staring at screens. I have to break that up when I can. I have plans. I want to get back to paring down my shit to things that I really need, and exercising and getting back on the WW wagon and all that good stuff.

I will write about politics after I get a week of walking and yoga and general settling of my nervous system, because holy shit. We are living in interesting times.

And, Back in the Real World…

I’m still not sure about the new job. I mean, I know I love getting a decent professional salary (for Florida) and the benefits are outstanding, and all I have to do is stick it out for roughly another two and a half years until I can get full Social Security. But the work is…not fun. I’m doing it, I understand it, I can do it, it’s okay, but I don’t like it. And I don’t enjoy the new people as much as I did the old people.

The stress level is the same, the difference is the laughter and swearing about it. These people are just so earnestly polite, nobody ever complains, it’s just weird. After nearly three months, I still feel like I don’t fit in.

I am cautious about discussing my exact job or where I work for I hope obvious reasons, the internet being what it is, so you’ll have to forgive my vague description of what happened on Friday afternoon.

My boss texted me and asked if I was available to talk, at 2 on a Friday.

My instinct was “Ruh-roh!” This cannot be good. I was prepared to be told that it wasn’t working out, I wasn’t what she thought I’d be, and buh-bye. It wasn’t that.

So: THREE months after I left my former position, they still haven’t found anybody to fill the position. People who are covering it are losing their minds, because it takes the ability to absorb a lot of trivia about local and state government and carry details in your head and have a sense of humor and it helps if you drink. (At least, a medicinal quantity of wine at the end of the work day had helped me.)

And they’ve advertised and interviewed and can’t find anybody qualified to do it. (Because it’s a contractor position and upper management can’t get it into their heads that it needs to be a decently paid employee role.)

My former supervisor in that empty position, where I was an underpaid contractor, reached out to my current boss and asked if they could borrow me back half time. Insert necessary vagueness here, but it’s a serious situation and a corporate necessity and can she please come back and help us?

I of course said I was fine with that. As I told my current boss, I’m here for a paycheck and I’ll do whatever is needed wherever I’m needed. (That I’m fucking counting the days until I can retire was implied, and she got it.)

So now I’m officially employed by the company in one position, but on half time open ended assignment to my old role.

We’ll see how it works out in practice, but I’m hoping that the fact that they had to “borrow me back” to do it will convince upper management that maybe it should be an employee position? I’d be happy to go back to it, and if it’s an employee role it’d be a lot easier to fill with a qualified person when I retire, because I’m still counting down to retirement.

Life continues to be weird.

Weekend at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

There’s a backstory here, I debated about sharing it. Four-ish? years ago, we did a family weekend there with my daughter and her now soon to be ex-husband and The Dancer. I fell in love with Animal Kingdom Lodge that weekend, and also got the first clues that my daughter’s marriage was not going to last. Things were…awkward.

Oh, and I broke my toe early on the first morning last time, and was in pain for the rest of the stay, so yeah, it wasn’t the best experience. I adored the resort but was hobbling around, I still loved it. I have wanted a do-over ever since, and as we emerged from the covid lockdown I snagged a passholder discounted Savanna view room months ago, just in case we could make it happen.

We did. Animal Kingdom Lodge is my happy place, and it was a truly fun and fulfilling experience.

As with Animal Kingdom the theme park, it is a mild stretch beyond the comfort level of some people. The restaurants are mildly exotic, the hallways have exhibits of African art, there are giraffes and antelope outside, and in normal times, much of the staff is legit from Africa. They’re truly cultural ambassadors and are happy to chat with kids (or adults) about their countries. There are crafts and music and dancing and animal education experiences. It is an incredible experience, and this weekend reminded me of how wonderful it can be.

One of my favorite things about staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge (henceforth to be called AKL) is staying in a room with a view of one of the savannas. We were on the Sunset Savanna on the second floor, and this was my morning coffee on the balcony view:

At one point there were four giraffes under my balcony. We were on the 2nd floor, so close we could hear them chewing.
Ancole cattle on the move, waiting for breakfast. The spotted one was quite vocal.
The giraffes chased the food truck like kids after the ice cream man.
The ostriches were watching the people watching them from our balconies. I think we were there for their entertainment.

Sadly, the lovely drumming and singing ladies and the charming cultural ambassadors have not returned yet. The Dancer was a tad too young on our previous visit to fully appreciate all the educational offerings, and when we stayed there this weekend those elements had not returned. So, we’ll just have to do it again when they do, because it was fabulous.

It was a lovely, relaxing weekend. We arrived on Friday around noon, left our bags with Bell Services and grabbed lunch while we had a short wait until our room was ready, earlier than 3 p.m. check-in. We headed to the pool.

The weather forecast was dire with high rain chances every day of our visit, but as I keep telling people in the Disney groups on FB, the storm forecasts are not set in stone, or even in whipped cream (which melts instantly in this heat). In summer, Florida rain is a crapshoot. The day before, the forecast was dire, like 70% chance of rain every day.

The reality was one actual, brief but heavy thunderstorm on Friday, after we’d had an hour or so at the pool. We retreated to our room at Jambo House to watch animals and eat snacks brought from home and get cleaned up for dinner at Boma.

The Dancer is ten and is therefore an adult diner by Disney standards. Up until a few months ago this would have worried me, because those buffets are damn pricey. Fortunately this summer she eats like a football player and isn’t afraid of unfamiliar foods, so she did enough damage at the buffet to justify the cost. (She had a lot of opinions, but loved the food and wants to do it again.)

Disney food is notoriously expensive. Disney is expensive, and the truly vast array of dining options from elegant sit-down to buffets to fancy quick-service to your basic burger or a slice of pizza is dizzying. Your opinion about this will depend on your foodie-ness, your appetite, your excitement about the menus, whatever. There’s definitely something for everyone.

My daughter and I love Boma so much we did it last Thanksgiving, so we were totally going to do it at least once this trip. We did it twice, once for dinner on Friday, and then again for breakfast the next day, because my daughter is the Reservations Ninja and snagged one at the perfect time. We did a last minute schedule change and it was all perfect.

When I’d originally planned it, I’d scheduled one sit down buffet a day – Boma dinner on our arrival day, Crystal Palace on our Magic Kingdom late afternoon/evening, then Boma breakfast (which I actually think is superior to dinner) on our departure day.

We rearranged at the last minute to do Boma dinner, then Boma breakfast the next morning, then quick serve meals at The Mara and Columbia Harbor House for lunch/dinner on Saturday, because last year we introduced The Dancer to the glories of the lobster roll. We also indulged in the brownie sundaes at Magic Kingdom:

I took this picture about two minutes after getting the sundae. It was already on its way to being soup. Still delicious.

Even with two adult foodies and a ten year old dancer/swimmer who eats like a linebacker, three buffets felt like too much food. Sunday morning we did online ordering at The Mara and took it back to the room to eat while we packed. I was full until dinner at home, and also exhausted. But damn, this was a fab weekend! Expensive, yes, but I’d planned and saved for it, and it was worth every penny to get quality girl time in such a uniquely wonderful place.

I want to go back. I miss my giraffes.