Now What?

Okay, so. THE CRUISE is done, and it was amazing, and while I’m not a total cruise convert like “OMG ALL OF MY VACATIONS ARE GOING TO BE CRUISES FROM NOW ON!!!” I could be talked into doing another in 2024. Disney is launching yet another big ship next year, and also a second private island destination, and I am IN! Okay, so I guess I’ve already talked myself into it.

Lighthouse Point had me at Joe Rohde. He is a rock star among Disnerds as the Imagineer behind a lot of the coolest stuff. I remember being at Animal Kingdom a few years ago when the whispering began: “Joe Rohde’s here!” He was mobbed by Disnerds in moments, as normal people walked by wondering who the dude with all the earrings was and why people were quivering like happy puppies, basking in his presence. As a Disnerd I’m very excited by the idea that he’s been lured back to Disney to do his magic on another destination island.

But there’s a lot of real life between now and then, and I have a lot of things I want to achieve between now and when I Turn 65 at the end of June. Yes, yes, Medicare supplement companies, I know! I’m getting hounded and emailed about all the insurance I’ll need because Medicare isn’t enough, etc.

In the meantime I have some boring real life goals. I am on a No Unnecessary Shopping plan for the foreseeable future, because yeah, that cruise was a splurge and my emergency account needs replenishment. I want to improve my fitness, my sleep, my finances, my social life, and maybe even get my creative groove back.

Spreadsheets and research have killed my creative groove, and I resent that.

In far more positive news, I got my first performance review in my new position. I don’t like my new position, because it doesn’t feel like a good fit for my skill set and I’m often frustrated, but the money’s far better than I’ve had in a long time, so I’m working on adjusting my attitude.

My review was really positive. My boss is a sweetheart, and she’s someone who has actually done the work, not a financial wonk parachuted in to “get experience” at the expense of the team. She was positive about my strengths and also honest about areas where I need to improve (she didn’t tell me anything I don’t already know).

We do the dreaded “360 review” process where you get anonymous feedback from people you work with, and my feedback was all about how professional I am, what a team player I am, how easy I am to talk to, how I go above and beyond, etc. etc. I got a raise and a bonus, and it was all a really good day. So that went quite a bit to the improving my finances goal (I’m hoping there will be other changes this summer) so now I have to focus on sleep, fitness, social life (what’s that?) and getting my creative groove back.

Anyway, that’s my mission for this trip around the sun: to find my creativity again. I used to bake and knit and crochet and write and make random shit and experiment. That’s something I’d like to get back to take into retirement, one of these days.

OMG, THE CRUISE!!! (brace yourselves, it’s a long one)

We had an amazing time, even though the weather was unseasonably lousy.

Yep, it rained. A LOT.

It started raining hard as we arrived at Port Canaveral, and the shitty weather followed us all the way to the Bahamas. There were breaks in the rain, and the Cruise Director told us that Captain Andy actually changed course to get us out from under storms at times so the on-deck shows could happen, but yeah, the weather was unexpectedly awful. It did not spoil our fun, though we didn’t get much “lazing around the pool” time, there was so much going on onboard we weren’t too disappointed. As I kept telling The Kid, we live in FL and can go to Disney/the beach/get pool time just about whenever we want, but I felt bad for the many people who traveled a long way to get here and probably planned and waited a year or more for this cruise, only to hit unseasonably stormy weather in February.

Our sailing was actually delayed by the weather, but it let up just enough that the “Sail Away” party could happen. Crew members were frantically drying the stage with towels and such beforehand, but the show went on, and that pretty much was the theme for the weekend.

I did not actually cry when the ship’s horn blasted, “When You Wish Upon a Star”, but it was close.

It was so stormy I had trouble sleeping on Friday night, the ship was pitching and rolling and making noises and kept waking me up. It says something about how rough the water was, because the Wish is about the size of an office building.

We did not need a bigger boat.

Other than the weather, which even Disney can’t control, everything else about the cruise was incredible, amazing, delightful, I may run out of superlatives. Experienced cruisers warned that sailing with Disney will spoil you for all other cruise lines, and I can believe it. My daughter’s boyfriend joined us; he had been on other cruises before and he said he was blown away by the Disney experience. The theming, the food, the entertainment, everything was outstanding.

OMG The Entertainment!!! They weren’t kidding when they said the shows are “Broadway-style!” Especially Aladdin – the set design alone would win a Tony on Broadway, and the Genie was hilariously over the top, with so many funny one liners I can’t remember them all. And OMG can those performers SING!

The food was consistently excellent, and our servers (Disney does what they call rotational dining, so you have the same servers at every dinner and at your final morning breakfast) were absolutely delightful. They posed for pictures with The Kid on our last night. (She’s wearing a hat George made for her from a napkin.)

Our main server George was from the Philippines, he did everything from magic tricks to Mickey Mouse impressions, danced and burst into snippets of songs at random moments, he was hilariously happy and high energy without being obnoxious about it. Our jaded tween thought he was a bit corny the first night when he introduced himself and the assistant server at the 1923 restaurant (the least kid-friendly of the three, but only because there are no shows or characters). George proceeded to do magic tricks with packets of sugar, etc., and she was NOT impressed, but by the end of the cruise she told him how much she’d miss him.

Our assistant server Alex was from Honduras, and this is where my daughter’s boyfriend (whom I already liked) showed his excellent people skills. He’s bilingual and greeted Alex in Spanish when he saw his name tag said Honduras. Alex’s face absolutely lit up, and they launched into a serious and manly discussion of the wine list and the fancy cocktail options, etc. in Spanish, and he spoke Spanish with Alex at every meal. (I’m not saying this improved his attentiveness to our table, but it sure didn’t hurt.) Alex was the more reserved of our servers (though everybody was reserved compared to George) but he loosened up and started dancing and being silly too.

I had wondered before the cruise if having my daughter’s boyfriend along would change the vibe or create any awkwardness. I’d only met him once before when he joined us for Thanksgiving in St. Augustine, and I liked him then, but lunch is not a long weekend on a ship. It was a lot of hours of shared activities and shared meals, etc., but I needn’t have wondered how it would be, he’s a laid-back and very sane adult and we all got along great.

Nassau was a bust. We hadn’t booked any excursions, which in hindsight was absolutely brilliant of us because the weather was dark and threatening. We decided to just get off the ship before the next round of rain hit, so The Kid could say she’d been to Nassau. We walked a few blocks but the port area was totally dead. Bars, souvenir shops, more shops, nothing at all going on and nothing was at all tempting. The boyfriend (he really needs a blog alias) was surprised, he’d been there before and he’d never seen it so deserted. Probably due to the weather. The sky was very menacing, so after about an hour we returned to the ship.

No filters. Very menacing.

Dinner that night was the World of Marvel, or whatever the heck it’s called. Judging by the Facebook comments I expected this to be the weakest of the three dining nights, but I really enjoyed it! Ant Man and The Wasp hosted a “demonstration of new technology” via big screens, things of course go comically awry, it ends with a big superhero battle on the deck of the Wish with appearances by other Avengers, and who doesn’t love Paul Rudd? The show was very cute, and the food was, again, really delicious.

The rain stopped (or more likely, Captain Andy sailed us out from under it) for the pirate party. The 4 day cruises have a themed pirate dinner and people dress up as pirates; we were on the 3 day so dinner was “normal” (if dining with the Avengers is normal) but there was a late night pirate dance party, and more booze, and fireworks. It was crazy fun.

Disney’s private island is wonderful!

Sunday started gloomy, but the sun did come out for us to enjoy Castaway Cay. There was snorkeling and water slides and very large margaritas, and the only rain fell while we were eating lunch under a covered pavilion. It was a lovely day, and we were all very impressed with the island. There are tons of chairs and umbrellas, lots of lifeguards on duty, friendly staff, spotless restrooms, delicious food (all included).

And then it was our last night, and dinner at Arendelle, with a cute show celebrating Queen Anna and Kristoff’s engagement. (Photos above with our wait staff are from Arendelle.) Excellent food yet again, though the Frozen Fractals cocktail looked better than it tasted, IMHO.

The camera didn’t really capture the sparkles. Very pretty and not terrible, but not the best thing ever.

And so the Big Cruise Weekend is over. I’ve really only hit the highlights here and skipped things like The Kid doing the Incredibles obstacle course, the endless soft serve ice cream, and how many flights of stairs we traveled in 3 days. I was as blown away by the quality of everything about the Wish as everyone said. I was particularly impressed with the talent of the musicians and singers and dancers in every show; the performers wear many hats, and they’re not kidding when they say the shows are Broadway quality. The food and booze and staterooms and everything was really well done. Even with the unexpectedly shitty weather, we were all dazzled and sad to leave on Monday morning. Even leaving the ship was handled with Disney efficiency and polish, we ate our final breakfast in Arendelle, said our sad farewells to George and Alex, and were off the ship and through customs and on the road home before 8:30 a.m.

Gidget cried for five minutes when I got home.

And now I’m back at work. Shit.

Started the Week Exhausted, BUT I’M ON VACATION NOW!

So, yeah, I’d had plans for last weekend, including Epcot’s Festival of the Arts, because I really want another print from my favorite artist. But…

So, the family drama is something that doesn’t really involve me and my daughter doesn’t care, so I don’t see why I can’t say what it is. My daughter’s ex is going away for 30 days to a place that is not jail, and I assume his mommy is paying, but whatever. I hope he learns to grow up there, he’s nearly 50. (Expectations are low.) He let my daughter know about this at 6 p.m. on Friday, when he was supposed to be picking The Kid up for his week of shared custody.

To be clear, we are entirely in favor of his 30 day stay at “camp” because maybe it will take, and that would be good, but he announced this to her when he was supposed to show up to collect his Kid. My daughter and her boyfriend had weekend plans, including tickets, reservations, etc.

So my daughter called me cursing a blue streak and asked if The Kid could spend the weekend, because her boyfriend had planned this and had invested money in tickets and had a room and it was the last minute and OMG!!! I had plans, but mine were free and Epcot isn’t going anywhere, so yeah, sure.

The Kid and I decided to go shopping for fun stuff for the cruise. And here is where living in FL is even weirder than you’d thought: national stores stock like we are Up North.

We are not rich, so we can’t hit a fancy department store for Cruise Wear. The Kid just needs new shorts, because she’s now 5’3+” and is filling out into juniors clothes, not little girl clothes, and while t-shirts are forgiving, shorts are not quite so. All those years of dance have given her enviable butt muscles, and I really don’t want her getting ogled or worse at 11. She needs non-booty shorts, STAT.

So, we made it our mission to go get her more shorts. We drove the county. Super Target, Old Navy, H&M, we struck out at all of them. If we wanted jeans and hoodies and fleecy things, they had us covered. (heh-heh) It’ll be 85 tomorrow, AND we are going to the Bahamas. This is Florida. Target thinks we need sweatshirts. (Target did have bathing suits and teeny-tiny shorts to wear over them, IOW, more booty shorts.) Old Navy thinks we needs sweatshirts and jeans.

So, we came home with no fun new stuff for the cruise. (I had a moment of “DUH!!” the next morning when I realized where we need to go: Bealls!

I am not a big Bealls fan, but it IS a Florida based chain and you can get shorts in Junior sizes for cheap pretty much year round, and we will hit it after school tomorrow, because Grandma’s on vacation now. My first full week off in 5 years, and my first paid week off in 10 years.

I did buy a new inflatable mattress at Target for her sleepover, because my old one went visiting years ago and never came home. Inflatable mattresses have gone upscale since I last bought one! The new one is an 18-in tall queen size bed for $70, with an internal pump. Quite posh and comfortable, and I swear I paid over $50 for the last one, which was half as deep. We both wished we could take it on the cruise, but she’ll just have to flail around on the sleeper sofa in our cabin.

I will not share a bed with The Kid. Her BEST FRIEND knows better, when Kid sleeps over they break out the trundle bed, because she’s a violent sleeper. I’ve already told her she’s getting the sleeper sofa in our stateroom, because I’m paying and I plan to sleep. That is non-negotiable, because did I mention that this is my first real vacation in FIVE years?

Anyway, I’m actually on vacation, and it feel surreal.

I’m Fine. It’s Fine. We’re All Fine. Really.

Life is going on, but the most interesting stuff is not shareable on the innerwebs, out of respect for the privacy of others. Nothing awful, just drama.

Work remains…work. It’s fine. I’m fine. Really.

The person they “hired” (quotes because it’s a contractor position) for my former job after months of searching, quit last week. She lasted…maybe three or four months?

I called my buddy in my old department who had trained me and also was training her, and he said she was very frustrated because she wasn’t catching on to the job. (I was asked to review her resume and told the manager that her background wasn’t a good fit. He brought her on anyway.) My buddy begged me to come back – he was joking because he knows I need the money and benefits from my new job. I said get the boss to make it an employee position and I’ll be there in a hot minute.

I literally cannot afford to be a contractor again, I’m scrambling to save for retirement as it is. Next week I will be taking my first real vacation and first week off in nearly five years. I had to plan and budget to take an unpaid week off five years ago, because I had no PTO after years in my contract position. It has been that long. I am grateful for the money and the benefits and adore my manager who hired me, and I can’t afford to go back to contract work even though I’m far better suited for that job than this one.

Everybody who understands my former job knows it needs to be an employee position for someone with enough time with the company AND enough experience dealing with local governments and state offices and regulatory stuff to have an understanding of how shit works. Upper management is not part of “everybody who understands” and my former boss also knows it but has been unable to break through on that.

This is a classic Corporate America situation, where the people on the rise to upper management move through lateral layers of the company on the way up the ladder, so you’ll have, say, a finance person move into a job managing nuts and bolts stuff they honestly don’t understand, and until something majorly bad goes off the rails, nothing’s going to change.

Counting down to retirement. Seriously. I’ve been dealing with this shit for 40 years, isn’t that enough?

So, in other news, I’m less than six months away from Medicare! I’m getting mailers, calls, texts, selling me all the insurance I’ll need because I’ll be on Medicare. Yes, you will have Medicare, but you’ll also need this and this, and oh, do you need glasses? There’s a separate plan for that. This country is just so fucked up, I can hardly bear to think about it.

One of the good things about my current gig is we have a company (Starts with an F and ends with a Y) that manages retirement plans, etc. and they help with Medicare shit too. I’ll call them. I honestly don’t know how the millions of Americans who don’t have access to advice and get their news from Fox and their brother-in-law survive this shit. The reality is, many of them don’t.

Anyway, I’m taking my first paid week off in a DECADE next week, and I’m going to the Bahamas, baby! First ever cruise, first time to the Bahamas, waaay overdue.

Cruise Check-in Accomplished.

The cruise plans have relaxed quite a bit since my original hysteria about “OMG!! WE HAVE TO PLAN!!”

I love planning, God knows. My life revolves around checklists and calendars, and this is our (not all of us, my daughter’s S.O. has been on a couple in the past) first-ever cruise, and first time cruise overwhelm is real. Add my anxiety and yeah, I started out in a panic, but I’ve talked myself down, thanks to some very reassuring people in cruise Facebook groups. (I know, right?)

We are going to pack our casual clothes and bathing suits and hats and sunscreen, because NONE of the other stuff people obsess over is necessary.

Today I read a FB post about “So what are your ideas for cute boarding outfits?” And I went, “Wait now!? Boarding outfits?? WTActualF is this madness?”

It’s not that crazy, it’s family groups that want to have matching shit. We are not those people either.

So, yeah. There’s a Cruise Culture (I didn’t call it a cult, that would be mean and unfair) that does weird charmingly eccentric (I will not call it cult-like) stuff.

I’ve discussed the Fish Extender already, that’s a nope. I did the quick mental math and time investment about it and decided it would be cheaper and MUCH easier to just hand The Kid $100 and let her go nuts on souvenirs.

Then there’s the ducks. This is not a Disney thing, it’s a cruise thing. Apparently it’s thing to buy and hide cruise-themed rubber duckies around the ship for other people to find. I think we will party poop on that too, unless my daughter is inspired to do it (highly unlikely, she’s my daughter). It’s just a 3 day vacation, and I don’t want to work on it.

As much as I am looking forward to this trip, and I REALLY am, I have to say that hardcore cruise culture is just as fucking weird as I’ve always thought. But it’s all optional and there will be many boring normies like us who are there for the stuff we paid for and aren’t interested in spending time and energy on other nonsense.

I left the shore day in Nassau up to my daughter and her guy, and they have concluded that we’ll go ashore and walk around so The Kid can say she’s seen Nassau, then get back on the ship and do ship stuff. I heartily endorse this plan. We will be doing the full Castaway Cay day, they want to snorkel and bike and float and eat BBQ and just relax.

I have a feeling 3 days will not be enough.

And Then, She Lapsed into Silence. Again.

So, let’s do a high speed catch-up.

Work remains “eh”, but the paycheck remains very welcome.

We are doing Winter in Central Florida for another three days this weekend, because of course it’s a holiday weekend. Just like Christmas, we will be cold to very cold until Tuesday, when it will warm up again and hit 80 on Thursday. We won’t be getting into the 20s again, but will flirt with freezing tomorrow night. The plants that normally stay on the balcony are either inside, if they’re small, or moved back against the woefully un-insulated sliding doors on the balcony. I had plans to start herbs on the balcony this weekend, but I think I’ll get them and pot them on Monday, but wait until we’re back in the 50s at night before putting them out.

And yes, I have a three day weekend, and I am still adjusting to having PTO after what, a decade or so without? I put in for a week off around the three day cruise, so I’m not in a tizzy getting ready and can do laundry and re-stock the fridge when I get home (and spend an afternoon on the couch apologizing to Gidget). I haven’t had a paid week off since I can’t remember when. It’s why I’m okay with the “eh” of the job.

Okay, so I know you want a political rant, don’t you? Honestly, I’m all ranted out. I’m just going to sit back and put my feet up and watch the Republican party show their ass to the world for the next two years. We have Uncle Joe and the Senate majority to stop any stupid shit they try to do, and they have…some blonde freshman Congresswoman who actually thinks that whatever the fuck she voted for the other day “stopped the hiring of 87,000 new IRS agents!” Squeals of joy!! She did it! Seriously, I stumbled across her official Twitter and rolled my eyes so hard I sprained something.

No you twit, you fucking didn’t. That’s a done deal, and it’s not and never was the hiring of “87,000 new IRS agents!” It’s the budget for IRS hiring over TEN years, because a lot of people will be retiring over the next decade, and it’s for IT people and all sorts of staff who are not agents, including the poor souls who have to answer the phone when that ditsy dipshit calls to bitch about taxes. People sent her to Congress. The mind reels.

And George Santos is a spectacular liar, also apparently a criminal who has done a lot of crimeing, and an endless source of Internet memes, but their absolute joke of a Speaker will do nothing because his majority is so slim he can’t afford to lose even that asshole. McCarthy will protect that dirtbag until he’s hauled out in handcuffs, which might actually happen before summer, at the rate his crimes are unfolding.

Seriously, we could laugh at this Congress, but the real issue is that PEOPLE VOTED FOR THIS. Again, it’s not “Half the country,” it’s about 1/3, but that’s still an awful lot of awful. Thanks to Republican Voters we are in for two years of dysfunction, but Thank GOD we have the Senate and Biden’s decades of experience at the helm. The House will be all poo-flinging and shrieking until 2024. I’m rooting for fisticuffs on the R side of the House. I think we’ll see it.

More updates over this THREE DAY WEEKEND, I promise.

2022: Don’t Let the Door Hit You.

Bye now! You take care, okay?? You weren’t nearly as obnoxious as your two predecessors, but our stress levels did not drop much. At least mine didn’t.

Now let’s all be vewy, vewy quiet, and don’t make any big claims about 2023. Haven’t we all learned by now that we have no idea what the Universe really has in store for us?

I am not making any resolutions this year, but I do have plans. I plan to continue to improve my exercise and eating habits, and keep working on getting more sleep and drinking less wine. Meditation, yoga, eat more fruit. I know exactly what to do, I just need to DO IT.

I’ll be 65 in June. Everybody in my family retired at 65 or earlier, but thanks to some life decisions decades ago that seemed smart at the time, followed by Republican administrations crashing the economy twice in my adult working life, I will not be retiring at 65, nor will I be really “retiring” when I do. I’ll still have to work at something, but not what I’m doing now. In the meantime, I will focus on my finances and fitness and try to have some FUN, goddammit!

The cruise is an act of sheer fiscal irresponsibility, and desperately needed. Again, it’s only a long weekend, not two weeks in the Mediterranean, but I’ve been so vacation-deprived for the last decade, I’m irrationally excited.

This poor blog has been adrift for a while, without a focus. I’m thinking that maybe the focus should be on the realities of being single and turning 65 and figuring out the future. Not an advice blog, because I’m the last person to give advice. My life started out with a planned trajectory and absolutely NOTHING HAPPENED AS PLANNED, and it honestly was through no fault of my own (other than what seemed like perfectly good choices in, oh, the 80s) because that’s how life happens.

So, interspersed with my occasional rants and Disnerding, I’m going to try sharing things that I’m dealing with, figuring out, or just discovered even though it’s been a thing for years now.

The MIND diet, anyone? I stumbled across that this week, and realized it is perfect for me, because it’s how I already eat when I’m eating right. (My issues with portion control are another matter entirely.) I don’t need to sign up for a program, I need to tweak what I already do: just eat less, exercise more than once in a while, and cut back on the snacking and wine.

Oh, I nearly forgot to mention the book that made me face reality: Ditch the Diet

Also available as a hilariously profane kick in the ass audiobook read by the author: Healthy as F*ck. I’m thinking you can guess which version I chose and thoroughly enjoyed. I was nodding along like a church lady at a sermon, and felt called out on nearly every page. And the thing that kills me is: I KNOW THIS SHIT!! I know every word she says is true and real and honest and DO-ABLE!

(Insert notification that I’m an Amazon Associate and if you purchase something through one of my links I’ll get a small commission at no cost to you, which will also shock the hell out of Amazon, because I’m not organized enough to do that often.)

So, yeah, if I’m going to keep This Olde Blogge alive in 2023, It needs a purpose. What say you, my few and loyal readers? Does facing the reality of getting those mailers about Medicare plans while you just want to ride roller coasters and have no clue about your future sound like a blog topic?

Merry Christmas! Thank God It’s Over!

Honestly, I’m not a Christmas Hater, but I do feel like there’s so much lead up to something that is over in hours. I’ll start un-decorating tomorrow.

So, how did the Big Gift Reveal go?

It went very well.

She really was surprised. I’m surprised we kept the secret that long.

So, am I the only person really relieved that this annual event is over? I’m just not a Christmas-y person, I enjoy the small fun moments but I can’t get all in. I accept that. I will gradually start taking Christmas down starting tomorrow, and by January 1, it will be gone.

The Kid is thrilled about the cruise, but has no idea what to expect. I’m glad about that, her expectations are “ooh, that looks cool!” and “Castaway Cay is gorgeous!” And basically that’s where I am too. We will all just spend a fun and expensive weekend doing something new. Best Christmas Ever!

Blog Fail.

This is the Abandoned Blog of Apologies. I’m so bad at this lately.


We have so far managed to keep the Big Christmas Secret a secret from The Kid. I bought her a very nice new rolling suitcase (it was on sale on Black Friday) as her under the tree gift, and found an Etsy seller that does printable “boarding passes” for Disney cruises, and I will print and stash one in the bag. I will be very, very glad when this is no longer a secret and we can share the excitement together. We thought about bringing her in on it before Christmas, but since this is so expensive all she’s getting from Grandma is a suitcase and sunscreen and a hat, we feel a big reveal is the way to go.

I swear I have so much emotional energy invested in this three day cruise, it’s insane. It has already expanded to add my daughter’s significant other. They asked if he could tag along, I said sure, and they’ll be in the stateroom next door. I’m delighted because it will lessen the “three females getting showered and dressed” drama by one female. I already got a Christmas present because he’s paying for their stateroom, and I’m happy to have him “tag along,” because I really do like him. He’s sweet, smart, laid back, no drama. I’ve put them in charge of planning shore stuff, which may be a problem because he’s laid back (“Whatever you want to do,”) and she’s indecisive AF. The Kid may make the final call on what we do in Nassau. This is NOT my problem. Seriously, I’d be content to never leave the ship, though I feel like we owe it to The Kid to let her set foot on land that isn’t in the US.

Facebook actually was useful here. (Yes, I know, I can’t believe it either!!) There are groups for Disney Cruises, ship specific, and while the first one I joined was weird and a bit cult-like (“fish extenders” anyone?) I found one that had useful nuts and bolts information about port arrival times, tipping, etc., and it was very reassuring. It lowered my stress level dramatically.

The best piece of advice was “don’t over schedule.” We have one tentative shore excursion my daughter picked in Nassau, if we do it, fine, if we don’t, that’s fine too. Same with Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island. Just go hang out, you don’t have to book anything unless it looks really appealing. I’m fine with that.

I’ve laid down the rules that I am NOT responsible for her kid, other than sharing a stateroom. And the Kid will be informed that if she kicks the shit out of me on Friday night she’ll be on the sleeper sofa for the next two nights, period. Grandma didn’t shell out these bucks to cling to the edge of the very lovely bed while she dances in her sleep.

This is going to be a blast.

Post Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was FUN for change, instead of a ton of work. I made my favorite thing ever: Reservations. O.C. White’s, a charming and laid back restaurant in one of my favorite places on earth, St. Augustine, was doing a Thanksgiving menu. So we (me, my daughter, and The Kid) drove north to dine, hang out, explore. We were joined by my daughter’s new boyfriend, who is such a trouper he drove up from Orlando separately to lunch with us, then drove back to do an obligatory big family thing with his extended family. I like him.

So, anyway, we had a lovely afternoon introducing The Kid to St. Augustine for the first time again. She hadn’t been there since she was a preschooler. It’s a totally different experience exploring with a really smart tween – she was into the old cemeteries and the history and of course the fort. The Castillo de San Marcos interior was closed, as it’s a federal park and it was a federal holiday, but that didn’t stop hundreds of people from exploring the exterior, including the ancient coquina walls.

Kid: “Can I climb up there?”

Me and her mom, in unison: “NO!”

Kid: “But other people are doing it!”

Us: “Only because the park rangers have the day off.”


“NO!!! Just because idiots are risking their necks doesn’t make it okay!”

It was like that. She needs to go back so park rangers can yell at her too. Then maybe she’ll believe us.

We spent a couple of hours just walking off our meal. After the fort we visited the Huguenot cemetery , which was also closed, but we did the history tour thing reading all the signs, and it was fascinating. We saw a tiny headstone for a child who died at 5.

We walked the streets of Old St. Augustine, and to our delight, the old schoolhouse was open! This is one of those hidden gem history experiences, admission is less than $7 per person, and there’s an animatronic story, tons of artifacts, it’s really fascinating. The Kid got to ring the old school bell, and read all of the history. It’s the ORIGINAL BUILDING, people! It’s old AF!

Then it stared to “mist,” and the mist became light rain, and we decided not to stick around for the holiday lights, because yeah, it was not just a mist. But all in all it was a lovely day, and I wish St. Aug was an hour away instead of two. It is one of those places I’d love to live, if I had the money. I do not.