My parents live in Florida and my brother and sister-in-law, Todd and Rozanne, were going to be in Tampa for a weekend to watch “car-racing”:http://www.acurayachtclub.com/index_flash.html so Gay and I decided to take Havana to Florida and spend a week together. We went to Bonita Beach/Bay/Springs (hey locals, pick a name!).

Sunset in Naples, Florida

We left Sunday, April 6th at 5am to catch the 5:30am ferry to get to the airport for the 7:15am flight. Egads. Four hours to Houston and another two hours to Fort Myers, Florida, all by airplane. We drove 20 minutes in terrible humidity to the house and Todd and Rozanne arrived 30 minutes later. Grandma and Grandpa drove four hours from near Orlando on Tuesday.

Note: We had to remove Havana’s shoes when we went through security at the airports. A shoe bomb in her shoes wouldn’t pop a balloon.

We didn’t do much other than hang out in the house by the pool and watch Havana. One night we all drove down to Naples to see the town and have dinner. Florida is amazingly homogenous, but Naples is a little more interesting because they have a cute street with shops and there’s some nice older houses along the beach.

Mom and Dad (a.k.a., Grandma and Grandpa):

Mom & Dad

Todd and Rozanne:

Todd & Rozanne

IMG_2640.JPG

Havana enjoyed the pool. In Hawaii she didn’t know what to think of the pool, “in Mexico”:http://troyandgay.com/blog/2008/02/01/mexico-vacation/ she liked to float but this time she really wanted to go into the pool. If she was put down outside she’d make a bee-line for the pool.

Kiddie Pool

At the local grocery store I was surprised to find some good beers. They had my all-around favorite beer “Fuller’s ESB”:http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/71/219/ and “Dogfish Head”:http://www.dogfish.com/ “60 Minute IPA”:http://ratebeer.com/beer/dogfish-head-60-minute-ipa/7431/ and “90 Minute Imperial IPA”:http://ratebeer.com/beer/dogfish-head-90-minute-imperial-ipa/10569/, both great beers. Good beers are coming to the east coast of the US, there may be hope for humanity yet.

Thursday night we had a chef come to the house and make a four-course dinner for all of us. We all enjoyed that. We had jumbo lump crab cakes with a remoulade to start, a salad with bleu cheese and a balsamic reduction, a choice of Filet Mignon or Ahi tuna for the entree and a Kahlua creme brulee for dessert. I found “Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs”:http://www.schramsberg.com/blanc_de_noirs.html at a local market and I’ve wanted to try one of their champagnes since I read “Napa: The Story of an American Eden”:http://www.amazon.com/Napa-Story-American-James-Conaway/dp/0618257985/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1208207729&sr=8-1 while I was in Mexico, so we had that with our appetizers.

My brother was chatting with the chef and he mentioned that he gets all his recipes from the internet, so my brother mentioned that Gay and I had founded Recipezaar, which is one of his favorites, or so he said. He seemed impressed and wanted to talk to us about the site, but he made the same mistake everyone makes: assuming that we know something about cooking. ;)

Todd and Rozanne left Friday morning to fly home. My parents stayed with us until Sunday morning and they babysat Havana while Gay and I went out to dinner by ourselves on Saturday night.

It was nice to see the family (sans my sister and her family) and have Todd and Rozanne meet Havana, but for the life of me, I can’t understand why people live in Florida, my parents included. It’s sunny but I prefer less monotonous weather and scenery. Florida is devoid of scenery – if you’re lucky, you’ll see a tree, but more often than not, it is newly-planted in a parking lot. Other than the beaches, which are far less dramatic than the beaches on the west coast of the US or the Mediterranean, your eyes are not needed in Florida (and some drivers there prove it). I guess if you long for the Jimmy Buffett or Tommy Bahama fantasy lifestyles, Florida is attractive. Maybe when I’m older I’ll appreciate Florida (or Arizona) more than I do today, but I couldn’t wait to get back to the Seattle area.

We arrived home at 10:30pm Pacific Time last night, which felt like 1:30am to us. Havana only got a couple hours of sleep on the plane so she was very tired and went right to sleep, but she got over her jet lag and was up and perky as usual by 6:30 today.

There’s “more photos at Flickr”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/troyh/sets/72157604533896886/ and, now that Flickr has added video, there’s some videos there too. :)