Saturday, November 25, 2017

Attitude of gratitude

November 25, 2017—An attitude of gratitude. That’s what we had (and continue to have) for the Thanksgiving holiday. We give thanks for...

Cell-phone GPS. It was a long drive down to Fort Lauderdale from Jacksonville on Tuesday, but the reward for the drive was a four-day visit with my sister Judy, her husband Paul, my niece Pam, and her husband Woody, at Pam’s house. We would driveway camp at the house, use the shower, and sleep in our own bed.

I’ll admit our trip down to Fort Lauderdale started with a bit of frustration. Jim updated our Garmin GPS maps a few days ago. As we were preparing to leave Tuesday morning, he plugged the device in and tried to enter our destination, an error message appeared: “No maps available.”  We went back into the house, fired up Jim’s computer, and tried downloading the maps again. No luck. Apparently the hard drive in the device had corrupted.

We did some quick shopping. Best Buy had the GPS device we wanted, on sale for $89.99. However, the local store wasn’t open yet and we were ready to leave. We decided to stop in Daytona and purchase it there.

When we arrived in Daytona, we found the Garmin in the store—priced at $149.99! An online search at the store came up with the same price. What the…??? No one in the store could explain the price discrepancy. We decided to use our phone GPS to find Pam’s house and buy a GPS later.
On Wednesday, Jim and I went in search of a Best Buy to purchase another GPS. We settled on a TomTom, but returned it later. TomTom is no substitute for “Garmina,” the name we affectionately gave our Garmin GPS.

On Black Friday we solved the riddle of Best Buy’s short-lived sale price on the Garmin we wanted to buy. Apparently someone had posted the sale price prematurely on Tuesday, and took it down as soon as the error was discovered. On Friday we bought the device online and it will be delivered to our house by this weekend. In the meantime, we will rely on our cell phones for directions.

Non-traditional Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is usually celebrated with turkey and all the fixings. Ours was a nontraditional dinner, with Judy preparing beef and vegetable skewers and three different types of fish. I was able to contribute cole slaw, chaya greens and beans, and sweet potato pie (made from our home-grown sweet potatoes).

The best part of dinner, of course, was family. So good to be with family during this holiday, a rare treat for Jim and me.

Woody, Paul, Jim

Pam, Judy, Linda

Feeding the fish. Pam’s house is only one block from the ocean, so Jim and I tried our luck at surf fishing. The fish teased us and we went home with an empty fish bucket, but that did not dampen our enjoyment. Rather, it heightened it: The next day we treated ourselves to a half-day of fishing on a head boat.

The head-boat crew supplies everything—rods, bait, licenses (if needed) and even fish cleaning. 
Waiting to go on the fishing boat

Jim caught four fish, with only one keeper, a grunt. The hogfish he snagged was a beauty, but we were told it was out of season in these waters, so after a photo, it went back into the ocean. The grouper he caught was also a beauty, but unfortunately, two inches too short.  It was tossed back to grow up a bit more.
Jim and his hogfish. 

Jim, on my left, caught fish. The lady on my right caught fish. Me? Nada. Am I a jinx or have I not yet mastered fishing skills? I hope it is the latter.

The little grunt fish that was a keeper offered only a couple bites when filleted; however, we were able to take home the fillets of several other fish, from people who did not want to keep them. (Most tourists don’t have the ability to cook their catch or to freeze it and take it back up north, but we do.)

Watching floating cities. Pam’s house is not only near the ocean, it is also in a neighborhood abuts Port Everglades, where the ships dock. We saw several cargo and oiler ships make port. Most fascinating, however, were the cruise ships. These floating cities seemed to be in Pam’s backyard. As the ships go out of port, their temporary residents stand on deck and wave to all ship watchers. Quite exciting! Cruising does not appeal to me, but I admit the ships are extraordinary to see. (I still think they look like they are top-heavy and will turn over in a gust of wind.)

As seen from Pam's house
Continuing our vacation. Before accepting Pam’s invitation to spend Thanksgiving in Fort Lauderdale, we had already made reservations to camp at T.H. Stone Memorial State Park in Port St. Joe, up in the panhandle of Florida. No matter which way you travel, it is a two-day trip from Lauderdale, almost as far away as you can go and still be in Florida, so we decided to head home and sleep in the comfort of our brick-and-mortar home and drive to the park on Sunday to continue our vacation.

Until later,

Your Reluctant RoVer,A

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