Friday, August 31, 2012

Ping Pong Anyone?

I want one of these!  We had some great fun playing this 4 person ping pong game.  You really had to be on your toes because that little ball might pounce in your court at any time.  What is better than ping pong on the beach. . . . or maybe that was volleyball? 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Wishing Wall

While on vacation, we ate at a place called The Hangout.  They had a Wishing Wall where one could write their wish on a piece of paper, roll it up and stick it in a small hole in the wall.  If you could write one wish on a page, what would it be?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Riding the Waves!

One of the pleasures of spending a week at the beach was playing in the sand and "riding the waves" in the ocean.  Just 10 days ago we were on the beach in Gulf Coast, Alabama.  Tonight we watched news coverage from that area and the waves were unbelievable high.  Winds were up to 60 mph and the beaches were literally blowing away.  I hope Hurricane Isaac spares lives and property in such a nice area of our country. 

The Great News today is that Randy finally got to come home.  He is still not up to par, but I hope being at home will expediate the process. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Pirate's Life For Me!

While in Gulf Shores, we attended a Breakfast with Pirates and Princesses at The Hangout.  It was a fun event featuring a treasure  hunt and a little skit by, of course, a Pirate and Princess.  They visited each table and interacted with the kids, who were very impressed.  Outside the restaurant was a big sand area with a tunnel and some other beach type games.  I am not sure we would want to go to this event again, but it was great to do at least once! 

Update:  Randy seems to be getting an appetite back, but is still in a lot of pain.  A side effect of having salmonella can sometimes be joint pain and arthiritis.  It is hard to narrow it down to one cause right now.  They will do more tests tomorrow and hopefully know some more answers.  Keep praying for a speedy recovery. . . thank you!

Vacation vs Hospital

You know, when you think about it, being in the hospital is really not all that different from being on vacation.  Really!  I bet you just never thought about it.
Let me list the similarities:
1.  You are away from home.
2.  You get to have meals served to  you.
3.  Someone cleans your room and launders your sheets.
4.  Room service is just a "call button" away (use your imagination on this one, nurse's response time is about like hotel's front desk response time).
5.  The days stretch in front of you with no beginning or end time.
6.  Family and friends may be part of your unplanned days.
7.  New people (strangers) are encountered during the days and nights.
8.  Sleep can be difficult in a new environment.
9.  There is a much more relaxed dress code, you know, no shoes, no shirt, no problem.
10.  You spend much more money than you hoped or planned!!!

We are now in day 5 of Randy's hospital stay, and I for one, am ready for this "vacation" to be over.  No chance of him going home today, so I am hoping for tomorrow, but even though he is feeling somewhat better, the stomach problems remain.  We are both trying to find some humor in the situation, as we have with all the major road bumps in our life.  I couldn't help but contrast and compare what we were doing a short two weeks ago with what we are doing now.  Sad to say, it is fairly apparant that the vacation caused the hospital stay (see previous post regarding salmonella).  Please keep us in your thougths and prayers.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

Something is Bugging Him!

Somewhere between Missouri and Gulf Shores, Alabama, Randy picked up a nasty little bug called Salmonella.  He began complaining, mid vacation, about pains in his stomach.  He would try to eat, but eating made his stomach more upset.  On the way home, he began having headaches.  We got home on Sunday evening, and by Monday he was chilling and had other symptoms, which I won't go into here.  Just take my word for it, it wasn't pretty!  By Wednesday he ended up in the hospital via the Emergency Room.  He hopes to be released by this coming Monday.  Being in the hospital is never fun, but it is somehow insulting and shocking to transition from vacation to being admitted to the hospital.  Until this afternoon, the
doctors couldn't figure out exactly what was causing the illness.  One of the tests results came back today, positive for salmonella, so at least now the doctors know what they are dealing with.  
I took this photo of Randy at a great little tourist place in Gulf Shores called LuLu's.  It is owned by Jimmy Buffet's sister and has a lot of fun things to do within the restaurant.  Randy ordered this bizarre blue drink, but didn't finish it because it was too "sweet". 
I will post updates on the "patient", and would love it if you could keep him in your thoughts and prayers.  Thank you!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Service with a smile!

 While on vacation, we had a chance to really experience "Southern Hospitality".  And we made a startling discovery. . . . There is good and bad service in the South as there is in every part of the country.  We had some of the best service in hotels and eateries we have ever experienced and some of the worse.  The first night on the road we stopped at a nice motel, had great service and a wonderful room until we spotted this little "pink lizzard" in our bathroom.  The hotel clerk joked with Randy when he called the front desk and said "I was just wondering if you charged extra for lizzards in your room".  She replied "no, we include them free of charge".  And then she offered to send someone up to the room to "wrangle your lizzard".  Well, of course he couldn't resist that line and promptly told here that was the best offer he had all day, but no thanks he was married!  She turned what could have been a bad situation into a memorable moment.
We enjoyed several meals at Cracker Barrels.  This restaurant offers great prices, food and service.  They are almost always a sure bet for travelers. When we got to Gulf Shores, we ate at a local touristy place one night.  The food was marginal (undercooked shrimp) and our waitress was about as unfriendly as they come.   She messed up several of our orders, poured water in a glass of Sprite and became confrontational when we complained.  At a mandatory 18% tip for large parties (10 of us), she had a guaranteed tip of close to $40.  That meal literally left a bad taste in our mouths.  I am happy to say that most places we were treated very well, but it is always the negatives that stand out!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

 On the way South, we thought we might check out a locally famous eatery featured in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  Jessica has an app that showcased the restaurants featured from the show, and we selected Tom's BBQ in Memphis to try.  I was hoping for more of a "diner" and less of a "dive", but alas it wasn't.  Toms, run by Adam, was a hole in the wall in a run down part of Memphis.  We hit it about closing time, and had to step around someone mopping up the floors.  The employees were friendly and helpful and we ordered the rib tips, which are their specialty.  I am not particular about BBQ.  If it is tender, and a bit tastie, it is great by me.  The men in the group gave it two thumbs up, so overall, it was a success.  The owner sent us a complimentary plate of pulled pork and bologna, which we were too full to eat, but it was a nice gesture.  As we left, Adam insisted that we come behind the counter for a picture with him.  The experience was unique and fun.  I can now say that I have been to a "triple D" restaurant.  And that is worth a lot!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I'm Back (Reluctantly!)

In case you have missed me, I will let you know that I went South!  12 days ago my brother in law, Mike, had surgery to remove a part of his colon.  Randy and I went to be with my sister during the surgery.  Debbie and Mike live in Joplin, which is about 300 miles south of where I live.  The great news is that the pathology report came back with positive results, so no follow up treatment will be needed.
The day following the surgery, Jessica and Scott met us in Springfield and we headed south to Gulf Shores, Alabama.  After a few road adventures, which I will blog about in the future, we arrived at the beach house we rented with my sister in law and brother in law (from California).  Josh and Amanda, Maddison and Mason flew down too.  All in all there were 10 of us in this house RIGHT ON THE BEACH!  We spent 7 lovely days swimming, playing on the beach, shopping, eating, playing games, napping (I am not afraid to admit that I LOVED my afternoon naps) and having family bonding time. 
My new ambition in life is to be a beach bum (notice the photo above, which was taken at LuLu's Restaurant).  How do I manage this goal?  I have no idea, but I am thinking on it.
I will be blogging about and adding photos of the trip soon, but I wanted to post something so my tiny cluster of readers will know what I have been up to.  All in all we traveled just shy of 2500 miles, spent 4 nights in a hotel, one at my sisters, and 7 days in the beach house. 
On a little side note, when we got home we had a porch full of dead flowers, a yard full of debris from our mad puppy (she shredded my door mat, tore up our fairly new landscaping, and somehow ate our American flag, which must have blow down in a storm).  But other than that, it was great getting home.  I will blog more soon!