Let the Summer Travel Begin!!

West Palm Beach, Florida

Memorial Day Weekend

I tend to break out my trips on a daily basis. Mostly so I can relive the trip day by day. I tried to think about how I would do this for West Palm Beach, but I came to the realization that this daily story wasn't going to work real well. The trip to visit Liz was so short and so compact that it wouldn't have made much sense. Considering this trip was the start to Summer fun and was just a short taste of West Palm, I thought I'd just condense everything into one post. Consider this the Amuse Bouche of the Summer travel. Why yes, it does all go back to food...

Friday afternoon, I finally left the office. The office had a grip on me for the last several months. I fully accepted this fact because the work had to be done. But in the last few weeks, I was getting twitchy. I needed to get on a plane and go somewhere. The fact that I hadn't been on a plane in a while showed...while packing the night before. I had small freak outs over what I was packing. Granted, I was bringing dresses and skirts, clothing WAY outside my comfort zone, but still...I was worrying more than normal. Finally, I came to my senses. I wasn't flying to a foreign land. I was going to Florida. Target lives in Florida. I knew I could buy anything I needed if I forgot something. I did forget a few things (makeup brush - again). And after an hour of searching, I gave up on the swimsuit coverup. Eventually (on Saturday afternoon), I remembered what I did with the coverup. But by then it was too late.

We had a half day on Friday. The office emptied out at noon, but I stuck around for a while longer. There was cleanup that could be done with the piles on my desk, plus my phone basically stopped ringing. But soon enough, it was time for me to hit the road. I made it to the Blue Line and in an hour, I was at O'Hare.

As I walked to the gate, I noticed the wine bar was open. I was early, the wine bar seemed inviting. One hour (and two glasses of wine - should have only had one) later, it was time to board the plane. The flight was fantastically uneventful (my favorite type of flight) and we made it to Florida without any incident.

Liz was there to meet me at the airport. And so was Maddie the puppy. We hugged, gave Maddie some loving and headed back towards Liz's house. Maddie sat on my lap the whole trip home. Liz said "she never does this with anyone else." I'm going to believe her statement. I don't care if she's lying to me.

We had talked a few weeks ago about going to Miami for the weekend. Ultimately, we decided that the weekend in Miami wasn't necessary. It would have been a little too frenetic for a two day stay. And neither of us wanted to go crazy. We both needed a low-key trip. We needed a reason to sit by the pool without a care in the world. It ended up being perfect.

Saturday morning, we leisurely woke up and got ready for a pool day. After a quick stop at Liz's parent's house (where I got to see the plans for what will be a gorgeous mountain house), we made it to the BallenIsles Country Club and their pool. I want to live there. Not in the housing complex or the country club, but in the pool. I could put a cot near the spa pool. No one would even know I was there. Well, they probably would know...

I had been to the club before. Two years ago, I came down to visit Liz and we spent a day at the pool. This is a world which is totally foreign to me. The country club seems like a lovely place, but it's something that I can't even comprehend. There's the golf part. There's the tennis part (where apparently Venus and Serena Williams train). There's the pool part. And the food and the exercise part. All for a fee. It was all so beautiful. I'm going to go back to the pool in my complex and feel very disappointed with what I have. Then again, we can't grow palm trees in the suburbs. And I'm lucky to have a pool at all...

I could look at this view all day...

The first part of the morning was spent sitting by the pool. Then, we spent time in the pool. After a while, back to sitting by the pool. Liz's friend Noemi joined us after a while and we had lunch, then back to the pool again. I got to wear my cute new swimsuit and at the end of the day, didn't burn at all. Well, I had a few splotches. It isn't a summer day (or pool day) without me getting a weird splotchy burn.

Saturday night, Liz invited several ladies over for pre-dinner drinks. Liz kept asking if I was ok that she invited people out for dinner with us. Why wouldn't I?? I didn't worry from the start and I'm so glad everyone was able to come. We ended up with seven women drinking wine and gabbing before going to the Dive Bar for dinner. It was great fun. There were women from all over the place. And the conversations were as insane as someone would expect when seven women got together. We covered topics from work and travel to men. Eventually, the phrase "I would do anything for love, but I won't do that" was used. And we all learned what "that" really was :)

Post-dinner, we stopped at an outdoor bar. Not my scene, but it was nice to be outside for a while. Soon enough, the "old ladies" we're ready to go (Me!! I'm an old lady!!) and we all went out separate ways. It was a late night, but truly lovely.

Sunday morning, we decided to go to brunch. Liz made the executive decision to take me to the Paradise Cafe, which was by the water. She decided wee should go there because of the coffee, which she barely touched. They served free donuts!! Score!! I did make an unfortunate brunch choice. Well...it was still good, but it was a bad choice. I kept looking at the French toast and pancakes and such, but I had eaten the donut and was drinking my highly sugary tea, so I thought something savory would be better. I went with a Mexican egg sandwich. It mentioned chorizo, but didn't mention the beans and jalapeños. I don't like beans or jalapeños. And the beans were everywhere. There was no way to eat around theme. I didn't want to send it back (as Liz suggested), cause this was my choice. It was a good sandwich, but I would have enjoyed something else much better.

We took a short walk to the water, then we drove to the ocean. Here's what I always forget...sand is HOT. I took my sandals off to walk in the sand. By the time we got to the water, I didn't think I had any skin left on my feet. I expected to put my feet in the water, then lift them out to see bloody stumps. Happily, that wasn't the case. We walked up and down the beach for a bit, then got wildly hot and went back to the house.

Our afternoon was spent shopping, then napping (while watching Pretty in Pink), then shopping again (I'm now even more coveting a watch that would make no sense to buy). Liz got her hair done, then it was back to the house to get ready for dinner.

Liz picked a place called Echo. She said she picked it because they make soufflés. Fabulous choice. We started off with a Spider Roll, then Peking Duck, and finally a Coconut Soufflé. It was an excellent meal. Excellent. I hadn't thought about souffle's in years. Kerry mentioned it the night before. We had one on Sunday. And now I want to learn to make them. Or at least find places where I can eat them. I just want to eat them...

Soon enough, it was time to head back. We got into jammie's and blew through two of the CW Pilots (The Carrie Diaries and Beauty and the Beast - Beauty and the Beach was not good, though I expect to watch every freaking episode. Dang it.), before it was time to go to bed. My flight in the morning was early. Early. Going to sleep at 1230a and waking up at 5a was not the best decision, but I knew I could sleep on the plane. Sure, I am typing this on the plane, but still.

Monday morning came early. Luckily, the cleanup and packing was easy, then we made our way to the airport. By the time I got through security (I think the screw in my foot set off the body scanner!! Awesome!!) and picked up a Starbucks, the flight was loading...already loaded half of the plane. So I walked in without having to wait at all. Yes!! We pushed back from the gate early and by 645a, we were already in the air. Ok then...glad we didn't dawdle any.

The guy next to me was sick. I don't know if he was contagious sick or intestinal sick. I think it's intestinal sick. Then, a baby started crying hard. It was the type of crying that made you just cringe...not in a "Dang baby needs to shut it's pie hole" kind of way, but in a "poor baby...poor, poor baby" kind of way. Before we knew it, we landed. We actually landed so quickly that I had to pause to comprehend what time it really was in Chicago. The flight was supposed to land at 9a. We landed at 815a. Sweet!!

This was a new sensation for me. I was home early in the morning. This meant I could take full advantage of the day. And I did. There was time by the pool. Sure, it's not the BallenIsles pool, but still...a pool is always fantastic. And it's the perfect start to the summer. Ahhh...summer...


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