Sunday, May 27, 2007

Destin-nation Pirates (completed)

For those of you who read the first update, there are actually four parts to this post, so make sure you scroll down for what you might have missed!

So, here I am, blogging from a laptop, placed atop a dining room table in a home in Destin Florida. The lovely Steph Leann had three best friends in high school... DeLisa, Lesley and Suzie. All three are now married, with DeLisa & Nick living in Birmingham, and Lesley and Jason living in Crestview, Florida.

This past Tuesday, I looked at the new schedule and realized that I was off work on Sunday, Monday and even Tuesday, a great three days off in a row, which is very scarce. I called up the lovely Steph Leann and said, "Hey, let's go somewhere. I mean, get out of town. Atlanta, or Nashville or wherever, let's just leave town on Sunday morning and stay gone for 24 hours."

She agreed. That evening, she suggested coming down to Destin, where Susie and her hubby Mike live. We stayed here MLK weekend, and thought it would be nice to just come visit. I worked it out at the store where I could be off work on Saturday at 1230pm or so, so we left yesterday (Saturday) afternoon and traveled to Destin.

First stop was dinner... we ate at Captain Dave's seafood house, which wasn't bad. Every year we leave with the Campbell family for a week at the beach during Thanksgiving, eating one really nice dinner before we come home--one year was Captain Dave's. I remembered it being very, very good.

Truth is, perhaps they've lost their touch. Perhaps they were so busy the food quality suffered a bit because of this Memorial Day weekend. Or perhaps it just tastes much better when someone else is paying... I had the Seafood Platter, complete with scallops, fish (today's was Mahi-Mahi), crab, and a candidate in the Food Wing of Dave's Hall of Fame, fried shrimp. The lovely Steph Leann ordered a plate of crab claws.

The food arrived, and I looked on the plate to see two... 2... TWO... fried shrimp. This plate costs me $22, and all I get is two shrimp? Come on, you have to be kidding me. The food was decent, it wasn't bad, don't think it was gross or anything... but it wasn't great. It was just good. If I had paid $15 for the food, I might have been a little happier, but as it was $7 more than that, I was a little disappointed.

The lovely Steph Leann's crabclaw plate was $18. And she, too, was disappointed. Again, if it had been an $8 plate (it was an appetizer, mind you), it might have been better. So, our bill was a little over half-a-hundred, which in itself is okay, because we don't eat out like that very much. Once in a while is nice, though. But we would have liked to be more satisfied with it.

And it gave me acid reflux.

Random note... I just checked my myspace page, and I had a message from Kaci & Jojo. I thought I would mention it.

More on the weekend as the weekend progresses.

Been out this afternoon. The lovely Steph Leann and Susie and I went out to the Destin outlet mall, where I dropped the girls off and headed off to find lunch. After driving down Hwy 98 a bit, I decided on Whataburger! for my meal of choice, enjoying a big burger, friends and a really big Pibb Xtra.

Fox News was on in the restaurant, and I watched a bit of a special on Natalee Holloway. You know, her mom comes in Starbucks at Cahaba Heights? Like, I've met Beth Holloway, she knows my name, its almost surreal.

Been a slow day, really, nice and relaxing. I went to The Destin Commons to pick up movie tickets for Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End, which we'll all go see tonight. Then, I went back to the outlet mall, just to look around.

I stopped by Bass, where I went in to find some sandals. My feet are a little wide, which means most shoes that fit me perfectly length wise are too narrow to put on. If the shoe doesn't slip on with relative ease, I've learned that the shoe will be uncomfortable.

Led to this exchange:

Saleschick: Hi, can I help you find anything?
Me: Yeah, I'm just trying on sandals. My feet are really wide, and your selection of wide shoes isn't very large
Saleschick: Yeah, my father has that problem. He has wide feet.

And then, she walked away. Without a word. Sigh. And when I went into Timberland, they didn't help me... of course, Timberland never helps me.

Stopped by the Disney Store outlet, picked up a great sweatshirt for $15, went to Rocky Mountain Chocolate and had some strawberry cheesecake ice cream and... Coco-Fizz Chocolate Soda. The girl said it tasted like a carbonated tootsie roll... and she was right. It was weird, but in a good way. Perhaps its the McGriddle Effect.

Then, I went to the Starbucks there. Apparently, a Pizza Hut burned out, and Starbucks bought the building and turned it into a coffee shop. A very, very large coffee shop. Possibly the biggest Starbucks I've seen yet.

And I sit again here in the dining room, on the laptop, waiting for dinner to finish (bbq chicken, baby) and then we'll head to the movie!

More later

Dinner last night? Ah, BBQ chicken, baked beans, baked potatoes covered in onions, and somewhere in there, Susie made some biscuits. Wow that was some good crap.

Between last night and this morning there's nothing to really speak of, other than perhaps that weird dream I had while sleeping on the Temperpedic sleeper bed system. Its the one that you can jump on, while there is a glass of red wine on the other side, and the glass won't fall over. And that's because the bed itself is as hard as cement. I expected to sink into it, which I did... about 3/4s of an inch.

Anyway, I dreamed I was in a hotel somewhere, on some sort of big group trip. I know that there were tons of random people (only in dreams like this do friends from this area of your life meet friends from that area of your life), but the only people I remember were Paula Maddox and Melissa Robillard, sitting at a patio table having drinks, encouraging me to go jump in the pool because it was refreshing. I mean, any dream with Paula and Melissa in it can't be all bad, right? I'm sure Prince was around somewhere.

The night before I had some other weird dream that I can't remember, though I do recall in the dream I woke up and told the lovely Steph Leann about the dream. I woke up for real not too long after that, Steph and I laid there and chatted for about half an hour, then I went back to sleep, only to have my dream pick right back up where it left off. That ever happen to you guys? I've actually had some dreams take place over three or four nights, like its a mini-series. I need to start writing this crap down.

So, we saw Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End last night... and I really, really liked it. Contrary to the second one, Dead Man's Chest, this wasn't convoluted, confusing and too long. Well, AWE was long (157 minutes after previews), but it didn't feel that long.

The story goes that Barbossa, Will Turner, Elizabeth and the weird African voodoo chick are all going to find Jack Sparrow, who was killed in the last one. It seems he's trapped in "Davy Jones' Locker", which is some area between the real world and the all dead world... perhaps he's "mostly dead", which, according to Miracle Max, is not all dead, he's still some alive.

I thought it funny they were trying to bring him back to life, because all at one point had tried to kill him already (and Elizabeth did), but you find out quickly they aren't trying to save him just because of his winning personality. Everyone has a motive--which might get a little tiring, as Barbossa, Will Turner, Elizabeth and the weird African voodoo chick all have their own agenda, which sets up at least four subplots, but unlike Spiderman 3 which had waaaaay too much happening at one time, they all wind together nicely.

There still are a few unanswered questions I have, including what happened to Calypso, and where were the other ships when The Black Pearl and The Flying Dutchman were in battle in the maelstrom? The maelstrom scene, by the way... number one, baby. Absolutely terrific all the way around.

Possibly one of my favorite parts of the movie is Geoffrey Rush, who plays Captain Barbossa. From the very beginning, you can tell he is having the time of his life playing this character. I mean, the man has played major parts in "Les Miserables", "Quills", and "Munich"... he's had very little chance in his career to just let loose and go crazy with it--and here he absolutely does.

It's not the greatest film of all time, but its the best movie I've seen in a while--I recommend it on the big screen.

We're about to pack up and go get some breakfast... the lovely Steph Leann is craving Magnolia & Ivy, so I'll probably take her there because I'm such a good husband.

Oh, and who is going to watch Pirate Master on CBS? Raise your hand? Just me? Hmm.

And finally...

...I'm here on Tuesday morning, awake and refreshed from a great weekend, great because it was out of Birmingham, great because I enjoy long car trips with the Lovely Steph Leann, great because we spent some money that we could afford, didn't go overboard, ate great, saw a great movie, laughed alot and made some fun memories...

We left Mike & Susie's around 10am... off to the tea room for Steph Leann, and to find something more manly to eat for me...

A few highlights (and lowlights) from the trip back:

**Stephanie had breakfast at the Magnolia & Ivy Tea Room, started by two older Christian chicks who felt that this business was a great way to minister. She goes there with the women in her family each year on our annual jaunt to the beach for Thanksgiving--as it stands now, though, we'll be at Walt Disney World for Thanksgiving, so I wanted her to go this weekend because she might not get to go
**As feminine as the place is, the scones are freakin' awesome. So what if they are cut in the shape of a heart. Eat two sides and you can make it look like a dinosaur claw.
**It's located at Baytown Wharf, a huge condo, golf and shopping community there in Destin. You really could do almost anything there--buy groceries, eat out, play tennis, play golf, swim, whatever. I'm sure its as expensive as crud to live there, though.
**I had a $5 ham/egg/cheese croissant from the Village Deli there in Baytown Wharf. Steph had encouraged me to get a 'to-go' breakfast from The Broken Egg Restaurant, then meet her on the patio of Magnolia & Ivy to eat. The Broken Egg had a 45-minute wait, plus they don't do to-go orders when there's a wait. So I went to the Village Deli.
**Took me 30 minutes to get my croissant. Only two people working there, and lots of people in line. The lady at the register would take about five or six orders, then run out all the prepared food that had been gathering right in the back. I was sitting in the cafe with my number, 31, next to a guy, #20, who's brother was buying a Mini-Cooper today, and needed to talk to a British guy named Kevin (568-8692) because Kevin owned one and could discuss it.
**I could see directly into the kitchen area, and could see when the food was placed there to be taken out... and could see baskets of food sitting there for ten or fifteen minutes before Register Girl could get to it. Number 20 and myself chatted about the lack of help, when 20 minutes later, we got ours. It had been sitting on the counter about five minutes.
**The trip back was quiet. We listened to Dave Ramsey on podcast. The only commotion was when we were slowed on the interstate due to a small fire that had broken out in the dry median. Steph was angry that some stupid person probably threw their cigerettes out.
**Lowlight of the trip... stopping at a gas station to use the facilities, walking in the available stall only to realize that A) there's not a lock on the door and B) because of A, there's nothing to prevent me from walking in on a really fat guy taking a slam. I only mention this because if I have to suffer, so do you.
**Other lowlight, stopping in Clanton's Shell station to again use the facilities (I have a woman's bladder, I tell ya) to realize that the men's room was out of order. So I stood in line like a chick. Finally got in, debated on whether to actually move the seat up (which means I'd have to touch it) and then to put it back down (didn't want the next people to think the smell was from me). Kinda weird walking out and seeing about five women in line for the room I just came out of. It's like I'm back at Troy State's Alumni Hall, standing outside the room of Roberto the Guatemalen Love Machine (this guy really existed, and there's not one shred of irony in his name, trust me)

It was nice getting home and sleeping in my own bed, though the weird dreams continued. John Travolta made it to my mental REM state last night, though I don't know how.

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