my thoughts while on sabbatical
It’s now been three weeks since I’ve been on sabbatical, and several days since I last posted.
When we left Apalachicola, I remember that I was interested in doing another post in appreciation of mom’s house, as we did so enjoy staying at her place for two weeks. Especially considering the weather that first week it was great to have her old Victorian house to stomp around in. I have some pictures that show off a few interesting details and I’ll make that post sometime, just not today.
We had a minor tragedy when we left: Ezekiel broke his jar of sand dollars after hours of work collecting them, and I was partially to blame. He had dove for hours collecting sand dollars on the sandbar in St. George, and probably collected 100-150 of them. I should know because I was there and I put every one in my pocket and brought it back to shore. We then read up on the process to bleach them and turn them into white sand dollars and put them through that process which took a couple of days. Then, right as we were leaving, Niki and Ezekiel took them off the tray where they were drying and put them in a nice Mason jar that Mimi had. I was loading the car, and so I didn’t notice that Ezekiel had the full jar with him when he walked up behind me, saying, “This needs to go somewhere safe.” Niki was also putting something in the back at that time, and I was trying to balance a full load in the back of the van with stuff falling out all around me. I said, “You’re crowding me right here: get back, Ezekiel,” and then Ezekiel, stepping back, dropped the jar of sand dollars and they smashed, leaving only a small percentage of the original number intact.
Ezekiel was crushed, of course: all his hard work; and I felt pretty guilty because if I had been paying better attention I wouldn’t have snapped at him when he was trying to show off his precious collection. We were rushing to get out the door by 9am, and even with the tragedy we still left by 9:15. He had a good attitude about it, though: he saved what he could, and said that, now that he knows how to do it, he’ll come back another time and collect even more sand dollars!
We drove across Florida to Ormond Beach that day, stopping to eat in Lake City in a tiny Mom&Pop diner that annoyed me because it took so long, but was actually not that bad and an interesting experience of small town Central Florida. It rained all day: the effect of a tropical storm that we were glad hit during a driving day and not a beach day. Niki and I argued most of the day, and she was in a bad mood when we got to our next place of residence for the next two weeks, but I think we all really like it. It’s right on the beach with a nice pool and palm trees, and we’re in a nice two story two bedroom, 2 1/2 bath condo that’s right next to the elevator and pool/beach access. Besides our wedding, I think that this is the first time I’ve ever actually stayed “on the beach” and we are here for two whole weeks!
Talk about paradise! The sand here is red, because of the crushed shells, and the beach is very wide, which is great for a little toddler like Eden and for our family in that there is a lot of surf to play in. It rained a little Saturday, our travel day, but the weather has been gorgeous these last three days and we can walk right out in the morning and be on the beach. The kids seem to like to spend most of their time in the pool, though, and we do enjoy being able to come in and go to the bathroom or get a cup of coffee.
There’s lots of shops and restaurants, too: a big change from Apalachicola. The first day here, Niki commented that it seemed strange to be in the shops and see so many people after our experience of the past two weeks, but Ormond Beach and our section of beach here is actually pretty quiet compared to a lot of beaches (Daytona or Clearwater, for instance). This place seems like a very “family” place, too: we’ve spoken to one extended family who have been coming since their grandparents generation, and there are many other families with small children here.
It’s a small complex, which is one reason why I chose it (less to share the pool and facilities). And really, if you were to picture paradise, it would be the view from our living room balcony: the gorgeous pool, the palm trees, the crashing wave of the beach. In fact, it’s kind of hard to believe that we have two weeks still here, its so nice!
We went to General Assembly on Sunday night and saw Dad. This was the most time that he’s ever seen Eden, and he hasn’t seen her or any of us since February of 2012. We had dinner at a Thai place (expensive: Dad paid!), and then went to the “worship service” (Sharon Watkins preaching) which was really just an “infomercial” for DMF. We’ll go back again on Wednesday to see Sweet Honey in the Rock and I’m sure we’ll see Dad again.
Then yesterday we spent all day at the beach except Ezekiel spent the afternoon playing video games and watching TV. He likes that they have full cable here). We all did go out in the morning, though, and then again after dinner, which we had at a place called Hull’s Fish Market and Restaurant which was really good, fresh, and not too expensive.
This morning, Ezekiel and I got up and took a surfing lesson at a place just across the street. Beautiful weather, again, but today is a red flag at the beach and the waves were pretty choppy. Our instructor was a really nice guy named Troy who told me he teaches nutrition and culinary arts at the local high school and teaches surfing in the summer. He had just got back from doing a mountain marathon in North Caroline and seemed like a real extreme sports guy. Also, he is a local, so he had a lot to tell us about the area, etc.
Ezekiel got up on his board several times, though I was a little slower. We had to split our time, though, and Troy was gracious not to be watching the clock too closely. As it was literally next door to our condo, Niki and the baby walked down and I think she got some good video of Ezekiel surfing. I took the boards back, and then went to the pool for awhile, and now I’m finally getting the chance to catch up on this blog (which I appreciate at least of a record of this time, because otherwise a beach vacation can kind of all run together!). This afternoon we’ll probably have dinner and then go back to the beach, then tomorrow we’ll go into Orlando for dinner and the last worship service of Assembly.