Welcome to Florida!
Have you ever had something negative occur, and the only thing keeping you from being miserable about it is that the Universe shows its sense of humor by tossing in something to make you smile? Here’s the scenario:
It was the day of our big move from Georgia to Florida. The hubster was driving his truck, heavily laden with ooh-gobs of stuff as well as both dogs and the cat. He was also pulling a trailer, packed to the max. I followed in my sensible sedan, also weighted down with stuff. (Yes, we downsized. No, you’d never know it. In spite of all we carried with us, there was yet more stuff coming to us after we found a new place. But that’s a different story.) And in case you’re wondering, I didn’t have the fur babies traveling with me because my a/c was acting up, and I wanted the furry kids to be comfy.
So anyway, off we went, dewy-eyed and ready for our Florida adventure!
As has been the case for 37 years, I would follow my man anywhere, and that day was no exception. He led the way, and I was happy in my car, trekking along behind him, no worries, Bon Jovi blasting.
Until we crossed the Florida state line.
Joe’s right-turn directional flashed and I followed him to the shoulder of the freeway. We came to a stop.
“My truck just died,” he said over the phone a moment later. “I think it’s having trouble with the load. Between what’s in the bed of the truck and the weight of the trailer, it’s being taxed. Plus it’s hot out.”
Uh-huh. About 90+ degrees and humid. Florida in June is no joke.
“Great. Welcome to Florida, huh?” I said.
“Apparently,” Joe said. “Look where we died.”
I glanced to the right, beyond the fence and overgrown field of tall weeds. There was a huge sign proclaiming WELCOME TO FLORIDA, and beyond that was the Florida Welcome Center, beckoning in the distance like the Land of Oz.
Yes, buttercup. We died right in front of the Florida Welcome Center. Close enough to see, too far away to trek to without a case of OFF and a machete. Proof that the Universe has a grand sense of humor.
A little while later the truck miraculously started up again, and we were underway none the worse for wear. We decided to stop for gas—maybe the truck would be happier if we kept the tank above half—and chose the next exit we saw.
We stopped. We filled up. We walked the dogs and piled back into our vehicles. And my engine wouldn’t start. Dead as a possum crossing the interstate.
My husband said a bunch of words that I can’t print here. There were some I’d never heard before. (And he says he’s not creative.)
We spent the next three hours pouring water into dog bowls and looking for shade for our animals while waiting for a tow truck and battling armies and armies of gnats. There were hundreds of thousands of gnats. The air was thick with them. In fact, I have never seen so many *&$%^#&* gnats! (Sorry. Apparently, I’m still bitter.)
After following the tow truck that hauled my poor, dead Flossie off to Middle-of-Flippin’-Nowhere, Florida—a full 30 minutes in the wrong direction, thank you—it was another two hours waiting for the car to be fixed which, thank goodness, the nice redneck gentlemen were able to do for us before the sun went down. The exposed beer bellies and butt cracks were just a special bonus they offered—you know, in case we weren’t enthralled enough already with the first day of our big move. (Putting aside their desperate need for fashion help, they really were nice, working after hours to get us on our way . . . I mean, we paid for the overtime, but still.)
Our drive to Sarasota, which should have taken 8 hours, took 17. That’s right, buttercup, 17 hours to make an 8 hour trip.
On the upside, after the debacle with Flossie’s usually reliable engine, the trip brought no more troubles. We were less concerned for ourselves than for our over-stressed fur babies, especially my sweet kitty, Luna, who was stuck in the cat carrier for the duration. The one time I found a safe place to let her out she ignored her litter box and stalked right back into the cat carrier, curled up in the back, and glared at me.
Never fear. My furry muse has forgiven us for dragging her across state lines. As I type this she is sprawled on the desktop, purring, her butt encroaching my keyboard. The dogs are sprawled in front of the desk. All three animals are too busy napping to notice the family of ibis that just passed by the window. Hakuna matata. All in all, life is good at the beach.
WELCOME TO FLORIDA, indeed.
What travel experiences have you had? Have you ever traveled with pets? What is your most memorable travel experience?
Thanks for hanging out with me. Have a terrific Wednesday, and I’ll see you next week!
Romance is good for your heart! To purchase your copy of Love Built to Last, Love to Believe, or Love to Win in eBook or print just click the book cover on this blog’s sidebar. Autographed copies are available for purchase on my HOME page. 🙂 And audio versions are in the works!