3.5 Weeks, So Many Stories

So yes, that was a long blogging break. Although, I can’t say that it was a break from anything because since summer kicked into swing here at school, life has progressively gotten busier and crazier. And these are the months that are supposed to be slow, so that’s not saying good things for fall semester.

Life has been pretty freaking fantastic though, so don’t take me staying busy as a complaint. It’s been wonderful. I think of all those years I spent languishing at the CDC, sitting in front of a computer, hour after hour, with little face time with people I liked, and how every second I spent there, I wished for the life I have now. I appreciate everything I have here because I worked hard for it: my job, my friends, my relationships, and my partner. It has been 100% worth it to be able to say my life is busy all the time and I’m hardly ever bored anymore.

That last paragraph felt like the biggest victory ever.

I didn’t quite mean to stop blogging the last few weeks because things have been happening (I say that in the 70s, groovy, kind of way) but honestly, I just put this on the backburner to share. But now I’m back and I’ll fill you in on my life lately, because damn, it’s been good.

I’ve now had my new Mini for over 1 month and I’m totally in love. It’s fantastically fun to drive (like my last one) and I didn’t know this at the time, but it’s the perfect beach vehicle. We have packing for the beach down to an art. And since we know I love beautifully organized things, staring at my trunk filled with beach goodies is just such a joy. (I’m a dork.)

I’ve met a new friend, Jackie, and we’ve hung out a few times here and there, so that’s been refreshing. It’s so hard to meet new people, but if you don’t work with them, how on earth do you ever establish a relationship? She’s a super cool, chill woman, and her boyfriend and Timmy get along super well (like it’s hard to get along with Timmy), so hopefully we’ll be doing more things together this summer. Memorial Day weekend, we hit the Movies in the Park to see “The Jerk”, we took a dolphin sail tour and had a drinking day at the beach, and just in general had a great time! Yay to new friends!

Timmy and I finished the weekend in St. Pete with a fun date night and a stop at The Canopy, a beautiful downtown rooftop bar with amazing views of the waterfront. Since it was a holiday weekend, it was pretty empty, so we ordered some amazing drinks (my new favorite: Winter Sunset with a splash of agave), and loved on each other some more.

The following weekend, my favorite NYU ladies came down to visit. This is the first time they’ve all been down to visit me since I moved away after college, and we could not have had a better weekend if we tried. The weather was amazing, we laughed, shelled, relaxed, and I made them all jealous of the beautiful town I live in.

Saturday, I took them stand up paddleboarding with a few friends from work, and we accidentally on purpose ended up paddling for two hours. If any of us had known ahead of time how long we’d be out there, I don’t think they would’ve signed up. But before we knew it, we were too far out to go back and too nice to complain, so ahead we forged. It ended up being one of my favorite days in St. Pete yet. 🙂

I also took them to the Canopy, and promptly forgot that the weekend before had been a holiday weekend, so therefore not representative of the normal crowd that goes there on Saturday nights. It was kind of gross. Like the tunnel crowd in Manhattan. It was very club-ratty, and my precious Winter Sunset didn’t have any agave at all. Whatever, we still had a blast because what else can you do?

The next weekend (June has been and will continue to be PACKED on the weekends) we traveled over to Palm Coast to visit with Jake’s parents and his son. We previously had planned on the entire weekend, but due to a mistake in the planning, we only got one night with them. We wanted more, but hey, at least we got to visit at all! It was totally worth it too.

Jake’s son Aiden has such an immense love for his uncle Timmy, and I’m sad that I couldn’t get the one picture I wanted from that weekend. Those two together are like little devils, so I had to act fast to get candid shots like the one I wanted but ultimately got a blurred version. At dinner that night, Timmy was telling stories, and Aiden was staring at him with such a look of admiration, I got a little choked up watching it. It’s such an honor to be a part of that little guy’s life, and we definitely shared some age-appropriate stories about his father with him as promised.

Of course it was so difficult to leave them the next day as they packed up to head back to Atlanta. Cheryl cried, and it took everything I had in me to be strong and smile and wave. Love that family so much.

The rest of the weekend we spent napping and loving on Floyd. Because he’s a rescue, we only know the history that was told to the organization that rescued him, and who knows if that was the truth. We don’t have an actual birth date for him and I so desperately wanted to celebrate one, so we made it up! We’re assuming he’s around 5 years old, so that’s what we celebrated on June 8.

As you can tell from the photos, Floyd has some warming up to do with his birthday hat, and Timmy thought I was a complete moron, but you know what. I. don’t. care. That little dog has lit up our lives, and he deserves to know that we love every year he’s with us!

The past weekend, my entire family came down to visit and oh what fun we had. My sister, Jared, and Charlotte came last year to stay with us in Lakeland while they visited Disneyworld, but this is the first time all the adults have been down, sans children. I didn’t particularly sell Lakeland well, so once I moved to St. Pete, I sold the hell out of it. I secretly wanted to talk my parents into buying a condo downtown near the waterfront and I could potentially move into a bedroom, pay part of the mortgage and serve as property manager at the same time, and hey, everyone wins! I may have gotten closer to that goal, I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂

Friday night, we had dinner at 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House, right next to the historic Vinoy Hotel where they stayed. Holy cow, that’s beautiful place. I absolutely recommend it. As for food, I have now been to 400 Beach three times and I highly recommend it. The oysters are to die for, and the food is generally delicious and well priced. You can’t lose.

I then took them back to the Canopy and we had the greatest time. A few of us were a little happy, happy, but who cares when all you have to do is walk one block back to the hotel!? Also, after we returned to the hotel, we made a bathroom trip before driving back to my apartment, and when I exited the restroom, there’s Timmy, playing the name game with four people at the hotel for a wedding (we seriously can’t get away from them), one of whom was originally from McDonough, GA. Shocked I tell you. I was shocked.

Their last night, I made us a reservation at the Maritana Grille in the historic Loews Don Cesar Hotel on St. Pete Beach, mainly because I’ve been wanting to check out the hotel every time I drive past it to get to the beach. It’s GORGEOUS. And the restaurant knocked it out of the park. I didn’t have one thing I didn’t like, and my family for the most part agreed. All of the fish was cooked perfectly and the desserts, holy crap. We also celebrated Father’s Day, and because my dad is a dork, his favorite gift was the book of Godfather quotes my sister and I got him because he desperately needs a new line other than, “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”

That’s it for now. I think I’ve caught you all up. Do you feel caught up? Please tell me you do. I don’t have time to take that nap that I desperately want after writing this post.

♥, VB

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