Mini Adventure: 4th of July Trip [[LONG post]]

Hello Dreamers!

I hope this post finds you well!

As I mentioned yesterday, in my It's Been A While post (which is also the name of a great song by Staind), I've been absent and there is really not an excuse for it other then I am lazy. Any who, I wanted to start the series of update posts with this past weekend. This past weekend was 4th of July weekend, and Lee went home with me to meet my parents. 

So it turned out that he ended up with 24 hour duty on Friday and we were leaving on Saturday. Luckily, I've made the drive between NC and FL so many times, I don't really need someone else with me to make it, it's just nice to have someone there to talk to. So we made sure on Thursday night that we packed up everything we would need so that all I had to do was pick him up. Of course, my watch died on Friday and I needed to go to Walmart first thing Saturday morning and pick up a new battery. I'm really weird about always having a watch on, apparently (and I didn't know this at first) I get a little fidgety when it isn't there (I was told this in 2014 when Mo and I went to the Marine Corps Birthday Ball and I couldn't wear my watch- which is why he bought me a "big girl watch" for Christmas that year)

I got up earlier then I originally planned on Saturday morning to make my run to Walmart. Thankfully I got up early because I ended up having to go back to the house for Lee's swim trunks... because it occurred to him that he hadn't packed them like he thought (which would make sense because he wore them the night we packed our suitcase). After I made sure that we actually had everything, I went on base and picked Lee up from duty and we hit the road. He stayed awake and we talked until about halfway through South Carolina, where he decided it was time for him to nap. This turned out to be a good thing because we got stuck in 40 minutes of traffic (for 20 miles) because people wanted to rubber neck and see this van burning on the other side of the road (he hates it when people rubber neck). He didn't wake up until our stop in Savannah for gas and lunch.  He decided to drive for a little while after that, which was much appreciated because my back was really starting to hurt. We were supposed to arrive at my parents house a little after 6pm but because of stupid drivers in SC, we arrived closer to 8pm. Thankfully, my parents had dinner waiting for me (Lee didn't eat) and it was a sigh of relief to have made the trip.

My parents had a lot of stuff that they wanted to show Lee in our short trip home, which was fine with me. On the first day we were there we took him to the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks, which is a lovely little Greek town where they are all about their culture and the selling of sea sponges. We ate at a traditional Greek restaurant and I showed him the Aquarium there, where you can pet and feed sting rays and little sharks. After that we tried to take him out to Dunedin's beaches, but the traffic was so long and my father is so impatient, that we decided to go swimming at home instead (my parents have a pool). My best friend Lindsay came over and we had a great afternoon just hanging out at home. Lindsay even introduced us (well... more me then him) to a local Meadery, for which I was super stoked about. It was a great little place and I bought the last two bottles of their Mango Mead (which surprises me because I usually don't like the flavored stuff but it wasn't a punch in the face of mango, more like a gentle hint of it).

We had to go to Walmart that evening to return a swim mask that we bought earlier in the day, and Lee ended up helping a gentleman while we were there. When we arrived at Walmart, the employee was laying on a bench outside and his friend (another employee) was kind of looking around frantically. She passed by us in a hurry to get inside and Lee asked her if her friend was okay. She said he wasn't and Lee just looked at me. Instead of asking him to go inside I took the face mask from his hands and pointed in the direction of the employee who looked like he needed some help. He was an older gentleman and he really didn't look good, he was dizzy and covered in sweat, and we both immediately thought it was a heat injury (look at me... I learned things while I was in the Army....). We gathered the gentleman up and helped him inside (even though it was in the evening.... it's still incredibly hot and humid in Florida and inside was obviously nice and cool). We got him just inside the doors and set him on a bench. Lee asked him some questions while we waited for management to get there to take care of him. They seemed like they had it under control so Lee and I got in line to return the mask.  Next thing we know, they're all in a panic and called for some help and an ambulance. Lee threw me the mask again, and went to help. The gentleman ended up having a stroke (Lee said it was probably a heat induced stroke) and unfortunately there isn't much Lee can do (although he is EMT certified, he isn't EMS certified - and yes, there is a difference). HE stayed with the gentleman, got him talking and was talking to the management, while I went outside with the gentleman's friend and we waited for the ambulance (it wasn't a long wait, they were pulling up into the parking lot as we walked outside). They obviously took over once they got there, but the management was happy that we were there to help in the meantime. Everyone else just wanted to stop and stare at what was going on, instead of offering help, and Lee and I just wanted to help.

The 4th started out at Clearwater Beach, which was just perfect. We spent a couple of hours there before showing him Sand Key Beach, and then going home. I took Lee to Steak and Shake (his new favorite place after our last trip to Raleigh) and then we went into Tampa for the Oakley store. He ended up trading in a pair of broken glasses that we found in some parking lot and getting 25% off a new pair for himself. Since he bought the polarized lenses, I got $40 off a new pair for myself. 

After that, we just went back home for a nap and then a swim. I took a nap while they talked about Scientology and then my father's new Boar hunting rifle (for those that don't know, Clearwater is the World HQ for Scientology and my mother used to work for them but wasn't a Scientologist. Also- I have no idea why my father bought a boar hunting rifle... he hasn't used a rifle since he was in the military and certainly never went hunting with one). That night we walked down to the water at the end of my parents house and watched the fireworks. It was definitely a test in my patience because I still can't really handle the noise of the fireworks. They still make me jump and then I get mad at myself for having that reaction....

Tuesday morning brought us back to the road and heading back home to Fayetteville. It was a much smoother drive and Lee stayed awake the whole time. I love the fact that he offered to take over part of the driving because he knew that I couldn't sit still for that long.

Overall, it was a great short little trip. My parents loved him and he had a great time. I introduced him to my second family, my best friend's family, and they all got along really well. It was a nice vacation away from Fayetteville, and part of me wishes it had been a little longer. Lee just says that it's our excuse to come back so I can show him more stuff that we didn't get to (like Busch Gardens and Disney).

Next week it's my turn to go meet his family in Virginia. This should be an interesting adventure. I won't lie... I'm a little nervous even though I've talked to them on the phone a few times. 

Now I just need to finish working in my scrap-journal about that trip.......