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Beach Time and Big Hoss

May 15, 2013 by Britton_Riley

I’ve really missed sharing my stories with you. The last few months have been tough and I’ve reached my breaking point several times.    I am sure I’ll talk more about that in a later post, but for now I’d rather tell you about the fun stuff.

I left work Friday at 2:00 and headed south to spend the weekend with my family and my mister. He works a lot of Saturdays and this weekend was one of those working Saturdays so I spent a lot of time with my mother in law. As you may remember, in the wake of the death of my beloved Penelope, we bought Gizmo.

Gizmo is our little Civic who now has over 233,000 miles on him. He is old, but he is ours and I really love that little car. His air conditioner was broken when the dogs and I made the trip on Friday, but it is fixed now. The radio works a little, but the volume doesn’t go up very high. There is no satellite radio, heck satellite radio didn’t even exist 18 years ago when Gizmo was made. There is no CD player, only a cassette player but sadly I haven’t owned a cassette in years! Driving down I-75 with the windows open, you can’t hear the radio. It was a humbling experience and gave me lots of time to soak in how my life has changed since my bad choice. It also made me realize how high maintenance Sir Higgins and Fletcher are.

The trip was rough on them…..

I fed them ice while we drove and I stopped once to give them water.

It was clear they wondered where the heck the AC was!

There is ONE major thing about my mother in law that you’ve got to know…..

She has no interest in cooking. She just doesn’t do it. That’s why she has this hanging on the wall in her kitchen….just so everyone will know she just doesn’t cook!

But guess what! She loves me so much and was so excited for me to come visit that she actually made a pie! It was pre-made crust (that’s totally acceptable in this case!) and she actually made the filling! It didn’t come from a can! She sliced apples! Boy was she relieved that the grocery store had signs above the apples that told you which ones to use for baking :)

Apparently the signs directed her to use Fuji apples

She didn’t follow a recipe, she just did her own thing, which is totally impressive to me! She sliced the apples, dumped some sugar and butter……can you think of anything she forgot to put in??? Cinnamon!….oopsie! That’s okay though, it was such a sweet thing to do and the pie was tasty…and it doesn’t look like a hot mess, it actually looks like a real apple pie!


My mother in law and I spent the day on the beach Saturday while my mister worked.

Try to ignore all that sun damage on my face…..yuk!

We laid on the beach together for a few hours and she told me lots and lots of stories about her own mother and what it was like for her when she was growing up. (Her mother was very mean to her, so a lot of her stories were really sad.)

Learning more about her was a great way to spend pre-Mother’s Day.

This is the beach we were on. Isn’t it pretty?!

That night, we all went to the local race track to watch my brother in law race his cute little car. (I mean that in the most masculine, manly way possible!)

See him in there with his helmet on? He looks so official!

The only race tracks I’ve ever been to have been Nascar tracks… the Bristol track and the Daytona track, so I was only a little prepared for this experience. I am all about fitting in and I just love a good theme, so I was tempted to do my hair in a makeshift mullet, wear some camo, and accidentally-on-purpose ‘forget’ to wear a bra….but I held back. I wore white shorts. My mister and brother in law both took one look at me and asked what in the world I was thinking…..I was there to watch, I didn’t think I might get dirty!

If you are anything like me, you don’t know “the drill” at the local track, so let me explain. First all the cars go around the track in a preliminary type of race. I’m not really sure what is the point of this preliminary “heat”  since my BIL popped a tire after only going around the circle a few times and then still got to drive in the main race when it was time.

Here he is fixing that tire, you know….man stuff!

I didn’t think this was such a stressful event, but apparently I was wrong. People really stress about this preliminary “heat” race. There was pacing going on….by the way, this is NOT my sister in law AND this lady’s hair matched her top. You can’t tell by the picture, but trust me, the color match was remarkable!

See the crash that just happened on the track?

and there was lots and lots and LOTS of sweating going on too…..

I wasn’t pacing OR sweating….am I not a good race fan?? I mean, that’s a LOT of sweat, y’all! This guy was clearly SUPER stressed about this race. We even got to see two guys in the stands nearly get into a fight! I kept hollering (see, trying to fit in by using appropriate lingo) for security, but they never came and luckily the argument didn’t lead to fists.

My brother in law may not have won his race, but he had the best looking car that’s for sure! It was definitely a fun family event! Maybe it would have helped if I had been pacing and sweating profusely??

The next day, my mister was off work and we went back to the beach. (All this beach time…..I’m REALLY going to love living in Tampa!) I was ecstatic to get to spend the day with him!! We loaded up Big Hoss (our jet ski) and headed to the boat ramp on Sunset Island for our day on the water.

 In order to get to the boat ramp, we drove through this town called Tarpon Springs. It was a quaint little town and appeared to have a very large Greek population. At first when I saw a restaurant called Mr. Souvlaki, then another called Mama’s Greek Cuisine within 1/4 of a mile of each other, I thought maybe there was a Greek family in the community who just really liked to cook. Then I noticed Greek flags hanging from someone’s porch and several more businesses with Greek names, but what really gave it away was the big Greek Orthodox church. When I saw the church, that’s when I knew it had to be a Greek community. Who knew!

Of course I had to research this. I mean, what on earth would draw all these Greeks to this little tiny town in Florida. How did they even know this town was there? Then I found my answer….SPONGES! Greek divers came over in the early 19th century to harvest sponges. At that time, the sponge business was booming. So I guess I learned two things that I didn’t know… the Greeks came to Tarpon Springs and that Greeks are good divers.

I wish I’d known that’s what “the sponge docks” was, I definitely would have stopped in for some sponges!

Once we got Big Hoss unloaded into the water, off we went to do some exploring.

We found an island where everyone goes on the weekend to hang out. It was beautiful! From the island, we could see Clearwater. It would have been so easy just to dash right on over! Did I mention I’m really going to LOVE living in Tampa???

When we arrived at the island, we realized we didn’t have any way to anchor Big Hoss so we could go play. Since we had just been immersed in ultimate redneck culture the night before, we were all about getting creative…and we found this….

A wooden post! Where the heck did THAT come from??? Who knows, but it made a good redneck anchor! We just tied a rope to Big Hoss on one end, the other to the big old post and voila, we had an anchor!

Big Hoss seems to be a suitable name, don’t you think? My friend Terri and her family came up with that name because he used to be theirs. When the Air Force moved them to Germany, Big Hoss had to stay behind so we decided to buy him! I am so glad we did! Terri’s two adorable sons love to see pictures of their old buddy Big Hoss, so I try to take pictures any time we take him out to stretch his legs :)

After we’d had enough of the sun and we were ready for lunch, we loaded up Big Hoss and headed out of the park. One of my very favorite pastimes is people-watching and boy did I get an eye full! I swear I tried to get a picture for you, but couldn’t……try to get a mental picture….as we made our way out of the park, past the beachside picnic area, I saw a man in a speedo grilling weenies! I sure hope he didn’t grill ALL his weenies!

1 Comment »

  1. Tina says:

    Can’t wait to read more adventures :-)

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