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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

More Gulf Coast adventures....

We hope this finds you somewhere warm, cozy, and well!  Quality Time and her crew members (Mark and I) are continuing to leisure away the last of the February days at the Pink Shell Resort and Marina in Fort Myers Beach.  It has been a very quiet, extra-relaxing month for us, with no really exciting or epic adventures to report.  We've both been reading a lot, and I've had fun cleaning and shell-acking (bad pun intended) my seashell collection.  Fort Myers also has a fairly good bus system, which we've taken advantage of on several occasions to get out and about the city.

Our Uncle Dick and Aunt Sandy came to visit us, and we had a lot of fun seeing Sanibel Island with them and taking a sun-tanning/dolphin-watching boat ride.   (hopefully you can see the short dolphin video below)

A major recent highlight for me was my solo weekend trip to Austin, TX to see my daughter (and her awesome boyfriend) - I had the privilege of being their first official houseguest!  My trip fell on the first weekend of the AMC movie theaters' Oscar Best Picture Showcase, so we got to enjoy the first marathon movie day together.  The annual Best Picture Showcase is something Melanie and I have enjoyed together for many years, and it was very special for me to share it with her in person again!!  By the way, we saw the movies Manchester By the Sea, Fences, Hell or High Water, and La La Land; since there are still 5 more nominated movies to see in marathon mode next weekend, I'll hold off selecting a favorite until then.  Feel free to get in touch with me if you want to talk "movies" : )

Mark and I have gotten a lot of questions about how we are able to get along so well in such close quarters, and in response, it genuinely hasn't been much of an issue for us, thankfully.  For now, Mark and I are trying to spend some time each day apart (even if it's just going for a short walk) - because we'll be unable to get much personal space once we start our month-long homeward trek in a couple weeks.  The togetherness has been great - but it can definitely be hard to think of new things to talk about LOL.

I had a difficult time emotionally after our kids left after visiting us in Key West - adjusting to the reality of an empty nest is still hard for me.  I have also greatly missed my work as a counselor, with all the related challenges and rewards, but have not been able to make any decisions about what I want to do career-wise after we return home.  Mark, as always, is more decisive than I - he definitely plans to keep on handymanning (a new verb I just created  : )  This journey has been a time of self-reflection and existential thinking for me.  Although no revelations have been forthcoming about what I want to do, I am confident that I will find my way to where I am supposed to be.

TTFN - take care, y'all!!!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Enjoying Southwest Florida!!!

Hi y'all and happy February!  It's hard to believe we've been calling Quality Time home for almost 4 months now, and I believe we are finally getting the hang of relaxing.  Of course, it helps to be on the southern Gulf Coast of Florida, right?  There are so many interesting places to explore here, and the scenery and weather have been postcard-perfect.  We are back at the Pink Shell Resort and Marina in Fort Myers Beach, where we plan to stay for the whole month of February; it feels like a vacation from our vacation here!

In keeping with our theme of hitting all the Florida State Parks nearby, we spent a few days anchored at Cayo Costa State Park.  It was like hitting the boating jackpot for us; a spacious and protected anchorage, plentiful wide hiking trails, many remote beaches reachable by dinghy, and unbelievable sea shelling.  And I still can't believe, it, but Mark actually convinced me to go looking for alligators in the dinghy (other boaters told us where they had spotted the gators previously); to Mark's dismay (and my relief) we did not find any.

Well, duh - right?

Apparently Mark doesn't mind being alligator bait - that's why I'm taking the picture from a good distance away!

We did not realize previously that "sea-shelling" can be an action verb; we were both actually quite sore for a few days from all the squatting and stooping involved.  The proliferation of shells also brought out my compulsive nature; the perfect shell or that elusive, rare shell must surely be in the next stretch of beach...   Cant.Stop.Shelling.....

Another "happy shell"   : )

Mark has been very successful fishing so far - if you consider catching small catfish success LOL.  He has also had several small mechanical issues to address, such as an oil leak on the fuel pump (the best solution apparently is to just replace the fuel pump - it's on order already) and a water leak on the kitchen faucet (awaiting trouble-shooting).  Later today, Mark also plans to add a ring or two of Teflon packing to the rudder shaft - for those who understand what that means.

We hope that y'all are staying busy and warm, and we can honestly say - wish you were here!!!!!!