Damn we had a good time. So why does Sarasota kick Ixtapa's butt?
1. Vacationing with your in-laws = free babysitting.
HS and I went to see Brokeback Mountain. And we went out for dinner. And it wasn't even the same night! We had so much food here, I thought my stomach would explode. With happiness.
2. And free babysitting means time for shopping! Sadly, I seem to have lost the ability to buy things for myself. I don't know what is wrong with me. I used to work in the Eaton's Centre, and I could shop every day on my lunch hour. And I did. Not only was I well-appraised of what was in the stores, but I could also stalk my favourite items and snap them up as soon as they went on sale. Ah, sweet memories! I do, however, have amazing abilites to buy stuff for Charlie. We hit this outlet mall, where I purchased a full wardrobe for Charlie for the next six months and gifts for everyone I know with kiddies. (Why isn't there Carters in Canada? So cute! So reasonably priced! I found some sleepers at Costco once, but that was it.) I got great books at TJ Maxx, and not just the books with typos that seem to find their way to Winners, but Dr. Suess! and Eric Carle! And, of course, Target. Ah Target. How I love your aisles of cleverly designed, well-marketed merch. Where else can I get non-toxic stainless steel cleaning wipes, a flattering t-shirt cut just right for lower rise jeans, yummy and cheap chocolate truffles and the softest baby blankets ever all in one cart? Thanks to my brother-in-law for that gift card! Best Christmas present ever!
3. Sand, Charlie's favourite toy.
We went to the beach. A lot. Not because the weather was perfect, which it was, oh no. Because we discovered that with a purchase of a $2 shovel and pail, we had at least an hour of occupied toddler time. I don't think I've ever strung those words together before this trip.
4. Busch Gardens is great for toddlers!
Who knew? I thought it was all extreme roller coasters, but oh no. There are lots of animals to look at; two kiddie-sized play areas with lots of rides, a huge covered sandbox, a big bouncy area, and lots of climbing equipment; and free beer. That's right. Free beer. Because Busch Gardens is owned by Anheuser-Busch, ergo, free samples of Bud on tap. Of course admission was a whopping US$58, so is the beer really free? Not so much. But after two samples, it felt free. And it was not busy at all, so we didn't even have to contend with crowds. We normally wouldn't drag Charlie to an amusement park, but we were meeting friends there, so we were kind of stuck paying the massive admission price. I thought it would be $30 tops, so we wouldn't mind leaving early if Charlie was desperate for a nap. But after coughing up the $116 to get in, we stayed the whole day. And Charlie did ok until until 5 p.m. when a broken granola bar brought forth all the sadness and despair of the 21st century (complete with hot splashy tears and frequent wails of "granona bart!!! my granoooooona baaaaaart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). Charlie fell asleep in the car on the way back and didn't wake up until 7 a.m. the next day.
5. Cracker Barrel!
Damn those biscuits are gooooooooooood.
So there you have it. I could use another week right about now. But today isn't so hideously cold. I even thought I felt a teeny-weeny hint of spring in the air. I must be hallucinating. Nevertheless, these delusions give me hope.