Well, we’re home again and it is time to return to the daily grind that is life. I figured I’d take a few minutes to fill in the gaps that my twitter feed left in what was, overall, a truly awesome weekend.
We hit the road on Thursday night around 7, I think. I was trying not to pay attention at that point. See, there’s this thing about my mentality. When I get it in my head that we’re going somewhere at a certain time I get all bent out of shape when we miss that particular window. We had no real agenda on Thursday night. The only thing we wanted to do that was really set to a certain time frame was stop by the Sony store at International Plaza on the way out of town, and the only restriction that put on us was that we had to be there by 9. We weren’t meeting up with anyone or going to any kind of event that required us to be there by a certain time. It was all completely open to our whims, and the only reason we had the “leave at 5:00” directive is because that was when I was definitely going to be off of work.
And yet, knowing all that, I still got stressed out when we didn’t leave right at five. Knowing full well that if I kept that shit up I was going to be a walking ball of nerves from that point on, we made it a point to set as few definitive time based objectives over the course of the weekend as possible. That accomplished, it was much easier for me to relax.
Anyway, when we finally did leave our first stop, as I mentioned above, was at the Sony store to order Krystalle’s new laptop. I went into the saga of our attempts to order one online last week, so there’s no real need to hash it out again here. The amusing thing to note was that the customer service rep with Sony was, mostly, correct it what she told us over the phone. Custom orders of Sony computers are really only designed to take one form of payment. They do have ways to split things up at the store, but the salesman told us that sometimes when they do that the order will end up getting canceled. So after all the drama we ended up buying a gift card for the total value of the computer after all.
Once we were done slumming at the upper class mall we got back in the car and made our way to Jacksonville. Driving without a stereo is lame (mine is currently “in the shop” for warranty repairs). We dropped Jareth off at his Grandmother’s place in Orange Park and made our way to the hotel we had there for the evening, stopping along the way to pick up a few Krystal burgers. That turned out to be the single worst customer service experience I’ve ever had in a fast food restaurant. After I made my order, Krys realized that something I had ordered sounded good and wanted some for herself. Realizing that she was now in combo territory I asked the woman on the other end of the speaker to drop a few of the items we ordered and add a combo. When she told me the new total I looked at the screen and realized she had gotten it wrong and told her so. At this point she interrupts me by yelling “Well that isn’t what you said!” and proceeds to read back the order to me and tell me what I had ordered. I attempt to correct her, still being polite and explaining that we had changed our mind (and even referring to her as “ma’am”) and she changes the order again but STILL gets it wrong, then she proceeds to give us the total and close down the speaker phone without asking if it was correct this time. Literally stunned by how rude she had been we drive through and pay for our food, and while we were charged for what we got it was still not what we wanted. I ended up going back to get the rest of the food Krys had ordered, and the woman didn’t even act like she recognized me the second time through.
I still need to write a letter to the manager of that store. I realize that it’s not always easy to keep up the happy face when you’re working in fast food, but that level of rudeness is just beyond the pale.
Friday morning we got up and hit the continental breakfast buffet in the La Quinta we were staying at. Nothing to write home about there, but the waffle press was pretty cool. The coffee was complete ass, though, so while Krys finished up her morning posts I walked over to the nearby Panera bread and got myself a cup of decent coffee. While I was out I grabbed a Coke Zero from Krys at the nearby BP as well.
It’s the exciting details like this that keep my journal riveting, folks.
Once we were done in the hotel we went over to the World Market so Krys could get in some of her much anticipated “I can’t get this stuff in the Tampa Bay area” shopping. I did my usual routine of walking around and looking at the neat food and kitchen toys, then ended up waiting outside while she finished up. I don’t begrudge her the time she spends shopping in these stores when we head up that way. If we had a World Market here in Tampa I’m sure she’d be there every few weeks, so I don’t mind waiting while she crams as much shopping in as she can stomach when we get a chance to visit. When she was finally done there we skipped over to Riverside for a stop at the Chamblin Book Mine and our traditional Beer Cheese Soup and Smokerschmitt lunch at European Street (topped off with a couple of their decadent cookies). Having fulfilled two of our vacation goals we took off for St. Augustine.
We got to the Carriage Way around four and were escorted down to our room at the cottage. It was, as expected, absolutely gorgeous. The cottage itself is this really quaint little bungalow about half a block down from the main building. It has two rooms, a kitchen, and a sitting room with a dining room table, a couch, a recliner and a television. There was a 2 person whirlpool bath in our room as well as a private bathroom. Yet again, the place we were staying was one of the best parts of our vacation. I cannot recommend Carriage Way enough for a getaway in St. Augustine. The staff is great, the food is delightful, and the bed and breakfast itself is just charming. The only letdown of the whole weekend was our breakfast in bed, which of the three breakfasts we had there was the weakest. Really, though, if that’s the worst criticism one can come up with for a weekend stay I think that’s saying a lot.
Once we got settled in we went over to the nearby English pub. I got to try a “traditional” scotch egg, which apparently is served cold in the UK. Bleargh. I don’t get it. Warm beer and cold scotch eggs. You European people are weird. My fish and chips, however, were very tasty (if slightly overcooked) and went down well with the Black and Tan I ordered. We did a little walking around in downtown St. Augustine that night and capped off the evening with a nice long soak in the whirlpool bath.
Saturday morning was met with Blueberry stuffed french toast at the Carriage Way (which was our favorite breakfast the last time we stayed there). We lounged around on the porch in front of the main building eating breakfast and chilling out while Krys did some work and I read (over the course of the weekend I managed to read two books). Once we were finished there it was downtown again for some shopping and (later on) lunch at the Cracker Cafe. We were pleasantly surprised to find the Hugenot cemetery open for visitors, so we walked around in there for a while and looked at all of the tombstones. I then went back to the cottage and took a brief nap while Krys did some more shopping, then I caught up with her and we took a train tour. A six that night we had dinner at the Colombia restaurant (my first time eating at one, despite having lived near the original one in Ybor City most of my life) and followed that up with a walking ghost tour. Our tour guide was nowhere near as experienced or engaging as the one we had last time, but we still enjoyed ourselves and tipped him
Sunday was quiche for breakfast at the Carriage way and more shopping. We had our picnic lunch that afternoon in the grass near the Castillo San Marco (another “slight” letdown of our stay – our picnic lunch was Publix fried chicken). After we were done eating we got out the kite that Krys had purchased at World Market and after several abortive attempts managed to get it into the air. I haven’t flown a kite since I was probably Alex’s age, and it was a real blast to do so again. I believe Krys got videos of me flying it, and once we get all that sorted out I’ll post a link or something.
Our plans for the early evening got kind of sidelined. We were supposed to get ice cream with Jack and Candy, but they fell asleep that afternoon and woke up too late to join us. Turned out for the best, really. I went back to the cottage and fell asleep, as I was starting to feel a little crummy. After my nap I walked around for a bit with Krys again and then we took our carriage ride. Again, we’ve done it before but it’s always fun to hear a new take on the same old historical tour. Our guide was great, and she really made the ride enjoyable.
That night, however, I fully fell victim to the only truly sucky part of our weekend. I don’t know if I got ate something that wasn’t cooked properly or not, but I think it’s much more likely that my body just isn’t used to eating that much fried/greasy food anymore. What started out as some truly horrid gas turned into several marathon bathroom sessions that left me in quite a bit of pain. I won’t go into too much detail here as grossing out my readership isn’t really something I like doing, but let’s just say that things were so bad between Sunday night and this morning that I got out of bed at 3:30 AM today because I was too sore to go back to sleep. Things seem to be getting better now, but I am NEVER going on vacation again with a supply of Immodium AD on hand (and I’m seriously going to be a lot more selective in my eating out indulgences).
I’m also reminding myself, yet again, that I really need to get some better shoes for marathon walking sessions. I love my new red Chuck Taylor All-Stars, but they truly suck for extended periods of time on your feet.
I spent the remainder of our vacation mostly holed up in the cottage while Krys did some last minute shopping and we got ready to head back to St. Petersburg. After we left St. Augustine we went by yet another one of her favorite stores in Jacksonville and I, yet again, allowed her all the time she wanted to shop while I chilled out with a book in the car. The trip back home was uneventful, if uncomfortable (for me anyway). I let Krys drive most of the time and polished off that second book.
All in all, even factoring in the mishaps with my ass, it was a fantastic and much needed weekend. Naps, reading, good food, good lodgings, and the company of my other half. It really doesn’t get much better than that. Still, I’m every much looking forward to our next trim to Colorado in just a few weeks.
This time there will., hopefully, but much less drama on the intestinal front.