As I noted in my last post, I had a really tough week last week. Fortunately, I had made plans to meet up with my Largo friend on Saturday, so I had something to look forward to after work. Turns out, I was ambushed in the best way for a birthday celebration with all of my friends in Largo!
I was supposed to meet my friend at her place in Largo at 10:00 am, so I headed out at 9:15 thinking that would be enough time. . . Well. . . my geographically challenged status ensured I would get lost, and I did. I ended up in Tampa, where I called my friend to tell her I would be late. Since we were going to Tampa (she had told me that much), I guess I was the advance guard or something. I passed MLK Boulevard 3 times, I think, so I was probably going in a circle (story of my life). Finally, I put her address into my GPS and I was on my way in the right direction this time. Of course, I was at least half an hour late, but I made it.
When I got to her place, my other two friends were there, as well, along with Sponge Bob (he’s the birthday mascot for this year, so I knew he’d be going back home with me). We were all headed to Tampa, except for Sponge Bob. I got to open my birthday card from my friends, which was a dancing pickle (no idea)! I love pickles, so this was certainly appropriate. Along with the card was a small box, which I was not allowed to open just yet. We headed out, with one friend saying, “you should be worried, but you know we love you.” Okay, so I was worried. One gift had been an hour on a flyboard, while another gift was a hot air balloon ride. At this point, I had no idea what they had dreamt up for me!
By the time we got to Busch Boulevard in Tampa, I was allowed to open my gift, which was a Fun Pass to Busch Gardens! I was really excited about it, since I’d been wanting to go but couldn’t justify the $60-$80 cost for a day. Now I could go as much as I want until December 31 — the gift that keeps on giving! We parked in the lot and got on a shuttle to the park.
Busch Gardens is awesome, divided into different areas, including Morocco, Nairobi, Pantopia, Congo, Jungala, Serengeti Plain, Egypt, Bird Gardens, Stanleyville, and the Sesame Street Safari of Fun (for kids). All of these areas have their own theme, and of the ones we visited, I loved the Morocco area (as the pictures will show). It is so big, though, that we didn’t make it to even half of the areas. We didn’t ride any rides, but we did see lots of animals and drink lots of iced tea (it was a very hot day). My friend wouldn’t let me spend any money myself, so she bought me a drink that included free refills all day on the day of purchase, and .99 refills every other day. I also indulged myself by having an apple funnel cake — I mean a huge apple funnel cake — and I couldn’t even come close to finishing it. I ended up begging my friends to help me finish it, but even with their help I threw half of it away. (Note to self: unless you’re starving to death, do not get a funnel cake! Even then, think twice about it).
We were on our way to the water rides at the opposite end of the park when we were waylaid by a thunderstorm. All the rides were closed down during the storm and the crowds piled into any area with a roof to wait it out. We ended up at a carousel, so I got a couple of pictures of that. It amazed me how tortured the horses on this carousel looked, and I wondered if they had always looked that way. Spooky!
Here are the pictures from the rest of the park (the carousel horses kinda creeped me out. . .).
We left around 4:30 because we had had two thunderstorms come through, and my friends had already decided to take me to Olive Garden to continue the day — yum! Despite the funnel cake, I wanted some real food, Olive Garden style. Back to Largo we went (and, of course, I’d already been this way that day), to Olive Garden, where there was no wait!
I’m not sure what happened, but we turned into those people you don’t want to sit next to at a restaurant — laughing, talking a lot, and just being generally obnoxious. Well, it wasn’t that bad, but I would’ve hated sitting next to us. And we had a ball! It might have had something to do with the drinks (although we only had one each), but we were on a giggling roll. . . It was the perfect ending to a perfect day (if you don’t count my getting lost, that is). So we’re going to do it again this Saturday — yay! I want to ride rides and see the rest of the park.
On the Home Front
So back to work on Sunday. . . It wasn’t too bad, but I realized I had to get a wireless headset; I had just destroyed my third wired one, so I had no music — again. I think there were around 30 sites to do that day per team (I’m my own team), so I didn’t finish up until 2:30 or so — again. When I walked in my RV after my shift, I nearly fell back through the door as Sponge Bob rose up to greet me and I had forgotten he was even there. I can imagine how my birds feel about him hanging around in the living room.
So our plan now is to let Sponge Bob go to his demise. He’s helium-filled, so we thought it would be great to let him go over the Skyline Bridge. I was going to drive across, roll down my window and push him out, and then film him floating away. However, it occurred to me that I could actually cause accidents by doing that, as drivers might crane their necks to see what was floating above the bridge and end up falling off of it. So I think I might just let him go in the park. I don’t think Mylar balloons are nearly as dangerous as regular balloons to the wildlife. And who knows? Someone might find his deflated body, refill him, and take him home with them.
One observation: I’ve determined there’s a disorder that camp hosts develop (aside from ADD), which involves being able to spot trash and cigarette butts from a mile away, and feeling the urge to pick them up; I realized this when I went to Walmart, actually (no surprise, I’m sure — what a filthy place!). Palm fronds lying on the ground is another red flag, and I find myself thinking about bringing the golf cart around to get them — outside the park! Hopefully, I’ll get over this, but if not, I guess it’s another possibility for future employment.
Spent the day — my 56th birthday — at the beach. It was a perfect day, and the water was just cool enough to be somewhat refreshing so I popped in and out when I felt the need. I also watched a crew set up to film a commercial. I heard it was a deodorant commercial, or an underwear commercial, but whatever it was, I finally asked them if they were setting up for a sunset shot — and they were! So much for the deodorant commercial, since the heat on the beach would have been the perfect environment to test it, but a sunset doesn’t have any association at all with deodorant. If it was an underwear commercial, that really doesn’t make sense, either. So I guess I’ll just wait to see what comes out of it (fat chance, since I never watch TV). I kept waiting for the ‘talent’ to come out, but they never did — divas! While the crew sweated in the hot sun, the talent must have been in the air-conditioned RV I saw as I walked to the beach. Rank hath its privilege, I guess. . .
Have a good week, all!