Thursday, December 23, 2010

30th Anniversary in Florida

Pictured is one of the units here at the park, with the full moon above.

Sunday was our 30th Anniversary. A lot of couples might spend such an occasion going out for a nice dinner or perhaps celebrating with family.

Not us.

To my surprise Janice suggested that we attend the Tampa Bay Buccaneers/Detroit Lions NFL game. Of course I wasn’t opposed to the idea but I threw out a couple of other suggestions anyway, like: We could go to Tarpon Springs for a bike ride, where the Greek immigrants have been diving for sponges for decades and where we could go for authentic Greek Food; we could also go to The Dome Imax Theatre in Tampa where The Hubble documentary is reportedly an amazing show.

Janice went on to convince me that the NFL game might be a one off chance to take in the spectacle of an Amercian football game and, that she might get to take in a tailgate party at the same time. Some of you ladies, no doubt, are thinking, “What was she thinking? An NFL game on a 30th Anniversary!?” Any truly devoted wife would happily do the same.

Janice went online to The Bucs website and was almost finished the on-line purchase of the tickets, at $121.00 each - I know, pretty expensive - but when she tried to ‘Complete Purchase’ the site wanted an address to send the tickets to. That wasn’t going to work and so, a little frustrated, we went to bed thinking we’d call in the morning and reserve the same tickets that were now probably somewhere in no man’s land because Janice hadn’t cancelled the purchase.

In the morning, contrary to the forecast, we woke to pouring rain. It was also foggy and cold in Tampa so we decided to cancel the purchase and go to the Imax theatre instead. By the time we checked the schedule for the Hubble show however we had already missed it too.

We ended up going for breakfast at the Two Minute Restaurant, so named because the ever-present owner is a little Thai guy who notes the number in your party and then, holding up two fingers, proclaims, “Two minutes." Two minutes later he returns and says again, “Two Minutes." In our case we only had to wait two ‘two minutes’ spells. Inside the restaurant are all kinds of John Wayne memorabilia including a picture of the two-pint Thai owner in a ten gallon John Wayne hat.

I’m not going near the meal pricing issue because my buddy Bill Lyle is back home. Following is some of his commentary resulting from my earlier jibes. I don’t know what I was thinking when I threw out the bait - I’m no match.

Alright........I've had a bit of counseling and some very long reflective hikes. I can say without reservation that I will change my ways and try to embrace your new obsession. Your reaction to my mild criticisms surprised me and I can only guess that that constant Florida sun has peeled a layer of skin from you. Your petty put downs directed my way, meant to embarrass me in front all the blog readers, have worked, but also reminded me of the power of a man with a captive audience. Now that your readership has grown, remember to use your power for good Tim, and don't go all Jim Jones on us.

Bill then detailed every meal he had on his recent trip as well as what it cost. Funny guy.

Our neighbours, Jim and Rose, were with us at the Two Minutes Restaurant and suggested, considering the rain, that maybe we should visit the huge Big Tent indoor flea market not far from us. There Janice bought two different Chipotle hot sauces and some Stone Crab. The Stone Crab was the first we had seen since our feast at Robyn and Dales’ in Key West.

While we had planned on going to dinner in Tampa for our anniversary, by the time we got back from the flea market we decided instead to pick up some tenderloin and a good bottle of red wine - Seven Deadly Zins - and have dinner at home. The white wine, that Mark and Heather had brought us for our anniversary, we paired with the Stone Crab and then had the Zin with the tenderloin and salad with cranberry, walnut and blue cheese dressing. The meal was undoubtedly much better than we could have found in a restaurant.

On Monday morning I accepted an invitation to golf at nearby Bernadette Hills with a few guys from the park. I’m pretty sure that they took me for some kind of sand bagger when my first drive outdistanced any of them by thirty or forty yards and my next shot landed the green from a hundred-and-eighty yards out. When I two-putted for a par I saw them look at each other like, “Sure, now he’s gonna, ask to play for money.” They learned on the very next hole though how quickly the wheels could fall off of my game when my ball caught a branch on a tree and ended up in the jungle. It got worse from there and I ended up taking a nine. I then proceeded to thoroughly stink up the other seventeen holes. I was a real hit with the guys though.

Tuesday was relatively quiet. Following volleyball we washed the truck, went for a swim, had a drink for Happy Hour with Jim and Rose and then watched the folks parade their bikes and golf carts around the park.

Pictured are: The golf carts get ready to parade around the park and then Cliff posing as he waits for the parade. Later he rolls by.

On Wednesday we went with about twenty other riders to the Pinellas Trail near Clearwater. Janice and I peeled off from the other riders after an hour though so that we could make it to Tarpon Springs for Greek Food before attending a Christmas affair at Art and Helen’s - Art being one of the golfers. At Mikinos restaurant in Tarpon Springs we had Saganaki and then split a house special, I forget the name, but it was a lamb shank baked with Okra and it was really very good.
Pictured are the riders on the Pinellas Trail as well as the bakery at Mikinos Greek restaurant where we ate.

We walked around the town of Tarpon Springs, which is renowned for being the Sponge Capital of the World. Sponge dive boats line the harbour and I’d have a couple of excellent shots of them except that I accidentally deleted them after a few drinks at Art’s.

Today, after volleyball we rode with our neighbour Jim to Wire Grass to check out a Mexican restaurant that one of the people here had claimed to be of the authentic variety. Not so. It was kind of cafeteria-like and there wasn’t a single Mexican working there. Our plan is to go for Mexican food on Christmas Eve but it will be at the one we’ve seen in Zephyrhills.

We're starting to feel slightly complascent here and will be moving on as of January 1.


  1. Boy a sure lot of activities seem to revolve around eating. No wonder you have to go for those long bike rides.
    Love the Christmas Pictures.


  2. This day ( Boxing Day ) is starting out much quieter after a fun-filled Christmas with Great-Grandson Sam. I hope your Dec 25 was filled with joy too. Reading your blog has started this day with happiness for you. Belated 30th anniversary good wishes and continued blessings for 2011. ljc