365 in 52 [2021] ~ Week Twenty-Five

Because I have so many photos to edit from our vacation to Key West, I chose one from each day to get started so I don’t get too far behind.

Day 169, Friday, June 18th, 2021

Waiting Waiting Waiting

It’s time for vacation! Curtis had made us each gift bags with matching masks, hand sanitizer, candy, gum, and gift cards. Mom also got a tiara but she forgot it at home. That was so sweet of him! The girls got fancy Vera Bradley masks, we felt so pretty. We were all ready on time Friday morning and we left the house around 11:20 to pick up Cole. Because we had 6 people with lots of suitcases, we took 2 cars to the airport in San Antonio. The boys picked up Cole then Curtis dropped them at the curb, and I dropped the girls and the luggage at the curb too. Curtis and I then parked in long term and took the shuttle back. We all then headed to the priority line at American to check the bags. 

Snafu #1. We had no plane. They were trying to find a replacement plane because ours had mechanical problems. They tried to get us on another flight to DFW but there weren’t enough seats. It was about 1:00 at this point. Our flight was supposed to leave at 2:30. They said we would most likely get another plane in time to make it to Dallas for our next flight at 6:45. Curtis thought we should hop back in the cars and drive to Dallas. But I didn’t want to have to drive back from Dallas. So we waited. And waited. And waited. Anna played with Sophia, her baby doll, and mom played on her iPad. I took pictures. Curtis played on his phone and the boys played on their Switches.

They did eventually find us another plane and said it would be leaving from Dallas to come to San Antonio. We kept watching our app to see when it took off, but it was delayed because there was bad weather in Dallas. Finally it arrived and they loaded us on after 5:30. We knew our connection was screwed and had already resigned ourselves to spending the night in Dallas. We arrived at 6:38 and our connection was leaving at 6:45. There were 2 other families on our plane also going to Key West so we had a glimmer of hope that they might wait. We had to change terminals so we told the others if they beat us to the gate to let them know about our family of 6. 

Y’all should’ve seen Anna!!! She hauled ass and RAN all the way to the tram with the boys. They tried to hold the tram for me and mom but we just missed it. About 2 stops away, Curtis calls me and says the gate agent called him to find out how close we were because the pilot was holding the plane for us. WHAT?!?!?!? Crazy, right? That never happens!

So we actually made it to Key West and I hugged the pilot. Of course our luggage didn’t make the connection but we didn’t care at that point. That was Snafu #2 to be dealt with tomorrow. We got a taxi, headed to the condo, ordered a pizza, then collapsed. 

Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/3.2 | 1/400 | ISO 280 | handheld

Day 170, Saturday, June 19th, 2021

View From our Condo

We woke up in good spirits on Saturday having all slept fairly well. Curtis then started trying to figure out where our luggage was. I went out on the deck to take some photos. Mom and Dominic went on a short walk to a market that was close by to pick up a few groceries. I had already created Winn-Dixie and Shipt accounts so I could order food for the condo so I went ahead and scheduled that for later in the afternoon. Curtis and I decided to go explore around lunchtime and ended up at the Sunset Pier for a drink. We then wandered over to CVS to get a few basic toiletries because we all wanted to brush our teeth and put on some deodorant. The humidity made the heat nearly unbearable. Curtis and I were both dripping sweat and soaked to the bone by the time we got back to the condo (as were mom and Dominic earlier that morning). Curtis got on the AA app and figured out that 5 of our 7 pieces of luggage should be arriving on a 5:45 flight that afternoon but we were hoping all 7 of when would be there. We were all stinky! So the boys went to the airport via taxi to wait for luggage. 

I decided to load the dishwasher before groceries arrived to discover Snafu #3. The dishwasher was broken, it was full of very disgusting dirty water. I turned it on to run it but nothing happened… I tried to cancel it and nothing happened. Ewww. So began the sojourn of hand washing dishes on vacation. Words that should NEVER go together in a sentence. 

The boys went to the airport via taxi to wait for luggage. Not too much later, they were heading back with 5 pieces of luggage. Once they were back, we discovered that mom’s and Anna’s suitcases were missing. That was unfortunate because they are about the same size and could wear each others clothes. I then dug around in Curtis‘s workout clothes to find mom and Anna some shirts and shorts to wear until their luggage arrived. Mom was still tired from traveling so the girls ordered food in for dinner from OnlyWood and the rest of us showered and went out. Mom said she would wash all the dirty clothes so she and Anna would have something to wear on Sunday. That’s when we found Snafu #4, the washing machine was broken too. I fired off a second email to the realty management company. The boys and I had an amazing dinner experience at Bagatelle and met the nicest waiter named Justin. We then found a candy shop called It’s Sugar where Dominic bought the biggest gummy worm in the world!

New Braunfels travel photographer
Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/11 | 1/400 | ISO 140 | handheld

Day 171, Sunday, June 20th, 2021

Rhett Likes the Hat

Sunday morning, I loaded up a backpack full of wet clothes and a basket of dirty clothes to go out in search of a laundromat. Yes, you read that right! I had found one about 3/4 mile away that had a drop off service. Perfect. Curtis and I walked past a golf cart rental place and decided that because of the heat, it would be a good idea to have one. We could only get a 4-seater but I was VERY grateful to have it because when we got to the laundromat, the drop off service was closed on Sundays. Sigh. So we hauled everything back to the condo. Curtis then got a call that one of the pieces of luggage had arrived at the airport so he and Anna headed over to get it. They had to wait a very long time but eventually brought Anna’s luggage back with them. Now at least mom could wear something of Anna’s. I called the after hours emergency number about the washing machine and our lost luggage and they sent someone over from housekeeping to get our laundry. They said they could get it back to us the next day. That was nice.

Our only planned excursion for all 6 of us was a trip to the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory with a Flamingle Experience Sunday afternoon. After the center closes, they allow just 6 people to stay and meet their resident flamingoes, Rhett and Scarlett. This was scheduled for 4:30 Sunday afternoon and we all managed to shower and have clean clothes on, woohoo! Because we could only fit 4 of us on the golf cart, the boys took that and the girls took an air conditioned taxi. The Flamingle Experience was really really cool. They are much taller than I realized and so curious. Scarlett took a liking to mom. Rhett took a liking to Dominic. Our guide, Clarissa, was so informative and engaged. She’s been working there for years and has really bonded to these flamingoes. We all got tons of cool photos and videos and Clarissa took a bunch too which she air dropped to us before we left. I loved this photo of Rhett grabbing hold of Dominic’s hat. D’s expression is hilarious!

After the Butterfly museum, Curtis and Dominic went back to the airport for the third time (3RD) to get the last missing piece of luggage while the rest of us went back to the condo. They got mom’s suitcase, came back, we ordered some dinner for everyone from the Old Town Mexican Cafe, then Curtis and I went out to Mallory Square to watch the sunset. We then went out to a late dinner just the two of us at One Duval but we both felt overdone, too hot, and a little sick (I think we were dehydrated) so we called it an early night and were in bed by 10.

New Braunfels travel photographer
Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.5 | 1/320 | ISO 360 | handheld

Day 172, Monday, June 21st, 2021

Irish Kevin’s

Monday dawned with a sense of finally our vacation was starting. Everyone had their luggage, the realty company was sending someone to fix the dishwasher on Tuesday and replace the washing machine on Wednesday. Our laundry had been done and returned. They also gave us a hefty refund almost equivalent to a full day’s rental charge. Anna, Curtis, and I went out for breakfast intending to try Blue Heaven which was highly recommended. But it had a 45-minute wait so we ate down the street at Rams Head Southernmost. We had naps in the afternoon, sent the boys out to CVS for some essentials, then we left Dominic to nap while we hit up some art galleries. We met Alan Maltz, owner of a gorgeous photography gallery. He gifted Anna a postcard, so sweet! The girls got overheated fairly quickly so we stopped at the Old Town Tavern for a drink then ordered them a taxi. They got back and ordered dinner to be delivered to the condo (again from OnlyWood, they really liked their food!) while Curtis and I went out to eat. We had a delicious meal at Caroline’s Cafe then walked up Duval to Mallory Square. We booked a parasailing adventure for the following afternoon with Fury Adventures. We people watched then walked back down to Duval ending up at Irish Kevin’s. OMG this guy was a hoot, the performer was Paul Mandell, aka NY Pauly! Anytime someone new walks in, he asks where you’re from then the whole bar yells, “No shit?” He divided the bar into Side A and Side B and we dueled each other singing. It was a blast. We stayed there for about an hour then wandered down to Sloppy Joe’s where a great 90s cover band called Hollow Decks was performing. We got a primo spot and stayed there for a couple of hours. We watched a creepy old guy hitting on a cute young couple and saw the 40th birthday crew from Irish Kevin’s arrive and dance. It was a fun night.

New Braunfels travel photographer
Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.5 | 1/250 | ISO 12800 | handheld

Day 173, Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

So Far Away

Tuesday morning was the boys’ fishing expedition with Salty Goat Fishing Charters. They were long gone by the time I got up so I wandered out and got brunch for me and the girls from Big Boy Burrito. The boys were back by about 2:30 that afternoon. Dominic was the only one not to catch anything. Poor guy! Even in all the years of being in Boy Scouts, he has yet to catch a fish. Cole and Curtis each caught 2 and Cole ended up sunburned. I think they had an okay time but the boat was too crowded and the lines kept getting tangled. Curtis had a short siesta while Anna and I wandered the shops at Mallory Square. Then he and I got ready for our parasailing adventure. I was so excited and a little nervous to try this! I’m not an adventurous person but watching the videos of parasailing, it looked very peaceful. We only had one other couple on our boat and I took a few photos and video with my phone. This was the only day I didn’t take my big camera with me anywhere. Curtis video-ed the whole experience on his Father’s Day gift, his new GoPro. This photo is of me and Curtis way far away, with the rope all the way extended. We were way up there! I wasn’t scared at all and felt like a little girl, I was so excited. I remarked to Curtis that human beings had not evolved to occupy this space in the sky so getting to be there felt extra special. It was amazing and I would do it again in a heartbeat! 

We went back to the condo and again tried to go out to eat but no one else wanted to go with us. So they ordered in and we went out. I really wanted to book a sunset cruise for the following evening for all 6 of us. I thought being on the water would be cooler and found a catamaran snorkeling cruise. The boys could snorkel, the girls could sit in the shade or go wading in the 2-5’ water along the sandbars and watch the sun set. But texting this idea back to mom, Anna freaked out and had a meltdown in front of Dominic and Cole. That upset Dominic and before long, mom was begging us to return. So we canceled our dinner reservation at El Meson de Pepe and headed back. Then we canceled the sunset cruise too. Boo. But really that was the only thorn of behavior in the whole week.

New Braunfels travel photographer
No metadata available (taken by First Mate Alex)

Day 174, Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021

Southernmost Point

Our last full day! I went out and got donuts for everyone from Glazed Donuts, just a couple blocks from our condo. I had purchased tickets to enter the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory on Sunday but we ended up getting there too late to go through it. We could only do the Flamingle Experience. So Clarissa told me to come back later in the week to take as much time as we wanted to look at the butterflies. Only Dominic and Cole wanted to come so the three of us took a taxi over there (we decided to return the golf cart because there in NO free parking anywhere on the island and it was cheaper to take taxis) Wednesday late morning. By the time we arrived, the line was out the door and down the street to enter. So we wandered over one block, looked at the ocean, wandered down another block and waited in a 25-minute line to see the Southernmost Point. We asked a family behind us to get a photo. I really wanted mom with me for this picture because she has one of her here in this spot back in the 80s when she visited Ron. Oh well. It was just too hot. 

After this photo op, the boys and I went through the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory again. It was just as magical as I remembered. Butterflies fluttering around everywhere. We made it back to the condo, made some lunch, then had naps. For our last night in town, we talked everyone in going out to eat at First Flight Brewery. Wow, that food was soooo good! The drinks, the service, the ambiance… everything was perfect. It used to be the headquarters for PanAm! The kids even had a good time! We sent mom and the kids back after dinner, then Curtis and I had a cocktail at Mangoes followed by a drag show at Aquaplex. So so so fun!!! We then went bar hopping until 2 am, hitting up Willie Ts, Rick’s Bar, and The Bull and Whistle Bar which had a clothing optional bar on top! We even visited the Garden of Eden (though there was only one lone naked guy up there).

New Braunfels travel photographer
Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/8 | 1/250 | ISO 200 | handheld

Day 175, Thursday, June 24th, 2021

Last Nap of Vacation

We all slept in super late on Thursday and spent a lazy morning playing on our devices. We showered and started packing after lunch then had about an hour before we headed to the airport. Anna wanted to lay down so she and mom went into the master for a quick nap. None of us had any interest in wandering around and getting soaked with sweat so we just stayed in the condo and chilled. Overall it was a wonderful vacation for me and Curtis, I’m not sure everyone else had a lot of fun but I’m glad we got them out of the house and out into the real world for a while. The Key West airport was a nightmare, a huge open space that overwhelmed me. I can’t imagine how Anna felt! Our plane was about 30 minutes late getting boarded but they made up most of that time in the air. No problems at DFW and we were home on time. We dropped off Cole and got home about 11 pm. The dogs were so happy to see us! Anna is already talking about her next trip… yep she’s stuck on airplanes again! At least this obsession is familiar. 😉

New Braunfels travel photographer
Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.2 | 1/125 | ISO 6400 | handheld

I’ll get the rest of the photos edited when I can and do one big post in the next couple of weeks. Thanks for looking!

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