#5TF: Good Friends

Five Thought Friday Challenge:  Week 3 – July 8 – July 14, 2017

We spent much of this week in Florida visiting with our friend, Suzanne. It was a quick trip (and a long drive) but totally worth it! It was good to get away for a few days and unwind on the beach, in the company of someone who shares our minimalist beliefs and values. We had such a wonderful trip that it’s hard to narrow it down to just five thoughts, but here goes…

One thing I really enjoyed this week was paddling Stump Pass. Angie pulled her paddleboard out from under the bed before we left and brought it along for the trip. Thankfully, it’s an inflatable board, otherwise I have no idea where we would have put it in our tiny little car. Suzanne and I rented kayaks from Hooked on SUP (the outfitter where we originally took SUP lessons 4 years ago). They now have a rental kiosk at Stump Pass State Park, one of the few places in the area that we have never paddled. The wind was blowing 8-10 MPH but somehow we managed to paddle into it and make our way to the cove where we had a picnic lunch and watched a manatee swim by.

I am grateful for good friends. Suzanne lives less than a mile from the beach and graciously allowed us to stay in her guest room during our trip. She bought us dinner (delicious fish tacos at Sharky’s On The Pier) and invited us to her dad’s birthday party. We were very happy to see her parents again and enjoyed having lunch with them. Over the 2 1/2 days that we were there, we talked, we laughed, we ate, we swam, we paddled, we dreamed, and we just enjoyed each other’s company. We are both very grateful for the hospitality and for the privilege of having such a wonderful friend.

I need to let go of my homesickness. Every time we come back from a trip to Florida, I feel sad. I miss our life there…our friends…our trips to the beach…the slow pace of everyday living. I never want to let go of the dream of someday going back home but in order not to miss out on our life today, I have to let go of the angst I have about not being there now.

We made progress on our 2017 Happiness Project Bucket List by taking a paddle trip and finding another letterbox. We also stayed true to our goal not to buy anything new (unless absolutely necessary). Before leaving for the trip, we had searched online for a life vest for Angie. It’s a requirement in FL that you have a life vest on your paddleboard at all times. We didn’t want to buy a new one just to use a few times this year, yet we knew we needed one, so we opted to wait until we got to FL and check local stores there. As luck would have it, Suzanne had just purchased a life vest for $5 at Goodwill the very day we arrived and we were able to borrow it for the paddle trip. She also helped us out by giving us her old printer. Our printer was on it’s last leg and we were undecided on whether to buy one or use the temperamental one in our apartment’s office. Again we got lucky that Suzanne had just replaced her printer and was going to give the old one to Goodwill.

The funniest thing that happened this week (besides Suzanne trying to paddleboard, Angie and I getting lost looking for tacos in Chattanooga, and Caesar falling in love with a cat named Sue at the boarding kennel) happened while we were waiting for our kayaks at the rental kiosk. The couple that had rented ahead of us had two young boys (probably around 9-10 years old). They had just pulled away from the launch point when we heard one of the boys screaming at the top of his lungs, “Alligator! Alligator! ALLIGATOR! Shark!” The man at the kayak stand ran down to the shoreline to see what was going on. (There are no alligators in the ocean, by the way.) He returned a few minutes later laughing. A manatee had popped its nose up out of the water beside the boy’s kayak. Having never seen a manatee, he freaked out. When we got back from our paddle trip, the rental guy asked if we’d seen any wildlife. I told him that we saw a manatee in the cove. He smiled and said, “You mean an alligator.”

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