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2022 - October - Florida - Day 6

I was working in the lab, late one night When my eyes beheld an eerie sight

I found my way down to the kitchen for breakfast after a comfortable first night’s sleep in the villa. I was still up before 6.30am though I wanted to check that the boys’ flights had taken off. They were both now in the air although Neil’s flight had been delayed by 1 hour meaning that they would now be arriving at roughly the same time.

We didn’t really have too much of a plan for the day although we thought we would start out at the Outlet Malls so that Karen could get her ‘essential’ shopping out of the way before she took Ellie round the shops on a planned visit in a week’s time.

As usual we parked at the top end of the mall, walked across the road into the main area. Our first stop was Columbia to hopefully finally replace a lightweight fleece for Karen after hers was stolen in California. I didn’t realise she also wanted to replace a raincoat that wasn’t stolen but did suit her well nevertheless.

Then it was into the ASICS shop to get her special trainers for her troublesome feet. She found a pair she liked and they fitted well. The problem was the price and try as we could the biggest reduction, we could get was 10% off, on top of the buy one pair and get another pair free. So, the price she paid for the first pair was still less than the £120 they cost at home and then she got to choose another pair for free. By now as her personal bag carrier, I was getting laden down. But we weren’t finished yet. The last item on her list was another ‘small’ Kipling bag for everyday use. We left that shop with the bag in another bag for me to carry.

It was then time for a drink and we walked to the Starbucks stall and found somewhere to sit in the shade out of the blazing sun to drink them.

We dropped the bags back in the car before wandering around the shops at that end of the outlets before deciding to move on. All this shopping and spending had now made Karen hungry. We had no idea if we would be eating this evening so we went along the road and went in the nearest MacDonalds and had a cheeky but cheerful and cheap burger each.

There was still some time to kill before we needed to get to the airport to pick up Neil. Earlier in the trip Karen had purchased a swimsuit from Target. It was not until she examined it later that she realised they had left the electronic tags on it. So as there was a Target just round the corner, we headed over to it to get them removed which they did quickly.

It was then time to drive to the airport where we parked in the Cell Phone waiting Lot. We checked online and saw that Neil had landed 3 minutes earlier. We also saw that Barry & Ellie were going to land in 15 minutes time. We wondered and hoped that they might see each other. We messaged them both in anticipation.

I really do not enjoy the airport pickups. I feel helpless and have no idea how long we have to be sitting around waiting. I don’t want to be late for them as that would be awful after the long flight. I get frustrated for them as well as for me. They do at least what is happening but I don’t. At least I know the reward is seeing them once they are through all the process of finally getting into the country.

After a while Neil confirmed he had landed and was waiting for his bag to come onto the carousel. He waited and waited and so we also waited and waited for updates. In the meantime, Barry & Ellie landed, had got their bags and been through immigration and were on their way to collect their car before Neil even got his bag. it was almost an hour after landing that it finally appeared. Once he had cleared immigration, he told us where he was waiting and we were finally able to drive round to pick him up.

We made it back to the villa about 15 minutes ahead of Barry & Ellie. It was so lovely to have them all with us and there was lots of excited chatter taking place all at once. They then had to choose their bedrooms and then started to settle in.

Barry & Ellie decided they were too tired to go out and so got themselves some rolls and snacks before trying out the pool and Hot Tub. Neil wanted to go out for some hot food so the three of us headed out to Smokey Bones for a meal. It had been a number of years since we had been there. The food was still acceptable and reasonably priced.

We were not out long and got back just as Barry & Ellie were retiring for the night. Understandably, Neil went up to his room as well. They had all had very long days. Karen and I toasted having the boys with us on the enormous sofa in the lounge whilst watching an episode of Shark Tank. We both wondered why it isn’t shown in the UK.

Anyhow although we had had a quite lazy day and not really done an awful lot, it had been a good day as Barry & Ellie and Neil were now with us in our most favourite place. We felt very blessed at that moment and had waited a long time for this to come round again.

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