Finding Fun

Pink clouds capture my attention when I glance out the window

Pink clouds capture my attention when I glance out the window

We agreed to do something fun this weekend.  However, we didn’t agree on what we would do.  I, of course, wanted to go hiking.  My husband, however, wanted to do something that wasn’t physical because his ankle has been bothering him.  Given that I can’t argue with an injury, I contemplated what we could possibly do that would not be physically demanding, but that could include Tisen.

I suggested we take a drive to Atlanta to go to IKEA, something we had planned to do a month or so ago, but ended up not doing.

The pink streaks reach all the way to the view directly in front of us, which is almost due North

The pink streaks reach all the way to the view directly in front of us, which is almost due North

IKEA is one of those places that always sounds great to me.  Lots of cool, clever, and affordable concepts to make a home more livable.  And, we could use some shelving and lighting, etc. in our new place.

So, we loaded Tisen up in the car about mid-morning Saturday and off we went.  The drive to Atlanta is not nearly as scenic as the drive to Nashville.  There is no IKEA in Tennessee, however, so Atlanta was the closest choice.  We made one stop for a fast-food lunch.  It occurred to me that if we’re going to do a road trip, we should start planning our route based on enjoyable, healthier restaurants.  It’s just no fun to eat fast food.

Once we made it to IKEA, by the time we found a parking spot and through the front door, I was ready for a nap.  Have I mentioned I hate to shop?  I don’t know why I always think going to IKEA is going to be fun.  I’ve been to about 3 IKEAs now and I always have the same experience:  I start out excited by the idea; then, as soon as we walk in the door, I feel exhausted and overwhelmed by choices.  By the time we get about a quarter of the way through the first show room, I am practically shoving people out of the way because I can’t get through there fast enough.

The light eventually fades, leaving only a faint glow between the clouds and the ridge

The light eventually fades, leaving only a faint glow between the clouds and the ridge

The further we get into the store, the more my desire to leave increases.  All I can think about it how much I don’t want to be there.

We did make it out of the store without inciting a riot.  We immediately used my iPhone to find the closest park.  We found a lovely little park in the middle of a nearby neighborhood and took Tisen for a loop around it.  I felt human again afterwards.

Able to breathe again, we returned to the car and drove the nearly two hours back home.

We not only failed to do something fun, but we also ended up walking further than my husband intended.

On the plus side, we spent some quality time together in the car.  And, later that day, there was a nice sunset partially viewable from our balcony.

I decided to do a short time lapse “video” of the clouds blowing through as the sun went down and the light faded away.

Tisen and his infamous purple monkey

Tisen and his infamous purple monkey

Jumping the Moat

Continued from Lost and Found.

Christmas morning we woke up early and laid there in the dark, realizing we could no longer hear the Gulf slapping the banks of our tiny island.  Even when we held our breath, we couldn’t hear the waves.

When at last dawn lightened the sky, we decided to get up and get an early start in our canoe.  We had about 8 miles of paddling in store for us and we were already sore from paddling yesterday.

When we stepped out of the tent, we discovered our tiny island had become a giant island at low tide.  Actually, it was still a tiny island, but now it was surrounded by a giant moat.  The Gulf was suddenly so far away, it was almost unbelievable last night we were worried our canoe would get washed away by high tide.

We ate breakfast slowly.  We walked around the island and watched the sunrise.  We packed up our campsite.  We loaded up the canoe.  All the while, the water was slowly rising, coming closer, but it still looked hopelessly far away.

Having nothing left to do, we sat and waited.  But then, the wind died and we were sitting ducks for biting insects.  We were suddenly motivated to find a way across the moat, dragon or not.

We slid our canoe along the murky shore while we walked as far as we could on dry land.  We found that the opposite end of the island was closer to deep water than our end, so we edged our way through thick mangroves until we finally stepped into the muck and pushed our canoe and gear through the shallows until there was enough water that we could get in and paddle away.  We were itchy with drying muck as we paddled off into the sun.

We hadn’t been out too long when we saw a strange line of evenly spaced white dots stretched across the horizon.  As the dots got larger, we realized it was a large group of American White Pelicans flying in precise formation, sweeping the surface in search of prey.  They flew to a shoal where a huge conglomeration of pelicans gathered.  That might have been the best Christmas present ever.

When we stopped for lunch somewhere between Rabbit Key and Tiger Key, we discovered a family of Osprey.  The young were nearly the size of their parents and angrily demanded to be fed while their parents seemed to argue that it was time for them to leave their nest.

We arrived at Tiger Key without any navigational hiccups.  But the wind soon died and we discovered “no-see-ums.”  I tried a trick someone told us–smearing baby oil on my exposed skin.  I ended up looking like human fly paper and they still bit me–my skin looked like a basketball.

Thankfully, we managed to keep the bugs out of the tent and fell asleep with smiles on our faces, dreaming of Osprey and Pelicans.