Finally i have time to sit down and post a few of the photos from our trip to sunny florida.

Mom and i flew on southwest out of st. louis on sunday feb. 16th and it was a good flight, not like when we flew to NYC in december and had to hang around in the airport for four hours.

kevin sent me this photo of what it looked like at home. i was so glad to be free from the snow for a while.

We touched down at the Tamp International Airport and had to get on a shuttle train to reach the main terminal where we retrieved our luggage. I had a giant suitcase and mom had two smaller ones, and we had to drag them a good distance to yet another shuttle to the car rental place.

i’d found a decent deal through southwest and the name of the rental company was advantage. more trudging to finally get to the rental place, including a scary ride up an escalator with my giant bag plus one of mom’s bags and we should have taken the elevator.

when we finally reached the rental place i was pretty tired. the woman at the counter asked me if i wanted the $79 additional fee to protect us against the “many many” toll roads all over tampa and central florida.

She talked for quite a while about how the toll roads in the area weren’t manned so you couldn’t pay at them and sometimes you didn’t even know you were on a toll road and they’d take a picture of the license plate and charge us a fee plus a hefty fine.

On and on she went and i said, “well, that sounds like highway robbery! Why would Florida do that?” at first i didn’t want to get the magic seventy nine dollar add-on, but then i said we’d better have it. then she said that she thought i might be able to avoid the tolls if i avoided downtown Tampa plus some bridges connecting tampa to st. pete. she marked them all on a map.

So i ended up not getting it and later was told that this was actually total bullshit, just another way that a stupid car rental place tries to gouge you for more money.

i did say i wanted to pay for a full tank of gas, which i never do, because it seemed like an ok idea right then.

we found our cute little white honda accord and i asked the woman who handed me the keys about the whole toll road thing and she quietly said “you’ll be fine.”

I put the address to our first air b&b, which was in st. pete, only five minutes from gulfport beach, into the map app on my phone and off we went.

Except the phone lady wasn’t telling us the directions. i couldn’t look at the phone because we were going to be on the highway. uh oh.

we pulled over before leaving the airport and couldn’t figure out what was wrong, and i told mom that she was going to have to tell me the directions. i explained that she’d have to say whatever it said on the top of the screen.

mom had no experience in this whole map thing, and even though she knows way more about iphones than most 84 year-olds, she was a little flummoxed.

we got on the highway and i’d say, “where do we go?” and she’d say, “uh…we turn onto blah blah road,” and i’d say, “WHAT DIRECTION DO WE TURN???” and it went on like that for a bit and i explained, while driving on the highway, how she could see if maybe the sound was turned down.

Finally i suggested that she call Amy, who attempted to be helpful, but she basically told mom to do what i’d already told her to do.

When we got off the highway in st. pete we made a few wrong turns and went through some sketchy-looking neighborhoods and had to backtrack and i had to stop to look at the map a few times, but we finally arrived.

whew. what was supposed to be a half hour drive was closer to an hour and by the time we got there it was dark and we were hungry and exhausted.

the house was so cute, and i loved this vintage spotlight standing in the corner of the dining room. i wish i’d taken a few more photos of the place, but the video does show a lot.

I was happy to see these flamingo and swan floats piled next to the pool, how cute. but it seems those flamingos would have to be for a very very small child.

and of course i appreciated the display of wine bottles in the corner of the kitchen.

Here’s the video i took of the place, hurrying around so we could go out and find some food.

we drove about five minutes to a strip mall and got some to-go thai food then walked over to the wal mart to get some critical wine.

we took it back to our place and ate outside next to the pool. because amy always wants to know what we ate, i think this is the only meal that i forgot to document. it was delicious.

we then spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out the tv. i think there were a couple of remotes and no instructions about what cable was being used and all of that, but we finally managed to find channels so mom could stay up and watch TV while i went to bed.

and that’s about it for our first exciting day.

ok then, of course there are many photos and videos forthcoming.

mrs. h.