I need to keep this as positive as I can because in the end I did have a great time in Florida on Spring Break. This will probably be a little long winded so, I apologize upfront.
What a drive! We left Indiana at 7:00 am with the Garmin saying the hotel was just 10.5 hours away. That is perfect we picked a hotel with an indoor pool and free breakfast. We should arrive between 5 pm and 6 pm, right? I forgot I have 3 kids and the spring break traffic down I-65 S and I-75 S is crazy. Bathroom breaks averaged 30 minutes. I have no clue why we can’t just get out use the bathroom and get back on the road. On the road if you were not going 80 MPH at some spots you would get run over. Then in other spots we would be at a dead stop for no visible reason. If we could just drive at 60 MPH constantly it would work out better. With that said we didn’t get to the hotel until after 9:00 pm. Since the heated indoor pool and hot tub was open 24 hours a day, this hotel turned into a big hit with the kids. Then they were able to wake up and make their own waffles. Only 5 hours left to final destination. Whoops, I forgot kids and traffic again (7 hours).
We are staying at my in-laws 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo in a retirement community. My mother-in-law (MIL) has it set up for the kids to stay in the extra bedroom, 2 on blow up mattresses and one on a love seat. This room also will serve as where all 5 of us will live out of our suitcase. My MIL is great but, she is also very opinionated and sees things only her way. I know we didn’t have to stay here but, it was nice to be able to have a place to stay for free. Keeping us all in this small bedroom was a way to keep the other areas of her condo status quo. My wife and I were supposed to have the pull out bed in the front room. Everything in the condo has a place. No drinks on counters, tables, sink, etc. without a napkin or coaster under it. Wipe down the shower. Don’t leave anything out. I need a little more freedom. No fighting, yelling, bickering…haha. Have you not met your grand kids?
First thing I did after unpacking the van is open a beer. Yep, I drink and eat bad food…I am on vacation. The kids wanted to go to the pool and the first thing I was told was that no alcohol was allowed. So, I threw three extra beers in the pool bag and headed to the pool with everyone, including my MIL with all her knitting accessories. This was the start of not being able to do much with only my wife and kids.
Like I said in an earlier post and a brief mention here is that I like to eat while on vacation. After dinner, I was hoping to find a place to eat but, no my MIL had other plans. It was planned for us to have tacos. I had a taco and remained hungry the rest of the night. She also, was upset that the kids didn’t eat all of it. My kids are hit or miss with eating. Sometimes they shock us with how much they eat but, most of the time we know they won’t eat much. So, we had to sit for a formal dinner at a table that really was NOT meant to host 7 people.
I know I am an early to bed; early to rise kind of person but, that kind of goes with a working schedule which has me up at 4:00 am every morning. My in-laws on the other hand have their set TV schedule and recorded shows that they watch each night and like to stay up late. I was hoping we could kind of meet in the middle but, why would I think that? The condo has 2 TV’s. One TV is in the extra bedroom (with the 2 blow up mattresses, love seat, suitcase and dirty clothes) and the other is in the front room. As my wife and I laid down on the pull out bed to try to sleep, I found out that the TV doesn’t shut off until around midnight. They even drink coffee while watching, talking, and reading the paper at night. I think that was my last night in the front room. It wasn’t like I was going to have any private moments so; I figured my wife could share the bed with one or 2 of the kids while I stayed in the extra bedroom on an air mattress.
Another night my kids got in trouble for trying to change the front room’s television. How were they supposed to know that grandma was recording two shows to watch later that night? So, I got to hang out in our 10X10 foot room with three kids, two air mattresses, love seat, suitcase and dirty clothes pile and watch Austin and Alley and Phineas and Ferb for a few hours.
In the condo there was no privacy. It seemed to me my MIL had to make sure we weren’t doing anything we were not supposed to. With the mattresses on the floor of the bedroom we couldn’t shut the door. The bedroom was right next to the bathroom. Why did my MIL insist on trying to have a conversation with my wife while she was doing her hair and I was trying to change in the bedroom? Every day?
I think you get the stressful living quarters but, it was only me that it bothered. The kids and wife were ok with it. We were able to do a couple of things without our chaperones. We visited Winter from the movie Dolphin Tale and then went to Clear Water Beach. The kids had a blast playing in the sand and the cold water.
With our chaperones we went to Apollo Beach to see saw some manatees. At least we had someone to take a picture of us. We also went to Busch Gardens with the grandparents.
Another day, since it was raining, we went to see Oz The Great and Powerful. Since we were out unsupervised, I wanted to find a restaurant but, was told we were to have chicken at the condo. I cried! In the end her parents met us out at a restaurant they recommended. It was horrible.
This post was taken from the negative part of the trip. We actually had a ton of fun. I could have written this post from the positive perspective but, that would have been longer than this post. We learned quite a bit on this trip. Don’t believe the arrival time of the Garmin and sometimes spending on our own condo is well worth the money spent.
Almost makes the kids look like they like each other.