Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ft. Myers Weekend

It was way back in July when we made plans with Nick and Tonyia to go to Ft. Myers.  What drew my attention was the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater - so we decided to make it a weekend.

Nick and Tonyia picked us up mid morning on Saturday.  We packed the car, made a quick stop at McDonald's for breakfast and headed down US 27........

We arrived early afternoon at the hotel and were pleasantly surprised when they checked us right in.  With  what little time we spend in our hotel room, I am always looking for a bargain.   I found the  Americas Best Value Inn on Cleveland Ave in Ft. Myers.  This little hotel was recently remodeled, was very clean, with the small frig and microwave in the room, a continental breakfast in the morning and was in a decent location.  In the front of the hotel is this statue of three horses.  Very nice - but as Nick brought to our attention AND to the owner of the hotel - it really does look like the horse is taking a leak...........non-stop!

Since we had time before the dinner show we headed out to play some miniature golf, but along the way we passed the Lakes Regional Park and Nick decided to pull in, park and see what it was all about.  Glad he did.  This is a beautiful park located on 279 acres with 158 acres of freshwater quarry lake.  Below are some pictures of our fun day at the park.

This picture shows the fragrance garden, a view of the park, lake and walking/riding trails.  One of two vendors on site is Wheel Fun Rentals.  You can rent a paddle boat or bicycle for up to four people to enjoy and tour the park.

Of course - Rich saw the sign for Ice Cream......so off we went.. Nick opted for a couple of hot dogs, while the rest of us had a dish or cone.......

We sat outside while enjoying our ice cream.......and watched the turtles!  And shared some of our ice cream with the turtles!

Th other vendor on site is the /Railroad Museum of South Florida .  In addition to the museum is a train play area for kids, and a train  ride for all ages. 

For a while we posed for pictures, enjoyed the scenery and exhibits and acted like kids, pretending to be alligators!  When we walked along the boardwalk there was a group of kids fishing from the dock.  One of them managed to get their hook "hooked" underneath the doc.  So Rich and Nick gave them a hand getting it free..........their good deed for the day!

It was a pretty hot day...........and we were already feeling it when we left the park and headed next door to Castle Golf!  This was a beautiful course, and lots of fun, BUT 18 holes in the hot sun was a little TOO much. They tried to be-head me for cheating, which I did NOT - but I did manage to get a hole in one at hole number 12, and when I spun the wheel and it landed on 12, I got a free game.   AND Rich only beat me by ONE point!

We headed back to the hotel to shower and get ready for dinner.  The main reason for our visit was to attend the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater.  Tonight the show was " Those Were The Day".    Tickets to the show included a buffet dinner that was excellent and included Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, chicken, veggies, pasta, and stuffed cabbage.  Soup was beef barley that was excellent, as was the salad and dessert bars.   And our waitress, Caroline, was a sweetheart!

The show was sooooooooooo good and soooooooooo funny!  It was a musical review taking us back to the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's, and it kept us laughing almost non-stop!  The singers were great and the entertainment excellent.  It was one of those shows that you did not want to end.  We highly recommend this venue.  Will definitely come back again. 

Sunday morning we had a quick breakfast at the hotel before leaving.  Prior to our visit, I had tried to find something exciting for us to do on Sunday - but could not find a thing.  Stuff to do in the evening, but not during the day, and with the weather so hot......we were not in the mood for outdoor activity.  Way too much sun the day before.  Nick took a ride along the beach in search of something that might catch our fancy, but we didn't find anything.  Got home early afternoon.  Nick and Tonyia didn't stay long; but long enough for Nick to adjust my pantry doors!  They now stay closed! Thanks Nick. 

Rich and I were both exhausted.  I think the miniature golf in the sun, and the lack of sleep Saturday evening, after drinking high test coffee at dinner was the cause.   We were so tired that dinner was a can of chicken noodle soup!  And I think we were both sound to sleep before 9:00pm. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Weekend - Rain and Hard Work!

The weather this weekend was not very cooperative!

Some of the lower limbs on the tree down near the boathouse were handing pretty low, almost on the roof, and others were dying.  The boathouse is scheduled for a power wash and then paint.   So, on Saturday  Rich and I trimmed the branches and then bagged or tied all the limbs for pick-up on Wednesday.   (Rich trimmed and tied!  I bagged!)   I also trimmed up the topiary in the front yard.  Rain in the afternoon pretty much cancelled anything else planned outside so I spent much of the day cleaning and re-arranging kitchen cupboards and drawers.  ( How do so many crumbs find their way to the silverware tray?)

On Sunday, Rich worked hard outside again.  He got caught in the rain a couple of times ( some pretty hard downpours!), so I'm not sure if the wet clothes were from rain or hard work!!   Last week he got all the lanai and all the walkways around the house cleaned and Sunday he worked very hard as he began the task of power-washing the house.  He completed the peak, the front and one side on Sunday, It looks like it just had a new coat of paint!  Beautiful.

We were standing in the garage during a "rain" break when a young man pulled up and asked if we wanted the large tree in the yard

trimmed.  It's actually our neighbor's  (John) tree, but some of the limbs hand over close to our roof.  We told him to talk with John, and if he wanted to have it done, we would split the cost with him.  So  - the tree trimming is done.  No more large branches over the house.  They are all nicely decorating our neighbor's front yard, waiting to be hauled away on Monday.  We still have tied limbs and three bags of weeds and limbs in the garage that will be taken away on Wednesday.
While the guys played in the rain...............I had on last cupboard in the kitchen to finish ( the spices) and then I set out making spaghetti sauce and meatballs for dinner.   The sauce cooked most of the day .....................and dinner was delicious.

We relaxed and watched a movie............and called it a weekend!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Just the normal "at home" stuff.........

As you can tell from the infrequency of updating this blog -  living in a "house"  means that many things become routine - so what I had for dinner and with who kind of becomes repetitive.  When we were RV'ing it seemed that while we were not always travelling, we were always meeting new people and always having friendly "happy hours" at one site or another.    That part of RV'ing we really do miss.

Having said that, we are very happy here on the lake, and we have some wonderful neighbors and friends;  and we still have many of those that we met during our RV life and continue to stay in touch with.    As a matter of fact Nick and Tonyia were here again this weekend for dinner. ( I know - repetitive!!!)  But we had a great Pot Roast made in the crock pot with red potatoes, fresh veggies and fresh herbs.  It was delicious!   Tonyia and I had time to play a couple of games while we waited for dinner.............It was a very enjoyable day.

This past week has not been a real busy one.......... for me at least.  I LOVE to clean - so  I'm right on schedule with all the things that need to be done!  Rich still enjoys his time with the Stock Market  so he spends a good part of the day on that. BUT.......he still worked on his "honey do list" and was actually more productive than me!

In addition to pulling weeds, charging the boat battery, fertilizing the palm trees and cleaning the gutters......he painted my desk chair!!

This chair was part of an old kitchen set in the park model that Nick and Tonyia bought.  All it needed was a fresh coat of paint and a cushion for the seat. The green/tan colors go perfectly in the living room.

Last night I also got a break from cooking dinner.  Rich made his "home made pizza".  This is an old family recipe, and while it looks like pizza, it really has a taste all its' own.

This time he topped it with a little hot Italian sausage.  Baking time - 11-12 minutes!  From oven to table...............And we enjoyed it in the family room watching one of our favorite shows.

 Great Job Rich!!

Then!  What a sweetheart!  He knows that I always leave my camera near the back lanai, just in case we get a visit from a new bird, duck etc.....

During the summer we don't see a real lot in the back yard, and we miss them.  The other day we did have four or five of the white Ibis back, and the Blue Heron is back too.  But this morning, before I was even out of bed, Rich snapped this picture.   Not very pretty for a butterfly...............but it's actually a Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea Polyphemus

 It was on the screen and actually stayed there while Rich went outside to get a picture.  After reading a little bit about it - I understand why he/she so nicely opened it's wings.  They are nocturnal by nature, and opening and closing their wings and glaring with those eyes  is what they do when they are frightened.

 It was actually still on the screen when I awoke and I could not believe how BIG it was.  

Not a lot on the agenda for today.........but Rich did mention that we should probably go out for dinner tonight!  Country Club?  Mexican?

UPDATE:  We went to the Placid Lakes Country Club for dinner.  We both ordered the spaghetti and meatballs. Rich got the salad and I tried the home made potato soup.  The soup was excellent!  Good thing - because the pasta was just OK.  Wish they would stop changing their sauce.  Too much,  Too Thick.  I ate less than 1/2  and Rich took one of my meatballs.  On a scale of 1-10 I'd give it about a 5 tonight.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Decorating ...........and watching the US OPEN

This weekend we had NO plans to do anything.  We just knew we were not travelling anywhere.  Needed to get some work done around the house.    We were a little lazy though in the morning - coffee, and a late breakfast (toast and omelets).  

One of our major outside projects is to paint the boathouse and the back deck, so the first Rich got the tape measure out, to see how many square feet we had, so we'd know how much paint to buy.  Think the color will be a darker brown with beige color posts and supports.  With the yellow house that should like good......... We been talking about an awning for over the deck, and perhaps a short railing.  With that and the window awning painted the back of the house will look much better.  But the major project of the day was to reupholster the kitchen chairs.    

Those flowered cushions had to go!  When I went to visit my friend Linda last month I found the material that I wanted and was surprised to find that it was on sale.  When I got home and ordered it on-line from Jo Ann Fabrics I got an even better price.  I don't think I paid much over $5/yard!
So here is the BEFORE with Rich hard at work.  I did a great job supervising.........and making sure he didn't take too many breaks!

  And the finished product looks GREAT!  I love it.  The new wall hangings arrived a week or so ago, and the wine/clock collection really dressed up that corner nicely.    Not done yet - we still need to do something with the sliding doors ( cornice or verticals?) and get new cushions for the rockers, and a new end stand for between the rockers ( I think I  can get Rich to build that!)

While we were working, I recorded the US Open.  We were both a little disappointed when Kei Nishikori from Japan beat my favorite to take the title - Novak  Djokovic,    And then we were even more dissapointed when Roger Federer lost to Marin Cilic.  Roger had been playing so well, and with Djokovic out and Murry out, and Nadal not playing this year.............there was an opportunity for him to take one more title!  But on Monday we will be cheering for Nishikori.  Today?  American or not - neither of us will be rooting for Serena. ( I won't put here what we really call her!!! ) We are both fans of Caroline Wozniaki!  So GO CAROLINE!!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Weekend in Orlando

Original plans were to head to Orlando last weekend, but for a number of reasons that got changed and Nick and Tonyia and Rich and I headed to Orlando on Friday.   We got an early start, leaving here early afternoon, and on our way from Nick and Tonyias about 2:30.  When we left the weather was quite nice - hot of course, but what's new this time of year in Florida?

Our agenda for the day was to check in to the hotel, have dinner and then head to Old Town later in the evening.
 It was not long after we were on the road, that we knew the weather was not going to be cooperative at all.............    When we arrived in Kissimmee, we decided to stop for an early dinner before we checked into the hotel so Nick pulled into  Joe's Crab Shack.

Probably not our best decision......  With the exception of Tonyia each of us expressed our dissatisfaction ( although she did ask for her Mahi to be blackened, and it was not).  Nick had a combination fish platter (scallops, shrimp etc.) and for the price the portions were not to his satisfaction.  My grilled shrimp salad had four of the smallest shrimp I have ever seen that somehow they managed to get on a wooden skewer.  Grilled but cold and tough, they were nearly lost behind a piece of lettuce!  And I'm afraid that Rich would have been much more satisfied with McDonald's $1.29 McDouble than he was with this $10 gourmet burger.  Way over priced for below quality food.

Raining now - we made our way to the hotel and checked into our rooms .................and then out  again!

 Actually we had booked rooms with the mini-fridge and microwave and the rooms they gave us had neither.  Now this is definitely not a four star hotel - but they immediately changed our rooms without a hassle.  For the price of these rooms - they are exceptionally nice and very clean.

 They also provide a free continental breakfast in the adjacent restaurant, complete with waffles, cereal, toast, muffins, fruit, pastry coffee and juice.   We enjoyed breakfast there both mornings.

We had tickets to go to Legends, The Haunting of Old Town that evening and Friday night at Old Town is "Muscle Car" night when cars from the 50's and 60's are on display.  There is always music and dancing........  Despite the rain ( just sprinkling now) we headed for the park.

Not a whole lot of "muscle cars" out tonight - given the weather - but we checked out those that were there.  There was this (small) truck that sat atop these HUGE tires that caught our attention.  That's Nick and I having a closer look!  I actually did need help stepping up - into the tire!

Started to rain a little bit harder - but once we got to the streets we could wander along the sidewalks under cover and browse the shops.  Lots of interesting stores to walk through, some of them very unique, and other places to stop and have some fun........ like the shooting range - where Nick picked up the gun for some target shooting.   A little later in the evening we stopped for treats.  Tonyia and I opted for ice cream, Nick, a hot dog and milk shake, and Rich was able to find his favorite - the funnel cake!

We also stopped at this neat little bar called the Brewery Barrel Bar, where all the tables are made of beer barrels and you can enjoy beer by the bottle or on tap from more than 300 countries.  Nick started with a "sample shot" before he decided on his beer of choice, Rich selected the Lager, Tonyia a raspberry flavored and me a grapefruit flavored beer.  We sat and chatted and enjoyed our beverages.

 A little later in the evening we found our way to Legends.........  This was the main reason that we decided to come on Friday.  Legends was just opened in Old Town this summer and the reviews on Trip Advisor have been very favorable.  Yes - it's a haunted house.  We only had to wait may 10-15 minutes in line before it was our turn to enter.  For a haunted house, they have really done a nice job. Some of the typical stuff you would expect to see - but lots of REAL people who do a pretty good job of scaring some of us.  Would I go again?  Probably not.  Was it worth coming to Orlando a day early to see?  Probably not.

We walked around for a short time afterwards ( actually that's when we had our ice cream!) and then headed back to the hotel.  It's a good thing we had good friends with us - because the day itself was not that great - rain, bad food, rain, and OK spook house.............rain.....  Hopefully tomorrow would be better.

Saturday we had absolutely nothing planned except for Capones at 6:30 that night.  We headed out after breakfast.  First stop was the Nike Store where Nick shopped for new sneakers...... then we decided to try out the flea market.  Maingate Flea Market advertises more than 400 booths so we were sure to spend a good amount of time there.   Nice place to shop - especially since it's air conditioned.  Several buildings make up the entire flea market and we made it through a couple when Nick got a phone call that would cut our day short.  Work problems that had to be taken care of, which meant getting back to the hotel and on the computer.  So we grabbed a quick bite at the Chinese Buffet................ (small buffet in the food court).  I did manage to pick up a new pair of sunglasses and a bag of mix that I could use to make some dip for pretzels or chips.

Nick was tied up most of the afternoon, Rich took a nap, so Tonyia and I played a couple of games of SkipBo and had a glass (or two) of Sangria.

We had set up a shuttle to pick us up, take us to Capones and then bring us back after the show. If you've been to Capones before you know that you tickets include dinner, drinks and the show. This way everyone can have their beverage of choice and not have to worry about driving back to the hotel.    Shuttle picked us up before 6:30 so we made our way to the upstairs lounge.

Above you can see a few of the guests playing  cards, a great view of the dining area from the balcony and our waiter for the evening, Baby Face.  Just after 7:30 we were escorted to our table for the evening and made our way to the All You Can Eat Buffet.  For a buffet the food here is always excellent:  home made soup, salad, pasta, meatballs, lasagna, mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, biscuits, pizza, stuffing, London broil, stuffed pork roast..................That's all I can remember.  And dinner includes unlimited beverages.  Rich and Nick stayed with beer, Tonyia the Rum Runner, and I had the Rum and Coke..

This was our third trip to Capones, and we all agreed that tonight was the best of the three shows we've seen.  The guys playing Buggsy and Salvatore were different from the last two shows - and these two were much better, good singers and absolutely hysterical.  A great show...........and we'd both do it all over again!

We were back at the hotel about 10:30 and called it a day soon after.  We packed up in the morning and were on our way home by mid morning.  Made a couple of stops - one at the Webb's Candy factory in Davenport.  Great little candy factor/store and well known for their Goat Milk Fudge.

 There is also a dunkin donuts in the store - so it was a couple of cups of coffee and a few
donuts to take home for later.

Then, just a few miles down the road we stopped and wandered through the Mega Thrift Store - where, actually, Tonyia wanted to pick up some beads, as this is the only place she can find the size she needs for her projects.

Our last stop was in Avon Park, not far from home, where we stopped at the Clock Restaurant for "brunch".  Actually -everyone opted for breakfast, be it eggs, pancakes, corned beef hash, bacon, sausage or home fries.  It was all very very good!

No matter where we travel with Nick and Tonyia, it's always a great time - so we hate to see it come to an end.

It was a very enjoyable weekend - and we can't wait for our next trip to Capones!