I eluded to the fact that we had a very interesting trip to Surprise Beach. There was no beach, but in fact just a place to pull over and look at the Disney Cruise ships. We termed it Surprise Beach because this muddy area is where we told our boys we were, in fact, going on a Disney Cruise Right. Then. Our trip to this moment of bliss was anything but. I was starting to worry if this was an Omen. A little whisper from God yelling "DON'T GET ON THAT SHIP". Thankfully, the trip went very well. But the story on how we got there is worth documenting. It might, and by might I mean "will" have a bit of TMI to it, but you'll just have to decide now if it's worth reading or if you'll chose your own adventure. If you'd like to keep going, follow me....
It was Day 3 of being in Florida (the trip TO Florida was another story in itself - it did include me being the medical personnel on the American Airlines flight to Dallas that had to make the call to make an emergency landing to help the poor lady in 16B who was having either a stroke or heart attack) and this was the day we were heading to Surprise Beach with dad and Jo. Maysen was excited to just get the hell out of the chalet that (to him) was crawling with bugs. This was Florida people. At any time, your little Chalet can have frogs, centipedes, and salamanders in and out like there was a revolving critter door. Maysen was looking forward to staying at "some hotel" along the beach for the next few days (this was the story as to why everyone had bags packed).
We start our journey right on time at around 8:00 with the only diversion being stopping for coffee and pastries on our way out. For whatever reason, the chocolate milk beside the orange juice was calling my name. I'm not usually a big milk drinker but this particular morning it seems I was.
We get rolling down the highway into remote and desolate Florida. We're talking sugar cane as high and far as the eye could see. Fewer and fewer cars were on the highway and it was kind of nice venturing out into the less busy country side.
"Hmm." I thought as I felt my tummy gurgle. I didn't give it much thought until my stomach let loose not so much a gurgle ... but a bellow. "Ummm. Dad? I'm gonna need a bathroom like soon."
Dad proceeds to tell me that we've entered BFE Florida and I might need to hold it about 5 more miles. I start to see a clearing among the 25 foot sugar cane and we slow down approaching what looks like a bombed shelter straight out of Baghdad. Standing outside beside the very large dumpster were about 5 African Americans listening to music and talking very loudly. Dad rolls to a stop in front of this hole. If you can imagine a Tori Spelling "Whhhhhhaaaaat" face, that was written all over mine. We were, afterall, pulling up in a shiny new vehicle sporting out-of-state tags (dad's car is registered in Oregon) and all white Leslie in a sundress pops out. Nothing like sticking out like a sore thumb.
"Sorry this is all there is."
Feeling my colon about ready to give I haul it out of backseat while gripping Nate by the throat. "You're coming with me." We enter the bomb shelter and immediately had a contact high from the marijuana emitting from the store. Yes, this was some form of convenience store. The cashier looked like he was in prison and we were visiting; he was seated behind 12" of glass.
"Where's your rest room?" I say in a slight panic. Panic not only from the fear of being shot at any moment, but fear from my colon exploding on the spot.
Without so much as a response, he leans down under the counter. At this point it's a craps shoot whether a shotgun is going to come out in his hand or a bathroom key. Thank goodness it was the latter. Well, sort of. Home boy comes whipping out a 12" pipe .... yes, metal PIPE with the key attached to the end. Something sort of similar to this:
I go blowing out of there like McGyver's just clipped the wrong wire and there's 3 seconds left before the bomb blows. I turn the corner and stop dead in my tracks. No. This can't be the bathroom he man behind the wall of glass was referring. Yes, there was a door. But there was no need for any lock or key because it was hanging off .... one, yes, ONE hinge. At this point crapping my pants seemed the better option than catching Hep C. A voice of reason is heard: "Man, you aint wanting to be taking 'yo lady in there." Thankfully one of the nice men by the dumpster had my best interest at heart. Perhaps he just didn't want us finding the body. He proceeds to inform us that there is a Subway just down the road another 5 miles. I toss our pipe bomb back to Jimmy Hendrix and we're out of there.
I've never been so thankful to see a Subway sign in all my days. On my way out of the bathroom I snag one of their "out of order" signs and put it on the door .... because NO ONE wants to go in there for at least a few days. Phew, right? Wrong. Let us continue ...
I'm ready to focus on the fact that in just a few short hours we're going to be surprising our boys with a Disney Cruise. How utterly exciting, right? Then the gurgling hits again. At this point I'm ready to enforce mind over matter and force my colon to STOP. JUST STOP. I was taught very quickly that internal organs have the final say.
"Dad? I'm not kidding. We need to stop again"
Dad did the best he could and took the first right off the highway. One guess what facility we pulled into. It was a damn CEMETERY. Complete with a man on a large backhoe digging a coffin-sized hole. He looked at us like we were crazy as we came blowing in 100mph.
"Dad ... just hurry. Go to the back of this place where there's a lot of bushes and trees."
We stopped at the very back of the cemetery and I was out of the car before it even fully came to a stop. One piece of information I forgot to explain was that I was wearing a very long sundress. Jo tossed me the wet-wipes as I shut the door. "EYES FORWARD" I yelled as I slammed the car door.
I hiked my dress up and slung it over my shoulder as I leaned against the biggest tree I could find.....Just. In. Time. I used the entire pack of wet-wipes and breathed a sigh of relief that I had made it. I peeked around the tree to see Mr Backhoe looking in our direction. Horrified, embarrassed, and humiliated, I pulled my dress down and climbed out of the wet-wipe war zone and headed back to the car. No one said a word to me, nor did they make eye contact. I'm sure everyone had a different opinion of me at that point in one way or another.
We eased out of the cemetery; I waved to Mr Backhoe but did not make eye contact. We got back on the highway and the car was silent for a good 5 miles.
Then another sensation hit me. What in the world? Ouch! Ooo ... OUCH! Something was biting me!
"Dad, holy crap, stop the car! Something is biting me! Nate get out with me - it's all over my back!"
"But, Les, I can't just stop on the side of the road"
It was at that time I turned into that creature from Ghost Busters that bust out of those gargoyles. I'm pretty sure I also said "My name is Zool."
Dad pulled over and Nate ran out. Then he said what no one wants to hear. "Ohhhh Noooo." I'm sure I just growled. "You have fire ants all over your back ... probably from that tree! Annnd. Ummmm. Uhhhhh. You have poop on your dress. You must have accidentally drug it through the toilet paper."
I'm about ready to cry at this point. Seriously? Jo saved the day. "I think there's a camp up here that has showers." Sure enough, about 10miles down the road there was an exit for Camp CleanUpPoop. We get directions to where the bath house is and as my salvation is right around the corner I start to see ..... crime scene tape. Yes. Crime Scene Tape.
The whole place was blocked off. At this point I'm pretty sure the world has it out for me. Turn around. Do not collect $200. Just go back. As I'm losing all hope ...
"Well, there's another one across the road. Lets go check there!" Low and behold ... there it was. A boyscout camp complete with working hot showers. That never felt so good. Benadryl ointment on my bites, a good soap and lotion and we were one our way (again).
This whole experience just made for even more stories to tell of our great adventure. The Scovils' always have stories. We made it to Surprise Beach and the boys were so floored and excited, nothing could ruin the day. Even some diarrhea, fire ant bites, and disrespecting the dead.