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A Week In Florida

It had been 8 years since I had been to the Gulf of Mexico side of Florida. While for many, the idea of warm, sunny days on white sand is heaven, I won’t lie: it isn’t something I prefer. It perplexes my In-Laws how someone wouldn’t want it. However, family is there, and we took the boys there for a week. The bonus is they got to meet their cousins, who are nearly the same ages.


My In-Laws live along this stretch of beach. They had rented us an older duplex, right on the beach, for us to stay in. Well….the beach was top-notch, that I won’t lie. The back yard of the house was pure sand. The boys loved that. Walk out the gate to the water. The house…well… can read about that hell hole at the bottom.


And once the sun started setting, I was able to go outside and not feel like a vampire….and I always find it odd to walk on white beaches. In the PNW, beaches are dark.


I saw this plant and had no idea what it was. Isn’t that what Facebook is for? Oleander, a shrub that grows well in sandy areas. Toxic though. Very, very toxic. Told the boys to stay away.


We took the kids out to Fort De Soto for the day. Some things had changed, others were the same. The Red Cedar trees were gorgeous though.


The first time I came here was around 10 years ago, and I love the walls of the fort, made with the local shells. The sidewalks are as well.


Remnants of old concrete and metal, by the fishing pier.


The kids having fun. Although….I can’t deny it, out West the guns are bigger 😉


Locking them up!


It was still off-season, and apparently I was one of the few to be out in the Gulf. To me, it was bath water warm. The boys loved it as well.


The pelicans provided a lot of watching them as I walked the beach.


And waist deep, with a kids sand rake, I found this beauty. Empty of course!


I found a number of shells, while schools of fish swam around my legs. That part was very fun! We also spent time in Tampa, and Sarasota, attending to family matters.

However, more on the house from hell. By night 1, I knew something wasn’t right. The coughing started. Our youngest has asthma, and he hacked a lot. Then it hit us, deep coughing. If you layed down in bed, you’d wake up an hour later, nearly unable to breathe. Only sitting out in the rooms with tile made it mostly stop. By day 3 I knew there had to be a ton of mold, hiding in the carpeted bedrooms, and in the 4 A/C units in the windows. The other side of the duplex had been renovated, with central A/C. By the 5th day, I was barely sleeping, I couldn’t quit coughing. I even had to use my kid’s inhaler to get sleep. I fell asleep on the couch, and woke up gagging. I was never so happy to leave.

PS: The dead Palmetto Cockroach I nearly stepped on by the bed? Yeah. That was strike 1. I don’t care how great your beach is: dead bugs and mold will ensure you earn my undying hatred. I can deal with sloping floors, shower heads that don’t stay up, gov’t grade toilet paper and animal prints that will induce nightmares….but dead bugs half the size of my hand? Oh hell no.

Kirk moved us out of Chateau Moldy, and into one of the newest hotels there, a few days early of leaving. Hands down, the Marriot Courtyard of Madeira Beach was resort quality, at a normal price.


The kids and I didn’t want to leave. I could breathe. I had washed all our clothing and left it outside to air before we left the dump, er, duplex. The boys and I went swimming twice in that pool in one day.


Yachts and fishing boats, and the sun setting…with a fire. I almost got over my hatred for Florida. Almost.


Would you want to leave? Ironically, the hotel, which was completely clean, and didn’t cause sickness, cost less per night in off-season. If I must go back, I know exactly where I am staying.

And oh yeah, after flying home, I took out all our clothing, load by load, and sterilized it. I had to throw away THREE suitcases. I won’t risk bringing mold into our home. We left behind all papers, magazines, books, toys. Anything that could carry it. My MIL was horrified the rental was so bad. The problem being that….it has location, location, location. Meaning people will rent it, no matter what. It’s got beach right there. But yeah, I had to toss my favorite suitcase, and that really irked me. Still, we had a good week besides that.