04
Jan
08

Wonderful two weeks; Back at work

Well it wasn’t without adventure, but I’m back in Springfield. My vacation was great, and I had a lot of fun and relaxation time. I didn’t do too much work, but I must admit that I did work a little on my iPhone. I didn’t want to get too far behind in emails, etc. being gone for two weeks.

So what’d I do all that time? I left the 19th of December, a couple days before I originally wanted to leave, but oh well. I’ve got vacation days already. I had a lot of problems getting tickets for some reason (I guess a lot of people bought early; I purchased in mid-October), so I couldn’t fly out of Springfield, but rather out of Peoria. Peoria is a nice small airport, less than an hour and a half away, but most importantly, FREE parking! You fly out of St. Louis and its $7 dollars a day. and $7 * 16 days = $112 of extra expenses, not to mention traffic and tons of people. SPI and BMI (Springfield and Bloomington also have unlimited free parking). Anyway, I got down to Florida problem free. I left freezing weather here to 75 degree evening weather down south in sunny Boca Raton. Man do I miss Florida…

The first couple days my dad and I spent shopping for Christmas. Trying to get things done before I left and finals took up a lot of my time so I hadn’t really done shopping. I’m not too big into spending a lot of money for holiday’s, but you get gifts for some people (ie close family, etc), without going overboard. Department stores were disappointed with only a 4% increase in sales over last year…still crazy ridiculous… Once we got all that done by the 23rd, it was relaxing time. I spent all of Christmas Eve on the couch, and almost ventured into the pool, but an early morning rain dropped the water temperature to below what I was willing to swim with. Normally the pool is heated, but it got damaged during the last hurricane down there…

Christmas day was crazy hectic…Four Christmases in one day…One at my dad’s house, then at my dad’s girlfriends brothers house, then one at my uncles, and finally one more at my dad’s house again. Then we did one more the next night at my dad’s house as well. I’ll tell you right now, I am a difficult person to buy things for. Everything I want, I usually just get myself. I don’t like receiving gifts usually, so I just ask for small things. Not to say that I don’t accept things, wink wink, there’s just not as much to choose from on my list.

I did get some nice things though; a seat warmer/massager for my car (which will probably go in the passenger seat for Jordan), some apartment decorations (frames, etc), and some much needed items like luggage and an overnight bag. All in all, it was good for me.

On the 27th, Jordan and her family (mom, dad, and brother) flew down to vacation in the Key’s and spend time with their family. They invited me along to go down to Key Largo with them for a couple days. It’s been quite some time since I’ve been down to the Key’s and a lot has changed. It’s grown up vastly with a lot of new businesses, etc, but the soul of the Key’s still remains largely. Lots of small, non-commercial businesses and that laid back personality that is prevalent in the natives. We rented a boat for a day and cruised out to some reefs to go snorkeling and saw tons of beautiful fish. John, Jordan’s brother tried to catch us some Yellow-Tail Snapper which is EXCELLENT eatin’, but to no avail. The seas were a little rough, so we decided to try the Gulf side, but the water wasn’t anywhere near as clear.

We traveled down to Key West and visited the Southernmost point in the US, and let me tell you, the line for taking your photo next to the landmark was an hour long…I skipped that though and had us stand off to the side and snap some shots in between people getting their photos taken. You’d never know that we didn’t wait in line…haha! We walked around and toured the historic streets for a couple hours and then decided to head back north.

I had a lot of fun, and it was nice being back in the Keys. I spent the last two days of my vacation relaxing around the house and swimming in the pool. But like I said in the beginning, my trip wasn’t without adventure. My flight back to Peoria was good, a little delay leaving Fort Lauderdale because of snow up north, but overall pretty good. I got to Peoria a few minutes after 4 p.m. and went downstairs to get my bags…which never showed up. About seven people didn’t get their bags, and on a plane that holds 80-ish people…that’s not a great number… The problem with a small airport is that they don’t have a lot of people working really, so a lot of times, the counter workers are also the baggage people, etc. While we were waiting, I decided to go pull my car up closer. I went to start my car, and what I feared came true and I had a dead battery. It was 5 degrees in Peoria at this time, so I kinda expected that would happen. My Eclipse doesn’t like cold weather much… I forgot to mention…my carry-on luggage was full, so I didn’t have room for my coat, so I figured I could store it in my luggage and pull it out once I landed. So of course, no luggage + no coat + 5 degree weather = me being really cold. The nice thing about Peoria is that they have an emergency service just for situations like this. So I called their number, and wouldn’t you know it, the one day they don’t have anyone on staff is Wednesday’s after 4:30 p.m. and by this time, it was about 5 p.m. So I called the police officer’s at the airport, and the guy I talked to was very rude to me, and suggested I call a tow truck. I asked him why he couldn’t come help me and again, he insisted I call a tow. I figure he prolly didn’t want to leave his nice comfy office and venture out in the 5 degree weather, but that’s kinda part of his job…”to protect and SERVE.” So I spent the next hour searching for someone to give me a jump. Let me tell you, the best day to travel is Wednesdays because there’s no one at the airport. Finally on a tip from a cab driver, he told me to talk to the rental car people. I went to Hertz, the first one I saw and asked the woman working the counter if she could help. She called up one of her co-workers and he met me at my car to give me a jump. She was extremely helpful and very courteous which was nice to see. I finally left the airport about 20 after 6 p.m.

My adventures don’t end there though. All the way home, my car is acting awfully. Every time I signal to lane change or hit the brakes, my lights would dim. I made it all the way to the stoplight before my house and as I slowed to a stop, all the lights in my car turned off and my car started sputtering like it was going to die. I reved it up to keep it going, but it kept wanting to die. So I said screw it, and made sure no one was coming and just ran the red light. I figured I’d rather make it home since I was so close rather than drag my bags through the cold, without a coat, the last half-mile or so to my house. As I pull into my parking spot, my car died completely. I didn’t even get all the way it when the lights turned off and the car rolled to a stop. God was certainly looking out for me that night. He carried me all the way home, and into my spot before removing his hand when my car promptly died. I had to take an extra day off work to arrange for some transportation to get my car fixed. I took my battery into Autozone and they told me it was fine, so I took it to Advance Auto parts and they checked it for free (they offer lots of great, free services like battery testing, alternator/starter testing, windshield wiper and battery replacement, and more) and told me that it couldn’t hold a charge anymore. Which was my thought. So $100 later, with a new battery, I took it home, hooked it up, and started my car up. I was so glad that it wasn’t my alternator ($300-$400) or another more expensive problem. Soon thereafter, my luggage showed up at my door, courtesy of the airlines. End of drama.

All in all, I had a great trip. It was a lot of fun and I really miss my family and Florida. Someday I’ll move back, but that won’t be for a while. As stated earlier, I’ll post some photos after lunch since I left my camera at home. Long post I know, but I wanted to give you guys an update. Comment on how your Christmas and New Years went! I want to hear about them!

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