The View from Beneath My Very Large Hat

I have been coughing since the beginning of April.

Other than a week-long trip to Florida to surprise Eli for his birthday (and I succeeded hugely), that’s pretty much the only news I have. Which is why I haven’t blogged in about a month.

Which, of course, means that I have to get this blog up-to-speed and a recap out of the way before I can go back to business as usual. Don’t ask why; it’s just how I operate.

 

Regarding the cough:

In short, I’m on my third round of antibiotics and I’ve accepted this as a permanent part of my life. I don’t remember what it feels like to breathe normally (i.e., without wheezing or having to clear my throat or nose every third breath). It may have started as simple allergies (though it was just a cough at the beginning, without the preliminaries of sneezing and a sore throat), but eventually, and with help from Jo, it developed into bronchitis.

Side note: I always assumed bronchitis was more life-haltingly terrible than it turned out to be. I was expecting something a little more severe, which makes me think I’ve had undiagnosed bouts of bronchitis before.

For a while, I put up with it, because 1) I don’t like going to the doctor (literally haven’t been since I was 8 or 9), 2) I’m poor and gelato is more of a priority than my health, and 3) aside from making a coworker or two twitch every now and then and keeping me from singing in choir, it wasn’t hampering my life. But eventually I experienced my first real ear ache, after three days of heavy coughing, and I caved.

The doctor’s office and the ladies who worked reception were nice enough, but the doctor himself was not worth his fees. He spent less than 2 minutes with me and didn’t even tell me what I had, leaving me to read it for myself as I left.

That same weekend, we held our annual fundraiser at work (AKA the worst week of the year for my job), I headed up the grad ceremony at church, and I prepared to leave for Florida.

 

And then I went to Florida.

A mimosa tree growing along Bayou Grande. Somehow I didn’t think until now of mimosa as belonging to a tree.

Florida is no longer my least favorite state in the Union. I managed to avoid sunburn, mosquitoes, and the deadly wildlife, which definitely helped Florida’s status change. Unfortunately, I was operating with just my iPhone for a camera, and I discovered a crack in the camera lens on the second day, so I didn’t get as many pictures as I would have liked. (Also, you know, after about 200 pictures, my phone decided it was out of room.)

I was traveling with only my large purse and a carry-on. Halfway through Atlanta on the way to Florida, one of the straps on my convertible backpack broke. I had to fix it with duct tape.

Mom and I left at 3:15 AM to get me to the airport to head out, and both leaving and coming home I had more than 2 hours of layovers in Atlanta, so the travel itself was easy-going.

With the help of my cousin Becka (who is as old as my father, for those of you imagining a chirpy 20-something girl), we pulled off surprising Eli for his birthday. He had to work every weekday, which left me open for sightseeing, and then the weekend was ours to explore the area.

My cousin is a superb tour guide with a love for her city’s heritage, so I was never bored.

Among our adventures were trips to Gulf Breeze, Forts Pickens, Barrancas, and Morgan; a visit to Arcadia Mills; a stroll along Bayou Grande; seeing the Naval Aviation Museum and the Blue Angels; and a ferry ride to Dauphin Island and the Estuarium, where I pet a very slimy stingray.

Since I rarely see the sun during a normal week, I was extra concerned about getting sunburned, so I took plenty of precautions. One of these was obtaining a large floppy hat to wear during our day trips. At first I felt like an idiot (and I definitely looked like a tourist), and I kept whacking people in the face with it when I turned to talk to them, but it was effective.

One of my favorite parts of the aviation museum was finding a USS Enterprise.

My cousins have an adorable little dog who likes to eat cardboard.

Though the humidity wore down my energy (and all of the fresh air, to which I am extremely unaccustomed), I still had a decent appetite for homemade chili, mac and cheese, and enchiladas, which were all prepared at Eli’s request. In all, it was a week of sightseeing, plenty of history lessons, getting in some extra reading, crying because I finally got a hug from my big brother, finding a giant bug in the shower, and failing to sleep in no matter how hard I tried. I still coughed the whole time, but, as Becka liked to point out, the ocean air seemed to help.

I would actually be willing to go back some time, oddly enough.

 

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Headed home with my new hat by my side.

About the time we watched the Blue Angels performing a low-flying routine, I realized that I should have asked Mom for her camera. While my iPhone does alright with everyday pictures, it was less-than-adequate at capturing all of the excitement on a vacation.

So once I got home and re-acclimated (who am I kidding? it was 90 degrees when I landed, and I had left 80 degree weather), I put some of my savings toward my first DSLR camera. Now the only person in our family who doesn’t have one is Eli.

Y’know what that means? More (and better) pictures on the blog!

At least until I get bored.

So there you have it: a very condensed recap of my Florida vacation. I returned to an office that was not in disarray, thankfully (last time I left, I came back to find that everything around my desk had been moved or misplaced). Now that summer has arrived, things are going a little more easily. We have our fireworks tent fundraiser through church, but I am only working a couple of days. Then I get an extra long weekend for the Fourth and am hoping to take a day trip north.

Oh, and this weekend Mom invited me to be her second shooter at an evening beach wedding. That should be fun. She probably just wants company and my shmancy 70-300mm lens, but it’s a good enough reason for me.

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