Living in paradise has taken on a whole new meaning the last few days. Bob and I had long-standing plans to go to Washington, D.C., last weekend to attend Bob’s father’s ninetieth birthday party. Since we used to live just outside the area, we enjoy our once-a-year trip to our nation’s capital to reconnect with family and friends, do a drive by of the White House, Capitol Hill and the monuments, and, of course, zip through Georgetown, a favorite destination of ours.
This weekend was different though. There was a storm—the now infamous Sandy—coming from the Caribbean, and it looked like it might be a problem. I really don’t like to fly all that much, and when I have to, I really hate for the ride to be bumpy. Been there, done that with some close calls on the West Coast … I don’t want to do it again if I don’t have to. Having experienced Hurricanes Charlie and Wilma, I am a real stickler for checking out many websites for all the forecast cone variations and severity implications for any tropical storms on the horizon. It appeared that Sandy was not a threat to Naples, even though we were feeling the winds of the outer bands. The East Coast was another story. I did not want to go, but Bob encouraged me to change my mind by suggesting that we could watch the weather and, if need be, get an early flight home. So we went.
Our flight left on Friday, late morning. And rats, it was bumpy. I choked down a Bloody Mary (not really, it tasted delicious) and that helped me get to Reagan National Airport feeling relatively calm. By the way, I also hate it when the runway is nowhere to be seen when the plane is landing, and it was totally invisible under the low-hanging clouds.
The Washington Monument before the storm.
But we made it. Bob and I had a lovely afternoon and evening visiting with old friends. During the entire time, I was checking for news of Sandy. This hurricane was getting bigger and stronger. By the time we got back to our hotel, I was convinced we needed to think about changing our flight home from Monday to Sunday. So we did, and nabbed the last two seats on the 8 a.m. AirTran flight—which happened to be in first class (yay!). On Saturday we packed all our intended family time and touring into one day. Bob spent much quality time with his dad, we did our touring around downtown, and we enjoyed a delightful dinner with the entire Harden family. I continued to monitor the weather advisories. Sandy was getting worse and I knew we had made a good decision.
Early Sunday morning, we were winging our way back to Southwest Florida International and were able to see the gigantic storm from the air—truly a sobering sight—clouds like I had never seen before. Who would have thought we would be escaping a storm so powerful to have dealt so much damage to so many by going home to Florida? Escaping to paradise was the best scenario for us.
Mudbone rocks Freddie Rebel’s on Tuesday nights.
Meanwhile, back home, we’re still enjoying one of Naples’ best-kept secrets (although it’s not so hush-hush anymore)—going to Freddie Rebel’s Sports Bar & Grill in Naples on Tuesday evenings to listen to the most fabulous blues band EVER. Rick Howard and his fellow players in Mudbone are truly the best musical talents in the city, at least that I am aware of. Bob and I have been at Freddie’s two weeks in a row and each week, the crowds continue to grow. By the way, the food at Freddie’s has taken a dramatic turn for the better. Good food, fantastic music, casual digs—and all so close to home. Perfect.