December 20, 2004
"Cardoza Christmas Vacation"
Ready to enjoy some fun in the sun and a big Pats win, the Cardoza family headed down to Miami for a mini Christmas vacation. We headed out to the airport on Friday afternoon and true to form, got there early enough to grab a bite and a few cocktails (Sams Winter for me and Gin & Tonic for Big Al) at TGIFridays. The kids were excited and raring to go as well.
Saturday morning dawned chilly and drizzly but Al and I hit the gym then the four of us met up with Bama for breakfast. We then headed out to visit the family in Coral Springs and hit Tia Linda's favorite pizza joint for lunch. Naturally, the laughs never stopped as we reminisced about days gone by. Jacob had a ball with Figaro and new addition, Marley. We hung out with Bama on Saturday night and he and Al smoked up a storm, we watched football in the lounge and headed up to bed... Of course, Al got NO sleep thanks to Jacob's rolling around and various elbows and knees in the back!
The next morning after our workout, Al, Bama, and I headed out to watch Scott and Gresh broadcasting the 790theScore show at the Ramada Inn. The pair ragged on Slappy as usual and all except DP predicted a huge Pats win. We headed back to wake the kids, willed the sun to come out then headed to Aruba Beach Cafe for a nice brunch buffet. Later, we walked the beach then hit the shops. Although it was unseasonably cold, we were still able to catch some pool time on Sunday afternoon back at the hotel (as long as the sun stayed out!) My Jr. Crocodile Hunter checked out all of the wild life. Although determined to see a Gator, he had to settle for a huge Iguana, ugly ducks, and lizards galore.
On Sunday night, the team showed up, as did Steve and Joanne, then later Stephanie. Predictably, Tedy was only spotted coming into the hotel then out to the bus on game day. Quite a few guys hung in the lobby and/or went in and out on Sunday and Monday. Jacob was thrilled when the elevator doors opened and TJ was there and commented on his jersey. I spoke a bit to Lonie, TBC, Patrick Pass, Jarvis, and Joe Andruzzi over the course of the weekend. Deion Branch and his crew wanted shopping info about all of my pink pats gear and TBC and Dillon backed off... not quite believing that my sinus infection wasn't contagious. Big Willie came down to sign a jersey that we bought for Manny for Christmas and Bama and I asked him to wish his parents well for us.... Of course, I spoke to Bryan (PFW) and Brian (PVN) among others.
On Monday morning, the gym was packed and I ran along side Steve Nelson (who still looks damn good!) while Al hit the trails out back. After a leisurely breakfast and lots of coffee we hung out downstairs while waiting for the room to be done up. Guys were coming and going and visiting with family trying to kill time before the big game. We did the same and couldn't wait for it to arrive. Later we sat by the pool in the sun for a bit, but still needed a sweater. Once the boys boarded the buses, we geared up and headed over to the stadium. Big Al and I drank our pre-game Hpnotic Big Willie Mojo and we went in early to watch the boys warming up from our awesome seats.
We arrived just as Tedy took his last warm-up trot across the field and we were able to give him a thumbs up prior to the game. Lonie and Patrick spotted us and gave a wave and Brady ran out pumping his fist as he noticed all of the Pats fans in the house! The weather was quite comfortable and I actually goofed on the locals complaining of the cold (and told the Zipster on the phone as well...) that was until the game started, the temperature dropped, and I froze!! During the pre-game, a Herald photographer took our pictures (but they didn't make the paper) and I got Jonathan's attention so he could say hi to Bama. (That made my Southern Gent's day!) On a trip in search of hot chocolate, I was surprised to hear "Mrs B!!" in the crowded concourse. One of the KFFL posters recognized me and stopped me to say hello. The place was packed with Pats fans and we all felt confident heading into the game.
Unfortunately, the team made too many mistakes and it cost us the game. Thankfully, many Fins fans had already left when they were down by 11 with 4 minutes to go, so the torture wasn't too bad on the way out of the stadium. Of course, Pat fans' retorts of "See you in the playoffs... oh, yeah.... you didn't make it!" took the edge off the ribbing. We headed back to the hotel, incredulous at what had just happened, and opted not to use the family passes to see the team off for obvious reasons.
We checked out at 4:00AM, headed to the airport and enjoyed an uneventful flight home... disappointed in the weather and the outcome of the game, but thankful for the trip just the same. Time spent with family and friends in the height of the holiday season is a blessing and is one that I am thankful for. Jacob and Kelsea have already declared that they are attending all future treks and had a ball. For now, it's back to reality with suitcases to unpack, laundry to do and ALL of my Christmas shopping ahead of me. Hopefully I can get it done in one day...which shouldn't be a problem since much like my favorite player, I only know one way to do it... Full Tilt, Full Time!
Home Sweet Home...
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