With everything that's gone Wrong... the game HAS to be Right!!
WHEW! With all of the speed bumps along the way, it's amazing that the trek turned out as well as it did! Rushing to get the website updated and podcast done after a short week due to the Monday Night Football Game, how bummed was I to have my PC's hard drive fry on Wednesday evening, the night before taking off for Miami?! Of course, the fact that I thought that our flight was at 5:30pm (until Big Al double checked the reservations that night) and found out that it was at 3:15 instead, meant that I had to head into work begging to get out early to catch our flight on time... only to find out that I got a new student with very significant needs that very morning. Of course, I was granted the leave and headed out to the airport with honey and kiddies in tow looking forward to a great trip.
We arrived at the airport to find that our usual park and ride spot was full so we ventured into the airport garages and had quite a walk to get to the departure area. Once checked in though, we hit our usual TGIFridays for a bite to eat and a couple of cocktails...We enjoyed unremarkable flights (except for the daggers in my ears...) and arrived in Ft. Lauderdale on time only to find that there wasn't a vehicle to be had in the entire state. (There were plenty a couple days before when Al looked online...Note to self: Book it next time!) Facing a $40 cab ride, Ernie and his Uncle came to our rescue and picked us up and took us to the hotel. Big Al had warned the kids when he found out he was coming in his truck: "Expect Sanford and Son... and be polite." Turns out Uncle Jose is younger than us and went to school with Al and Ernie in 1977!!
We checked in, received room keys to a room that was already occupied, straightened out the situation, then closed the bar with Ernie, Jose, and Big Al. Edwin, our bartender was gracious and remembered that we were there last year. Ernie was psyched since it was the Marine Corp's birthday and it was also Veteran's Day Weekend. He "HooAhh'd" a few times too many and was asked by security to tone it down a bit when singing "In the Halls of Montezuma" at the top of his lungs to a fellow Marine via cell phone while standing in the valet area outside! Of course my ears were blocked (for 3 days!) so I could barely hear him anyway..lol!
Friday morning dawned hot and sunny and after hitting the gym, enjoying the breakfast buffet and hitting the pool, Bama arrived with his upgraded vehicle... a Van! Steve arrived and kept him company while we borrowed the wheels and headed out to Coral Springs to visit the family for the evening. We heard first hand accounts of the horror of Hurricane Wilma and saw pictures of the devastation. Of course, all we had to do was look around throughout the weekend to see evidence of the force of the storm. Luckily, our trip wasn't a week earlier as the hotel and the relatives had just regained power.
On Saturday, we once again hit the gym then headed over to Aruba with Steve, Bama, and the kids to eat. Last year we had an awesome buffet but didn't realize that it's only served on Sunday. Needless to say, the lunch portions were delicious...and HUGE! Kelsea and I walked on the beach whilst the boys went for a cigar run and bought some hand rolled stogies of their choice. We headed over to the Ramada Inn hoping to catch the crew from 790thescore but missed Scott and Bryan so we headed back to our hotel and hung by the pool for the afternoon. Steve discovered that his car had a flat and waited around for AAA to come by to fix it.
Patriotsplanet members Joephoto, Maelli, and the Drink-Alots came by then the team rolled in around 6:00 pm. We watched the boys head in and we got a smile and a wave from Tedy when I yelled "The Bruschi Backers are in the House!" Lonie arrived blond as ever after yet another Halloween adventure. Jarvis spotted us and said hello as did Willie. Most guys headed straight upstairs and weren't seen the rest of the night. Jacob took an elevator ride with Flutie who knew some people staying on our floor. I was hanging in the lobby online (free wifi!) when Al headed upstairs to get something then came down and reported that he shared the elevator with Tedy and Tully... DANG! There weren't many ebay sharks about (and not many players around anyway) but we felt like we were at the red carpet ceremonies for the Academy Awards. The hotel hosted a huge homecoming dance and I've never seen so many stretch hummers in my entire life. There were 500+ gowned and tuxed teens in the house...
On Sunday morning, we worked out, ate at the buffet then drank coffee outside and while the boys headed to the buses. I saw Big Willie in the lobby and he asked if I brought my Hpnotiq. I assured him that we did and today called for a double shot and double sack! He laughed and I wished him well. Once they pulled away, we headed over to the stadium and parked in a lot filled with Pats fans. Two guys next to us gave me a couple of beers (since we forgot that they don't sell beer on Sunday morning), did our quick shots and toast then headed over to the Will Call to grab our tickets. Big Al hung out waiting for Ernie and Jose who were MIA all weekend (as Steve said, drinking their way from one end of the state to the next!) while we headed in.
It was a beautiful, hot, sunny day and we once again enjoyed awesome endzone seats thanks to Little Ken. Jose and Ernie arrived shortly and he brought me a Fosters. I thought that there was going to be a brawl right in front of us between a Pats fan and a Phins fan. Ernie called him the "Voodoo Doctor" as he was chanting and sticking it in the face of the Pats fan whenever the Phins did well... Likewise, the Pats fan gave it right back to him but it was all good natured fun... thankfully! Then we came out on top and the Voodoo Doctor quietly slipped out at the end of the game. True to form, the game was a nailbiter... and I was much happier with this year's results (23-16) than the last where we lost it right at the end. Tedy B was back in FTFT fashion as he deflected two passes and could be seen flying through the air...
After the game, we headed to Best Buy to purchase a new wireless card to (try to) replace mine that broke in the hotel the night before, then we ate dinner and hung out at the hotel breaking down the game and shooting the breeze. Ernie and Jose headed down to South Beach to continue their partying.... Still unable to get the wireless to work, we headed up to bed early to pack up and get ready for our 4:00AM cab ride to the airport...(why I book those 6:00AM flights is beyond me!) We flew home, Jacob and I suffered with ear pain yet again, but other than that things went well.
All in all, it was another great trip and despite the little bumps in the road we had an excellent time. The next week was spent installing a new hard drive, drivers, programs and downloading the website back to the PC then catching up on those things that I was attempting to do before the crash.... just in time for the Saints game on Saturday and another short week before heading out to KC the day after Thanksgiving.
Check out the Complete Miami Album for more pics...