It’s a shame that I did not write when I was young. That way I could have recounted that canoe trip ending with nothing left to eat but deep fried potato chips while dressed in very stylish, extra large garbage bags. Or the time we hitch hiked back to the car and were picked up by an Indian driving a station wagon so crammed full of his family that a little girl had to be placed on my lap and then he drove straight to a bar, cashed a check and bought us shots of whiskey. Or that time that a sudden onset of the munchies put Sven and I in a very precarious situation as we came upon a set of number two rapids with our little gas camp stove teetering between us in the canoe, sloshing around a boiling pan of Ramon Noodles. Or that time we set up camp in complete exhaustion after paddling for hours through Holcum Flowage on a fourth of July weekend where jet boats with matching 250 horse motors, towing water skiers, could not seem to see us. And then later realizing that our hammock, the one that I was lying in, was strewn across a public hiking trail. So we had to tear the entire place apart, pack up the canoe once again and go back out onto that same lake where people had been trying to kill us all day long. And then there was the time when Sven tried to kiss me inside an outhouse that reeked of outhouse, but just so happened to be the only dry place our shriveled bodies had been for two super soaker rainy days and nights and I said, "I don't even like you."
That was then. This is now.
Today I'm going to tell you about our road trip to sunny, sunny Florida where spring breakers and old people go to have sex on the beach, to party like it will never end and to watch the weather channel. And it all started because of Sven’s ONE AND ONLY FACEBOOK FRIEND. See: Must Be Strong and Must Be Strong II right here on www.millienoe.com for further explanation as to how someone has just ONE Facebook friend. To this point in time, Fred, the one and only Facebook friend and his wife Grace live peacefully in Slidell Louisiana. Sven and Fred became acquainted in the Coast Guard Academy when they were kids and were reunited a year ago, forty years later at a Coast Guard Academy Golf Tournament. Since that get together Sven has a new found interest in staying in contact with this poor unsuspecting man, Fred and now his innocent bystander of a wife, Grace. Sven and I have been vacationing in really cool, faraway places in recent years. Here is a picture from Jamaica two years ago. Doesn't this look like fun? In order to save money and to take care of much needed house renovations we did not travel anywhere last year. (The house renovations NEVER took place.) When Sven mentioned something about going on a trip somewhere near Slidell Louisiana, I, me, Millie Noe, did not take kindly to the idea. “What about Puerto Rico or The Dominican or Curacao? What about those all-inclusive resorts that are right on those blue-green Caribbean waters?” I screamed. After a couple months of heated debates, spinning of the globe, one of us stomping around the house, a phone call to Fred, searching online for a place to stay, our trip was set. Destination: Six nights, Panama City Beach, Florida, one night, Slidell Louisiana. That is called compromise. Congress should give it a try. At this very moment I am sitting on the beach in front of the Sunbird where we have rented a sweet one bedroom apartment right on the water. I cannot believe that tomorrow we will already be leaving these white sands and these blue waters and we will be making our way to Louisiana. Where did the time go? What did we do? Well, I'll tell you. Our first night on the road I was a bobble head. I was excited before my alarm went off that morning and all through the hectic work day. I gobbled down a sandwich at my desk trying to tie up all loose ends which were unraveling as fast as I could tie them, because that is the way it is just before you go on a vacation. It’s a state law or something. One must suffer when one shows any sign of life outside of the gray walls and the fluorescent lights. But I made it through work. I raced home. Hunter and I sprinted around the trail. I zipped through the living room with the vacuum. I swooshed the mop around the kitchen. I gave last minute instructions to our house sitting grandson. I kissed him goodbye. I kissed Hunter goodbye. I yelled goodbye to Mai Mai, we jumped into the car and we sped away. Fifteen minutes later I was having trouble holding my head up. I do remember a guy in Illinois making some wild and undetected by Sven, gestures at Sven and then I woke up in Effingham, Illinois. When in Effingham it is impossible not to call everything, effing. And everybody effing knows this. We got the last effing room at a Best Western Hotel. The next thing I knew it was Friday, it was cold, it was dark and it was gray, but no matter, we were headed to sunny, sunny Florida to have sex on the beach, to party like it will never end and to watch the weather channel. As we were cruising along in our little KIA, I heard them say something on the radio about it being the 125th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower. Me: Doesn’t it seem like the Eiffel Tower should be older than 125 years? Sven: That seems like an Eiffel long time to me. Me: Oh my God. It sounds like you’ve been in Eiffing-ham. You should have your own comedy show on the radio. Sven: There would be a lot of dead air. Me: But when you are funny, you are hilarious. Sven: I could call my show, The Monk . Sven was referring to my favorite joke ever. In case you haven’t heard it, here goes. For those of you who know me and this stupid joke you might as well read it. You know you want to. “You see, at the monastery the monks had taken a vow of silence. But every year one monk gets to say one sentence. The first year goes by in complete and utter silence, just working and praying and working and praying and then the day finally arrives where one monk gets to talk. He stands up at the breakfast table and booms out the words, “This oatmeal is too hot.” The other monks look at each other and all nod in agreement. Another year goes by and a second monk finally gets to break the silence. He stands up after breakfast and he declares, “This oatmeal is too cold.” The other monks look at each other and all nod in agreement. A year later another very lucky monk stands up to speak. He clears his throat and he says, “I am sick and tired of all the bitching about the oatmeal.” It gets me every effing time. Anyway, road trips can be tough. It’s hard to keep from going crazy while riding shot gun, God forbid the back seat, through gray, brown, flat terrain, not even a bud on a tree. So to keep from ending up in a straight jacket, I began to text, looking at Facebook and emailing on my cell phone. My sister sent me a text that said, CALL ME. So I tried to call her, but she was already on the phone. “What?” I said. "You called me." "No I didn't." “I’ve been listening to you two for a long time. I’ve been yelling at you because you called me and I've been trying to get your attention. Couldn’ t you hear me yelling?” “No,” I said. “And I didn’t call you.” “Yes, you did." This is when we tried to text each other during our phone call. “Okay,” I said. “Wait, I’m sending it right now. Did you get it?” “No.” It’s too bad that we couldn’t make it work because who wouldn’t want to be talking to someone on the phone and have them say, “Wait a minute, I’m going to text you the next sentence. Did you get it?” After our failed experiment I began to take a series of vacation photos from my view and I sending them to Louisa. Do you by any chance remember where this story began? In case you have forgotten, I was sitting in front of the Sunbird, on the beach, soaking up the sun, living the dream and writing this story. Well, just now, as in this moment, I looked up past my sunburned knees and saw two dolphins playfully swim past. They dove under the water and resurfaced twice. Nobody else around me seems to have noticed. This totally makes up for the time that I was on the air boat to the Keys with Sven and my parents and as we made our way slowly through a channel before switching to warp speed, everybody on board AND on shore were oohhing and aahhing at a bunch of dolphins, except me. No matter how hard all of the people pointed, I could not see them. By the way if you have ever fantasized about riding on the wing of an airplane instead inside in your crammed seat, I highly suggest you take an air boat to the Keys. Fred, you one and only Facebook friend, you’d better be FUCKING awesome, because tomorrow we are leaving this beautiful place and by no fault of your own, to visit you and your poor, innocent wife. But where was I with the road trip? Oh yeah, Sven and I spent the second night in Dothan Georgia after all day driving and texting and we ordered Mexican takeout and we pretended the food was good. We popped out of bed Saturday morning with less than one hundred miles to Panama City Beach. After having breakfast with a woman who was on her way to Milwaukee driving a van load of teenagers who'd invented a contraption to open a zipper in fifty eight steps, we got in the car and drove to our destination without a hitch. And even though all the forecasts on all the weather channels were calling for doom and gloom and rain for Saturday, Sunday, Monday and part of effing Tuesday, the sun was trying to come out when we pulled in. We weren’t supposed to be able to get in to our apartment until 3:00 P.M., but damn it to hell, the very congenial owner called to let us know that we could get in early, just as we’d settled ourselves on the beach where the sun was making a CAMEO appearance. We had to get moving. We had friends from Pensacola coming to stay with us on our first night there and they were in route. We had unpacking to do and supplies to pick up, quick. So, we dropped off our stuff in the cute fourth floor apartment and made our way to the invisible Super Walmart that was on the other side of the million story hotel across the street. The woman in the office of the condo said, “You can buy your groceries and walk back here with the cart. They come over and pick them up every day.” Sven: I think we should just drive over there. I don’t want to push a cart back. Me: No,we should walk. It’s too nice to drive and we won’t need a cart. So, two beach chairs, a couple beach towels, chips, pretzels, salsa, salt, pepper, bacon, eggs, OJ, milk, bread, butter, yogurt, lunch meat, mustard, mayo, and shitload of beer later, we were pushing our worldly possessions along in front of us on the bumpy sidewalk that you wouldn’t know otherwise, slanted toward the road. Along with our friends from Pensacola came the rain. But no worries, we spent the afternoon getting caught up over cocktails and snacks. Then we drove through windshield wipers for dinner. Karen pointed at a Saloon and said, “Look there’s Coyote Ugly. I wonder if that’s the place where they made that movie.” I said, “What movie?” She said, “Coyote Ugly.” I said, "Never heard of it." Dressed in Red, we watched the Wisconsin Badgers get knocked out of the final four in the last seconds, by one effing point on T.V. that night. The next morning after drinking enough coffee to make our teeth float and to pee every ten minutes, we drove to Pier Park where we shopped and then ate seafood at an outside café under an umbrella that kept three out of four of us dry, before Thom who'd picked the wrong chair, and Karen got ready to head back to Pensacola. After that Sven and I then set out barefoot on the beach on that cool, overcast, breezy afternoon where we watched spring breakers drink out of funnels and stagger around in teeny, tiny swimsuits and beads. A few hours later, we rinsed the salt off our skin, changed into street clothes and went to check things out. And there it was, Coyote Ugly. [one_half]I suppose you already laughing. It is very likely that Sven and I are the only two people in the world who did not know what was about to happen. I mean, how were we supposed to know that those two cute girls tending bar, dressed in cowboy boots, and very minuscule amounts of clothes that were ripped into shreds in very strategic places, exposing lots of cleavage and tons of skin would one minute be talking to us and then mid-sentence, on cue, look at each other, climb up on the bar and dance P-R-O-V-A-C-A-T-I-V-E-L-Y, in step with each other and then on their knees right over the top of and right in front of my poor Sven?[/one_half] [one_half_last][/one_half_last] [one_half][/one_half] [one_half_last]The next day was Monday and we woke up to the sound of waves and pouring rain. The kind of rain that wasn’t going to let up and that wasn’t going to leave. Even watching the weather channel wasn’t any fun. It only amplified the situation. So this is when we had sex on the beach and I gotta say it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. Maybe it’s because I mixed my sex on the beach with a Rum Runner, a Pina-colada, some cute little chiller things in round cans, a few beers, a shot of Jager and then another beer. This type of behavior must have been the cause of our temporary memory loss because we both completely forgot to eat any left over wings which I found in the microwave in the morning and tossed, which then in turn caused me to toss my cookies, which consisted of the seafood gumbo that I’d had for lunch just before we'd had the sex on the beach. So, no, I would not recommend sex on the beach. It sucks.