Elisa's Daily Scoop
Lotsa Laughs in Clearwater
Greetings from Clearwater Beach Florida!
First I have a huge correction to make to my blog yesterday. I don’t know if I’m getting old and losing my mind or I’m just getting careless having not checked the fight details accurately for this trip.
In any case, when I went to check my bags curbside last night at JetBlue at JFK, I was told that I was not booked on a “9:45 flight to Orlando” and was asked to present my flight confirmation. It was at this point I realized that I was not headed to Orlando, but instead, Tampa.
Considering my final destination was Clearwater, Tampa was the appropriate airport to fly into and I guess, in my ever efficient way, working with Stephen, my trusty travel agent, we decided way back all those months ago, to book Tampa to save the otherwise 2 hour drive from Orlando. YAY - GOOD NEWS!
Now, when it comes to travel arrangements, I’m never taken by surprise, but I must tell you, I had completely forgotten about these arrangements and was so pleasantly surprised to know we would only have a 20 minute drive to the hotel, rather than the assumed 2-hour drive.
After a tasty Italian meal at the Jet Blue Terminal, Gianna, Kelsey and I headed over to Baked by Melissa to get a dozen mini cupcakes. The girls were totally stoked and decided to break out the goodies after take off! Here are some of the flavors they walked off with:
Tie Dye, Chocolate Chip Pancake, Donut, Salted Caramel, Cookie Dough, Mint Chocolate chip, Peppermint and Peanut Butter & Jelly.
We couldn't have asked for a better flight. In fact, the luggage was there and waiting when we arrived a the carousel and we were a hop, skip and a jump to the rental car offices.
THAT'S WHERE OUR LUCK RAN OUT!
Yup! It was 1:15AM when we arrived at Dollar Rent-a-Car. With all the cars I rent, I'm thinking, it's going to take us 15 minutes tops. Ok, so that was soooo not the case.
It was like Chinese water torture.
Tedd went to the desk, which is usually my job since I'm the one who makes the reservation and is aware of the details of the booking. I'm sorry it wasn't me dealing with these fools, cuz I think things may have turned out differently.
But, because the girls needed to hit the ladies room and we had to take turns watching the luggage, I relinquished my job of dealing with the rental desk.
After nearly 40 minutes, I'm called to the desk to present my license since the customer service representative was giving us such a "great deal" and was going to put two drivers on the contract at no additional charge.
When I get there, I see that my $250 weekly rate has gone up to $600+! I am shocked (even though I'm thoroughly exhausted) and I'm told that we are getting "a great upgrade."
I had booked a mid-size, so I'm thinking, "ok, so we are going to get an SUV or something comparable." I'm handed a Fiat key and thinking, "hmmm, these are usually small" but I'm assured it's a big car so what do I know - maybe Fiat has a new luxury model.
I head to Stall 119 with Kelsey and I do a double take as I see this little box that resembles the toddler "cozy coupe" that my kids had when they were 2-years old. I'm thinking, "is this the right stall?" "Did I pass the Grand Cherokee?" "Maybe there's a Ford Taurus somewhere that I missed."
By the time Tedd gets to the car with Gianna, I'm laughing that this has to be a mistake - for $600???
I'm curiously thinking - "what did they previously have us booked in if this is the upgrade? A red wagon? A motorcycle with a side car?"
So, being the level headed, calm person he is, my husband proceeds to start cursing and heads back to the office to get another car. Uh...well... he finds that the office is now closed; we are the only ones in the parking lot at 2:00AM and our only options are to a) take this matchbox car; or b) spend the night in the parking lot.
Now, the fun only just begins as we have to load in 2 large suitcases, 2 small suitcases and a few carry-ons. By this point, me and the girls are hysterical laughing but Tedd is in a state. He's putting the luggage in the car - which takes up the entire "trunk" (which mind you, is minuscule) and has to put a few pieces in the back seat, leaving about 15 inches for both girls to sit.
Gianna is protesting that there is no room refuses to get in the car. Her father responds equally maturely and begins cursing again. I can't go near the car because I'm having a hard time breathing from laughing at the sight of the car which is packed to the gills and the amount of space left for the kids to sit in.
Then I get a look at how close the driver's seat is to the steering wheel because of all the luggage in the back seat and I have to keep my head turned because I don't want to get caught laughing!
While he's carrying on and cursing and goes off yet again to find someone from Dollar anywhere in the lot (unsuccessfully), the three of us attempt to get in the car. Thank goodness my kids are small people and have small butts. I smash them into the back seat with all the luggage and realize I still have a large shoulder bag AND my wheely toiletry bag to fit in.
I put the shoulder bag on the floor by the girls feet (now they can't even move their feet) and I get in the front seat with the toiletry bag in front of my seat and I realize I have no room for one of my feet. I have to make an executive decision - leave my foot hanging out the door or back the seat up an inch and squish my daughters more so I can fit my foot.
I hear a moan from Gianna as I back the seat up and now the three of us cannot stop laughing. Tedd is still no where to be found but when he returns - he has to get into the car with the seat practically touching the dashboard and I have to turn my head.
Well, folks we did make it unscathed to the hotel (a 30 minutes drive from hell!!) and didn't get into our room till 3:30. We had to stop and ask a cop for directions but I couldn't figure out how to open the window.
Finally, I just opened the door and the expression on the policeman's face was priceless as he probably couldn't fathom how we all got in the car with the luggage.
I'm happy to report, both kids were able to stand up straight and there was no permanent damage.
You can best believe Dollar Rental Car is going to hear from me!
Sorry for the long rant - I'm done!! lol
Let’s not forget what important day today is -
A big HAPPY VALENTINE’S to you! I thought since it’s also Shoppin’ Saturday here on Travelin’ Cousins, here are my Top picks for last minute gifts to get your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day.
#5) Candy - unoriginal but always a good choice!!
#4) Special Dinner - who doesn't love a nice, romantic dinner for 2
#3) Flowers - this is probably better appreciated by women than men - but hey, I'm a girl!
#2) Jewelry - 'nuf said
and my #1 Pick for a Valentine's Gift - personal pampering gift certificate (massage, facial, nail services anyone?)
As we embark on our first official day in Florida, we’ll be heading over to the Clearwater Aquarium this afternoon to see Winter and Hope, the two famous dolphins from A Dolphin Tale and A Dolphin Tale 2, along with all the other marine life residents.
Here’s to a very special VALENTINE’S DAY!!!
Love & Kisses,
Tanya's Daily Scoop
Happy Valentine's Day!!!
Greetings from Crestline, California!
Not quite as much a vacation destination as Elisa being in Clearwater Beach, Florida (look at that lovely picture!), but this is where my little gang will be spending our holiday weekend!
We're up in the mountains on a winter retreat with the International Peace Choir.
The last time we came up to this location for a winter retreat was probably about 7 years ago!!
Back then, Cosette had rode up along with the choir in a bus, and Dominic and I had spent the day skiing at Bear Mountain before driving up ourselves and meeting the group here.
Well being that we had come up in the pitch blackness of night - with absolutely no street lights whatsoever, I didn't get to see what the road actually looked like...appropriately named 'Rim of the World drive'!!
This winding road on the edge of the mountain looked like a roller coaster from below! Ahhhhhh
And then once you reach the tippy top, you have to navigate the small winding forest roads with poor signage.
So, I'm not quite sure how I found this place last time! LOL
Anyhow, we made it back then, and we made it bright and early this morning!
It'll be a day full of training and fun activities for the ambassadors, and even a few thrown in here and there for us chaperones!
Not quite how I wanted to spend my Valentine's Day, but what can ya do (insert shoulder shrug here).
Dave, my mom, and I took the kiddies to see the movie 'Kingsmen: The Secret Service" last night - I think we all enjoyed it. But going in, I really didn't know what to expect.
After the movies, Dave had taken me to have a wonderful late night dinner at the LA Vegan Hot-Spot Crossroads Kitchen. Where I got the low-down from Elisa (via text) about all the craziness that she and gang were going through! UGH
You've got to read her side, and just get ready for a good laugh!!!
And like usual we had celebrity sighting while we were there!
Travis Barker of BLINK182 was dining there (he's a Crossroads Kitchen regular).
That pretty much brings us back to today, Saint Valentine's Day. And I thought that perhaps you'd be interested in a little bit of the History Behind Valentine's Day.
15 Fun Valentine's Day Facts For 2015
That's about all folks!
Hope you have a LOVELY day!
Elisa and Tanya
Travel around the world and the NYC outer boroughs every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday!!