Slip Sliding Away

Yesterday we checked two “must do” things off our vacation list; a trip to the water park, and lunch at Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille in St. Augustine.

A few months back while watching a program on the Travel Channel, I think, we saw a show about haunted restaurants. One of them was in St. Augustine, Florida. Knowing we were going to vacation in the Sunshine State over the summer, I looked at the girls and said “We are there.”

The legend is that when you go into the upstairs ladies room you may see a woman in the mirror, or hear a woman crying. This is supposed be Catalina, the one time owner of the residence. Another ghost that makes an appearance from time to time is a man in a top hat who hangs out in the hallway on the way to the bathrooms.

We were seated at a table in the upstairs dining room, which was great because it put us that much closer to ghost central. We waited perhaps 6.2 minutes and my youngest daughter and I made our way down the creepy, twisty-turny hallway that leads to the bathroom.

No man in a top hat. Rats.

We entered the bathroom, and I immediately was struck by how large it was. Two sinks with mirrors hung above them, windows that looked out onto downtown St. Augustine, and two stalls. My daughter and I called out to Catalina, looked in the mirrors, and tried hard to hear any crying. That was a rather difficult task because they had Zyteco music playing rather loudly in there, which made me want to cry.

We made several more trips to the bathroom, in addition to nosing around in other dining rooms, hallways and stairwells, but we were not destined to have a paranormal experience. But the food was really good, so we made a pact to lunch there during each vacation to Florida – maybe one day we will be treated to a visit from the other side.

After lunch we made our way up to Jacksonville to go to a water park called Adventure Landing. It was a small park, but they had a good late afternoon admission price, and we had a “been there done that” attitude towards the water park in Daytona Beach.

Let me state right here an now that I do NOT like water parks. To begin with, I don’t like being wet all day. I also do not like parading around for hours on end in nothing more than a bathing suit and bad hair. Add to this little equation the fact that it is very hard for me to A) get into, and more importantly, B) get out of an inner tube. Half the rides in the park require the use of an inner tube.

It goes something like this:

  1. Climb 8000 steps to the top of a tower where I am not only shaking from my fear of heights, but also from the realization that I have to lower my rather chubby carcass into an inner tube that rests roughly 4 inches off the ground. This requires me to use thigh muscles that forgot they existed – gravity usually takes over at some point and I only hope the tube can survive the force of impact.
  2. When it is our turn, ride attendant must use every muscle in her 114 pound, 18 year old body to put our tube into motion down the water slide. I give her an apologetic look as I plummet into the darkened, watery tube.
  3. Once at the bottom, I am faced with the dilemma of how to get out of the tube. There is no way, I repeat, NO WAY I can simply straddle the inner tube and stand up. Having to act quickly, I must do the stop, drop and roll exit. This requires me to steady the tube, lift myself up a bit and roll over the side, leaving me face down and ass up in the watery pool at the bottom of the slide. Thank goodness my face is already sunburned to mask my total humiliation.
  4. Tell my kids “that was awesome!” and vow to make my husband go the next time.

All joking aside, it really was a fun day. My kids had a blast trying some of the more death defying water rides that you couldn’t pay me to get on. But they also had fun just cruising down the lazy river with mom and dad. That’s one of the things that makes my kids great.

They know I hate water parks, and they know I took one for the team yesterday with a smile on my face. And I know they appreciated it. I guess that’s what families are all about.