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A day in the life . . .
I wake up to our dog Jinjer, who sleeps in our bed with us, wanting to go outside to potty. I rise and grab my robe. On the way through the semi-dark kitchen I get a glance at the time, 5:44 a.m. Pretty typical time for Jinjer to get her urge. I let her out and survey the pots of flowers and herbs on the decks to see if any need TLC. Everything is pretty much in full bloom on this warm spring morning. The sun has not come up all the way yet, but the orange glow is already making everything visible.
I get Jinny in and head for my office. On the way I put in an organic pop tart in the toaster oven (I justify my treat by it being organic) , and pour a glass of fresh-squeezed florida orange juice. I get to sit at my computer and shake off the sleepiness while checking Craigslist for items I don’t need to buy. I grab my warm pop tart and check out CNN to make sure the world did not come to an end while I slept.
Usually around 6:30 a.m. I get the routine shout from Sharon in the bedroom, “RANDY!”. Signaling that Nora is awake and ready to start her day. I grab her and take her to the living room allowing Sharon to get a little more sleep. Nora is quiet when she first wakes up. Alert, but just sweet and quiet. She usually wants me to just snuggle and watch “tartoons” as she call them in her sweet little angelic voice. We stay there for a bit until she says the familiar statement/question. “I’m hungry.” Many times I just get her cereal. Occasionally I make her scrambled eggs, and on rare occasions I make her waffles. Usually I just try to satisfy her a bit until Sharon wakes up and cooks for her. This day, Sharon awoke right on schedule. 7:00 a.m.
Time for me to get to work. I head back into my home office and begin my daily grind. Sharon leaves around 8:30 a.m. to go retrieve some organic produce from a nearby farmer that we barter with, in return I created and manage his farm website. My morning continues on. I watch an episode or two of Burn Notice on my computer as I work. I don’t really watch it, but the background noise helps me focus actually. I have been working to television shows like ER, M.A.S.H., Magnum P.I., Seinfeld and Northern Exposure among the many over the years. They almost put me into a working trance. I’ve seen the episodes so many times I know them by heart so I don’t actually even notice them on.
Time goes by like blur. I make a trip across the street to a sign shop operated by our now good friends Chip and Karyn. Sharon gets home around 11:00 and we talk about lunch. It is 12:30 before Sharon realizes she has to meet a friend of ours who also has an organic farm and who supplies us with fresh chicken and quail eggs every week. I also created and manage their website. And if you have never had fresh, non-store bought chicken eggs, you are really missing out. And the quail eggs are even better. We decide to load up on the bikes and ride to meet her downtown on Palafox Pier. The weather is around 82º, bright blue skies, and somewhat low humidity for the deep south. The smell of Jasmine is thick in the air at times as we bike down our street.
Downtown is around a mile or less from our house so it is an easy ride. It gently slopes downhill the whole way to the water which is visible in the near distance. The first Pensacola landmark we pass, only 5 blocks from home, is the Civic Center which is always fun to go to when the Pensacola Ice Flyers, a minor league hockey team, is playing. They actually made it to the championship series this past season.
Then we ride by the historic cemetery located at the bend of a major street which seems to be hard to steer around as there have been two cars this year alone that missed the turn and ended up in the cemetery. Destroying the wrought iron fence and several head stones.
We peddle through the Seville Square Historic District centered around a park with 100 year old oaks laced with thick strands of spanish moss hanging from their branches. The area looks as if it is a Hollywood built set to portray the perfect southern neighborhood. The bay is just across the street now and we bike right to it and follow the shoreline sidewalk around to Pensacola Port where a very large oil rig repair ship is docked. Tiny white triangles dot the blue Pensacola Bay where a sailboat regatta is taking place taking advantage of the light sea breeze from the Gulf of Mexico located just over the barrier island that is barely visible on the horizon.
To the right the new ballpark, home of the Pensacola Wahoos, is in view along the waterfront. It is a premium stadium to enjoy a minor league ball game. Only $5 for general admission gets you bleacher seats and you can always walk around to the various bars and concession stands, including hanging out at an umbrella covered table in the “Cool Zone” or sitting on lush green grass just over the outfield wall with hopes of catching a homer. The atmosphere and view are spectacular! And to top it off, there are a minor league team for my Cincinnati Reds!
As we pull into DeLuna park, a small green grass area surrounded by water on three sides located at the tip of Palafox Pier, we notice we are a bit early, but perfect timing to get something to eat. There is a little eatery located there and we have a coupon for it out of a coupon book we bought from a student of a local school. The special was fish and chips! One of our favorite dishes. I placed my order and walked over to hang with Nora and Sharon in the park until it was ready.
Yet another friend of Sharon’s was also meeting up to get eggs and pulled up with her son Brandon shortly after we got there. Nora and him began playing in the splash pad they have constructed at DeLuna park. I love watching Nora laugh and play. There is nothing better than seeing her enjoy life.
Right when our friend with eggs arrived I got a phone call…it was client that I was to have met with 5 minutes ago I remembered just as I looked at the number. Luckily he was calling to tell me he was running late. Even luckier was, that his office was just around the corner. It may have been that I was so hungry, or that it was such a perfect day outside but that fish and chips was some of the best I ever had. I ate mine very quickly and told Sharon I had to run and that I would meet her at home. I hated to leave that perfect lunch, but work comes first during the week.
The meeting lasted about an hour and I got on my bike, and peddled towards home. Instead of going straight home I detoured a tad to go through Seville Square again where I thought perhaps Sharon and Nora might have stopped for hand-made sorbet. I was correct but too late, they were over in the park with Nora on the swings. Located on the square is also the Pensacola Bay Brewery. They brew such great beer. It was everything I could do, to not stop and grab a beer to enjoy in the park. I needed to get home asap as I had a friend coming by to pick up my Grand Caravan which I sold to her the day before but needed to replace the battery first before she could get it. I had the battery at home and just needed to install it. But she was due at my house in 15 minutes. I once again rushed off from Sharon and Nora and hurriedly biked home.
I got the battery in and bid farewell to a vehicle I got pretty attached to. It helped us through some rough years. Hopefully it will serve its new owners just as faithfully.
I went back to work and Sharon and Nora got home just in time for Nora’s nap. She went down easily and Sharon got to clean up the house a bit and relax. Like me, if the house is a mess, she finds it hard to relax.
As I almost due every time it is time for Nora to wake up, I go in and lie with her. She likes to wake up with me by her side. Usually I grab a 15-20 minute power nap next to her, and today was no different. She woke up and we slowly got going. She always likes to look out the window for a bit and cuddle, slowly transitioning back to the real world, but today we were in bit of a hurry. It was gallery night downtown and it starts at 5:00 and it was after 5:00 already. I handed her off to Sharon to get her ready and I grabbed the dogs and took them for an abreviated walk around the neighborhood. The is normally a slow cruising family walk, but not today. I quickly rushed them to do their business and got back to change clothes and get cleaned up.
Since I took the battery for the Caravan from the Town and Country, and the Ark was too big to find a parking spot we opted to once again hop on the bikes. It took no time to get there and the evening was cooling off so it felt great. We had dinner at the vegetarian restaurant and bar, Sluggo’s. Strolling around the closed off Palafox street with margaritas in hand we said hi to friends that seemed to be out in full force. Everywhere we turned we saw someone we knew, the benefit of living in a small town for years. Nora had a blast. We got home around 10:00.
I settled in on the rocker in the bedroom with Nora on my lap to read her sometime bedtime books. And I now realize why people have so many children’s books. Because it gets really old reading the same book, night after night after night. Right now her favorites are Curious George, the Great Gracie Chase, Pajama Time, Barnyard Dance, Wemberly Worried, and of Course Noisy Nora :) We then all climb into bed and fall fast asleep, knowing that tomorrow is Saturday and that is always a beach day. And the predicted weather for tomorrow…Paradise from sunup to sundown :)