Every year since 2004, I have visited Marco Island Beach, Florida around the end of July or early August. What started out as the annual Century 21 Convention that was always held at the Marriott, turned into the annual “girls trip to Marco!” Only a couple of times did we bring our families to the convention in those early years as the Real Estate market was booming and so was the money. Don’t get me wrong, those trips were great, but, as the market tanked, so did the convention.
There were four of us that would go no matter what. We knew that money was tight and we had to make this trip as cost efficient as possible to tell the husbands that it was still worth it for us to go. Not that they would complain but, still it was a nice time to get away from it all. All the crap about work, contracts, buyers, sellers, deals falling through, short sales, etc! I know I have friends that do not believe in going on “vacations” without their spouses, but to that I say, rubbish. Now, now, I believe in the sanctity of marriage but sometimes, you just need your girlfriends.
One of the “girls” could not go because of other trips that were planned at that time, and we had to “fill” that spot. Need-to-say it was filled quickly. We knew that we would keep to our “well oiled machine” vacation and whoever came would fit right in.
Around a month or so before we were scheduled for our trip, we start the “count down.” We either would text message each other how many days till Marco or leave voicemail messages. And why does it always seem that right before it's time for vacation, stuff happens. This year was no excuse.
Helen, one of the original four, calls Maureen (original four) the Sunday before we are scheduled to leave in the morning (as in 7am.) She says that she is going to the emergency room because she has this lump on her throat and is not feeling well. In the past, my dear friend Maureen would call me usually while I am driving over “Alligator Alley” (75 North,) to tell me that she forgot something and has to go back home, or that Helen didn’t wake up in time so they are going to be late coming over to meet us at the local Naples Walmart. Of course it's a big fat lie just to get me upset, and I am embarrassed to say, she gets me every year.
I am at church, thanking God in advance of the great trip I am about to take with my three other friends when I get back into my car to see that I have a voicemail from Maureen. She opens with “this is not a joke, repeat- this is not a joke.” My heart skips a beat and I proceed to listen to the rest of the message that Helen is indeed at the hospital and I should quickly go meet her there.
God bless emergency rooms. Unless you are dying on their floor, you ain’t gonna be seen right away. This was no different. On the positive side, at least Helen was ok enough to wait. And wait we did. Three hours later and my arse hurting from the “little kids” chair that Maureen made me sit on, Helen gets into where the doctor will see her. We are like little kids misbehaving. Who’s going through the drawers, who’s checking out the cute EMT’s coming in, etc. Of course, we stand in faith that Helen is ok and that she’ll be in the car in the morning bright and early. Um……no.
Maureen text messages me at 6:45am that Helen is not coming and that she is still pretty sick. The medicine that they gave her made her nauseous and she just did not want to make the trip. I was devastated. Now we are down to three.
Now Margaret came on time at eight in the morning to pick me up and I was determined that we are still going to have a great time. I felt bad that Maureen drove over by herself but knew I would be driving home with her on the way back. (Margaret had to leave a day early.)
With a quick prayer of thanks and protection we get over to the west coast of Florida in no time. We buy our food and drinks for the week and off to the hotel we went.
No, we did not open them up until we were parked at the hotel and had our arses on the beach. I did though, pack a mean cooler that day. The weather was great as it always is on Marco Island. The sunsets are beautiful as this was taken from our balcony.
Even though we are “away” from family and work, that still doesn't stop us from working. Emails, contracts still need to be dealt with and this was no exception. The hotel had a business center where we would go every day to finish work and quickly go back out to the beach.
I love those times that it’s late, I mean really late and you have those “talks.” I had that special time on the rocking chairs on the deck at 1 a.m. (well, I think it was 1 a.m.!) with Maureen. It’s really those times that you appreciate your friendship. Doesn’t matter what you look like or how you sound, a friend will just listen. For that, I am so appreciative for that time with Maureen. And please, do not call her “Mo!” She hates it and I wouldn’t dare dream of doing it. I hope I listened as well as she did.
When you are “our age,” (doesn’t that sound horrible,) it is so much fun to just sit on the beach and people watch. That is what we did for five days. The weather was great, we had our food and coolers always packed and like usual, was the down time that we all needed. I would never want to take that time for granted. You come back ready and relaxed to take care of your family.
On our one night out - it is a ritual that we order “mango martini’s.” It’s not a trip to Marco without them.
Loved the picture so much, it has been my new profile picture on Facebook, new background picture on my blog and last but not least, my Twitter avatar. This is what it’s all about. Smiling and laughing and just being with friends. Don’t we all deserve that? Ton o’ blessings to ya until next time!