Loose Ends...

Alright...I want to finish up with the Florida vacation posts because the luster is quickly fading away. And I'm starting to forget a lot. The reason for the delay in posting was because I hadn't been able to find the USB cable to transfer the photos from our camera to our computer. Thank you technology! That fact combined with the new patio we built in the back yard and Maribeth's graduation...it has a busy time. HOWEVER!! Lo and behold the cable has been found, the patio has been built and the edumacation graduation happened!!

So...Florida trip Day 2: Turn Left at the Walgreens...

Sunday was supposed to be a day of swimming with manatees...with our good friend Dave, whom we hadn't seen in ages. So that means...good day: planned; dumb day: reality.

The manatee place was about 2 and a half hours away, so we set out around 5 AM or so. Driving, driving, driving...turned left at the Walgreens...listen to the weather...lots of rain predicted, gale force winds...turn off the radio...driving driving driving...turned left at another Walgreens...phone rings. Manatee dive: canceled. Damn. We were so close. Apparently the winds and such were too nasty on the bay to do anything. However the weather was still nice where we were.

So we took a vote and decided to drive to the little town where the place was and see what else there was to do. We stopped at a gas station and the clerk said there is a cool zoo. "Oh", says I, "How does one get to this zoo you speak of?"...
clerk: "drive down the road you're on for about another 20 minutes and then (you guessed it) turn left at the Walgreens."

Wow. We drove, turned...then we got rained on. And rained on. So we gave up and decided to go back to the hotel. It was one of the wettest drives I have ever EVER driven. And believe it or not we turned at 3 more Walgreens on the way home.

The day was then filled with lazy TV watching and naps. Although the weather cleared up in the evening enough for us to go to Downtown Disney and eat at an awesome Cuban restaurant, Bongos...Once there, we decided to sit outside. Bad idea. It was sooo windy and cold I had to walk down to a store and buy a $42 Pirates of the Caribbean sweatshirt to keep a certain member of our party warm. After my expensive excursion, we ordered our food. I ate something awesome that I unfortunately can't recall the name of. Maribeth had something that she didn't like, so we ended up picking off of each other's plates. It was all good to me.

So the night turned into a fun, drinking, walking and talking time with the Swarrs and Dave. It ended up being a lazy, but still enjoyable day.

Lesson to be learned: If you are ever in Florida and you get lost, make 3 left turns at 3 different Walgreens and you'll be fine.

Up next: Florida Trip: Day 3 aka Busch Gardens: Part 1

We're Smart

There was a last minute change in my plans this past weekend. I thought I'd have to settle for just getting my degree from Millersville in the mail. I didn't think I would be able to attend commencement for my graduation.

However three days before the ceremony, I found out that I had the opportunity to. Unfortunately not everyone could make it as it was so last minute, but I know everyone was there in spirit and that was enough for me.

It was a beautiful day and it felt so wonderful to p
articipate in something that always seemed so far away and at times almost impossible to reach. What an amazing feeling...

I am finally done.

Weekend Surprises

By: Mrs. Swarr

I have to interrupt Zach's Florida stories (uh... story) to share the excitement of our weekend. Saturday was an important day in my college career. The last day in fact. I had 2 finals to take and then all that's left is to wait for the diploma to come in the mail. It’s about time.

Anyway, Zach promised me Saturday. He promised he would take Declan out for the day so I could study and take the final tests of my lifelong schooling. Well. Saturday morning he decided he would rather get the patio finished than allow me to take my finals. For those of you who were unaware - Zach and I were working on a brick patio in the back yard for our summer enjoyment. Needless to say there was quite a bit of arguing on the subject. In the end, Zach refused to back down and I decided I wasn't going to argue about this any longer. What’s one more day when I have already put a good 20 years into my education already?

Well, we worked on the patio from 8:30am until 4:00pm. I am so stiff and sore I can hardly move. Mom was kind enough to pop over around 11:00 to play with Declan, give him some lunch, and put him down for a nap (Thanks mom!!). Then, after we finished the patio and I was preparing to take my first final, finally, Amy and Erik showed up.

me: Hey. What are you doing here?
Amy: We were shopping and thought we would stop by.
me: Why were you shopping the whole way down here?
Amy: Well this is the closest Lowe's to us.
me: Oh. Well do you want to stay for supper? I am going to make this great new chicken recipe. Oh and you can help me take my test!
Amy: Ok. But we're not hungry.
me: Oh. Ok. Later then. Wanna help me with my test?
Amy: Sure.
me: Ok. Dammit. The internet is out. Well let's go sit and relax a bit until Declan wakes up. HEY. Dean's here. He must have stopped by to see how the patio turned out.

At this point I am still clueless, and pretty much reserved to the fact that my finals will be waiting until tomorrow. We are all outside admiring the patio when Zach puts his arm over my shoulders and says, "ok honey. Confession time."

Oh crap. What does he think I did? What did he do? Is he going to accuse me of something in front of Dean and Amy and Erik????

And then the words of my impending fate are spilling out of my husband's mouth, but it doesn't sink in. What?
... for you...


....graduation... for you...

say again?

we're having a surprise graduation party for you

and in walks Mom and Dad Swarr.

and Aunt Debi and Tom

and Mom and Dad Johnson

and it hits me.... Aunt Debi asked about some party. Zach kept delaying my test taking. Amy and Erik “weren’t hungry.” A million other hints. I was clueless. I didn't get it.

and it hits me again..... there was actually a valid reason for Zach insisting that we finish the patio today. Zach has fully surprised me for the first time in our blessedly long and eventful relationship. I am speechless. And I am having the time of my life.


Sunday I took my finals and passed with flying colors. Thank you to my wonderful husband and fabulous sister for planning such a great evening. Thank you to my extraordinary family and friends for being there for me the entire way through this process. I never could have done it without you. Finally, thank you for being there to celebrate the most wonderful day of my life - followed closely by my wedding and the birth of my son. Ok so I guess maybe it doesn't beat those out, but man it feels good to be done.

Florida Trip: The Joys of Publix

Ok. It's time to blog about our Florida trip starting.....now!

Florida Trip Day 1: The Joys of Publix

After a very pleasant and surprisingly non turbulent flight (and after putting our tray tables and seat backs in their original and upright positions) we started our descent into Orlando...

Our plane arrived at the gate Saturday April 14th around quarter 'til 4. After moseying down to the baggage claim and claiming our baggage, we then took a courtesy van to our car rental place which was surprisingly nice. Although the last thing I was expecting to hear upon arriving in Florida was a heavy Brooklyn accent from our van driver. We went through all of the rigamarole at the car rental place and it was off to the hotel.

Check in was flawless...but then we had to wait 20 minutes for a parking pass which we were informed was highly necessary and important yet put in our windshield all but twice with no problems whatsoever.

We went to the room, unpacked, sat down for all but an hour, made all of the necessary "We got here" phone calls and it was off to the grocery store...Publix. We had a little kitchenette in our room and decided that it might be nice to make a meal every now and then.

Grocery shopping on vacation was a little weird, but we found that the 'Publix' brand foods had very nice and refreshing packaging, so that made it enjoyable...well that and the fact that once you're outside our great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania they sell alcohol at grocery stores, convenience stores, pizza shops, etc...Everywhere except at a 'State Store' (which incidentally, no one outside of PA knows what one is).

After spending way too much on groceries, it was back to the room. And if my memory serves me, it was an evening of nothing but relaxing and enjoying the jacuzzi tub...with beer and wine purchased at...you guessed it: Publix.

Good first day.

Up next: Florida Trip Day 2: Turn left at the Walgreens...