Beth and Brady R&R

Beth and Brady R&R

Aug 14, 2012

(For Brady’s last week of training, scroll to the very bottom of this post)

I must mention that this was Beth’s first vacation in 4 years. It wasn’t really a vacation as much as it was a weekend getaway. Between school, starting work as a registered nurse, jumping hospitals a few times, and more school, she was too busy to get one in. I am glad we did.  So Beth and I took this very short and economical pseudo vacation to Panama City Beach Florida. We left last Wednesday (Aug and came back on Sunday (Aug 13). We drove straight through both traveling there and back. A lot of interesting and fun things happened while we were gone and I’d like to share them with you. Don’t expect a long detailed and drawn out synopsis. I am too relaxed to care. Relaxation is something that I hadn’t experienced in about 4 years. And it feels great.

On the way out we stopped at a rest area in southern Illinois I believe. After using the facilities I walked out back to stretch my legs and get some air. The rest area was beautiful with a rather large lake situated in the distance. I glanced out and something caught my eye. (I have extremely healthy vision) I looked and peered at this island on the lake. I thought I saw something move so I kept close watch. Now this island is VERY far away and visible from the interstate. It was moving and a light brown in color. It was a deer. (My father is an avid hunter and showed me how to see signs of many forms of animal life. We’d spend entire weekends looking for and tracking animals when I was growing up.) At this time Beth was coming out of the rest facility and I told her that there was a deer on this island. This started the first of many ‘I don’t believe you’ statements from my lovely trusting wife. So, I told her to look at that tiny brown spot on the island and see for herself. Well for her to see it we had to walk about a hundred yards closer. She saw the little brown speck move up a hill then to the right and the silhouette of the deer was in view. She couldn’t believe that I could see this thing from so far away. Again, this was the first of many ‘I don’t believe you’ moments.

At this rest stop I witnessed the first of three instances where people were going in to the bathrooms either barefoot or just in their socks. The other two, I don’t remember the exact locations, but I remember clearly that two of them were adult females and one young man. Beth and I were pretty grossed out.
Fast forward to Georgia. Beth and I decided that we wanted something different for lunch and I encouraged some of those delicious southern chicken fingers. We opted for a restaurant in Athens called Roosters. They were GOOD. This prompted a conversation about Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, a chain of restaurants whose sole purpose is to cook their ‘1 Love’ being chicken fingers. It also prompted Beth’s second ‘I don’t believe you’ moments. I told her that the mascot of Raising Cane’s is a golden retriever. She said no way and made me look it up on their website. I win again.

After discussing Cane’s, I discussed another southern fast food restaurant, WHATABURGER. She immediately thought I was making this up. (For some reason she thinks I make a lot of stuff up) She immediately started talking about some Nickelodeon show that had a Good Burger in it and thought I was talking about that. I ensured her that WHATABURGER exists and not made up. Later in Florida, we found one. I started to feel that Beth didn’t believe anything I said.

When we got into Alabama Beth started getting slap happy and it was rather hilarious. She had to get some Bama Peaches. Anytime she saw the word Bama (short for Alabama), she’d start up in this goofy southern accent that was mixed with her northern Illinois yankee accent. I couldn’t stop laughing.
For example, in normal Beth language:
Back = Bay-ack
Man = May-an
Wolf = Woof
Sam = Say-am
Fast = Fay-ast
(you get the picture)

So when she started adding the linguistics of a southern drawl, she sounded more like a creole-yankee-southerner. I couldn’t stop laughing. She then started into talking about how ‘Bama peaches ain’t Georgia peaches, not to be confused with Florida Beaches!’ Yelling this out loud for only me to hear. It was really funny. Just a bunch of silly Beth-billy gibberish.

So we get to the hotel and a serious by chance against all odds thing happened. Our next door neighbors were staying at the same place! We had no idea and this wasn’t planned at all! INCREDIBLE The impossible just happened. We should have bought lottery tickets. We later met them on the beach, share some beers, and had a good time. What are the odds?

In the hotel room, we immediately looked out at the gulf and could see dolphins swimming around. That is a really cool and relaxing sight to see. A lot different than the corn fields and cows I am accustomed to seeing.

Wednesday night we were famished, so we ate at Dick’s Last Resort. I didn’t know what this place was. The servers pick at and make fun of you…something that I actually enjoyed. I said I didn’t mind as long as I could give it back. They made some fairly foul mouthed remarks (in fun) and jokes. We ordered alligator tail as an appetizers and Shrimp as the entrée. I had some Yuengling. After dinner Beth and I walked around Pier Park and then walked down to the beach, danced, got a little wet and laughed a lot. It was a good day.

It pretty much rained our entire stay with a couple of 3 hour windows where the weather was actually quite perfect. But it did literally rain nearly the entire time we were there, but we didn’t let that stop us.

Since strength knows no holiday, I had to train when I was down there. So Thursday morning Beth and I found a Gold’s Gym for me to train at. I told Beth that I needed only 45 minutes, but actually only did about 30 minutes of anything. It was the worst training day of the entire training cycle. Everything felt very heavy and my shoulders were screaming at me. So, I cut the volume down a bit, did some lighter weights, barely squatted, did some rows, worked on my guns for the beach, and called Beth to pick me up. I was supposed to train on Friday, but I decided that I needed the extra rest for recovery and that any additional weight training would just beat me down even more. Plus I was on vacation, just drove 14 hours the day before. I was exhausted in just about every way.

The gym rats in Gold’s were quite typical. Some uber-steroid-meatheads, some weekend warrior looking types, lots of 20 somethings, and of course the young jocks. As soon as I walk up to the only 2 benches in the place, I asked if I could work in. I was given a few chuckles and was told that I could work in with ‘Broseph’ benching 385 for doubles or something. (A really interesting attempt at letting me know he was the king of the gym.) He had so much acne and didn’t look like he could scratch his own head his arms were so artificially inflated. I didn’t really care about this local gym hero lore. I just wanted to get my stuff done. I worked in and made my way up to 385 effortlessly (although it felt like crap). I watched a guy do some half squats with 225 and he thought he was putting on a show. I proceeded to do full squats without a belt and with precision. That turned more heads than the benching. Maybe a full squat in this gym was as elusive as a sasquatch walking through the door? People pretty much kept to themselves and gave me some space. I liked that.

One thing that surprised me about Florida was the tiny lizards! They were everywhere! I am an animal nut and I thought this was the coolest. Any given bush had about a half dozen on it. I think that they were mostly anoles, but I am not sure.

On Friday, we went to the free conservation park (hyperlink) just a few miles from our hotel. It boasted something like 27+ miles of trails. We hiked through them fairly easy as most of the path was wood chips and boardwalks over swamps. We didn’t see any alligators (to my disappointment), but we did see many different species of spider and a cottonmouth. It was only about a foot long and coiled roughly 12 feet away from us. Beth again couldn’t believe that I could pick it out in the swamp. I think at this point she was starting to believe that I have superhuman vision. I snapped a picture of a green spider that had likely hunted and killed a bumble bee.

After the conservation park, we drove back to the hotel. On the way we stopped at an intersection and saw two cyclists. We thought they were both women. One was attractive, the other not so much. Beth said that they looked rough. The woman looked pretty. However, the other ended up being a man. We laughed pretty hard about that. Thankfully, Beth likes her men big and manly.
For Friday’s lunch, we ate at the St. Andrew’s Bay Captain’s Table. They had some incredible seafood. I had the lunch platter with Red Snapper, Shrimp, Scallops, hushpuppies, and she-crab soup. That soup was amazing. Beth had the grouper and after tasting my soup, she got her own cup.

We decided to go out on the bay with a company (who will remain nameless) with Magic Mike and Kenny. The plan was to go out, play with dolphins, take a stroll on Shell Island, and paddleboard up the island before heading back. We found dolphins, but they didn’t stick around. We did walk on Shell Island and shortly after some menacing looking clouds started building quickly so we had to get the heck out. We boated straight through this storm that gave me flashbacks to the intro to Gilligan’s Island TV show. There were many times I thought the pontoon was going to flip over from the wind, waves, 50 feet of visibility, and boating abilities from Magic Mike. What made the situation even scarier is that we learned that Florida has the most lightning strikes of any other state and just 2 days before, 2 people died from a lightning strike. Lightning was all around us. We didn’t get to paddleboard and the trip was cut short by 2 hours. BUST, but we did get back in one piece and it brought Beth and me closer together. This trip also made me realize that I need a good waterproof backpack. All of our stuff got drenched and we felt like drowned rats heading back to the hotel.

That evening, Beth and I went back to our hotel, had a nice section of weather approaching and enjoyed the beach. Beth had never really played in the waves before, so I literally had to drag her out there.  She enjoyed jumping and splashing into them.  She giggled, laughed, and smiled the entire time.  I really enjoyed sharing this with her.  It felt like we were on one of our first dates together.  I fell in love with her all over again and I am not ashamed of declaring that.  It is a moment that I’ll never forget.  After she had enough, I stayed out in the waves attempting to ‘HULK SMASH’ them to no avail.


Friday night we ate at Uncle Ernie’s!  We ate seafood on a deck overlooking St. Andrew’s Bay.

We hit the beach early on Saturday and instead of doing a lot of swimming, we stayed closer to the shore and searched for shells.  Beth got burned bad and I got tanned.  Poor little stubborn German/Irish thing.  After this, we went to the hotel’s pool and bar.  I sat in some giant green beach chairs at the bar reading Hiking Through By: Paul Stutzman and enjoying a rum runner.  This true story is about a man’s fascination with the Appalachian Trail shortly after the death of his Wife and quitting his job.  Very good book so far.  Within an hour, Beth and some of her friends got in trouble drinking beers in the pool.

On the way home we saw a restaurant called Shuckem’s!  We shuckem’, you suck ’em!  OYSTERS that is!  We laughed pretty hard about that.
Later in our drive home in BAMA, we were at a stop where a guy was wearing a bright green vest selling day old newspapers.  Beth yelled out, “Be careful he may be tryin’ to do the Gypsy Switch!”  Laughing, I asked what that meant and she said that its similar to the Texas Switch, but there is more stealing involved.  My wife is nuts.
As we were gone, my father had his last day of work as a Pipefitter out of local 439.  I believe that he had 38 years in.  Knowing that he is safely retired, I am proud of him.  AND thankful that he worked so hard through the years putting a roof over my head and food on the table.  There were many months where he’d work 7 days a week 12 hours a day.  He’d come home dog tired.  I am glad to see him be able to rest and enjoy his time.



Vacation Thursday
Bench Press 375 x4x4, 225 x15
Squat 225 x10
Pulldowns x3x15
Bicep Curls

Monday – Test Bench Press
5 paused competition singles to a PR!

Close Grip Bench Press x2x10

Lats x4x15


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