Nothing says ‘fun vacation’ like renting a big house and sharing it with your family. No seriously, I mean it. It has been a blast. The best part is how it helps me relive my childhood. The first part is because it is the three brothers reunited under one roof once again. Sharing stories, pulling out obscure references to our favorite movies or TV shows and joking with each other. The nice thing is that we have progressed to a few adult topics, now that we are each married and there are some kids in the mix as well. (Don’t worry, we are still mostly like the adolescents from back in Schererville.)
This trip has also brought back a lot of memories of long past Sieracki trips to Florida. We started up in Venice and continued down the Gulf Coast, at one point spending a week on Sanibel Island (essentially where we are now) for three consecutive years. There were all the trips to the beach, swimming in the pool, almost getting eaten by an alligator (that’s a long story for another time) and collecting shells. When we first came to Florida as a kid, I slept in the same room with my grandfather and my job was to figure out the weather report and get the newspaper.
The other Florida memory that came back via a quick conversation that I had with Hannah the other day. She was maligning the fact that while she was trying to sleep, everyone in the living room was so loud. She asked why it had to be that way. I told her “It was a family tradition. When Daddy, Uncle Matt and Uncle Brian used to go to Florida with the family, they would be put to bed in one room, but then be kept up all night by the adults laughing, joking and playing games.” We even had an imitation of it that we did. (It went something like this “SCREECH! SQUEAL! EEEEE YAAAAAAAA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! CACKLE! CACKLE! CACKLE!) I think the irony was lost on Hannah.
In all of our trips to Florida we stayed in a lot of nice places, but I am not sure if any of them were as full of surprises as this place. Thus, begins my first attempt at a photoblog.
When you first arrive and come up to the front steps, you come to the front door:
The doors open to a nice 2 story family room complete with flat screen TV where we have spent many a fun night talking, laughing and playing games:
The best night was when the boys hung out in the family room just like old times. The girls we not too impressed by our attempts at male bonding, especially because they were having a “Girls Party” up on the roof top deck. (Complete with hand-delivered food and beverage service):
It also has a nice view of the ocean:
Now at this point, you are probably saying to yourself, “Hey, the title of this blog is ‘Vacation Surprises’. I haven’t seen any surprises yet.” And you would be right. So you come back down of the deck and you come across a door that appears to be a closet:
However, upon further inspection, it appears that not everything is as it seems. Is that…. an elevator?:
You better believe it!:
It even comes complete with a phone inside. I was about to make a call on it to one of my housemates, but then I realized that we probably don’t get long-distance service on the main phone line:
Hannah loves the elevator, by the way. She knows how to work it all by herself and takes every opportunity she can to ride in it. Now unfortunately, there are no other hidden passageways that we know of behind the grandfather clock like in Webster, but we still have 3 more days to find them. As we head to the basement, we see something that all good vacation homes need:
Well the ping-pong table is nice but that’s not what I mean. I am talking about:
The three bench golf cart! Boy is that going to make trips to the beach (or even restaurants easier.) We can just drive the whole group and all of our stuff to the beach. (After all, there is a sign that says golf carts are welcomed on the roads here on Captiva.) Unfortunately:
Boooooo! Well, at least we can fall back on our awesome, screened in pool:
And, while we don’t have the benefit of the house’s excellent golf cart, at least we have this luxurious vehicle, which Susie is very excited about:
That’s right, we are rocking a mini-van. And not just any mini-van, but a mini-van that has automatic opening and closing side doors! And if there is a bigger vacation surprise than Susie rolling in a mini-van, I don’t know what it could possibly be.