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Kenny and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago on June 23rd. We didn’t want the day to go by unceremoniously, so we made plans to wake up in Key West, Florida, on the 23rd.

In mid-April we started planning for two weeks in different parts of Florida, but soon realized we had better move fast, as there were very few options left for us, even two months out.

My sister, Margo, and her husband, Ricky, moved to Punta Gorda, Florida, in Fall 2020, so we always knew that we would attach some days to visit with them and see their new place, at the beginning and end of our trip. We were supposed to arrive in Fort Myers on June 15th, but Southwest Airlines had other plans for us. If you were watching or reading the news, you know that on the morning of June 15th, their systems were hacked. After receiving texts that changed our flight no less than a half dozen times, we arrived at our airport to learn they were so held back that we wouldn’t make ANY connecting flight from Memphis arriving in Florida on the 15th. So before dawn the next morning, we tried again… this time connecting through Chicago, instead of Atlanta (with five hours added to our original four hour flight).. and made it to Fort Myers in the late afternoon of June 16th.

Not a great start, but Margo and Ricky made us welcome and comfy and we all caught up from our missed year of COVID-19, tout suite!

By this time, our itinerary was useless.. but we stayed a few nights with Margo and Ricky, then headed to Islamorada, Florida, staying at a charmingly quaint inn for a couple of nights.

We saw a six foot shark swim up to the dock of a restaurant we visited, and Kenny got his very first pedicure. And now that the secret is out, about the luxury of pedicures… I’ll never be able to get one without him!

Then we headed to Key West for five nights, staying in an even MORE charming oceanside studio space. We shopped on Duvall Street, spending several days looking for a specific pair of Teva sandals for Kenny. We never found them, but did find a “Guess What? Chicken Butt!” tee shirt for our grand-daughter, Isla.. which was a MUST have since she asks that question of most everyone.

Speaking of chicken butts, Key West has a lot of loose chickens running around! We even saw one follow an iguana across the road.. answering the much pondered query of the chicken’s road crossing intent. Yuk!-Yuk!

We ate at several nice restaurants, but the best food was right next door to us at Louie’s Backyard. We cooked breakfast most mornings and made dinner one night in our studio.

The evening of our anniversary, we took a sunset cruise with dinner and drinks, and the day was everything but unceremonious. My Kenny is such a romantic, and with the stress of life shed, everything was perfect!

Before we left Key West, we visited Ernest Hemingway’s house and met the polydactyl kitty ancestors of his six-toed cat, Snow White. Of course, I had to try and pet each and every one of them; and only one gave me a half-hearted swat. Perhaps it was simply the weight of his thumbs slowing him down, but I don’t think he really meant it! 🐾

We also visited Hemingway’s backyard studio where he did most of his writing, and viewed the penny he flung at his wife’s feet, when he learned she’d had a pool installed.. with her money… while he was having an affair. Pick your battles, or be the punchline! She embedded Hemingway’s “last penny” in the patio concrete. Kenny got a shot of Hemingway’s tantrum penny, but it was too blurry to include.

You may also notice one of the shots of Hemingway’s light fixtures (If nothing else, I am consistent!), is the peach version of the Murano chandelier in our entryway!

On the way back to Margo and Ricky’s, we stayed another night in the Everglades, where we visited Coral Castle, then took an airboat through the marsh, viewing ALL the large water fowl and at least six alligators. If I haven’t mentioned this before, I lurve reptiles! 🦖

I saw so many iguanas, tegus, and adorable lizards in Florida! 😍 I chased a small golden tegu around a palm in Key West, snapping shots and pleading with him for a widdle kiss… only to find after I wiki-ed him, they are known for being super aggressive, ROOPS! 🤠

Leaving to come home, we found ourselves in the same situation when trying to get to Florida. This time, all flights out of Fort Myers had been delayed “for weather”, so after waiting around the airport for nearly four hours, we were told our flight had canceled and we’d need to go get our luggage (again!), then try again the next day. Oof! I really learned on this trip to never pack more than a carry on.. part of the relief of getting to the airport is getting rid of your luggage! To have to go reclaim it, wait for shuttles to go pay for a hotel for 8 more hours in Florida, is exhausting!

So tired were we when we finally got to our room at the Mariott Bonvoy (great room, at an emergency rate though!), that I begged Kenny to please agree to stay in and order Uber Eats, because I didn’t want to go through one more set of doors! Looking at our options, we agreed on Outback Steakhouse, since we knew exactly what we would be getting (no more surprises, PLEASE!). Within 20 minutes, I was getting a text to meet the driver downstairs, and I couldn’t believe the speed of our dinner! I could see how fast the driver was getting our meal closer to us, without any lengthy stops at intersections, and was super impressed with his skills, but worried about his safety! My God! He could die in a traffic accident, just to get our food to us, hot and fresh! So I added another 5% to his tip and mentioned how FAST he got it to us, at the hand off.

After we finished eating, we ended up in the lobby and Kenny ran into a guy he’d been talking with earlier. (Kenny NEVER meets a stranger!) He mentioned we’d had Outback through UberEats for supper, and our new friend replied, “You didn’t want to just walk across the parking lot?”. 😒

Yeap! We didn’t know where the hell we were and Outback was in the parking lot behind us. 🤣 We came in on a shuttle, and we were tooooo tired to look around!

We also combined the sale of our Southaven house with our 20th anniversary. Before we even got to the airport (the first time!), we accepted one offer (of many) that came in less than two days after listing. The terms were over asking, too good to pass up, and had us closing the week after we got back. Eventually, the closing was pushed a couple of days to July 7th, due to July 4th, which gave us a minute and a half to rest!

So one huge, expensive and stressful maintenance item was removed from our life and replaced with enough moola to pay off Sadie, all of our debt, stick some back for emergencies and house projects, AND pay for a trip to Italy next year! 😁

Sadie is ALL ours! 🏡

Chelle Ellis

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Home Renovation Bloggers

On September 6, 2017, we bought a 134+ year old Colonial Revival Eclectic known locally in Coldwater, Mississippi, as Ms. Sadie’s Place. We aren’t sure of the age of the house yet; there are old photos dating back to 1883, when she was a much smaller but established version of herself. In 1942, she was moved a mile South, along with the rest of the town of Coldwater (including a massive church) to make way for the Arkabutla Reservoir, built by the WPA in response to the Great…

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