The most wonderful week just came to a close yesterday afternoon. On Tuesday, June 7th, my youngest sister, Kim, arrived in Fort Myers, Florida to spend a week with me. (With my hubby too, but mostly with me) What fun we had! We didn't make any particular plans, except for going to worship services on Sunday, we just did what we wanted, when we wanted. And Dennis was wonderful to just haul us around, and never once complained.
There is a place in Fort Myers called the Calusa Nature Preserve and Planetarium, and it is an awesome place to visit for a few hours. This center has rescued wild life of varying kinds that have been injured so severely that the animals are permanent residents because they can't survive on their own in the wild. It's heartbreaking, but without this place, these critters would never survive at all. There are owls, eagles, raccoons, (even an albino raccoon), foxes, and a whole assortment of birds that I can't recall the names of. Beautiful and proud creatures that humans have inflicted so much harm to, well, it not only should be a crime, it is a crime!
Two of the eagles there were shot by turkey hunters and both lost all or a portion of their wings, so instead of majestically soaring in the skies, they hop around in a large cage. (I think someone should put those turkey hunters in a cage and be made to hop!)
My sister, Kim, has her camera permanently attached to her hand, so this place was a smorgasboard of photo opportunities. One of the young men that works there, his name is Justin, was outside with us while Kim and I were taking pictures, and he asked me which one of us was the best photographer. Well, My husband said "That's usually the person with the biggest camera.", and I agreed and told him Kim was the only good photographer. That nice young man took Kim in the big bird sanctuary and let her take pictures up close and personal! It was wonderful for her, and she was in her glory. We really got lucky. Most folks just walk around and look at everything, we had our own personal guide and teacher while we were there.
We got to see a rare albino raccoon, which I had never even heard of before that day. Beautiful creature! And it lives with a standard looking raccoon that has bad allergies, so they have to give it medicine every day, which is why it can't be set free.
There is a planetarium at this center also, and we saw two different screenings while we were there. The only bad thing about that, for me, is the looking up. If you have ever been to a planetarium, the room is sort of a half circle, with the ceiling being rounded and when the lights are turned off and the projector is turned on, you must look up and it looks like the sky at night. Well, I've had two surgeries on my neck which left me with almost zero mobility or flexiblilty in my neck, sooo, I had to almost lay down in my seat to look up. I'm thinking the others in there probably thought I was taking a nap. It was really beautiful though, and well worth the trip!
One day we spent entirely on Sanibel and Captiva Islands, and the weather was beautiful. Hot, but beautiful. We went to the "Ding" Darling Preserve and learned about how he worked to make sure the beauty and the creatures last for generations to come. More of us should be so concerned with the preservation of our world and all things in it. God gave us that responsibility, and I know we aren't taking it seriously enough...at least I haven't. I will from now on, I promise.
Then we went shopping! We hit just about every store on the islands. (Not really, but I'm thinking that to Dennis, it seemed like it) We looked at jewelry, sea shells, clothes, purses, art, food, well, you get the idea. And we went to Pinnochios for their sinfully delicious ice cream. I told you it's like paradise here!
Some days we lounged away at the pool reading and catching some rays, some days we went out exploring. Some days we cooked at home, some days we went out to eat. It was just, to me, a perfect week. But, all good things must come to an end.
Tuesday morning we had to have Kim at the airport around 9:15 AM or so to catch her 11:00 AM flight. We all got up early so we could have some time to wind down our visit, then we headed to the airport about 9 AM. Before Dennis could carry her luggage around the side of the truck, I was already crying. I fought back my tears long enough for Kim to check in, then we embraced and both of us cried our goodbyes. (I'm crying right now just telling you about it). As she was walking in the terminal, I was sobbing and yelling "I love you!" Dennis and I got in the truck and slowly pulled away from the curb. I cried all the way back to our park.
When we got home, I took my little dog, Chico, outside and I sat in my rocking lawnchair and quietly shed a few more tears, missing my sister already. I hadn't been sitting there more than 5 minutes when Kim sent me a text that her flight had been overbooked, so she was going to fly out "later" and the airlines had given her a free round trip ticket for being so accomodating and taking the later flight. I texted her back and asked how long the delay was going to be, to which she replied, "Flying out at 3:38." Okay, lets see, it's now 10:00 AM, and she's not leaving until 3:38 PM... The airport is only about 15 minutes away, hmmm. I told her I was coming to get her, and she agreed, we could do some more shopping and then have lunch! So, I ran inside and told Dennis what was going on, and he said go for it! I did.
I picked Kim up, we went shopping for a couple of hours, then had lunch before she needed to be back at the airport. As she put it, it was like God knew we needed just a little more time, and he gave it to us. It was wonderful! And she got a free round trip ticket to anywhere in the continental United States and a whole year to use it. She can come back!!!
When I dropped her off at the airport for the second time that day, I told her I felt better about it this time. I sobbed again anyway. When I got home, I sat down in my recliner and proceeded to cry all evening, and most of the day Wednesday too. I kept apologizing to Dennis for being such a cry baby, but he told me it's okay, he understands. (No he doesn't. He thinks I'm crazy, if you ask me.) He told me I'm a "very emotional woman". Now, that's an understatement if ever I heard one.
This evening I was "talking" to my niece, Cara, on Facebook, telling her how blue I was feeling since Kim left, and she said I needed a Skype visit to cheer me up. ("Meet George Jetson!") I thought that was a wonderful idea, so we both connected and visited for a while, and it did indeed cheer me up.
While Kim was here, Cara booked a flight to Fort Myers Florida arriving here on July 6th, and is staying with us for a week too! YEA!! So, since it is now past midnight, it's only 13 days until I have more girly fun again. I can harldy wait. And I'll probably cry like a baby when she has to leave too. I'm crying just thinking about it. Poor Dennis.... He's stuck with such a very emotional woman.