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My Week With Vinny

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S: My Week With Vinny

BC: I put our bags in the rental car Friday morning while Vinny explained the Cadillac's GPS system to Margie. Jimmy observed. It was a short lesson as Margie caught on right away. She got out of the car, shut the door, and I realized - our week was over. After hugs, we said good-bye, and headed to the airport. We stopped for lunch, returned the rental car, and checked into our flight. Once at the gate, we both pulled out our I-Pads to play games and pretend that the week wasn't over. But our families waited for our return and we had lots of stories and pictures to pass on. We had wanted a unique and different vacation. WE GOT ONE. Our first trip was a great success, thanks to the Jumer families. I'm very pleased. Thank you!! Hey Vinny, want to try that Ireland castle tour next year, just the two of us?

FC: My Week With Vinny

1: Even though Joel Vincent, (Vinny), is my oldest son, over the years we had never taken a trip together, just the two of us. So late 2011 we decided we would take one week, do something very different, and make up for lost time. Google provided many unique choices: a tropical island - vetoed by our wives; an African safari - too expensive; an Alaskan cruise - again vetoed by our wives; a week in Orland - been there, done that. Our trip was becoming just something we talk about again. Then Vinny got a phone call from his good friend Ron Wicks, who retired in Cape Coral, Florida, after the Jumer family sold the casino. Ron suggested we visit him and he even offered to let us stay on his three bedroom yacht moored in the canal in his backyard. On his yacht?? Now that was unique!!!

2: Kevin Brown, a friend of Vinny's and the Jumer family, decided to go with us, but only for the weekend. So on 20 January 2012, we joined Ron and his wife Sylvia, Sylvia's brother Carl, and Jimmy Jumer and his wife Margie. I immediately took my bags from the rental car to Ron's yacht. WOW! I even got the master bedroom, complete with jacuzzi.

3: It was after 10:00 P.M. when we arrived at Ron's. But sleep never entered our minds. We sat around the lanai, reminisced, drank, talked about the yacht, discussed upcoming plans for the week, drank, teased Kevin that he was crazy to not stay the week, drank, and totally enjoyed the evening. The hot tub was our last big venture. Then, after a final, final drink, we decided to call it a night. Or I should say morning, it was after 3:30 A.M..

4: Before turning in, Kevin, Vinny, and I drew up a shopping list: Dial white soap to use as catfish bait, an I-Tunes card for Kevin, diet pop, snacks, etc. But I didn't wait for morning. Too excited to sleep, I took the list and hit Wal-Mart at 4:30 A.M. When I returned, I sat on the lanai and looked around. Yes, it was real. I wasn't dreaming. First thing in the morning I joined Carl and Hunter, the family dog, on the lanai. Fresh coffee tasted great and the lanai took on a new perspective now that I could see. A heated swimming pool, a steaming hot tub, numerous chairs, tables, etc. with a view of the canal and our home for the week. This would definitely be a vacation to brag about!

5: At 10:00 we boarded the yacht to go to Cabbage Key Island for lunch.

6: We had to go slow to avoid a wake in the canal and even went through a lock system. Then we joined other boats in "The Miserable Mile," which was just like its title - boats stacked up as far as you could see. It took several hours to get to the island.

7: We docked, had lunch, and checked out the room with all the hanging dollar bills. Then, on the way back, some of us relaxed below deck and let Mother Nature take its course.

8: Ron, Joel, and Jake, (Ron and Sylvia's son), took turns at the wheel.

9: Back to the lanai and more talk and drinks. Ron cooked bacon wrapped shrimp kabobs and served seafood dip with crackers and hard salami. Not much activity, everyone was tired from being in the open air. At one point, Margie jumped up, hurried to the kitchen to get her camera and take a picture of Vinny and me, and ran right into the closed door, smacking her face and nose. Ice took some of the swelling down and the bleeding stopped after a while. We were all certain she would wake up with two black eyes. Turned in at 2:30 A.M.

10: Joined everyone on the lanai Sunday morning. Margie's eyes showed little damage from the window attack last night. Whew. At 10:00 Vinny and Kevin decided to take out the jet skis. As they took off into the canal they took off too fast creating a big wake. I jumped in the car and headed them off just before the locks to tell them to slow down. They were in a no wake zone. Once in the bay, Vinny hit 60 miles per hour. On a jet ski.

11: We watched New England win their playoff game to make it to the Super Bowl and decided to go to the Tiki Hut for supper. We stayed and watched Eli win, then retired to our favorite haunt - the lanai.

12: Monday was Kevin's last day. He rented a car so we wouldn't have to drive him back to the St Petersburg airport. We took it easy in the morning and went to Ragged Ass Saloon" for lunch. On the way home we picked up pop and chips for the fishing trip tomorrow. My ankles were really swollen so I relaxed and soaked them in the hot tub when we returned. We went to "Bert's" for supper. Their cole slaw is fantastic. "Bert's" has a claw machine that dispenses live lobsters, if you're lucky. Each try is $3.00, and if you get one, they cook it up for you - free. We watched quite a few people fail. Then one guy got up and caught four out of six. Instead of keeping them, he gave them to the people who couldn't get one. Boy were they surprised and happy. We stopped at Subway on the way home for our lunch tomorrow on the fishing trip. We also picked up a sub for the boat captain. Turned in early, if you can call 11:30 early.

13: We were on the fishing boat by 9:30 Tuesday and catching fish by 10:15. We all caught at least one and the total catch was over 100. 13 of the fish measured over 15 1/2 inches and were keepers - 4 red fish and 9 trout. We also had 2 flounders that were keepers.

14: Captain Cory had asked us if we were here to fish or eat when we first boarded. He was 100 % right. We were so busy catching fish that we didn't even eat our goodies, only the sandwiches. Note: ask Vinny why he had to use a bucket!!! Right, Ron? Some of our catches managed to struggle free. So Vinny snagged this one while reeling in to make up for it. When we docked, Captain Cory filleted the fish for us.

15: That night Sylvia cooked some great chicken and we ate at home. Jake had a home basketball game and we wanted to be there on time.

16: Vinny and I gave Ron and Sylvia a break Wednesday and drove to Naples to see an old Army buddy living in a gated community - Heritage. We had lined up a Segeway tour ahead of time, so we didn't stay long. After the Segeway safety video, we showed our tour guide that we were experienced riders. Since Vinny and I were the only two on the tour, he took us on routes reserved for the Segeway staff. During the tour we passed a neat cigar store. I just had to go in and buy some cigars for Jimmy and me to smoke when we visit them tomorrow. | When we returned to Ron's we went I-Pad shopping. While downloading some apps for Ron's new I-Pad, Vinny warned him that the bathroom would never be the same again. And the app to turn off the TV on Sylvia would get him in trouble. We took the red fish we caught yesterday and went to "Bert's" to have them cooked. We chose regular breading and blackened. WOW. Nothing like fresh fish and great company.

17: Thursday was our last day to stay with Ron and Sylvia. We were taking Carl to the St Petersburg airport so he could return to Peoria and we would then stay with Jimmy and Margie. After an exhilarating ride and being thrown multiple times into the back of my seat in Ron's Cobra, it was time for pictures. Everyone cooperated so I was able to snap quite a few before we took off.

18: Taking pictures was a good distraction for me. I was at a loss for a way to thank Ron and Sylvia for all they had done for Vinny and me. Then it dawned on me - I'll print some pictures for Sylvia. And I'll make a hard cover photo book as well. Something unique and special to remember our unique and special time with them.

20: We took Carl to Cracker Barrel for lunch then dropped him off at the airport. Next stop - Jimmy and Margie's. After a tour of their new house, we went to a beach bar for drinks, special stogies that Jimmy bought, and to watch the sun set. Then it was on to "Sculley's" for supper.

21: We returned to the house for special stogies that I bought and some computer and software repair for Margie. She's also a camera nut so I showed her the pictures on my I-Pad and told her she needed one. Then I opened my notes page and made a reminder to also send her and Jimmy one of the hard cover books of our trip. We turned in before midnight - our last night in Florida with the Jumer families.

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  • By: Robert K.
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