Hi! I know I promised you a post about Florida like a week ago. I’m very sorry. I’ve actually had the time, I just haven’t felt like it. hee. But here it is.

SO on Sunday afternoon..the 15th of this month, we were supposed to leave for Florida. Everyone was doing different stuff on Sunday morning but we were all supposed to be at the house by 12:30 and in the car on the way to FL by 1:00. I don’t know if this is just a Willis thing or what, but do plans like that ever actually work? Ben was supposed to be in a meeting at church until 1:30 at the latest so he packed the night before and we just threw his stuff in the car and we were gonna pick him up on our way out of town. Dad and I left Mount Calvary a little bit before the sermon ended and we stopped by to get lunch on the way home at Wendy’s. We get home (mom was at home doing last minute details the whole morning.) and mom has everything in a neat stack by the door and we’re like “Whoa! This is actually gonna work!”. And then 12:30 came around and Andrew wasn’t home. So I call Andrew and he’s like “Oh I’ll be home by 1:10ish.” and I was like “you’ll be home by WHATISH?!” and yeah. Andrew got home at like 1:20 and so we finally got out of the house by 1:35 and we ran by my dad’s work for him to do some last minute stuff and we text Ben to tell him we’re on the way to pick him up and he texted back and was like “My meeting’s going late. I won’t be out until 2:45.” and we’re like “….of course.” So we finally pick Ben up and we’re on our way out of town and we realize Ben and Andrew haven’t eaten since the night before. (I ask an honest question here- Does ANYBODY really eat breakfast on Sunday mornings? {Excluding Mr. Jones, of course. ;)} But seriously. I don’t think I’ve *ever* eaten breakfast on a Sunday morning in my LIFE. Who has time for that?!) Anyway so we’re finally out of town on the highway heading south and by this time it’s like 3:45. So our plan was to make it to Jacksonville by the time we stopped for a hotel, but then we had that huge series of events and we ended up only making it to around Charleston.

So we stop at this town to find a hotel for the night and we get a hotel room and I kid you not, this was like those towns you see in those zombie movies. The quiet, ghetto towns small enough so you can see that they’re surrounded by woods. I’m not kidding when I tell you this is where zombies live if there was such a thing as zombies. It was FREEEEAKY. And we stopped by a restaurant to get some food for our hotel room and we walked in and all these creepy people were staring at us (more like glaring) and we were like “…we will not panic. we will not panic.” hahaha.

So the next day we still had about 8-9 hours of traveling to do. It wasn’t awful. We left at around 6:30-7 a.m.

We were on the road until about 10 a.m. and we decided to stop at this Burger King/gas station thing and THIS PLACE WAS FROM THE FUTURE. Okay, so the gas station just looked all cool and futurey (does that make sense at all?) and we walk in and the place is MASSIVE but it’s super clean and in front of us was this place called Planet Smoothie and to the left was Burger King but it had really cool architecture. I don’t quite know how to describe it. But the thing that made this place seem so futurey to me was the bathroom. haha. Typing that out made me laugh. Okay, so I walk into the bathroom and instead of there being like 4 or 5 stalls, there were like 10 separate rooms. And I was like “…wait…what?” and so I walked into one of the rooms and it was like a super-fancy-hotel-that-no-one-can-really-afford bathroom. Every stall had it’s own sink and a mirror with lights all around it and it was super clean and I know this makes me sound REALLY weird that I’m describing all of this to you but it was just so DIFFERENT. Especially because it was at a Burger King/gas station in southern Georgia. I’m just saying.

OH MY GOODNESS I ALMOST FORGOT. I was about to post this and then I saw a picture I wanted to add and it reminded me. So on the way down, we passed through Northern Florida and that place is the capital of bugs. I didn’t know it before. I was sleeping in the car and I woke up to what sounded like rain and I mumbled to Ben “whoa..it’s raining..?” and he was like “open your eyes.” so I did and I was like “OH GROSS EWWWWW!”. I’m not joking. It was like raining bugs. It was so gross. You know how I hate bugs and to have them pretty much exploding all around me was awful. I’m so glad they don’t have that problem in southern FL.

I drove after we stopped here and I had my iPod in and I was on cruise control and very much enjoying driving and was kind of tuning everyone else out so dad asked me something and I thought he asked me “Are you comfortable?” and I was like “Yep.” and then like 15 minutes later I started realizing the road was getting way busier and there were more and more lanes coming in and I was like “Whoa! Where’d the trillion cars come from?!” and dad was like “I just asked you if you were comfortable driving through Jacksonville and you said yes.” and in my head I was like “oh whoops.” and out loud I was like “Oh..yeah. Sorry. Kay. so……..” and he’s like “You can do it, right?” and I was like “Of course…heh…” so by the time we were in the middle of Jacksonville there were like 6 lanes on each side of the road and I had to be switching from one side to the other to make sure we stayed on the right road and it was the most stressful thing I’ve ever done. But I did it. And dad had me drive through Jacksonville on the way up because my brother Buddy told him it was harder to drive north through Jacksonville than it was to drive south through it and I needed practice driving through big cities. I kind of got to where I enjoyed it. But it taught me that my family is awful back seat drivers. I knew they were before this but driving through Jacksonville was like torture. “ABI GET IN THE RIGHT LANE! NOO NOT THE FAR RIGHT LANE THE OTHER ONE!”. While we’re on this subject, I lived through 4 years of being in the backseat while my 2 brothers were learning how to drive. I never said anything about the abrupt stops and jerky turns and going really slow. But since they are now the experts (said sarcastically) they now find the need to criticize EVERY single thing I do wrong. And it’s quite aggravating. rant over.

ANYWAY. Moving on. So we got to Florida at like 4:00 and we went to Buddy (my brother) and Robin’s (sis-in-law) house for a few minutes but we had all of our stuff in our car and Bud and Robin’s house is tiny and they just had a new baby a few months back so she made it more crowded so we stayed at their friend’s house about half a mile away. It was SUPER nice. And I got to have my own bed. and it wasn’t on the floor. Since I’m the youngest I always end up on the floor no matter where we go. But everyone got their own bed and I got the pull out couch. This wasn’t like a typical couch-bed. I slept on one with Heidi and Kaylene at the campout and (no offense to your prophet’s chamber pull-out couch, Tori) but it was like sinking into the couch and there was a big bump along where it folded back in and ANYWAY. This one was huge and it was super soft and comfortable. So that was really nice 🙂

We got to meet my niece Natalie back in March for a day but they were literally only here from Friday to Saturday and that one weekend I had Frontline, a super long play rehearsal on a Saturday (only Saturday rehearsal we had. figures, huh?) and a youth activity. I wasn’t too torn up about it because I knew we were making a trip down there sometime this summer. So I was super excited to spend more time with her. She is seriously the biggest sweetheart ever. She NEVER cries unless she has a legit reason and she ALWAYS smiles. You look at her and be like “Naaatttalliiiiieee!! hewwwwo!” and she bursts out laughing and giggling and smiling. I miss her smile. She smiled all the time. 🙂

On Tuesday my brother Buddy got off work so we went downtown and walked around. And we went into West Palm Beach’s old courthouse that’s been turned into a history museum. We made it through half of the museum (it was fairly small. would’ve taken us about 40 minutes to get through on our own.) and this tour guide lady found us and was like “HI! NICE TO SEE YOU!” and I guess it would throw off her whole tour lady groove to start in the middle of the museum because she took us ALL the way back to the beginning and walked us through everything we had already looked at. And she was very overeager. I know tour guides are supposed to be excited about what they’re telling you but she hardly let us get a word in edgewise. Thankfully the museum had wifi though.

Tuesday night we had my grandparents over for dinner at Bud’s house and we all just talked and caught up for a long time.

On Wednesday we went to the beach. Just my family, like the 5 of us. Mom and dad took a walk on the beach and we 3 kids went swimming. We went super far out and tried to catch all the waves. One time I was floating with my eyes closed and this huge white capped wave came and Andrew thought it’d be fun to watch it hit me w/o telling me it was coming so it like washed over me and I felt it at the last second so I opened my eyes (and mouth. stupidly opened my mouth.) and I swallowed like tons of salt water and my throat hurt for forever. If you’ve ever swallowed salt water in proportions like that, you know how much it burns. But besides that fun little episode the whole day rocked. On Wednesday night we went to Jason’s Deli with my aunt, grandparents, cousins, second cousins and Bud and his family. I don’t think that restaurant knew what hit them. haha.

On Wednesday night after we got home from dinner around 10, Bud brought out their Christmas tree that he’d been keeping in their shed and he put bottle rockets in it. Okay. I need to explain my brother before continuing with this story.

He’s pretty much the biggest prankster, class clown kind of guy you’d ever meet. At least he was in high school, and some of it has stuck with him even though he’s married. (You know how there’s always that little part of a guy that never fully grows up? Yeah.) So when he was in high school he did all kinds of crazy stuff. You know those super tall radio signal towers around town? When we lived in Florida and he was in high school (I wasn’t alive yet.) he went down to a car lot and stole one of those huge American flags they have outside of those things. It was in the middle of the night so he wore all black. Then he went to one of those radio towers and started climbing up it with the flag and when he made it to the top he just stuck the flag in it and climbed down. Dad was telling me this story and I was like “HOW HIGH WAS HE?!” and dad was like “I dunno..like 150 feet or so.” and I was like ….I wish I had the nerve to be up that high with no harness. That would scare me to death. Probably literally. Anyway. So that’s the kind of guy my brother is. haha. Or was. He has lessened up a little as the years have gone by and he’s had kids 😉

But last time we were in Florida, he took his bow and arrow outside and we played a game where he shot the arrows in the air and we had to run to avoid being hit in the head with an arrow. lol.

SO. Christmas tree story. He took out his christmas tree and put bottle rockets in it and he pointed them every which direction, even some towards us (which freaked me out.) and lit fire to it. I don’t know if you guys have ever lit a Christmas tree on fire before but if you haven’t, you’re missing out. We do it every year. They literally go up in less than 5 seconds. It’s like, Christmas tree is there, and then it’s gone. So the tree was gone immediately and then all of these bottle rockets started flying every where and one flew like inches above my dad’s head and he was totally oblivious. The rest of us were like “OHMYWORD” and he was like “what? what happened?” haha.

We left on Thursday and made it back by Thursday night. It was a super fun trip!! aaand here are the pics 🙂

7 responses to “FLORIIIDA.”

  1. heidi says :

    i’m going to comment as i read this.

    haha. way to be honest.
    … i eat breakfast on sunday morning every week. *cough*
    man. zombie hotels and futuristic gas stations.. this is madly interesting.
    AND a bug storm! thats scary.. this lady was telling me about a time she was driving and it started raining toads. yep.
    HAHA. i am honestly impressed by your driving skills.
    do remember.. we were sleeping on that sideways. 😛
    ugh. sea water you POOR thing. i feel your pain.
    i am so blowing up a christmas tree some day.

    • abiwillis says :

      Mr. Jones is always like “What did you guys have for breakfast this morning?” and I always hear over half the class go “..um…nothing…” lol.

  2. Tori Wiginton says :

    Favorite part of this:
    “I know tour guides are supposed to be excited about what they’re telling you but she hardly let us get a word in edgewise. Thankfully the museum had wifi though.” YES!!!!!!!
    Sorry about the uncomfortable bed. Next time you come over you’ll have to steal the master bed over there. 🙂 Mrs. Rush walks in the room and starts getting in the bed…. “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH WHO IS IN THIS BED!!!!!!!!” hahah. 🙂

    • abiwillis says :

      HAHAHA. best mental image ever!!!!
      and Tori, I think you’d better answer em about your playoff games. she’s getting pretty desperate. 😉

  3. em says :

    hahahahaha!! (: oh abs… you’re so hilarious i love you girl! and wow your driving skills are crazy! i wish i was as legit as you :b haha my turns are what get me… i SUCK at turning i have so much more to learn *sighs (;
    TORI! k so when are your playoffs? haha have i missed them? :/ i hope not!

    • abiwillis says :

      you’ll be as legit as I am WHEN YOU GET YOUR PERMIT. haha. believe me, once you’re out on the roads and not just in your neighborhood, turning gets a lot easier. everything gets a lot easier. I can’t wait till you get yours! tell me as soon as you do!

  4. em says :

    yay i hope! lol i went out of the neighborhood once already… it was a little better :b and i am supposed to get it today, but i still have a little more reading to do in the book! soo… it might not be till NEXT week *sighs i’m such a loser haha but yea i’ll definitely let you know when i do (; yayy

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