Soooo another year, another Christmas Boat Parade, eh? Yup. BUT the difference is that this time, we didn't go to the Venice Boat Parade. Nope, this year we went to Joy and Bob's. They have a condo in Sarasota, a mere 30 minutes drive from us, that's right on Sarasota Bay. This is the view from their balcony. Nice eh? Here is another part of the view:
Go ahead and say it, we did. OOOOOO! Ahhhhh! It is a stunning view. Hence the name of the building, The Vue. Clever.
And the bonus here is that they don't have to walk anywhere to attend. Just a mere stroll out their sliders onto the balcony and there it is. Bigger bonus, there are bathrooms nearby that are not porta-a-potty's. I will use the portajohns if there is no other option, but I'm never happy about it.
This was Joy & Bob's first boat parade viewing from their new place and our first time of seeing the Sarasota one so very exciting all the way around.
Our hosts provided quite a lovely array of food: shrimp, fruit salad, cheese & crackers, guacamole, various cream cheese spreads, cupcakes and these adorable mini apple pies bites. Naturally, I brought cookies. We were well fed.
While we waited for the parade to begin, we talked, admired the new changes to the condo (they are still settling in), their Christmas tree that did about everything but dance it was so cool and one of my favourite parts, met their new kittens, Winston and Charlie!
Winston is the orange kitty and Charlie is the grey one. They are adorable and very entertaining. Now to be fair, Tim and I are both big fans of animals so we knew walking in the door that the kittens would be one of ourfavourite parts of the evening, but even knowing that you have to admit that these guys are just too cute.
So there we were all of us, waiting for the parade to begin, as I said. Very slowly the sky grew darker and while we waited we ate and talked and laughed and played with kittens and admired their lovely tree and then we ate some more. Waiting for the parade to begin was not a hardship by any stretch of the imagination.
Finally the parade began. YAY! Joy provided a few sets of binoculars (Yes, waterfront, but from the 15th floor, down is still a LONG way down) and we all tore ourselves away from baby kitties and good food long enough to pay attention to the boats. It was spectacular! My personal favourites were a boat that looked like a sleigh and another they looked like a firetruck!
The firetruck one was kind of ironic because shortly after the parade finally was in sight, a disembodied but very serious voice came over a speaker in their great room. We couldn't quite make out what they were saying from the balcony (I thought someone had the TV on at first. I didn't realize what was going on. As usual, I was oblivious) so Joy and I stepped back inside. The voice repeated over and over that we should evacuate the building and we couldn't use the elevator and would need to use the stairs. WHAT?
Joy and I looked at each other with these giant question marks dancing above our heads. I was just about to ask her what the heck was going on when the alarm started to sound. Oh my Gawd, so loud! So obnoxious! Definitely got our attention. Joy tried calling the lobby to see what on earth it was all about but nobody answered. I ran to the balcony and looked over the edge. Nobody was filing out of the building. Nobody. We heard no sirens of firetrucks or police cars. Saw no panic, no nothing that would explain it. In fact, as we glanced around at other balconies, we saw nobody doing anything except eating, drinking and enjoying the parade. Hmmmmm.
Alarm malfunction? We debated. Before missing the parade and hauling ourselves and baby kitties down 15 flights of stairs to the street, we wanted to be sure there was a damned good reason. The alarm was so painfully loud that we stood on the balcony with the doors shut and the kittens in their carrier ready to go as we talked to each other about our thoughts on this matter. If only we saw or smelled smoke, or flames or firetrucks or streams of evacuees this would have been a no brainer. We would have grabbed the kittens and each other and been out the door in a flash. But....nothin' and nobody. And still the alarm continued to sound.
Then somebody from another balcony one floor below and to the side shouted up that somebody on the fifth floor burned something cooking which set off the alarm but there was no fire. No fire! Yay! We kept the kittens on the balcony with us in their carrier and finished watching the parade with the sliders firmly closed so that we didn't have to listen to the alarm.
Eventually, it was all over. The parade was finished, the alarm stopped blasting, the kittens were sound asleep and we began bringing all of the food back inside, cleaning up and putting things away.
It was a GREAT evening with a bit of unexpected excitement! Joy and Bob certainly know how to entertain with an exceptional flare. It will absolutely be a Boat Parade Year that none of us will ever forget :)
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.