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Monday, March 16, 2015

The Millers Invade Clearwater!

Hi Blog! As you know, we are spending the whole month of March in Clearwater, Florida. This will be one of our longest stays this year. Staying in one place for so long gives our family up North a chance to catch up with us and enjoy some fun in the sun. We have several family visits scheduled this month, including Kathy's sister, Eileen, along with her husband Tom, their son, T.O. and his wife, Michelle, and their daughter Jen Gobrecht and her husband, Drew.

This is a big year for our brother-in-law, Tom. He turned 60 on March 11th. To celebrate, the entire Miller clan joined us in Clearwater to attend several Phillies game.  While the birthday boy didn't actually arrive until Thursday, March 12th, we were not going to let that stop us from celebrating for the whole weekend.

We started off Friday morning with a trip to the famous Lenny's Restaurant where we arranged with the local balloon man to create a special birthday hat for the birthday boy.

Here are T.O. and Michelle watch in awe as said hat was being created.

After eating mass quantities of breakfast goodies, we walked over to Brighthouse Field to enjoy a day in the sun.  Here Eileen and Tom rock their Phillies garb.

We decided to get into the act with a little styling of our own.

After watching the Phillies beat Tampa Bay 2 to 1, we took Tom out for his birthday dinner to Cody's Original Roadhouse, which just happens to be located next to one of Tom's favorite breweries, Sea Dog Brewing. The happy hour special was two for one drinks. This made for a whole table full of happy campers.  Here is Tom enjoying his free birthday brownie!

Later that night, Jen's husband, Drew, finally made it to Clearwater just in time for a road trip the next day to Lakeland Florida, home of the Detroit Tigers, for an away game. After a pancake breakfast at the RV on Saturday, the entire clan clambered into the mini van for the hour long drive. I can speak no more of this because what happens in the mini-van, stays in the mini-van.

The Tiger's stadium is one of the oldest in the grapefruit league. It was definitely smaller than Brighthouse Field. While you did seem closer to the action, the aluminum bleacher seats made it difficult to sit in the hot sun for the whole game. We decided to bail out early and head to the beach. The Phillies did end up winning 5 to 4.

Our destination was John's Pass, a quaint turn-of-the-century fishing village and boardwalk converted to tourist destination with over one hundred merchants, a variety of restaurants, the local fishing fleet, dolphin watching and shelling tours, boat rentals, parasailing and jet skiing. Here some local residents enjoy hanging out at the fish cleaning station waiting for a few handouts.

After watching the local wildlife, including several pairs of dolphins feeding in the bay, we decided it was time we should eat as well. With so many choices it was tough to decide. Here, Jen and Drew enjoy a couple of Key Lime Coladas at Scully's.

After enjoying all sorts of seafood and frozen drinks, it was time for desert, but we were way too stuffed. However, it was Pi Day and we felt we could not let the day go without having a least one piece of pie. So, we asked the waitress to bring us one piece of pie with 8 forks. We explained it was Pi Day and she was so impressed she Googled it and made the appropriate notation on our pie plate.

After dinner, it was time for a walk on the beach. From left to right in the photo below - Drew, Jen, Kathy, T.O., Eileen and Michelle.  Dave took the photo, while Tom was shopping on the boardwalk. After tucking the sun into bed, we headed over to the arcade where the generations battled head to head in a winner take all skeeball tournament. After several rounds, Michelle was crowned family champion. She was kind enough to share her prize winnings and we each proudly wore the stickers she picked out for us while munching on tootsie rolls.

On Sunday morning, we bid farewell to T.O. and Michelle who had to head back to Philly. The rest of us enjoyed another breakfast at Lenny's and a great ballgame against the Boston Red Sox. The Phillies won 11 to 5. We ended up going back to the RV for Happy Hour. Before long, it was time for Drew to leave us. After a day in the Florida sun, we couldn't drag ourselves out, so we just ate leftovers and worried about Drew's flight being cancelled and the airline putting him up in a hotel and rebooking him for a 6:15 a.m. flight on Monday!

Monday, March 16th was another bright sunny day. Drew finally made it to Philadelphia. We decided to have breakfast at the RV and head over to the field early in order to get autographs. Here Kathy and Eileen hang out by the fountain in front of Brighthouse Fields.

During batting practice, Tom had a chance to chat with Ruben Amaro, Jr., General Manager of the Phillies, while Jen was able to score several autographs from the players. 

One last stadium selfie to memorials our weekend. We didn't stay for the whole game for two reasons, one, the Millers had a flight to catch and, two, the Phillies were getting their buts kicked by the Baltimore Orioles. It was 10 nothing when we left. The final score was 16 to 4. You can tell this photo was taken before the game even started because we are all smiles.

Bon voyage Tom, Eileen and Jen.

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