This past week three friends were enjoying "beach week" with me. I had some trepidation about having four women spend a full week together but it turned out to be great fun. Yes, we each had some annoying habits but it all worked out just fine. At the beginning of the week I used my best Girl Scout Leader skills to establish rules and expectations. They made a bit of fun of me at the time but I think it helped keep me from constantly explaining stuff and for them to understand that I really did want them to treat the condo as though they were at home and not to feel like a guest. They mastered all the rules except for keeping food put away, counters clean and dishes in the dishwasher so I kept putting glasses into the dishwasher and wiping the counter. They would then rush in and say "Oh, I was going to get to that later." Since I want to keep my home bug free, and in Florida that is no small accomplishment, "later" wasn't working for me, but everything else worked great.
We all have very different styles of enjoying ourselves but we seemed to make it work fine. Friend #1, a much closer friend to me than the other two, is a beach, pool and sun worshiper. She does not want to be inside if the sun is shining. She has been here many times before so she was no worry to me. Friend #2 didn't even own a bathing suit when she arrived. After one day here we were in a little discount shop and she found a cute bathing suit so that she could go into the pool. I think she felt that she was very daring! Friend #3 we have always though of as very adventurous and up for any activity and I found that she is not nearly as brave as she seems. No kayaking for her, even as a passenger in my two person kayak in a river with no current and so shallow I can stand up in it! But she did help wash the kayaks when we were done.
Once everyone got the idea that we had only three planned activities - a trip to Historic Cocoa Village for shopping, a visit to Winter Park for the Morse Museum and lunch, and a massage for a totally relaxing experience - they settled into to enjoy the beach-pool-nap-read experience that is the beach. We had perfect weather and enjoyed drinks on the porch every night.
Our shopping trip was real boost to the local economy as Cocoa Village has a number of little boutique style stores that have very reasonable prices. We each bought something special. One friend traded in her baseball cap for a fabulous brimmed hat that makes her look adorable. I got a fancy new top and bling-ey jewelry for the wedding I'm attending in a couple of weeks. I think we all declared the day a success. The Winter Park field trip is always a hit because no one ever expects a fabulous museum of Tiffany glass and other American crafts and pottery art in the middle of Central Florida. It is fabulous place and if you are ever in the area is a must-see. The only activity that concerned me a bit was my plan for us all to get massages at the massage school. To be licensed the students must perform a certain number of massages under supervision. It's $25 for a one hour massage and you just can't beat it. When you enter this concrete strip mall building you have no idea that they will have soft lights, relaxing spa music, and you will experience one of the best massages you'll ever hope to have. One friend had never had a massage so I explained the entire process so she would feel comfortable. When she emerged from her treatment room I could tell she absolutely loved it! It made me happy that we all enjoyed it so much and I could tell from the comments afterward that they weren't sure they were going to like it going in.
When I dropped them at the airport last night I was sorry to see them go, but I am enjoying the quiet today and getting the house back in order. We all said we'd like to do beach week again next year so that seems to be a good indication of a successful week.