Anthony Manuel Ramos
On Sunday, we returned from our annual trip to the Gulf Coast of Florida. In January, we take off for MLK weekend and visit Marc’s Mom. The trip is a pleasant break from the cold gray days of Michigan’s winter season.
We met up with some family friends, walked the white sandy beach of Lido Key, and ate lots of seafood. Luckily, we were able to go out to dinner since Florida’s restaurants are open and we were eager to support local businesses.
Those early formative years growing up in New Jersey, there are some words that come out of my mouth that clearly peg me as a Jersey boy. FLAAH-rah-DAH – for instance, is definitely one word where my Jersey accent shines bright and Marc enjoys to comically repeat me and say, “Let’s go to FLAAH-rah-DAH and buy some AAH-rin-gez!”
I’ve been to Florida on many trips including half a dozen trips to Orlando and Disney. I’ve been up and down Florida’s east coast from West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, to Miami. I’ve even cruised down the Overseas Highway that connects Key Largo to Key West.
On the Gulf Coast - from Clearwater, St. Pete & Tampa down through Sarasota, Venice and Bonita Springs – the white sand beaches are some of the prettiest I’ve ever seen. Boating on the Intracoastal Waterway is pretty spectacular too with sightings of dolphins and manatees along the way. It’s a unique place to visit and we are lucky to spend a few days uninterrupted with my Mom-in-law.
As we boarded our flight home from Sarasota, I knew that a snow storm had already blanketed mid-Michigan and was waiting to welcome us back. This time of year it snows almost every day with light flurries being the most common. I happen to like winter and love how the season changes the landscape view. The flocked evergreens flank our snow-covered lake dotted with ice fishing shanties. Driving past old weathered barns – looking stoic in the vast emptiness of winter – the wind whips up swirling frozen waves across the roadway. Beautiful in its starkness and contrast - every season here has its own special beauty.
This week, at the new house, tongue and groove white oak floors are starting to be laid in place. I need to finalize paint colors for the various rooms in the house since that is next on my punch list. The newel posts are being coated in a black gel stain to match our black windows and exterior door finishes. For our mudroom, I have two pocket doors that will be customized with an insert of vintage glass that I’ve sourced from Olde Good Glass online. The pebbled glass has chicken wire embedded between the panes and is reclaimed from pre-war industrial buildings and factories marked for renovation or demolition. Our farmhouse-style dwelling will have some modern, industrial and urban accents throughout and will be a true reflection of our personalities, tastes and a nod to our rural locale.