We got up a little early so that we could shower and change and still have time to eat breakfast before church services at 10:30. We found the meeting place without difficulty and waited for another car to pull in so that we would have someone to follow once inside. In this way, we met Orlando and Maria and their son, Stephen, who was just a year older than our Steven.

Inside, we were taken in hand by Faye, who introduced us to everyone and made sure to shepherd the boys over to where all the other younger guys were hanging out and talking. Everyone was so nice. One thing I love about our church is that no matter which congregation you visit, you can make friends immediately. It’s a very special closeness that I’ve never experienced anywhere else.

Services were about to begin when I saw our friend Michelle (the bride-to-be) arrive. It was awesome because we did something like what happens in the movies when long-lost friends meet again—you know, shouting one another’s names and then running across the hall to grab each other in a big hug. I tripped over a chair, of course, taking away from the grandeur of the moment, but it was so nice to see her again.

We didn’t meet up with Victor (the groom-to-be) until after services, but we were glad to see him, too. He introduced us to Cecilia, whose son and mother were going to watch our boys that evening. We enjoyed meeting a few more people and chatted for a long time out in front of the church, until we were all about to melt into puddles from the heat.

When we got back to the hotel, we were going to change, but the maid said our room was next. Thinking she would be, then, cleaning it soon, we decided to cool our heels in the lobby for a few minutes. Fifteen minutes later, she still hadn’t even begun to clean our room, so we walked down to Carino’s, a nearby Italian place.

Our waitress was not thrilled to see us. She wasn’t rude, but she was very laconic. Also, if you want to have fun in a pseudo-Italian place, ask the waitress to tell you about the spicy marinara sauce.

Swizzle

Anyway, I ordered a glass of sangria (it was very good) and a plate of spicy marinara pasta. The boys had pizza (they rated it only a 6 on a scale of 10) and Chris ordered the jalapeno tilapia sans jalapenos. This was, as it turned out, an unwise choice. Carino’s evidently relies on the jalapenos to provide all of the zing for this dish, so with no jalapenos, the whole thing was a damp, spongy mass of tasteless fish and bland cream sauce. Even the addition of salt and pepper didn’t help. How nasty was the sauce? I wouldn’t even finish Chris’s pasta for him.

Anyway, at least we were all full of food, so we wandered back to the hotel. The boys had entertained thoughts of hopping into the pool, but it was storming outside, so instead we all piled into the ginormous bed and took a nap. There’s something peaceful about piling up like a heap of small kittens in a warm bed and letting the storm rage outside.

We dreamed away the afternoon and then drove out to the nearest Publix. We knew we’d be doing laundry that evening, so we needed something to keep our strength up. We settled on brie, gorgonzola, and crackers, cream soda, and wine coolers.

Back at the hotel, we monopolized the one (1) washer and one (1) dryer for a couple of hours to do two loads of laundry. The boys started watching a program about Hatshepsut, but then lost interest. We had two TVs, though, so Chris and I finished watching the program and folded laundry while the boys enjoyed some cartoon that was, no doubt, rotting their brains.

We tumbled into bed at about midnight, ready for a day full of fun on Sunday!