Monday, November 18, 2013

I Do Care 2013: Weekend Recap

If you read my post last week, you know that I needed a brain vacation. For the most part, I got exactly that this weekend. I headed to the Florida Keys for Island Dolphin Care's annual fundraiser, I Do Care, to raise funds for scholarships for the families who need them to receive therapy at Island Dolphin Care. This is kind of a lengthy recap with lots of feel free to look at pictures and not the words ;)

I arrived at Island Dolphin Care on Friday in the early afternoon. I immediately got right to work helping with the last minute details that needed to be done at the office to get prepared for the fundraiser on Sunday. I love going back to IDC because it's like I've never left, everyone is always excited to see me, and the energy is always great...even when the stress levels are high. I never feel like I'm doing any work there, even if I'm ridiculously busy. After my "work" was done, I said hello to four of my favorite dolphins.

Later that evening, we had a party at the director's house for Joe's birthday (you can read his amazing story here). Joe is the reason that Island Dolphin Care exists. Every birthday is special for Joe because he was not supposed to live this long... instead, on Friday, we celebrated 27 years of life and joy! It was such a great evening full of good food, fresh squeezed margaritas, and lots of great conversation with a ton of cool people. I was exhausted, though, because I hadn't slept well the night before, so Joe and I left early so we could get rested up for Saturday's events.

Deena made this from a ball that washed up on the beach...crazy!

My day started with a short run around Key Largo before I headed to Starbucks for a smoothie (SO SMALL FOR THE PRICE) and headed over to Island Dolphin Care to man the home-station for anything that needed to be sent over, corrected, etc. while the others set up at The Big Chill. I left IDC around 1230 to head over to the Big Chill, where I inhaled some lunch and helped set up some last minute items/decorations. I left at 3:00 and returned at 4, fully dressed and cleaned up and ready to work. The facility looked BEAUTIFUL after all of our hard work.

At 5:00 pm, I was trained on check-in procedures and check-out procedures, since I was in charge of delegating people to collect the items that the attendees had won during the silent auction. I also had the chance to bid on some items after everyone was checked in/before it was time to check out. Spoiler alert: I won a pretty sweet mermaid basket in the silent auction (are you surprised?)

We heard nothing but good things about the auction. It was beautiful, people were friendly, the weather was warm and gorgeous, AND we made more money than we did last year. A large amount of scholarships will be able to help families attend Island Dolphin Care and experience joy and relaxation in their otherwise stressful lives. We also got home 2 hours earlier than last year, which was such a blessing. I was EXHAUSTED and my feet I slept in my ProCompression socks.

On Sunday, I was a lump on a rock. I woke up at 730, because I don't know the meaning of sleeping in, but I forced myself to stay in bed until 8:30. Joe and I then headed over to his parents house (the directors of IDC) for brunch. I ate A LOT of carbs, drank a ton of booze, and just relaxed. I went for a boat ride, which was gorgeous, and spent a lot of time on their backyard beach under a tree. It was definitely the vacation day I needed.

Later that day, I had the opportunity to swim with some of the dolphins at IDC. Even though I've done it numerous times, it never gets old and I will never take it for granted. We did a structured swim, where I was able to give kisses, hugs, and play with TWO dolphins (all to myself), as well as a natural swim, where baby Tashi was playing with us and being a typical one-year-old. It was a great way to spend a Sunday evening. We went home and quickly changed. We ended our night on a different private beach, enjoying homemade naan and other food items cooked in a Tandoori grill. This was one of the best/most relaxing days I've had in a while and I definitely needed it.

I spent yesterday morning at the office for a couple hours helping to unload the UHaul, organize the items that were purchased but not paid for, and organize the items that were not purchased. I left around 10 am, ate a pound of pineapple (not an exaggeration) on my ride home, and got back to my house in the early afternoon. I was immediately forced to jump back into the the vacation is truly over.

Sorry for the long recap! Thanks for sticking with me if you did ;)

How was your weekend? Have you ever swam with dolphins? Unrelated to this weekend, does anyone know/have had success with getting a new mailbox key (if you live/lived at an apartment)?