What I Would Have Missed By “Missing Out”

The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by

The Entrance to the Everglades Rod & Gun Club

Sometimes in life, we have to do things we don’t necessarily want to do because it’s better for “the collective.” This is true in all relationships: husbands and wives, friends, parents and children, bosses and minions.

Bending. Compromising. Being a good sport.

Let me share with you a time when sucking it up resulted in one of the singlehanded best memories I’ve ever had.

As background, my husband’s been trying to get me to go fishing with him in the Everglades for years. He routinely attempted to talk me into it and, envisioning a landscape chalk full of marshes, tall reeds, and crocodiles [read: Hell], I’ve always dodged the bullet.

Arden has gymnastics on Saturdays. She can’t miss it.

It’ll be too hot on the boat in the summer.

I need to get my hair cut and colored.

I can’t go because I have to stare directly into the sun, gargle razors, and eat a raw cockroach.

I didn’t want to go.

The time eventually came where I ran out of excuses and was forced to agree to go with him. We decided to head to the Everglades during the recent Labor Day weekend, and the carrot my husband wagged in my face was that our dear friends, Darin and Robin, would share a cottage with us at the Rod and Gun Club, the hotel where we would be staying.

Ok, so if anything else, Robin and I can sip cocktails by the pool while the girls swim.

As background, the Florida Everglades are a natural, tropical wetland system that begins at the Kissimmee River (near Orlando) and discharges into Lake Okeechobee which, for all you non-Floridians, is the huge lake in the southern portion of the state when you’re looking at a map. During the wet season, water leaving the lake forms a river that slowly flows southward across a limestone shelf to Florida Bay at the southern end of the state. The Everglades have a wide range of weather patterns and the landscape includes a complex ecosystem including cypress swamps, mangrove forests, pine rockland, hardwood hammocks, and the marine environment of Florida Bay. The nature is beautiful and landscape rich in history, but the area is extremely remote and there aren’t a tons of non-outdoorsey things to do. As a result of it being so remote, the internet access here in general isn’t great either. I presume this is because there isn’t the infrastructure for broadband here. I’m still surprised at the slow speeds though, as there is satellite internet which provides decent speeds to remote areas. Reading from the Satellite Internet Now website, it sounds like more people here need to look at HughesNet plans ASAP.

Let me be clear. It’s not the place for city slickers or people who enjoy the finer things.

My husband is an avid fisherman who’s been driving down to the Everglades to take advantage of the good fishing since he was a youngster. It’s a four hour drive from Everglades City to our home in Tampa. Part of the fishing area is so remote that he had to buy a fancy emergency GPS to wear around his neck in case there was an accident because nobody would otherwise find him.

The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by

Everglades City, the town where we were staying, is located in Collier County and has a population of roughly 400 people. The nearest city, Naples, is 35 miles northwest. It is the source of 95% of the world’s stone crabs and its annual Seafood Festival is popular among the locals.

There are a number of “Mom and Pop” hotels in the area, but perhaps the most notable is the Rod & Gun Club. Barron Collier, an advertising entrepreneur who became the largest landowner and developer in the entire state of Florida, purchased it in 1922 and turned it into a private establishment for his highfalutin friends. The Club’s hosted five presidents- Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Herbert Hoover, and Richard Nixon- as well as celebrities, to include Mick Jagger, John Wayne, Sally Field, and Ernest Hemingway.

The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by

The Rod & Gun Club, as it sits today.

We arrived on the Friday of Labor Day weekend and the hotel was not what I expected, based on pictures I saw on the internet.

I felt like an extra in the movie The Land That Time Forgot.

The city was pretty much a ghost town, and because August and September are considered “off season,” many of the restaurants and novelty stores were closed until the beginning of stone crab season (October). There were only three other restaurants open in the entire city, and they served primarily fried food. There was nothing green on any of the menus. I’m by no means a health food nut, but by the end of the weekend, I felt disgusting and never wanted to see another hush puppy in my life.

The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by

This home across the river from the Rod & Gun Club is rumored to be owned by the Bic (lighter) family.

The hotel was also a ghost town, with maybe a handful of other guests the entire weekend. From what I’ve read, a family purchased the Rod & Gun Club in 1972 and, in my opinion, have pretty much let it go. There is no “receptionist” and you’re lucky if someone actually answers the phone when you call. There’s also no answering service, so if you want to make a reservation, you have to repeatedly call until someone answers. This happened to my husband. There is a restaurant on the property, but the hours are strange, and sometimes the owners unilaterally decide to send the staff home if there aren’t enough customers.

The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by

Interior bar where Teddy Roosevelt would sip drinks and discuss politics. Photo Credit: Peter W. Cross

The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by

Interior lobby area. Photo Credit: Peter W. Cross

The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by

The patio door leading to the restaurant.

Oh, and they accept only cash.

One highlight of the weekend was when my three year old locked us out of the hotel room early one morning. My husband and Darin were fishing, and, of course, the hotel lobby was closed and nobody was answering the “after hours” phone number. Surprise, surprise.

Robin spotted a man driving by the dock with a “MAINTENANCE” magnet on the side of his pickup truck. I walked down to the water to speak with him, and he reeked of cigarettes and was sipping a Busch Light.

It was 8 o’clock in the morning.

Hair of the dog?

The maintenance man couldn’t get ahold of his boss with the skeleton key, so he climbed into the unlocked window of our hotel room and opened the door for us. He then asked me to “put in a good word” about him to his boss. Which I did. Because I was dang grateful the dude got me and the kids back in the room, where there were diapers and air conditioning. It reminded me of how much work goes into keeping the optimal performance for an air conditioner going, just like how much work that man put in to help me out.

It is hard to find things that come close to that feeling you get when you enter a room filled with air conditioning. There was a time when my friend had forgotten what it felt like, but that was all resolved when she found this ac parts jacksonville fl service to come and fix the problem. When it was finally working again, she also agreed that nothing comes close to this feeling. On a warm summer’s day, nothing can beat it, and just having the chance to cool down can help you stay productive during the day. I’m just so thankful that the maintenance man was able to sort it out for us. My friend was glad when I told her about this dilemma, as she has been having problems with her own air conditioning, and it reminded her to get in touch with a company similar to Indoor AC, in the hopes that they will be able to get her problem resolved. I hope they can, as everything seems to feel better when you have access to a fully-functioning air conditioning system.

The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by

Our cottage. Not pictured: the window where the maintenance man broke into the cottage because my three year old locked us out.

In short, I quickly learned that sipping cocktails with Robin by the pool was a pipe dream. While there was a nice pool, there was no poolside beverage service and no pool towels, so we had to use the hotel’s bathroom towels. Which would have been fine, except there was no laundry person available to exchange our wet, chlorine-filled towels for dry ones. Oh, and the pool deck was surrounded by the hottest material- no clue what it was- but it felt like walking across hot coals.

The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by

The front entrance to the Rod & Gun Club when arriving by boat.

The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by “Missing Out”- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

I was initially mad at my husband and had a bad attitude. I’m wasting a three day weekend on this? How will we keep a toddler and three year old busy all day? What. The. Frick?

Then something happened.

I ended up having fun. A lot of it. I realized that after the weekend came and went, I’d likely have a pass with my husband for having to return in a long time. I could say I’ve “been there, done that.” And going back to the theme, I decided to suck it up and try to have a fun weekend with the family and our friends, despite Everglades City not being the first place I would have chosen to spend a long holiday weekend.

Our last night in Everglades City, we had dinner at a local restaurant and decided to head back to the hotel. On a whim, my husband said “let’s take a late night boat ride, because the sky is so clear you can see the Milky Way.” Ordinarily I would have been apprehensive because it was late, the mosquitos were brutal, and the girls needed to go to bed.

What the heck?

Ok, let’s do it.

So we drove the boat down the Barron River, stared at the stars, and listened to the Yachtrock station on satellite radio. Kenny Loggins’ This is It came on, and the girls danced around the boat, merrily belting out the “words” to the song. They were so happy and their joy was so pure. They were having a blast.

I will remember that moment for the rest of my life.

If I wouldn’t have agreed to go with my husband to Everglades City, I would have missed that precious moment.

If I would have kept my bad attitude, I would have missed that precious moment.

If I would have insisted we not take the boat out late because it was past the girls’ bedtimes, I would have missed that precious moment.

I would have missed it.

This got me thinking. What other great opportunities in my life have I missed because of a bad attitude? What other chances did I miss out on because I was selfishly unwilling to bend from the rut of my own comfort zone? What else was there?

The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by

The Barron River where moonlight dance magic happened.

The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by

Arden by the front entrance to the Rod & Gun Club.

The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by

Sweet little Ellison enjoying herself on the cottage porch.

I hope I can use this experience as a reminder to lighten up and enjoy finding the beauty in doing things I don’t necessarily want to do. Otherwise, I’ll lose the opportunity for memorable experiences.



    32 Comments on What I Would Have Missed By “Missing Out”

    1. Tara
      February 18, 2016 at 6:30 pm (6 years ago)

      I just meant to stumble your post, but it was such a good read! I love that you were honest about your time at the Rod and Gun and it made for really awesome story.


      • jenniferdaku
        February 21, 2016 at 12:24 pm (6 years ago)

        Aw, Tara- this made my day. Thanks so much for your feedback, it really means a lot. Let me know if you ever make it to Rod and Gun!

    2. Heather with WELLFITandFED
      January 20, 2016 at 10:16 am (6 years ago)

      I have had so many of these situations that now when something comes along that I don’t feel like doing a go balls out because it is likely EXACTLY what I should be trying! Thanks for the reminder!

    3. Amber | Cupcakes and Coffee Grounds
      January 19, 2016 at 11:08 pm (6 years ago)

      I am the absolutely worst about getting out of my OCD comfort zone, and when I do, I have been known to “sometimes” have a bad attitude. I love this post and it really is a great reminder.

      Ps. I love your girl’s names. πŸ™‚

      • jenniferdaku
        January 20, 2016 at 6:09 am (6 years ago)

        Aw, thanks so much Amber. I agree sometimes it’s hard to do what you really don’t want to do. Read: what you’re dreading doing! xo

    4. michelle
      January 19, 2016 at 6:48 pm (6 years ago)

      bad attitudes can make us miss out on a lot and as i look back i can see missed opportunities. that hotel sounds interesting place to stay but thats odd that so few people were there

      • jenniferdaku
        January 20, 2016 at 6:10 am (6 years ago)

        It’s an incredible historical hotel, just run improperly and mismanaged. If I had a couple million dollars, I’d swoop it up. haha!

    5. Shannon
      January 19, 2016 at 6:43 pm (6 years ago)

      What a great story! You had me giggling at the man who climbed in your window and asked to put in a good word to your boss and that you’d rather eat a cockroach then go on this trip hahah- but so true that we must keep an open mind and get out of our comfort zones. Now you have me thinking what may I be missing- as well?

      • jenniferdaku
        January 20, 2016 at 6:10 am (6 years ago)

        Thanks Shannon! I wonder what else in life I’ve missed because of a bad attitude. Hopefully not much.

    6. KatyRose
      January 19, 2016 at 6:03 pm (6 years ago)

      It is always amazing to me how a seemingly bad or uncomfortable situation can become one of the greatest memories! I’ve got a few moments like this in my life too. – Katy

    7. Daniela
      January 19, 2016 at 4:27 pm (6 years ago)

      Ok, I love everything about this. Your writing style had me laughing out loud. Your pictures are beautiful. AND you have champagne (one of my top 3 favorite things) in the title of your blog. Officially obsessed. πŸ™‚

      • jenniferdaku
        January 20, 2016 at 6:11 am (6 years ago)

        You made my day, Danielle! If you were closer, we could have a champagne date. Cheers!

    8. Esther | The Cuteness
      January 19, 2016 at 3:51 pm (6 years ago)

      So well said. I’ve learned this lesson over and over again, which is why I never cancel plans on anyone. I’m always glad I went! That said, I’ve also learned over the years to say no to things I really don’t want to do, and it’s been a great balance.

    9. Vi Dotter
      January 19, 2016 at 3:43 pm (6 years ago)

      Love your frank observations! So funny and insightful and love your revelation. Wish my spouse would have one, but instead we travel without him and so I pity his lack of foresight. I cherish the memories I make with our little ones, no matter all the anxiety and anguish that sometimes goes with it – being the only adult can be a beast of burden. Cheers is right on!

    10. Kari
      January 19, 2016 at 1:07 pm (6 years ago)

      It’s always important to have a yes attitude but remember to respect that sometimes its okay to miss out.

    11. kristen
      January 19, 2016 at 12:40 pm (6 years ago)

      I love this. I’m so with you – I cant imagine the things I’ve missed because of my attitude or preconceived notion about how it was going to be. So glad you shared this and so glad you had a fun time.

      Oh and “I can’t go because I have to stare directly into the sun, gargle razors, and eat a raw cockroach” I think I’ve used that excuse before πŸ™‚

    12. Jenny
      October 23, 2015 at 11:23 pm (7 years ago)

      I am glad that you ended up enjoying yourself in the long run. I feel like I’ve let a bad attitude ruin what could’ve potentially ruin an amazing moment but after reading this post, I hope to be able to keep more of an open mind so thank you for that πŸ™‚

      xoxo, Jenny

      • jenniferdaku
        October 25, 2015 at 10:10 pm (7 years ago)

        Thanks so much Jenny! Having a good attitude in stinky situations is definitely easier said than done. Cheers!

    13. Dia
      October 23, 2015 at 7:06 pm (7 years ago)

      It sounds like you had a great time! I too have done things just to appease others (normally social events when I just want to watch Netflix and eat pizza) sometimes it was just another activity and sometimes something happens and makes me so glad I sucked it up and went πŸ™‚

      • jenniferdaku
        October 25, 2015 at 10:10 pm (7 years ago)

        Dia- this comment made me LOL because Netflix and Pizza sound like my perfect Friday night! Cheers!

    14. Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom
      October 23, 2015 at 2:19 pm (7 years ago)

      I love this post! Hilarious, and real, and awesome. Great photos too! Thank you for sharing. πŸ™‚

      • jenniferdaku
        October 25, 2015 at 10:11 pm (7 years ago)

        Thanks so much Sarah Eliza! I appreciate the kind words and am glad you could relate.

    15. Lauren
      October 23, 2015 at 10:20 am (7 years ago)

      This is so me! I am a total homebody and I don’t really like venturing out too much, but my husband always pushes me. (he goes lobstering every year in Everglades City.. I have yet to join him!) The first year our family planned a trip to River Ranch, I dreaded it. It turns out we have made some awesome memories there. I also just realized I never posted your guest post, or even wrote back??? I suck. I am so sorry!

      • jenniferdaku
        October 25, 2015 at 10:11 pm (7 years ago)

        Oh my gosh, Lauren, do not worry about it at all- I know life gets in the way. There will be plenty of times for me to contribute in the future. Cheers to a great weekend! xo

    16. Mary
      October 23, 2015 at 9:41 am (7 years ago)

      You’re a great sport! I think it’s so important to be open to new and different experiences–we never really know how something is going to go until we try it. Sometimes, we’re so pleasantly surprised.

      • jenniferdaku
        October 25, 2015 at 10:11 pm (7 years ago)

        Mary- you know it! Thanks for stopping by.

    17. Brooke @ Silver Lining
      October 23, 2015 at 9:27 am (7 years ago)

      Love this! I never regret it when I do things like this.

    18. Emily
      October 22, 2015 at 7:23 pm (7 years ago)

      Love this, but still not sure I would have embraced the Everglades with open arms. You, my friend, are a good woman!

      • jenniferdaku
        October 22, 2015 at 8:16 pm (7 years ago)

        Oh girl. There were no open arms. Just lots of hesitant agreement and internal eye rolls. But I am glad we went and I did have a good time.

    19. Pamela Smith
      October 22, 2015 at 6:10 pm (7 years ago)

      That is so awesome! I am guilty of doing the same exact thing. But when I finally let go and just let the moments come, it is usually good. Thanks for the reminder!

      • jenniferdaku
        October 22, 2015 at 8:17 pm (7 years ago)

        Thanks sweet Pamela! xo