Florida New Year Surprise


The year got off to a bang when Mr. and Mrs. Kongo got a phone call early New Year’s Day with the breathless news from Tampa that #4 granddaughter arrived unexpectedly SIX WEEKS EARLY!  Elizabeth Iona was perfect in every way … she just weighed four-something pounds and didn’t seem much bigger than a Barbie doll. All seemed well even though she was looking at nearly a month in NICU before she could come home.


Mrs. Kongo hurriedly made plans to catch a flight to the East Coast to help out as grandmothers are wont to do.  And Kongo? Well, not so fast. You see Kongo was still recovering from an exploding appendix with complications. That odyssey started early Thanksgiving morning when he was rushed to the hospital with these unbelievable pains in his lower right abdomen. No turkey for the monkey and thus he began his own three week stay in the hospital, finally coming home a few days before Christmas. So between Papa and little Elizabeth this monkey troop completely bracketed the holiday season with hospital stays. Kongo had follow-ups with his ever expanding medical team and didn’t make it to Florida until the middle of last week, joining Mrs. Kongo who had been there going on three weeks. Whew!


Fortunately, monkeys and babies are all good now. Elizabeth grew more than two pounds, stabilized her breathing and heart rates, and passed the car seat test and was able to come home last Monday. Mr. and Mrs. Kongo returned to the West Coast on Wednesday so all the monkeys are now where they’re supposed to be.

American Eagle at ZooTampa

Since Kongo couldn’t really camp out in the NICU ALL the time, he took advantage of being in Florida again to do some bird photography and visit the Tampa Zoo with granddaughter #3 (Persephone), now five, and EXTREMELY anxious to get her new sister home so they could start playing together. When he wasn’t birding, Kongo dove the granddaughter to and from Kindergarten, ran errands under Mrs. Kongo’s precise direction, and helped work through his youngest son’s to-do list before the baby came home. It was a busy week.

Florida Panther
A wading White Ibis near the grandkids house
A Boat-billed Heron at ZooTampa
A Moorhen in the backyard lake
Sandhill Cranes in the Backyard

Spending time with Persephone, granddaughter #3, was fun for the monkey and he learned a lot. Persephone told him things like, “You can’t know the future until it happens” and that Martian Luther King was an alien hero (her made up joke).


So after a hectic start, the year is finally settling down for the monkey. Overseas travel is on the horizon as well as a bunch of photo outings with the Thousand Oaks Photo Club Kongo joined early in January after one of his nurses in the hospital told him about it. There will probably be another Florida excursion this year and granddaughters #1 and #2 keep the monkey pretty busy at home.

Happy (belated) New Year!

Travel safe. Have fun.


10 thoughts on “Florida New Year Surprise

  1. Glad the monkey troupe is all doing well now! What a holiday season. How exciting to spend time with the young ones. You need to plan a trip to Florida when there will be a launch to return the astronauts to space hopefully this year – it is going to be a big deal. Also, be sure to plan a trip to Disney World next year, because it is the 50th anniversary and there will be plenty of special things happening (the girls might like the new Mickey and MInnie Railroad next March – it looks really cute). Stay well and have fun!

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