Posts Tagged "florida"

What a Difference a Year Makes & First World Problems

Dear Kid,

What a difference a year makes.

Last year (as you may recall) I went to Las Vegas for a conference and got stuck due to charmingly lovely weather. Read about it here and here and here and here if you’ve forgotten all the hysterical details.

This year I went to the same conference (version 2016) in Orlando and travel was uneventful. Which (imho) is exactly how it should be. Thank you Mickey for the excellent weather across the nation.

Meanwhile, the crazy weather has the spring flowers thoroughly confused.

The flowers that bloom in the spring Tra La!

Meanwhile, crazy weather here in southwest Ohio. One minute it’s warmish, the next minute it’s coldish. One minute people are singing “the cold never bothered me anyway,” and the next they’re searching for shorts and a T-shirt. One minute the frozen vortex of winter is freezing peoples’ vocal chords (causing weird versions of “Let It Go” to leak out of scarf-wrapped heads), and the next minute tulips are waking up.

The hotel we stayed in in Florida was very nice except for their soft drink policy. It is a Pepsi hotel.

You know I believe that Diet Coke is one of the most important food groups on the planet (right up there with the Chocolate food group and the Coffee food group). This hotel had not gotten the memo. They served diet Pepsi. (Fortunately, the bartender was kind enough to squeeze about a hundred limes into mine so I could drink it.) They were savvy enough to offer coffee and Diet Dr. Pepper so the world did not have to come to a crashing halt.

On the other hand, if this is the worst challenge I face this month, I’ve got a pretty good life.

Stay warm. Or cool. Or whatever the weather by you dictates I should be saying at this exact moment.

Love, Mom

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Things We Learned On The Drive to Key Largo

Dear Kid,

We learned all kinds of things on the drive from Orlando to Key Largo.

Burglar Notice—Just kidding. We’re home. With our Vicious Attack Dog.

We learned there are services that dog groomers offer that we’d rather not know about.

We learned that you should not cross your legs while riding a moped (and that a wreath on a moped looks ridiculous).

We learned you need to be wary of falling coconuts when you are near coconut palms (and we learned that coconuts come from coconut palms not Some Other Coconut Tree).

Watch Out for Falling Coconuts! Key Largo

We learned that vans advertise butt lifts and breast augmentation and that such a van causes much discussion among people who live in Ohio.

We learned there are signs implying that people need to watch for falling bikes in Miami.

And we learned that driving to Key Largo is a Sisyphean task. Let me explain.

Once Upon a Time (not to worry, this is the short version), there was a King named Sisyphus. He was not a nice person (in Mythology, nice people are boring and don’t get stories written about them). Sisyphus had a bad habit of bragging about being more clever than the gods (which as we know is not smart) and of killing travelers and guests (which was not only not nice, it was a real affront to the gods).

Skipping over the middle of the story (you can read it on your own if you so desire), Sisyphus ended up in Hades (the land of the dead) pushing a huge boulder up a big hill. Not only does Sisyphus have to push the boulder to the top of the hill, the boulder never makes it. Each time Sisyphus gets close, the boulder rolls down to the bottom of the hill. So Sisyphus must spend eternity in useless effort and endless frustration.

Like driving to Key Largo through Miami.

Original estimated arrival time: 3:45pm. Around 5pm, there was an hour left to drive. At 5:30pm, there was an hour left to drive. At 6pm, there was an hour left to drive. It felt like we were on a car treadmill—with no potty breaks.

Dinner at Mrs Mac's Kitchen in Key Largo

We learned that dinner at Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen is still delicious and that Key Lime Fudge is yummy-to-die-for.

Love, Mom

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Welcome Home! A Short Tour of Five States

Dear Kid,

Aligators and Florida Citrus DearKidLoveMom.comWhat an end to our trip. Yesterday we drove through

Florida—home of oranges, grapefruits, ALIGATOR HEADS!!!, and peach cider

Spanish Moss and billboards in Georgia DearKidLoveMom.comGeorgia—home of Spanish moss, PECANS!!!, more billboards per linear highway foot than any other place in the universe, and Atlanta (where it is practically impossible to get a speeding ticket because it is practically impossible to drive the speed limit)

Tennessee—home of country music (we didn’t hear any), Volunteers (we didn’t see any), and fog (we saw lots)

Night in Kentucky and Tennessee

Kentucky—home of horses, bourbon, and other things we couldn’t see because it was after midnight when we hit Kentucky

Ohio—home of us.

All in all it was a lot of driving in the rain. Lots and lots of rain. Lots and lots and lots of rain. It was nice having extra drivers to split up the trip—thanks for all your help driving and navigating.

I especially enjoyed when Dad was driving and we had the great pleasure of listening to football on the radio—with spotty reception. Yay. On the other hand, Dad put on your headphones to block out your music when you were driving and I subjected everyone to the music from Chicago and Pippin (Pi still drives in a music-free environment) so I guess it was all fair. Then again, I’m not sure in which universe “fair” and “fuzzy reception” fit in the same sentence.

Welcome Home, sweetie.

Love, Mom

Haven’t had time to LIKE Now is great time to take care of that!

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In Which the Universe Practices Its Evil Laugh

Dear Kid Puppy,

It has been quite an eventful 14 hours or so.

The Plan: Have dinner with Grandma and Grandpa, drive to somewhere south of Orlando, find a hotel, sleep, spend the day at EPCOT, drive a while, finish up at home sometime tomorrow.

Some days you just can't win. DearKidLoveMom.comThe Universe’s Reaction to The Plan: Bwahhahhaaahhahahahhaa

The Reality:

After a lovely dinner with Grandma and Grandpa, we stuffed all our belonging and people into the car, waved goodbye, and headed up Florida’s Turnpike. Check.

Did I mention that Dad and Pi drank about 16 gallons of water during dinner? Bladder capacity was at just under an hour, so before Pi exploded we got off at Jupiter to Attend to Needs.

When we got back to the highway, there was a sign on the ticket machine that said the Jupiter ticket machine wasn’t handing out tickets and we should just pay at the toll booth. Hmmm. We looked at each other for a moment but didn’t take a photo of the sign. (For future reference, when there are odd signs on toll booths, take a photo.)

On we drove. We got off the highway in Kissimmee where they had absolutely no information about the Jupiter ticket problem. Sigh. We paid the full toll which fortunately was only a few dollars more than it would have been had we had the Proper Documentation.

Then we began to Look for a Hotel. After finding three with very lovely No Vacancy signs we decided to stop at a gas station to fill up the car, unfill the bladders, and use our smart phones to locate a place to spend the night.

The Universe continued its evil laugh. I must have a Strong Word with Cincinnati Bell when we get back since my phone is operating at the speed of molasses in January. Going uphill.

Daddy hit the jackpot and we booked a room, complete with prepayment and reservation number. The Kid did a lovely job of navigating us the 15 miles or so to the hotel, and in I went to register.

The Universe: Bwahhahhaaahhahahahhaa

“Hello,” I say quite politely to the desk clerk, “We have a reservation.”

He gives me a look that manages to be completely bland, odd, and sympathetic all at the same time. “Just one minute,” he tells me, “I’ll have you speak to the manager.”

“Do we not have a room?” I ask, wishing I had the ability to raise one eyebrow.

“I’m not sayin’ anything,” comes the response. I sigh inwardly.

After a few minutes, the manager comes out. She is obviously flustered, struggling to remain civil, and wishing she were elsewhere. She gives me a pained look. There is some sort of glitch in their system. There are no rooms. I point out my reservation number and prepayment. She tells me they’d be happy to refund my money. I say I am not so much interested in a refund as a room. She says she’ll see what she can do and disappears into an office. Clearly, it is not a great day to be Kristina the Hotel Manager.

Fast forward. We have a room at one of the sister properties that is even closer to the park. Joy! It will be just a few minutes until the reservation system recognizes everything and she gets it all set.

Fast forward some more. No, we don’t have a room at the sister property. But wait, there is a room, but it hasn’t been cleaned and it will take two hours to clean it. She asks the manager at the other property to check to see if maybe the room is clean and is just marked incorrectly in the system.

Fast forward a whole bunch. There is a room Kristina’s hotel. It has no air conditioning and no fan. There is a room at the sister property. It truly hasn’t been cleaned and won’t be ready for two hours. Those are our options.

I go out to the car to consult the troops.

Turns out that Dad has developed a nasty migraine while I’ve been cracking jokes with the front desk crew. We leave him out of the decision and decide to leave Orlando and EPCOT for another visit and head north.

Kristina assures me there will be no problem getting a refund even though we’ve booked through a separate service. I am dubious and ask for something in writing. She has nothing to give me. I ask Kristina for a cup of coffee. She checks with Pizza Hut (which serves pizza and breakfast for the hotel); they’re out. She sends me to Dunkin’ Donuts which she assures me is open until midnight.

If anyone should happen to ask you, you can respond with great confidence that that particular Dunkin’ Donuts closes quite thoroughly at 11pm.

Fast forward. We find an iHop staffed with the most cheerful people in all of Florida. They are delighted to give me a cup of coffee and by 12:07am, we are driving north, Dad and Pi in the backseat contemplating the insides of their eyelids.

By the time we get to Ocala, I decide we should find a room and let people sleep. The desk clerk at the Hilton is very happy to see us but doesn’t have a room. Neither does the La Quinta next door. Turns out there is a Little League tournament in Orlando. There are no less than 16 teams at the Ocala Hilton alone. Grandma had told us one of her friend’s grandson was coming to Orlando to play in a Little League game, but we hadn’t realized quite how big a tournament it was going to be. Light dawns a little late. Being a Good Guy, the desk clerk calls around and finds us a room up the street at the Quality Inn.

The Universe, tired after all the Bwahhahhaaahhahahahhaas, decides to go bother someone else. We check in to a lovely room and promptly fall asleep. (And by “promptly” I mean after brushing our teeth and plugging in our electronic devices.)

Everyone else is still snoozing away. I’ll let them sleep a while longer. Then it’s off for the Adventures of the Day. Depending on what interesting things we encounter along the way, we’ll be home sometime tomorrow.

Can’t wait to see you, puppy,

Love, Mom

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Ho, ho, ho and Merry Almost Christmas

Have a safe trip Rudolph! DearKidLoveMom.comDear Kid,

‘Tis the night before Christmas and we’re off to visit family today.

We accidentally went to the mall yesterday—I had forgotten how much I love the huge mobs of people engaged in last minute shopping. Not. Fortunately, we were able to park (a major accomplishment), get in, purchase, and get out without too much trouble. And without permanent injury.

In the parking lot of the mall we went to, there was a car was set up. The one we saw was apparently an outpost of the main car wash service which was nearer the front of the mall. The idea is to have your car washed, waxed, buffed, and BeDazzled while you shop. I’ve never seen anything like that before. Because we’re so trend focused, I’m sure it will show up in Cincinnati in about 15 years.

It is lovely to walk outside without worrying about mittens and boots. It got a little on the toasty side yesterday mid-day (into the 90s). I assume this is more or less what Christmas in Australia feels like. One of the preschools around here brought in snow for the kids to play in. Unfortunately for the organizers, the kids (quite correctly) identified that snow is cold and wet. The older ones (four and up) were willing to play with it a little, but the younger ones decided to wait for the snow to melt and the world to return to normal.

Merry, merry. Jingle, jingle. Ho, ho, ho. And all that.

Love, Mom

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