Saturday, November 7, 2009

Florida Trip, Day Two (29-Oct-09)

When last we’d left your humble Narrator, I was telling you that after an incredibly long day of travel and various activities (including melting) in the distinctly un-autumnal heat of central Florida, I’d finally gotten to bed and gone right to sleep, which was much-needed at that point.

At precisely 8:45am, I was stirred by a sound familiar to any Floridian, but to which I had grown completely unaccustomed: leaf blowers. Right outside our window. At first I thought a jet plane was crashing somewhere near us, but no, it was leaf blowers. After muttering the requisite number of curses under my breath (since it would do me no good to say them out loud, the leaf blower people wear heavy earphones and are oblivious to your complaints), I rustled up some breakfast, checked the net and started to plan my day. The first order of business was the main reason I had come down here: checking the storage unit for our cache of photographs. We need proof that Heather and I have been together all along the course of our 13 years, and didn’t just get married for the free gifts and then go our separate ways. Immigration is definitely getting tougher!

Cindy-Mom happened to come back early from her errands and offered me a lift to the storage unit. She was quite surprised when I told her that I would easily still be there when she passed back by in a couple of hours time; our storage unit is not just a personal repository of our lives and material possessions, but also a standing tribute to my skills as a junk-packer: we have a 10'x10' space and very few inches of that are unoccupied, from front to back, floor to roof.

On the one hand, I had generally (when packing this up the first time) tried to put items I figured would be the first to be needed up front where I could get to them; on the other hand, those things that were not planned to be up front where buried deep in the back, meaning the only way to get to them was to unpack most of the front to provide space to reach further back.

Sadly, the photos and some other items I was interested in getting fell into the latter category, and after an hour or so in the not-hot-but-not-cool work environment of our “climate controlled” unit (never confuse “climate-controlled” for “air-conditioned”!), I was too tired to dig any further. I had found some items, mostly old family photos (we’re talking from my mother and fathers’ collections) a few audio CDs we missed having and some other recordings (more Crusty Old Wave shows, for example), so it wasn’t a total loss, but I’d failed my main mission. I’d found exactly one unposed, post-wedding photo from the 90s I could use.

Of course, anytime you start digging through stuff you haven’t looked at in years, you come across tonnes of things that spark memories or otherwise surprise and delight you, and there was no shortage of that stuff on hand; but what I really needed was a lithe nine-year-old who could climb back into the crawlspaces I’d created and dig through the stuff I couldn’t get to to find the mystical treasure of The Box Marked Photos.

By now it is early afternoon, and I have other pressing items to attend to. My friend Pat has a Mac store located nearby, but I was already rather hot from my labours another half-mile or so walk in the 90+ heat wasn’t in the cards. Amazingly, just as I’m thinking this, Cindy-Mom calls and lets me know she’s in the area. We meet up with the paltry treasures I’d collected and head over to Pat’s shop so I can visit with him and get my hair cut (another pal happened to work in the hairdressers next door!). Cindy had a friend nearby she wanted to visit with as well, and so the afternoon passed quickly as we respectively caught up with old buddies.

After these visits, we had just enough time to get back to the house (where I showered and changed clothes again) before our scheduled rendezvous with my sister and her partner for dinner at Mimi’s Cafe in Altamonte. We’ve always enjoyed the ambiance and food at Mimi’s even if the theme (which is ostensibly based on New Orleans’ jazz culture) was a little strained. One glance at the menu reminded me of another “forgotten” Florida factor: cheap food! Where we live in Victoria food is generally expensive because much of it is locally grown and fresh. Bargains on food are really hard to come by, but that’s definitely not the case in Orlando. Mimi’s was offering a special three-course menu offer for $13 (not including drink) total, rendering the coupons Cindy-Mom had come up with superfluous. This wasn’t crap food, either -- it was all really good stuff, prepared with the alleged presence of fall in mind! :)

After a lively and delicious meal with Mel and Carlette, we were reluctant to part ways but knew we’d be seeing each other again soon -- my brother Micah and his wife were driving down from middle Georgia to join us later that weekend. Cindy and Melanie get along very well, bringing our two families closer together, which pleases me no end. I regret not having had time to drop in on our other local relations, the Kauffmans, but I know Heather would want to be there for that, so it’s on our “next time” list.

We returned home, but it was still early in the evening and my friend Liz Langley had plans for me ... evil, silly plans. She came to get me and we caught up as we drove back to her place for the evening’s video session. She and her pal Doug had an inspired idea to do their own take on the Vagina Monologues -- only this time it was various people dressed in a vagina costume from Fairvilla quoting a few lines from their favourite movie. There’s not much more to say about that than that, and you can view the results here.

I got back to the house after midnight, and after the experience of the morning I knew I had to get to bed early tonight or be a wreck tomorrow, so after some chilling on the net and another videochat with the wife, I headed for bed and another big day tomorrow.

Next time: a Hurricane hits Orlando! (but not the sort you’re thinking of)


Helena said...

You and Heather must be in so many friends' and family albums; bet we could collect 13 years worth - what do you think?