Day Six (Wednesday):
We drove up to Orlando and went to Epcot Center. For a Disney park it was totally empty and we basically strolled onto every little "ride" that Epcot boasts. We wandered the park, ate danishes in Norway, admired acrobats in China, wandered the stores in Germany and Japan (and believe me, Mom had to DRAG me out of that store in Japan - every adorable little item from "Kiki's Delivery Service" and "My Neighbor Totoro" had me squeeing like a five-year-old, especially a tote bag covered with little Jijis), ate dinner in England, and despite spending the entire freaking day there (about nine hours), I still felt like we rushed through it.
We spent the night in one of the "cheap" Disney resorts (i.e., a bit less than the price of that luxurious SUITE at the Executive Suites, but the room actually looked like a Motel 6, although the beds were excellent), then drove to Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center, which rocked like a rocking thing. The tour was amazing (you get to see actual modules and rockets and walk INSIDE a shuttle, Explorer was parked there), and of course there's a moon rock to touch and all of the Saturn V and while there are rides, by the end of the day I was feeling tired and draggy and oddly out of breath (as I am feeling now), making me wonder if I'm (still) coming down with something, so I didn't do the Shuttle Launch Simulator, but we ended the day with a pretty impressive 3-D movie about the moon and then finally headed home. I wish I had my connector with me so I could upload my photos, because while the grackles in central Florida look EXACTLY like the grackles here, they make TOTALLY DIFFERENT SOUNDS.
There are, by all accounts from the natives, far fewer birds than there usually are. I didn't see as many, although while on Merritt Island (where the Space Center is), I DID see a bald eagle on the wing (Merritt Island is also a large animal sanctuary and preserve, which is cool).
On Friday we went to South Beach and walked in the surf and sat on the sand until it got too windy, then cleaned up and headed back to town. Went with Mom and her friends to their "arcade," which is a little penny-ante gambling place (prizes like $100 gift cards and the like), then dinner at Carrabba's, a little shopping, and back home.
Saturday was the Farmer's Market at Fort Pierce, which is a totally awesome Farmer's Market -- and wow, being from the west, I'd never before seen a Florida avocado (I know avocado growers have tight monopolies on their areas) -- those things are MASSIVE!!!! My second cousin (I think, she's Mom's first cousin, so I think that's right) told me they taste a little different and make good salads. Looked around the market a little, didn't get a gift I wanted to get because every time I went by the booth no one was sitting there to take my money (sad for them, but I'm really sorry, because it was a lovely little piece and I think the person I wanted to get it for would have loved it). Then we had brunch in a very nice little sandwich/gelato place and went back up to Vero, where we stopped for frozen custard because I've somehow managed to miss frozen custard no matter when I happen to see it.
Now, I may be a little lacking in the taste buds area, but so far I really can't "mouth feel" the difference between frozen custard, gelato, and really premium ice cream. All three are pretty darned tasty to me! And this place we went to did not skimp on the hot fudge on their sundaes.
Saturday evening Mom's cousin and family took us out to eat at a very, very posh New Orleans-style restaurant called The French Quarter (some famous chef was the owner/chef but I suddenly can't remember his name). I had pan-seared scallops and loved every bite. Mom had her season tickets to a local theatre and she got me one so I could accompany them to the performance, a "Live Radio Production of It's a Wonderful Life," which was pretty good, really -- done on a "radio sound stage" with sound effects, etc., several actors playing several different rolls as they adapted the movie -- the acting was excellent, especially the fellow who played Clarence, Harry Bailey, Peter Bailey (old and young), Martini, and several other roles -- and it was a fun evening. I feel sad that this will likely be the last time I see Uncle Joe (Mom's uncle, really); he's going to be 100 in February, and the next time I come out there if he's still kicking (and he gives every sign of this), we won't be going down to Vero. But I hope I do; he's a really nifty fellow. Fun, too. He was the husband of Mom's aunt Kay (her mom's sister). I realized I don't even know their last names... I may have to ask Mom that. They got into a great conversation about how his parents had each come through Ellis Island and met in America.
Sometime on Friday, I think, Mom started having the same weird "symptoms" I had been since sometime Thursday -- slight shortness of breath, high dry cough, hot-then-cold/cold-then-hot, but nothing else; it just made us feel "off" somehow. She spent this morning sleeping and I was watching her Investigate Discovery channel (I don't know if I have this one, but I may have to get it if I don't) until we had to leave for the airport. Once here I discovered my plane has been delayed, which is why I'm still here typing, although they just announced a gate change (fortunately to the gate right next to this one, so I can see it without moving); I don't know if my plane is even in yet, and it's supposed to leave in ten minutes (this won't be happening).
I feel very, very tired, and I am only at 33,673 words. I hope I'm not sick, because I really have to crack down if I'm going to "win" Nano this year.
Mom's next-door neighbors returned from their cruise yesterday and came to tell her that the Caribbean was hotter than June and they didn't really enjoy themselves (it's been HOT in central Florida, astoundingly hot for November), so we took that as a sort of consolation prize.
I also learned, spending a lot of time with Mom and her friends, and reading their paper, how the Right's propaganda machine really works. These people seem to believe lot of the shit that gets shoveled by Glenn Beck and Rush and all their ilk, and it's frightening to see them reaching eagerly for something that will harm them while saying that those who are trying to help are going to somehow "destroy America!" What killed me was Mom didn't notice the irony during some key scenes while we were watching "Cabaret."
Looks like they've actually opened the doors. I hope this flight isn't full. At least I have an A boarding pass. So, so tired.
It will be good to be home. I haven't petted a cat in a week.