Lost Your Way? Go to Disney!

…or at least to Florida.  That’s what I did!  Except it wasn’t for losing my way, exactly.  It was a chance happening that was long in the making, which is clearly an oxymoron.

Catching up here:  The Christmas holidays were a bit of a ripoff, though generally positive.  The Midwest blizzard robbed me of one day with my daughter, but I gained the privilege of “Hotwiring” my two kids a fine hotel room near O’Hare to prevent them from venturing northward and home, where the snow was a helluva lot thicker and speedier.  I’m still certain it was the right thing to do because I’d rather have them home later than stiller (ya know what I mean).  I woke up with my head on fire Christmas morning, wondering if I’d gone a little too far with my yoga headstands WHICH I AM PROUD TO SAY I HAVE CONQUERED–YES! (this means making a slow move from dolphin to a headstand and then the tricky part: staying there; next yoga challenge = crow).  Anyway, it was not a headstandache.  It was the flu, which I’m sure several of you have become acquainted with this past month.  Thank goodness my daughter took a bath and turned on the exhaust fan when she woke up.  The drone of the fan masked the sound of the atrocities occurring elsewhere in the house.  I stayed awake, propped against a wall, long enough to respond politely while opening presents with my husband and kids.  Then I went back to bed and moaned my way through several hours of Christmas joy, while my daughter valiantly made omelettes and my husband cancelled the arrival of the rest of the family.  Phooey.  Another day with my kids shot.  And then those grown-up rascals of mine have the gall to be responsible and go back to work!  My son had already planned to leave on the 26th to tend that business he started and is succeeding with, and my daughter had to return to the East Coast to take her turn working a holiday, and as those days were running out, she ended up dishing out coffee at Starbucks on New Year’s Eve and Day.  Soooo…at least I spent some relaxing time with her around the setbacks.  And let me not forget–holy buckets, we went to see Les Miserables!  What an amazing movie.  I knew Anne Hathaway was in the movie, but I did not know these two things: (1) She would rip my heart out and shred it singing about a dream, and (2) We would spend much of the movie going, “Is that…(fill in the blank…Russell Crowe, Borat, Sirius Black’s sister, etc.)?!!”  It was an amazing movie for a musical that was 99% music–very few spoken words.  I can’t conceive of how such a story could be presented on a stage.  It’s BIG.

OK, so the holidays passed in a flurry of snow and bodily issues.  I was going to say fluids, but…The holidays passed.  The kids left.  My husband and I had planned to do something the first week of January.  It’s a great way to start the year, and you generally don’t have to fight anyone for time off.  It was tough to get a reasonably priced deal, but my daughter managed to find ways to book a quick trip to Orlando taking each part separately–flight down, flight back, car, and again using our blessed Hotwire to get a great resort.  Now this is not a trip our kids have been wanting to do, because  my husband and I needed to do some visiting: he to some old family friends on the Gulf coast, and me to my mom’s brother and my aunt in Titusville.  These visits were long overdue.  I haven’t seen my aunt and uncle since my mom’s funeral 24 years ago, and I’ve felt terribly out of touch with her side of the family.  It was time to reconnect.

I found a happy, relaxed couple, who have lived a good, satisfying life, and weathered their storms to find themselves still in love.  How refreshing!  And how flippin’ rare is that anymore?  I grew up knowing (in the mid-60s) that my uncle “worked on rockets.”  That was fabulous news when I was three.  It explained some of his absences from the St. Louis-rellies’ get-togethers, and it drew us to the television for the Moon landings…and other events.  The man worked for NASA, beginning with Gemini and ending with the Space Shuttles, and he eventually moved to Florida.  Again, this is another humble, successful member of the family who leaves me feeling both inspired and challenged to use the talents God gave me.  I am honored to call him my uncle.  My aunt is as full of love and hospitality as she ever was during our Thanksgivings and visits in my childhood.  It was a wonderful day.  It did me so much good to look across a table and see my mother’s eyes again, though those eyes belonged to her older brother.  Still…

Speed wrap-up of the rest of Florida: Warm and comfortable.  Great highways.  Wouldn’t tackle Orlando’s highways without a GPS for a million bucks.  Gulf breezes and sunshine in Port Charlotte after leaving the fog of Orlando.  Sarasota’s sand is baby powder, but is there a place in that town that is not oozing money?  Actually skipped Disney and went to Universal.  Big $$$.  REALLY big $$$$$.  Not really the place for us, either.  Too wimpy for extreme rides, too tall for the kiddie rides (dammit).  Waited two hours for the Harry Potter ride on a drizzly Friday, wearing $8 glorified trash-bag ponchos (vendors must smile from ear to ear when the rain starts to fall…).  The last part of the wait in Hogwarts was amazing, and the ride was perfect–left me entirely nauseous.  Universal itself was done perfectly.  Hogsmeade/Diagon Alley is totally convincing, butterbeer is heavenly, but Seussland stole my heart. 2013-01-04 12.10.20  Those illustrations were meant to come to life.  So if you like extreme rides or have kids, GO!  Ride a pterodactyl for me!  Also expect to wait.  Loads of manatees at a hushed Blue Spring State Park, lifting their whiskery snouts to snort and breathe.  2013-01-05 11.12.05World’s greatest burger at The Breakers in New Smyrna Beach with a view of the firm, driveable sands.  Every lunch deserves a view. IMG_20130105_181731Enjoyed a truly laid-back part of Florida, and to think I really wasn’t convinced there was such a thing!  New Smyrna Beach seems artsy and casual, despite the abundance-of-shark-bites thing.  Fresh citrus tastes like spice, a flavor which must be destroyed by vibes from the Land of Cheese.  Four maxed-out days of following our hearts.  Refreshing.  Renewing.  Much needed.

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~ by rebuildingholly on January 15, 2013.

2 Responses to “Lost Your Way? Go to Disney!”

  1. Despite your flu-ridden Christmas, the holidays seemed to take an upturn. It’s good to get away and just relax and enjoy for awhile.. I have lived in Fla for 15 yrs and never once been to any of the theme parks.. I am terrified of all the moving, zooming rides 😉

    • You should be terrified of the rides! Human bodies aren’t meant to move like that. You aren’t missing the cost of entry, parking, and rain ponchos, either. Florida’s warm breezes are free…

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