Since the last time I’ve posted anything on this blog, I’ve moved to Florida from Illinois. If you want to talk about climate change, here it is. I moved from the frigid Illinois winter to a climate that feels like early summer would have. Even the native Floridians tell me it’s record high temperatures for this time of year. I’m sitting here in a T-shirt and shorts when I’m used to wearing hoodies in early January. As you might guess, it’s kind of been a busy week and a half. A journal of the entire trip down here would probably look something like this:
- Sunday, December 28, 2014: 12:30 PM CST: We’re pulling out of our home in Benson with a caravan that includes a big Penske truck, a Suburban, a 4Runner, and whatever my mother’s friend’s family (Pam, Vince and their two kids) drives. Ron and Vicki drop off their car at the Bloomington airport; Dad decides he doesn’t want to stop and keeps going in the Penske truck. My cat Rudy of course hates it. He’s on my lap and he tried to hide by burrowing into my arm, so I threw a pink fluffy jacket on top of him.2:00 PM: Oh no – Tire blowout! Aunt Vicki and her fiancé Ron were driving the 4Runner and they think something hit the rear right tire, causing it to blow out. Luckily Ron was able to keep hold of the wheel and they didn’t wreck. We went back to where the 4Runner was sitting by the side of the road, and of course Mom sees that her good china is sitting in boxes by the side of the road. Not cool, right? The spare tire is completely impossible to remove and we have to get it towed. It takes a couple of hours and several phone calls to get a tow truck to take us to Farm & Fleet. Here’s capitalism for you: The tire place that gets our money is the one that’s open and has the tire we need. Awesome. Was worried that we’d be spending the night in Champaign, IL.4:00 PM: With a new tire on the 4Runner and a little teasing of Ron, we get supper at Steak & Shake and get back on the road. Rudy decides to hide under a piece of cardboard in the back.
10:00 PM: We’re somewhere in Tennessee, or maybe the north of Georgia. I’m not keeping very close track at this point. Everybody getting tired and maybe we should stop before someone falls asleep at the wheel. We switch cars, I’m now riding with Ron in the Suburban and Rudy is still hiding in the back. Mom starts making phone calls to see who has a hotel room available.
11:30 PM: We found a hotel room. I smuggle Rudy inside wrapped in the pink jacket. It’s not home, but he’s happy to be out of the Suburban.
- December 29: 8:00 AM: We get breakfast in the hotel lobby and hit the road again. Rudy dives back under his piece of cardboard. At least he’s not mewing.5:00 PM: Florida, finally! Rudy works up the nerve to come out from under his piece of cardboard. I feed him some treats to keep him happy. Somewhere along the line, Mom heard that Dad decided to drive through the night and is now unpacking the truck at the house with help from a few parishioners. She’s a little pissed at him. What if he fell asleep at the wheel. But at least having the truck unloaded will save us some time.9:00 PM: We get to the house. Of course everybody promptly wants to go sit by the pool but I figure it’s worth unpacking some of the boxes in my new bedroom. My books fill up the bookshelf pretty quickly. Rudy is happy to finally be here. He likes the pool area.
- December 30: Everybody starts unpacking boxes and shoving stuff around. In the early afternoon, we get a delivery of a nice fruit arrangement. Vince and Dad convince Mom that we need to get Internet as soon as possible. I had nothing to do with it, honest. She makes the call and they’ll be out here next Wednesday.
- December 31: Something scared Rudy last night. He ran in from the pool area and hid under my bed for a couple of hours. The neighbors say there’s alligators around here and sometimes they’ll go crawling through people’s yards. Pam’s little girl Maddie got her clothes all wet in the pool. I’m not sure whether she fell in or just went in a little deeper than she was supposed to. I took a bike ride with Ron and Vicki. It’s a gated community and the lake is only a couple of minutes’ ride away. I wonder if I should get a fishing pole. Mom and Dad and me met some of the parishioners and went to a New Year’s Eve party with a decent Miriachi band. Saw some sparklers going off in front of somebody’s house on the way home. I wonder if the fire department has to deal with two or three idiots burning their house down every New Year’s Eve. I decide to let Rudy sleep in my room tonight in case whatever spooked him comes back.
- Jan. 1: Rudy decided to wake me up by licking my hand. It’s like wet sandpaper. Unpacking is almost finished and we got my room put together. Bookshelf is now in my closet and Ron tweaks the closet shelves to make them more sturdy. Clothes are all organized and Rudy’s cat pole is back up but I still need a desk. Washing machine has a breakdown, so now we have to call somebody to get that repaired. The repair guys won’t be able to do it until next week.
- Jan. 2: Pam and Vince decide to stay an extra day so they can take the kids to the beach. The rest of us finish up some rearranging and then go later. We watch the sunset while the kids splash ocean water at Mom and try to splash me. They go running when I splash back. Pam and Vince head back to the house because they want to get an early start in the morning. The rest of us get supper at a place called Crabby Bill’s. We suspect that the waitress was a little bit drunk.
- Jan. 3: Pam, Vince and the kids are gone when we wake up. Vicki and Ron are flying back today too, so Mom and Dad take off around noon to get them to the airport. I spend most of the day hanging out with Rudy and then when Mom and Dad get back, we have supper with Len and Beverly – she made a salad and ordered cheese sticks and pizza. Pam and Vince posted pictures of their kids sacked out in a hotel bed.
- Jan. 4: Dad’s first church service at Abiding Savior Lutheran Church. Went fine except I think he faked out the organist once near the end of the service. I think he’ll remember that for next time though. They have a fellow who does an awesome bell solo. May try to see if I can get video of him playing bells sometime. Had cake and coffee afterward and met several people, including one person from Australia whose voice reminded me of fellow Mars One candidate Melissa Ede – though of course I’m sure they have nothing in common otherwise. Forgot her name though. Mom had to get back to Illinois to finish up the school year (she’s a math teacher) and I think she was bummed about leaving this nice weather when it’s freezing up north. So Mom and Dad took off for the Orlando airport. I swam in the pool for the first time ever. It’s cold and there’s some kind of pool cleaning robot in it. Swimming felt good in this kind of weather though.
- Jan. 5: Am sitting in the library sucking up their Wi-Fi. It’s a neat library – has a little cafe and everything. I’m caught up with my Facebook peeps (mostly) and uploaded another article to The Coin Front for approval. I have to wait til Wednesday for regular Internet access though.
So that’s basically it for now. If I’ve been quiet lately, it’s because I’ve been busy getting moved. But we’re pretty settled in for now.