Friday, March 15, 2013

Florida trip

I think spring is finally here, although snow is predicted for tonight and tomorrow, so maybe it's still winter, despite what the groundhog didn't see.  I have a front flower bed bursting with mini daffodils.  They look so spring-like.  Also a bush (tree?) by my front door is blooming.  It's a mahonia, commonly known as grape holly.  (computer doesn't know how to spell the name and neither do I!)  The yellow blossoms have a very sweet odor that attracts bees and flies when the weather is warm enough for those insects.  I love walking out the front door and sniffing that lovely odor.  After the blooming, the bush produces little purple berries that look a bit like grapes - thus the common name.  The catbird and the robins will fight over those berries!  Also, the leaves have points on the ends (like holly).  The thing was just a small plant when I bought it, maybe 8 years ago.  It is now about 5 feet tall and about 4 feet wide.  I keep cutting it back every year.  ( I think it can grow to 20 feet, which will not be acceptable in its current location.  Thus the trimming.) 

Recently I spent a week in Florida visiting my brother Tom and sister-in-law Peggy.  I enjoyed the visit, despite the cold weather.  The day I got home, it was warmer here in Maryland than it had been when I left Florida.  I did go over to the beach one day.  I walked along the water line for about 20 minutes and then spent several hours checking out all the very expensive stores along the ocean drive.  I didn't buy anything, but it's interesting to see what the rich folks spend money on. 

Luckily, I don't go down there for the weather, but to see family.  They are in their mid-eighties and doing pretty well for that age.  Both are deaf.  Peggy has hearing aids, which she will wear, but says they don't help much.  Tom denies that he has a problem, because we are shouting at him, so he can hear us.  He keeps putting off getting tested - probably because he knows he will need hearing aids. 

The flight from Baltimore to Orlando was interesting.  I arrived in Baltimore and went directly to security because I didn't have any luggage to be checked.  (I'm too cheap to pay $25 each way just so I can take a few more items with me.)  After I passed security I began to look for area C, which was where my gate would be.  I finally found a sign and followed it, only to discover that at the end of a corridor the sign said, "Leaving secured area".   The signs for C were pointing out, so I followed them and finally found another security checkpoint, just for C people.  I was cleared again.  Boarding the flight was the usual confusion, but I found my seat and stowed my carry-on.  Then we sat and sat.  After about 35 minutes, they announced that the plane had a problem that couldn't be fixed, so we were told to get off with our carry-on luggage.  We left the plane, walked down a corridor and - surprise! - had to go through security again!  The rest of the flight was uneventful and we arrived only about one and a half hours late.

 Of course Tom and Peggy had been in the terminal at Orlando for hours, as they had arrived early.  Luckily they had eaten lunch, so I just grabbed a sandwich and we headed up to the parking garage.  Tom didn't remember the aisle number, but said that the car was on the top level over near the edge.  It wasn't there.  Tom and I walked up and down all the rows of cars on that level and some on the next level down, looking for the car.  All I knew about it was that it was a  white Toyota with a black stripe and a license plate that had a Z in it.  I did find a car that met those criteria, but it had an ashtray full of cigarette butts, so I knew it wasn't theirs.  Finally I found a person who was one of the parking lot personnel.  She called someone in a truck and he took Tom to go look for the car.  Peggy and I waited.  Luckily it was warm and sunny.  Now, you have to understand that the parking garage is enormous and there are actually two of them - A and B.  The truck driver asked Tom where his car was parked and Tom replied' B'.  The driver then said, 'But this is A.'  They found the car right where Tom thought it was, but in the other parking building! 

The rest of my visit was very uneventful.  It was sunny every day, but so windy that it felt cold.  We didn't do any outdoor things, like going bird watching.  Peggy and I went to a couple of thrift shops - I bought a pair of trousers for $2 - a real steal!  I need them because I had brought only warm weather clothes with me.  We ate dinner out twice, which I always enjoy.  We did visit a couple of nurseries because Tom and Peggy are giving up on annual plants and are going to fill the garden room flower beds with perennials.  Tom and I selected some shade plants - ferns and suchlike.  They will go back and get plants for the sunny bed.   The day before I left, I took their car and drove around Vero, searching for thrift stores and antique dealers.  Didn't buy much, but enjoyed looking.

It was a good trip, but I'm really glad to be home.