Our Latest Trip to Florida

Okay, I’m back.  Leive and I left for Florida on January 20, and returned last night (January 26).  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to post any messages on the trip.  It took a two days to travel each way, because we stopped at Lindy’s place in Georgia for the night, both going down and coming back.  Adam and Lindy have a reliable Internet connection, but we only stayed there long enough to sleep and play with our granddaughter Lexi a bit.  In Florida my father no longer has an Internet connection, nor could we link up with any networks in the neighborhood.  In the end we went to public wi-fi hot spots to check on things in cyberspace:  the local Whole Foods store, the Starbucks across the street, and the nearest public library.  Our time in all three places was limited, and when we weren’t there we were watching my father or prospecting for our Pre-Paid Legal business, so when connected, we checked our e-mail and messages on Facebook, and that was it.

We had a late start getting out of Lexington (12:30 PM), so it was almost midnight when we reached Portal, GA.  Still, we beat the snowstorm; I understand three inches fell after we left, and two more inches of snow came down early this week.  The previous Tuesday I had the Buick checked, and it turned out the problem with it shaking at high speeds was caused by bad spark plug cables.  Once the cables were replaced, it ran quite smoothly.  The only shaking episode on the trip south happened near Jellico, Tennessee, and that was probably caused by driving uphill for several miles; Leive thinks that was the highest elevation we reached on the trip, too.  It didn’t shake when we passed through there on the way back, though it did for a minute in the mountains of north Georgia.  It looks like the radiator leak I’ve been dealing with for the past month has finally been stopped, too.

In Portal the accommodations were a bit cramped, as they were on our last trip; again, everyone else got a bed, but I had to sleep on the couch with the dog.  Still, seeing little Lexi (Leive calls her Apo, meaning Grandchild) going both south and north was the most enjoyable part of the trip.

Lexi in the arms of Nana Leive.

And here I got three generations (Leive, Lindy and Lexi) in one picture.

After all the cold we’ve had in Kentucky for the past two months, even I was ready for warmer days, and we got them; the thermometer got all the way up to 76 degrees in Florida.  We arrived there at 5:30 PM on Friday, and after unpacking, we went to visit my father in the hospital.  During the previous days, we were led to believe that time was running out for him, so I expected him to be as pale as a sheet, but the hospital had been giving him oxygen at night, and he was cheered up considerably to have three family members with him (my sister was in town, too), so he looked pink instead of pale when we saw him.  Also, we were able to have an intelligent conversation for an hour.  The only moments when he wasn’t fully there was when he thought his caregiver was holding a black and white rat (because he used to have rats for pets, we took hallucinations of them as a good sign), and at the end of the visit, he thought we were leaving him outside.  The next day, he recovered enough to come home, though he is still on oxygen there and the Hospice folks check on him regularly.

On Sunday we went to the church we attended for more than twenty years in Florida.  Here I am with Derek Garrison, the son of the former pastor; as you can see, I wasn’t the only University of Kentucky fan there!

I spent the rest of Sunday visiting the Vietnamese stores Leive and I used to patronize, near the intersection of Mills Ave. and Colonial Dr. in Orlando; I also checked out the big new one in Pine Hills, which appears to have taken over a former Publix.  There I left business cards and DVDs for my business; let’s see what sprouts from the seeds I planted.

We started home on Tuesday morning.  We were warned of bad weather, and sure enough, it rained hard on Interstates 95 and 16 in Georgia.  This time when we stopped at Lindy’s place, we celebrated by going to our favorite Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood.  It was six or seven hours of driving on Tuesday, and eleven hours on Wednesday.  We had to face snow in northern Tennessee and Kentucky, but conditions weren’t as bad as they were on our December 2009 trip.  Finally at 9:30 PM on Wednesday, we made it home.  Both the house and Brin-Brin look good, after being away for a week.  We may go south again for Lexi’s first birthday in March, but that trip is only in the first planning stages.  Now what shall we do for February?

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