Saturday, May 21, 2011

Who the hell is Carl???

Now that I've recovered from the freezer burn that hit me as I deplaned in Madison Wednesday evening, I'll try to report on our recent Florida trip. (A thirty or forty degree drop in temperature can sure get your attention.) First I would like to thank the Florida Welcome Council for providing a torrential downpour, complete with lightening, thunder and hail, for our arrival. Nothing is more interesting than driving a strange car down a strange expressway in strange weather. Armed with a set of very specific directions, we found our lodgings, checked in and plotted out our four day adventure.
Saturday we decided to head down to Tampa for a visit to Busch Gardens. I have heard many horror stories about driving in Florida. (I guess because some of the other drivers are older than me) Much to my amazement, I found that, if I drove the speed limit (within five or ten miles an hour), I would not be tying up traffic but would be way ahead of it. I know that you will not believe this but, I swear it's true. Driving at fifty five miles per hour, I actually passed, not just one, but two BMWs. I blew by Cadilac Escalades and Lincoln Towncars. Undoubtedly the owner's manuals didn't include the clauses about local speed and traffic laws not pertaining to owners of these vehicles. Busch Gardens was pretty much as advertised and the weather held out until after lunch before pouring some buckets of "Florida Sunshine" on us. Fortunately we had covered most of the outdoor activities in the morning and found a number of "shows" in sheltered areas in the afternoon. After returning to Kissimmee (I believe this is an old Seminole word for "kiss your money bye, bye") we searched out a restaurant for dinner. How cool is Florida? They have slow BMWs, big talking mice, alligators in many forms (shoe, purse and and biting) and restaurants for every taste including the one we chose for Saturday night dinner. This place could have easily been featured on the Sapranos. Greeted by hostess Mama Marie, waited on by daughter Teresa, bartended by son Vito and tables bussed by Aunt Sophie's goofy kid Vinnie. Food was great, we avoided any direct eye contact but after stating how much we enjoyed the meal "Artie the Cleaver" came out of the kitchen to give us appreciative kisses. Needless to say, we left quite a healthy tip.
Sunday we chose to head to the opposite coast to Cape Canaveral/Cape Kennedy/Coco Beach. Once again I was lead dog on the highway passing more than my share of fellow AARP members. The Space Shovel was due to be launched on Monday so, The Space Center was really crowded. This led us to bypass it and head to the beach. It was beach weather to the max. Probably 80ish and an occasional cloud to give a little relief from the Florida sun. The only thing(s) that can disrupt a fine day on a Florida beach is "LOVEBUGS". I had encountered them once before on a photoshoot up on the Florida Panhandle years ago. These delightful little guys seem to swarm in beach areas at certain times of the year (the times of year when I'm at the beach). They are aptly named "Love Bugs" because these horny little devils are seldom seen unattached. They are entirely plural in nature as you can see here.
Monday and Tuesday were devoted to Walt's place. Monday at Epcot and Tuesday at Disney Hollywood Studios. Both were loaded with constant entertainment and lived up to all their hype. We caught as many exhibits and shows as possible and stayed for the final fireworks presentations at both parks WOW!!! Interspersed in the excitement of Disney was a reunion with one of my best high school buddies, George. George along with Ken, Rich and I were were thrown together at a school where, to say the least, we were somewhat out of place. The student body was made up of North Shore elite. Our group was from the Northwest side middle class. But with our DA haircuts, pegged pants, long key chains and box toed suede shoes or engineer boots we made our presence known. Unfortunately after graduation we parted ways. I guess Ken, Rich and George kept in touch to some extent as they took their places in society while I did my best to avoid society. At any rate last Fall after Ken, who lives in the Chicago area, found me via FaceBook. I got together with him a couple of times and got in cybertouch with the other two. Now I had the opportunity to see George after over fifty years. He lives in Fort Meyer and as luck would have it had planned to drive up to Orlando at the same time I was visiting the area. Had a great, but too brief, gab session with George and his wife Anne at Epcot. It was truly wonderful to catch up on each others exploits of the past fifty years. My next goal is to visit Rich in Maryland some day soon.
All in all we had a fine vacation with good weather, great entertainment, good food and a fantastic reunion.
Well we're back all refreshed and ready to face our day to day duties. (A little more for JoAnne to face than me)

A photo moment with George and Anne
Too bad he's aged so much!

Oh Yeah, I almost forgot about Carl! As we were waiting to board our plane to Florida, a salesmany looking guy approach me and said, "pardon me, but has anyone ever told you that you resemble a movie star?" "Well yes I replied" "I'm often mistaken for George Clooney, Ben Affleck or that Reeves kid". "Oh no not any of them but you look a lot like Carl, you know the old guy in UP?" He even went to the bother to bring up Carl's picture on his iphone to substantiate his claim. Well I hope he enjoyed the next hour or so after I reported to a security guard that I over heard him on his iphone saying something about a special device on his ibook. That's what I call ivengence!

Okay! I'm the one on the right.