Friday, October 20, 2006
So, We left around 10 am.....
on Weds. We hoped to at least get 1/2 way there that day, with the hopes that we would reach Altoona by nightfall Thursday. Which we did ( barely!). One of the first problems was the "hotel" situation. Mom refused to get just any hotel- it had to be cheap! And I insisted on secure ( 2 women, traveling alone in a strange area- I was not sticking my neck out!) Our first night was spent just south of Charlotte, NC.
We made it to Altoona around 5 pm the next day. Well, actually Williamsburg- which is a small town right near Altoona. It's where my cousin and her husband live. It's a cool set-up; about 100 years ago, a group of 10 hunters bought this mountain ( yes- you read it right- MOUNTAIN!) outside of Altoona. They own the land, have their own reservoir, roads, everything. The "cabins" have turned into houses, and 10 families/couples own the whole lot. The houses sit about a third of the way up the mountain, and the views are just breathtaking:
Rae's house- built originally before 1900 I think. But her husband has done some MAJOR renovations. It's like a country cottage- a dream house IMHO!
View from the front porch- Killer, no?
View from the back yard. For a person living in flat, barren Florida- the view just blew my mind. I spent a lot of time outside just looking and listening to the land. ( well, as much as I could, concidering it was 30-40 degrees outside while we were there!)
First problem was ( as I mentioned above) was the cold! I have very few "warm" clothes. Don't really need them here, as we get "cold" weather about 3 days a year! And as my cousin had mentioned that it was 70+ degrees the day we left, I had packed T-shirts and jeans. Well, I spent most of the time there in borrowed coats/sweaters! Whoever said " Mother Nature is a bitch" wasn't kidding!
The second was the funeral itself. I'm sure they would have had is sooner ( possibly Friday/Saturday), but Penn State was hosting Michigan in a home game and there wasn't a hotel room to be had for 50 miles!!! So they had to "bump" the funeral to Sunday/Monday. No one would be able to attend if they couldn't get a room! I had contacted a mutual friend of ours, and he had Sunday off. So I was in constant negotiations with my family to get an hour or two free Sunday morning ( his day off!)to go visit. But with everyone coming in- it wasn't to be. That pissed me off big-time. I had hoped for a little "relief" in all that familial chaos. I know Mom was having a rough time of it, but I had hoped for a little respite from it. All I can say to Michael is " Next time- and there WILL be a next time!"
The wake/funeral itself was as good as these things can be. Got to catch up with family I hadn't seen in years ( about 20+ to be exact!) But the one thing I got a little peeved about was some of my cousins bringing up the fact that my Mom is "the Last" of her generation alive. AS IF she was not fully aware of that fact! Shit- she's there, burying her LAST sibling( out of 5 that survived to adulthood), the sister she was closest to, and they had to bring that up??? How about some salt for the wound guys!? Of course, I couldn't say anything with a priest there- but it was a close thing. I'm not one to cause a stir ( you all know this about me) but I just about went off on some of them! And then we heard of an "ex-aunt" that was thinking of attending. She is persona-non-grata with the family ( though her kids are OK). I was kind-of hoping she'd show up- just so I could vent! But thankfully she didn't.
Come to Tuesday, and we left before 7am. Drove 12 hours and managed to make it to the coast of SC. Spent Weds finishing the run, and got home around 1 pm. Walked into the house and saw- "THE MESS"! Jon had managed to have the kids pick up the livingroom floor, but the tables, bedrooms and bathrooms looked like a war-zone! So much for me leaving again anytime soon! I was too tired to do anything about it though- all I could think of was sleep! ( did I mention I did ALL of the driving? Yup- me, myself and I were the only ones at the wheel through all this) Worked all day yesterday, and will put in another shift today. Saturday will be soon enough to power-clean this place. I just don't have the energy to deal with it yet. Not to say I haven't done some- but not enough to call this place "right" again. And I'm scheduled to work Sunday, so I've got my work cut out for me here!
Not a trip I'd want to repeat anytime soon, but it was interesting nontheless. Oh, and I made a friend while I was there:
Jasper, AKA Jazzy P. He's a real charactor, and kept me company on my trips outside. He also liked to come downstairs at 3 am and play with me ( I slept on the couch in the livingroom- my Mom SNORES! ;-) ). Cute little bugger, isn't he?
Well, nothing much else to report. But jeez- isn't it Friday???
You know your a Floridian when:
"Down South" means Key West
"Panhandling" means going to Pensacola.
You think no-one over 70 should be allowed to drive.
Flip-flops are everyday wear.
Shoes are for business meetings and church.
Crackers are people proudly "born and bred" here.
An alligator once walked through your neighborhood.
You smirk when a game show's "Grand Prize" is a trip or cruise to Florida.
You measure distance in minutes.
You have a drawer full of bathing suits, and one sweatshirt.
You get annoyed at the tourists who feed seagulls.
All the local festivals are named after a fruit.
A mountain is any hill 100 feet above sea level.
You think everyone from a bigger city has a northern accent.
You know the four seasons really are: almost summer, summer, not summer but really hot, and Christmas.
It's not soda, cola, or pop...it's coke, regardless of brand or flavor, "What kinda coke you want?"
Anything under 95° is just warm.
"D'jalleet" means "Did ya'll eat?"
You've hosted a hurricane party. (Of course- it's required!)
You go to a theme park for an afternoon, and know when to get on the best rides.
Going to a theme park is not considered a vacation.
You pass on the right and honk at the elderly.
You understand the futility of exterminating cockroaches.
You can pronounce Okeechobee, Kissimmee and Withlacoochee.
You understand why it's better to have a friend with a boat, than have a boat yourself.
Bumperstickers on the pickup in front of you include: various fish, NRA, and a confederate flag.
You were 8 before you realized they made houses without pools.
What the hell is a basement?
You know what it's like to sweat in the shower.
You were 12 when you first met someone who couldn't swim, and you thought they were retarded.
You get excited when a hurricane is coming, and stock up on beer.
Never understanding why it's not normal to play in run-off water.
You know what impitigo is, and have had ringworm at least once.
"Fixinto" is one word, "I'm fixinto go to the store."
You get angry when people say "Florida isn't really part of the SOUTH"
You've worn shorts and used the A/C on Christmas.
You know what the "stingray shuffle" is, and why it's important!
Well, with that little "insight" into life down here, I'll leave you all to your day!
Hope it's a good one!
Peace and Love to all!
Invisioned on |7:54 AM|
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