Is there nothing hot peppers can't do?
The outbound flight was a little more unpleasant than it strictly had to be. I suppose I shouldn't have expected much when I booked with Delta Song, which won't exist much longer anyway. We got onto the plane a little late and then we sat and sat. First the captain tells us they're playing around with the 'weight balance'. Did they load all the rocks in the back end of the plane? Then later the Captain tells us that (according to him) they put too much fuel in and they need to get some FAA paperwork signed before they can take off. To me, this says that the plane is too heavy. And, by this time its raining outside as well. Someone did indeed come running onto the plane with paperwork and running back out again & we finally got off the ground about midnight. Fortunately, the plane wasn't too heavy to fly and we made it to Orlando without incident... or much sleep. I got a few catnaps in, but not very satisfactory.
Got my bag, got my rental car (a Saturn Ion - pretty good, but the steering was a little wiggly) & headed out for Grandma & Grandpa's. Pretty smooth drive & I spotted a couple things along the way that I earmarked for later out-checking on the way back into Orlando.
Had a good visit with Grandma and Grandpa, but it's clear that Grandma's life has gotten a lot more restricted. She really can't see very well at all, due to macular degeneration. She's getting some exciting-yet-wacky new treatment where they inject a colon cancer drug into your eye. G&G have a digital magnifying screen so she can read things, but the letters have to be awfully big before she can read them clearly. She still has fine peripheral vision, but that doesn't help for detailed things or writing. She stares at her bathroom floor, which has patterned tile, so that she can appreciate the pattern in her peripheral view. Sigh. She's given up bridge, which she's played for more than 50 years. She's not walking much, either. She gets winded easily and her leg is still a bit gimpy. She turned 83 yesterday.
Fortunately, Grandpa's taking pretty good care of her. He got eggs and bacon made for him every morning for 50+ years, so I guess he's finally been tagged "it". Grandma and I made some grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch that day, and it was... very difficult... to watch her try to spread butter evenly on the bread, or plug the electric grill into the socket. Together, we were successful.
Grandma's also gotten onto the big giving-things-away kick, so I may get a box of old pennies and foreign coins in the mail someday soon, since she can't see them anymore. Sigh. And "when she's done using them", Grandma has earmarked Aunt Bessie & Uncle Louis's silverware for us. After pulling them out for display, she said innocently, "You never know what you'll find in Grandma's drawers." Ahem.
All in all, a somewhat trying experience, but Grandma remains a pretty happy person on the whole. We went out for Thai food the first night. It was better than most of the food I've had at the Villages, but didn't hold a candle to LA Thai Food.
Afterwards, Grandpa put on a DVD of some possible entertainment that might come to their events center, where he still works several days a week. He didn't think much of them, and I quite agree. It was, at times, almost hilariously awful. If he hadn't promised to show it to one of their neighbors, I would've scored the DVD to pass around. Somehow I can picture bestepisodeever eating this entertainment up. For a taste, you can check out the website - they have video apparently. Okay, I'll try to say something nice; Garish as they are, the costumes are not bad, though some of them may not be safe for viewing by elderly men hopped up on Viagra. The back up band looks like they're in high school, but they're perfectly competent. Okay, I guess by omission, I'm damning the dancing and singing.
Anyway, got a pretty good night's sleep so that I was pretty much on East Coast time after that. Went out for some breakfast on Sunday. Had some more chat and a couple people came by to visit, and I was soon on my way back to Orlando.
One of the things I noted on the way up was just a bizarre photo op. When I get the photos downloaded, I'll put it up.
Next, I stopped at Lakeridge Winery just off the Florida turnpike. Florida is justly unknown for its wines. I'm afraid that, like Charles Shaw, their wine is better described as having different flavors rather than different varietals. Mostly sweet flavors, based on muscat-oid grapes. There was one flavor (the blush) that was adequate, but I wasn't going to fuss with carrying a wine bottle around with me.
Got into Orlando, checked into the hotel, dropped by the Orange County convention center to get my registration foofoo and then drove out to the resorts to attend my first press conference and first opportunity to eat food at the expense of large international corporations. I'll save the show for another day.