Mom, Elle, and I spent this Labor Day weekend in Lehigh Acres, Florida. This is pretty much how it all played out:
Mom yelled at the guy behind the counter at Goodyear Auto Center in Ocala. When I stopped in to ask him to reset the TPMS light on my car, which had been flashing on and off all weekend, he explained that his center didn’t carry a TPMS reset machine and directed me to a Pep Boys 3 miles away in the opposite direction I was heading. “How can you call yourself a tire shop if you can’t even keep a TPMS reset machine on hand to reset the TPMS lights that you messed up in the first place!!!” GO, MOM! I checked my tire pressure just to be sure all was well (and it was) so the three of us wandered across the street to the Merita Bread Bakery outlet shop and shut our frustrations up with low-cost carbohydrates. A 12-pack of powdered donuts for 99 cents!!?? Shaaazaaaaam!! I’M ALL OVER THIS!
We made it to Yoder’s Amish Restaurant just before the big lunchtime rush. Yoder’s was featured on Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food and our local station’s Florida Road Trip. There is no way, from this day forward, I can ever drive to Southwest Florida without stopping in Sarasota for some of Amanda Yoder’s chocolate crème pie. Just look at Elle’s valiant attempt to eat the whole slice…yes, that, my friends, was just a slice:
My Aunt Debby has a cat named Precious. Elle and I stayed with Aunt Debby over the weekend and had been warned about how Precious would react to our being there. Was it jealousy? NO. Was it territorial? NO. Was it simply because the cat was, how do you say it nicely…evil? YES. Aunt Debby had to MacGyver this kind of doorstopper after discovering that Precious could open doors and gouge out your eyeballs!
She could also be heard growling. And often! But, Dena, don’t you mean meowing? No, growling. Like a starved jungle cat in search of soft, succulent flesh and tasty meat. I couldn’t get a picture of Precious because when I wasn’t running away from her, she was running away from me (though, to be honest, she only charged at me once…but I did tell Elle to stay inside the bedroom until it was safe for her to come out).
Cousin Jason was not able to attend our Family Reunion/Cookout because he was at a wedding in Indiana. This worked out in a way because I hear Jason is prone to having to jump into a pool and save someone’s kid from drowning. It’s happened 3 times in the last 3 years and I’ve been present for one. So, the good news is this: No kids fell into the pool this year and Jason’s lifesaving services were not needed.
My cousin had her baby. For weeks I had been joking around, encouraging her to have the baby a week early so that Mom and I could be there to see him. Well, she did and Baby E is a beautiful addition to our family. I didn’t get to see him as he was born so late on Saturday night and after many exhaustive hours. Mom and Grandpa were there, as well as her husband’s family and her parents and siblings. I figured I’ll see him next year after everyone’s had some time to rest! If his arrival is any indication of the next 12 months, whew…take some naps, girl, ‘cause you are in for one heck of a ride. Congratulations to D & B! We already love you so much, Baby E!
(isn’t he just the sweetest thing ever youcouldeathimOMG!)
On the way home the sky opened up and unleashed its fury upon us. And because I’m a frackin’ idiot, I decided to take a shortcut home! (Shortcuts in the rain = you’re gonna end up in the wrong part of town, buckaroo!) Not surprisingly, I ended up in the wrong part of town – you know, that part of town where the Griswolds lost the rims and paneling on their rental station wagon? I think the only reason nobody jacked us up was because it was raining so hard, so torrentially hard, that if they had ventured outside of their homes they wouldn’t have been able to find their way back. Yes, that kind of rain. The kind of rain that only allows you a visual clearance of 20 feet in front of your face and leads you into the Porter neighborhood of Gainesville, a city in which I lived for 6 whole years. See, I told you I was an idiot.
Mom and I didn’t kill each other. I say this with as much sincere humor as possible because, if you know my mother and me, it’s safe to assume we can barely go a day without arguing. The fact that we survived being with each other for 16 hours inside a moving vehicle says a lot. It says so much, in fact, that I’ll allow that to speak for itself.
Oh, man. It feels so good to be home.