Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Livin' it up, retiree style

Did I mention that January was "travel month" for me? I know we just got back from California, but we took off again for Florida, where we are visiting my stepmom. I have to get all these family visits in before I'm too pregnant to travel (and before I have a baby in tow).... It really has nothing to do with following the sun or anything!

In any case, my stepmother (Laura) lives in central Florida, about an hour and a half north of Orlando, in a gigantic retirement community that I've concluded is kind of like college for old folks (minus all the academics, and plus some pretty fantastic facilities).

Yesterday Laura took us by golf cart all around town, which was quite the little adventure (especially considering it's a cart that seats two, and she and I plus George=3, plus baby in my belly=at least 3 1/2!)... George sat on my (disappearing) lap at first, and then I came up with the idea to have him stand up in the back and strap him in where the golf bag goes. That worked quite well for awhile, and he thought it was pretty fun!

There are golf-cart paths all over town, and golf-cart lanes (like bicycle lanes) on many of the main roads.... Here's a golf-cart bridge over the highway:

Our destination was one of the shopping/dining/congregating centers, on a lake. It looks like a charming, old (but very well kept up) village that you might find in the Florida Keys or maybe somewhere in the Caribbean. But of course it's all been built since like 1990. We went out to a gazebo at the end of the dock and had a lovely picnic lunch that Laura had made for us.

(Just out of the picture is a place with a long outdoor bar, where people were starting up with Happy Hour at about 3:00. Hey, no need to wait till 5 if no one's working!)

We window shopped until we got tired, and then piled back in the golf cart and headed home. After a nice nap, we headed out (in the car this time) to what turned out to be a great Mexican restaurant for some early bird specials. When dinner was over we strolled up the street to another "town square" area where there was live music and dancing. There were probably 200 people there--maybe more. What fun! There was a stand that was selling all kinds of drinks, and lots of people were partaking, but from what I could see everyone was having a great time either way.

When we first arrived, a whole bunch of people were doing a line dance, and I thought George might really enjoy giving it a try, so I asked him if he wanted to... he said that he did not. Undeterred, I offered him a bribe (we all know by now that I'm not above that! and besides, I just *knew* he'd love it if he gave it a try). 5$ if he went up there and went for it. He was clearly quite tempted, but the dance ended before he could decide. Fortunately, a few songs later he had another chance, and he ran right up there. (This is a kid who volunteered to do the hula at a Luau for 500 people in Hawaii a couple of years ago, so don't think I was pressuring him to do something that was totally out of character for him.) Well, this was probably the most complicated line dance I've *ever* seen. I watched intently the whole time and I never figured it out. Poor George was really floundering and at one point started to leave, but one of the old folks encouraged and convinced him to stay. (Plus, I figured, he wanted to stick it out to make sure he got his $5.) This other lady looked like she was kind of taking him under her wing, motioning to him at certain parts, which I thought was really sweet. Until I found out it wasn't true.

When the song ended, he stormed off the dance area and headed straight for the back of the crowd. Then he burst into tears and said that he was totally humiliated! Turns out the lady who was gesturing at him had scolded him, and told him that he was going to make her fall! How terrible do you think I felt?! At least the other person who had talked to him (when he tried to leave partway through) had in fact told him that he was doing great and he should stay, but when I tried to console George with that, he countered "That's just the type of thing that grownups say to kids to make them feel better. It wasn't true." Ok, so he was having trouble with the dance itself, but he really did look adorable out there! But yes, I felt just awful, and told George I'd double his bribe to $10 *plus tax*. That did actually get him to stop crying. It didn't make me feel much better, though! Humiliating my kid for my own amusement. NICE. (Come on, though; doesn't he look cute?!)
Anyway, apart from that incident(!), it was a great day, and today was lovely as well. Laura made us pancakes in the morning. Later, she had some things to do, so George and I drove the golf cart to the club to swim and lounge around in the sun. Glorious! And I didn't even feel out of place in my skirted (maternity) bathing suit! Tonight we had dinner at home (delicious lamb curry) followed by Lexicon, a really fun word/card game.

Tomorrow we're going to play shuffleboard, which we are very much looking forward to. Then another early bird dinner.

I could really, really get used to this life....

The next day, we're off to Disneyworld. If you think that the fact that we've just been to Disneyland dampens our excitement for that, you are incorrect. We can't wait!! I haven't been there in over 20 years and George has never been, and we are rarin' to go. We've already studied the map and figured out all the rides we want to hit. I'm sure I'll exhaust myself again, but oh well--I can sleep on the plane the next day. Or maybe when I get home. Or, actually, maybe when I retire.

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