Sucks to be me right now, huh?
Mom and Dad are spending a week at The Cat House with Tom. Dad's a Renaissance Man and can do anything. At 80 he's more active and productive than I am. And he looks younger than I do.
Dad and Tom are building walls, from what I gather from the daily (sometimes hourly) phone calls. They're building a wall between (I think) the master bedroom and its closet. It already had a wall, but I want a pocket door in it to save space, so they've worked on that. They've made soffits for the air conditioning ductwork. They're going to make a closet in the upstairs bedroom. There are no closets upstairs; lots of space under the eaves of the house, but the ceiling is so low in those that only "short" things can be hung. Where did the people who used to live there put all their stuff?
(Actually, Tom found a big stack of shirts left in one of them. And a lot of junk was just tossed into the backyard and under the house.)
Mom has been cleaning windows and sweeping. Those floors catch and hold onto dirt and dust; they're down to the subflooring and it's not in good shape. The cats shed enough to create entire new cats.
On Monday they'll head up to their favorite vacation spot near Daytona and spend two weeks there with some of their friends. It used to be a little 40s or 50s Mom and Pop-style motel right between A1A and the ocean. Maybe 10 rooms. It's been sold several times in the last few years for increasingly insane amounts of money and will eventually be razed and turned into luxury condos. I hate to see the remaining pieces of Old Florida sold off and gone forever.
We first went to Florida in 1955 or '56, after Dad's parents, sister, and brother-in-law moved to Miami. I vaguely remember that first trip. I was convinced that the ocean was in Muck and Poppa's back yard and I was terribly disappointed when it wasn't. That trip is when my life-long love affair with Florida started.
We visited them every summer for two weeks. At that time we didn't have any friends whose families took vacations anywhere, much less 1000 miles south. We spent most of the time inside--they had air conditioning. We'd play in the yard, go to the beach a couple of times (Dad absolutley hates getting sand in the car), go shopping some (I mean, wow, they had a K-Mart back when there were none up here!), eat at the very old McDonald's nearby, take walks in the evening, play with the colorful snails that crawled up the shady side of the house.
At least once each trip, we'd all pile into the car and take a ride through the Everglades (mosquitos are BAD in the summer; I can't wait to go in the winter) or out to the (then) new Miami airport, or, once, to Key West. I was five that year, I think. I was not at all interested in the gorgeous water, palm trees, and other sights; all I remember is that I was really really thirsty, and I remember bumping across countless bridges. When we got to Key West, it stunk of fish. There'd been a recent fish-kill; we didn't want to stay long. I remember nothing else of the island.
And now I'm going to live 30 miles from it. I still don't quite believe it.