Well, here I am back from five days in Florida and contrary to what I believed at the outset of my trip I am not relaxed. The good news is that very single day there was maximized and I saw many colleagues and friends that I do not get to see often enough. This trip epitomized that bumper stick that reads, "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming ‘WOO-HOO what a ride!’”
The bad news is that life did not likewise stop in my absence. As I have long suspected, the world does not revolve around me (although I may soon approach the size of the sun given all the fab food I consumed while conferencing and the people of the world may be forced to navigate around me).
So I am back to email boxes filled to the brim, a stack of mail and magazines, dirty laundry and all the other stuff of everyday life to include ready access to my blog – and life is good. I did want to share a few important things I learned while in Orlando, Florida (there will ultimately be more to share when Mary gets home and sends photos, but for now I will start with the things I think are most pressing).
Things you should know about Orlando, Florida:
1. There are literally thousands of tiny lizards in Orlando. They dart across the sidewalk right in front of you as if they are crossing the freeway in heavy traffic and you are a semi-truck. If you are not a fan of these small, daring creatures you better become accustomed to walking in the street during the day (as the little lizards know better than to walk in the street and some folks see walking in the street as a lesser risk than having a fright heart attack based on a lizard that is less than four inches long).
2. Don’t ride the trolley if you have any sense of time or are a fan of good customer service. Despite its smiling appearance and low cost ($6.00 for a three day pass) it requires the patience of a saint and a complete disregard for time (apparently I have neither). I will not go on further here – see previous blogs about the trolley to get a better feel for the extent of my contempt.
3. Humidity does not make for a good hair day. I really already knew this and have experienced it many places before (the Ghana trip was one frizz hair trip for the records), but I did not fully appreciate how short the outside exposure had to be to create that special curly frizzy look that my hair acquires in humidity. I mistakenly believed that I could make it from the hotel to across the street where the conference was unscathed. Not so. I am not traditionally a hat wearer, but by the end of my stay hats were starting to look pretty darn appealing as hat hair was becoming in my mind preferable to the curly frizz.
4. Do not buy Disney World or Mickey Mouse gear at the actual park. Every gift shop we encountered had oodles of Magic Kingdom items. I cannot imagine how frustrating it must be for those folks who shop at Disney World shops to later realize that they could get the equivalent item in one of the local shops for half the price. Mary and I managed to get to a store or two and there were very few Disney items that you could not find. For heaven’s sake, we even ran across Goofy bras at one location…albeit, they were on clearance – go figure. What says I am a confident, sexy woman better than a Goofy bra?
5. Do not eat at the IHOP near the Rosen Centre Hotel unless: a) you have all the time in the world; b) you have a high tolerance for sticky chairs, tables and menus; c) you are comfortable sitting at a table where the floor is littered with the trash and debris of all the days’ patrons that have come before you; and, d) you want to sit closer to folks you don’t know than you do at a packed family Thanksgiving meal. And in case you are asking after this elaboration if I am bitter – yes, I am.
6. The sunshine and breeze are a nice respite from the chill in the air that we begin to feel in North Dakota about this time of year. It is a beautiful place to visit and there are literally tons of things to do – you will never want for activity. Alas, all the commercialism can start to wear on one and it is quite lovely to get home to the crisp air and the every day goings-on that make up one’s real life. When it is all said and done, I’ll take the Magic Kingdom of Fargo over Orlando’s Magic Kingdom – at the very least I can avoid the lizards and the trolley.
Day one hundred and twenty-three of the new forty – obla di obla da