Road Trips

Why is it that the drive back seems to take twice as long as the drive there?
I’m so sick of being in the car right now, but I just realized upon returning home and smothering the doggies with kisses that we have to drive up to northwestern Indiana for Charlie’s dad’s wedding in one week. That means finding appropriate clothes to wear for both of us, getting a gift for a 63 year-old groom and a 54 year-old bride who probably have a blender and all the utensils they really need, and another 7 or so hours in the car . . . Sigh.

Monday it’s back to the grind. School, work. Work, school.

Florida Decor

Just in case you’ve never been, or perhaps you’ve forgotten, I wanted to share how unique and lovely central and southern Florida decor really is.
Okay, I’m being sarcastic. My condo here is very nice, with modern appliances, and lots of places to sit, plus an ocean view. However, everything is pastel. Everything. And the little decorations and paintings here and there are so odd. I didn’t upload a picture of the matching bird lamps on either side of the sofa, or the creepy one in the bedroom.
Last night the wind was gusting up to 35mph and the windows and patio door were knocking around enough that it was kind of scary. Now it’s in the upper 60s and there’s no way we’re going for a dip.

Update: This post originally had photos linked from my Web site, which I’ve since taken down. I don’t have the photos saved anywhere else.

Driving Differences

During my drive from Indianapolis to Florida, I noticed two big things.
First, roadkill changes from state-to-state. In Indiana, you see squirrels and raccoons on the side of the road. In Kentucky, it’s almost exclusively deer. In Tennessee, it was actual dogs (which made me miserable, not that any roadkill doesn’t make me cry). Once we got to Georgia, the weird thing was that I kept seeing dead birds. A few chickens, a prettily-plumed flightless something-or-other, and a few of your average, everyday, dead-on-the-side of the road skunks or furry creatures.
Once we crossed the state line into Florida, I saw an armadillo.
The second difference I noticed was drivers. Throughout the other 900 miles of the drive, faster drivers pretty much just passed me if they needed to. Once we were near St. Petersburg and Tampa, people were grimacing at me as they sped past. I was keeping up with traffic (so I thought), going about 65 in a 50 mph zone. In any given lane, though, people were doing anywhere from 40 to 80. The difference in speeds was ridiculous. The little blue-haired grandmas clutched the wheel as you could see the reflection of their knuckles gleaming white in the Florida afternoon sun. But regardless of whether I was in someone’s way or coming up on someone who was driving incredibly slow, none of them hesitated to give me a nasty look, or shake a gnarled fist at me.

We had a safe, fast trip. We stopped early on yesterday evening in McDonough, Georgia, where we had really good Italian food and watched the second Harry Potter movie on ABC in the hotel. We got a really good, free breakfast the next morning around 7am. We were the first ones in there, and I’d hoped we’d be the only ones, until two families of about 6 members each raced in and knocked one another over to get to the free bacon, orange juice, and biscuits. One grandma actually pushed me out of the way while I was struggling with the cover from a heating pan filled with eggs and cheese.

“What is that?!” She cried, leaning over the pan. “It’s eggs,” her daughter sighed. Her jostling made me lose the tentative grip I had on the mini-omelet. But rather than apologize or help me with the lid, she pushed her way past me to get to the microwave. So I just ate a biscuit and had some juice. I’m never that hungry in the morning.

We got to Jennifer’s around 3 in the afternoon yesterday and they made us a really good dinner. Today we’re supposed to check in to our condo on the beach. There’s no answer at the office, but I need to get hold of someone. I found out check-in isn’t until 4pm. The last thing I want to is drive around St Pete and/or Tampa with a car full of laptop, makeup, clothes, and whatnot, baking in the sun, or appealing to someone who might break in and take the crap. It’s not much, but it’s mine.

Today, once we get checked in and our stuff into the condo, we’re going to try and see an early show of Harry Potter. I also need to find a Sally’s Beauty Supply to get some blue hair wash. That’s pretty much the extent of my plans for today. Vacation is so nice.

Dream Journal

I had another really weird dream two nights ago. I was on a trip to Vegas with Charlie when we won (I don’t remember who was on the slot machine) $22,000. I remember clearly that this is what is said on the machine. Charlie took the money and disappeared for two days. When he returned, he said he had a surprise to show me. He drove me out in to the middle of the desert in Nevada and pointed out this group of about 10 or 15 little trailers in poor shape. One of them he’d bought, he told me, so we could move to Vegas now!
He was really excited about it. I was totally creeped out, especially considering his physical condition. He was tired-looking and had a full beard, his eyes and hair were wild, and he looked thin. This was a major acheivement for Charlie considering he’d only been gone for two days.
He took me inside the trailer he’d bought with the gambling money and it smelled. It was dark, dirty, had a stained mattress on the floor.
Suddenly the guy who had apparently talked Charlie into buying this trailer showed up and get trying to sell me on its good points. They both kept brining up how it was “furnished” and the location. I don’t know how long it took us to get there, but it was not convenient to anything.
The weirdest part was how all of the little trailers were placed, sort of in a rectangle, with a couple more inside of the rectangle of mobile homes.
And these weren’t the “nice” kind of double-wide mobile home you see in a trailer park — they were like the kind you might attach to the back of a truck and drive around, with just enough space inside for a sort-of toilet, a mattress, a small stove-like appliance. Charlie couldn’t even stand up straight inside.
I got really angry and left, pissed that he had blown all this money on such a piece of crap. But I remember there should have been a lot more cash left over, because the guy selling the trailers had mentioned how it was a great deal at only $5,000.
I promptly returned to some casino and sat down at a quarter slot machine. I distinctly recall pulling the handle twice before I won $77,000, exactly. I grabbed Charlie and my winnings and said we were getting the hell out of there.

If You Don’t Like it, Wait Five Minutes

If you haven’t ever been to Indiana, you just missed a classic example of the weather. I was wearing a sweater and jacket Monday, shivering. Today I’m sweating balls in a t-shirt. A thunderstorm rolls in, tornadoes are spotted dropping 1.5 inch balls of hail.
Tomorrow it’s supposed to snow.

If you do live in Indiana:

Road Rage

I found myself in the middle of a screaming match on my way to class on Thursday morning. Without going in to all the gory details, a woman in an expensive SUV was tailgating me as I tried to get my 200,000+ mileage(d) car up to speed to pull away from a stop sign in a residential neighborhood. Despite having a toddler in her backseat, she decided to act really stupid and drive dangerously to prove how inconvenienced she was by my lack of acceleration.
Next thing I knew, I was throwing up the parking brake and yelling at her “Are f-ing honking at me for coming to a complete f-ing stop?!? Oh, I’M SOOO SORRY!” And she’s screaming at me to MOVE, GO, MOVE!!!

It was really frustrating. All my anger towards the crappy, inconsiderate drivers in this neighborhood weas directed at her, but her reaction to my stopping and then pulling away was abso-freaking-lutely uncalled for. I was unnecessarily angry, but I’m so sick of being accosted by insane drivers in a nice neighborhood where people are pushing strollers, walking dogs, and children are playing. Insane drivers with children of their own in the car!
I need to learn some anger management. One of these days I’m going to end up in the hospital, or behind bars. You’ll read about my ridiculous “road rage” in “News of the Weird” or something.

Indianapolis, IN – Area woman Crazy Courtney was found pummeling another driver on the side of the road Thursday morning. As the victim screamed that Courtney was driving too slow, the offender allegedly yelled back “It’s called a speed limit, not a “speed suggestion” you f-ing asshole!!” Ms Courtney was taken into custody where she awaits arraignment for battery, assault, and numerous other felony charges.

Writer's Block

I think, other than a few instances, I have had a serious case of writer’s block since the inception if this journal.
I used to have one that I kept on DiaryLand for a couple of years where I felt more worthy of being called a “blogger,” except for the fact that it was through a free site, so I don’t know if that’s the same.
I had an actual base of dozens of readers, regular comments from them, and lots of time and crap to babble about.
Having somewhat of a “fan base” wasn’t my intention, nor did I feel important because of it. So when I started getting too popular, of course, people started having nasty things to say about me. I don’t take straight-up criticism very well. My general response was “Then don’t read it,” but people do so enjoy telling you what they don’t like about you. I eventually locked the journal so only “friends” I designated could read it, but then it wasn’t fun anymore. One girl in particular had a habit of finding ways to email me and tell me what I was doing wrong in my life based on what she had read in my blog/journal/diary/whatever. She even stole some photos from my site from St. Petersburg, where she happens to live, and claimed them as her own. Not cool. So I lost interest and started taking it apart, post by post.
I’m not saying it was the best thing to do, or that I don’t regret letting a few people spoil a creative outlet for me, but it’s gone now.

I realize that, here, I tend to either recount my day’s events, or complain about something that’s bothering me.
I’m taking a creative writing course online next semester, and I hope that manages to knock some stuff loose. The last time I bothered to sit down and “write” anything besides I-got-up-I-went-to-work-I’m-tired was probably the DiaryLand journal or when a group of friends and I got together for a few writing and reading groups. That was fun but it was difficult to keep everyone interested.
I feel like I could have developed into a much better writer if I had kept up with it. I had the inclination when I was in high school, but what I remember scribbling down all the time was . . . well, typical of a high school kid.

I feel like I’ve allowed myself to get way too wrapped up in the stupid day-to-day crap, and have not pressed myself to be creative at all. That’s kinda sad.