We are very lucky to have family living in a place that is very appealing to visit for spring break and so once again, we packed ourselves up and headed to Savannah. Living in the south as we do now also means that there's not an entire day's worth of driving ahead of us and so we can take our time packing and starting out. That bit us in the butt this year though. The kids had no decent shoes to wear for church on Easter and so I hung around long enough to hit the only store in town that carries shoes the width of shoe boxes themselves for my Fred Flintstone-like, wide-footed children. And we managed to choose pretty quickly (not a hard task when your appropriate size choices are A or B and sometimes only A).
No matter how quickly you do the last minute errands, though, my newest travel advice is to never try to leave town when the President is visiting. It's a guarantee that every road in the city will be beyond bollocksed up. And if you're really lucky like we were, the highway will come to a complete and total stop a mere mile from the exit you need. 45 minutes stuck on the highway is never any fun. On the other hand, it was sort of entertaining to see the cops picking up and ticketing folks crossing the median to turn around and escape the highway closure. That's one way to increase the city's badly needed revenues, I guess. God bless government. :-P
Once we finally escaped the long, circular parking lot so incapacitated by the POTUS's visit, we ran headlong into 3 fairly impressive accidents on 95. I swear that particular highway is an accident magnet. Despite the fact that my GPS promised me a 3:03pm arrival in Savannah, we rolled in at 4:45 as I was starting to come down with something nasty. Normally being late wouldn't be an issue but we had a music festival concert to go to that night with my parents. D. was unaffected by my late arrival because he had driven down earlier on his own (he also didn't experience the seventh circle of traffic hell, the lucky b@stard), but I had to pull off a presentable quick change in 10 minutes after 5+ hours in the car. By the time we left my parents' house, I could barely breathe and my throat was impossibly sore but I was dressed pretty, dad gum it.
Coughing and hacking and sneezing during all silent portions of the evening added to everyone's enjoyment of the music, I'm sure. The evening was a jazz thing that showcased the top three high school bands from the morning's competition and many of the professionals who had judged the groups. Kids behind us had played that morning but were not playing that evening and clearly knew their stuff. One kid was amazed during a sax solo. The saxophonist was playing something multi-tonal. Apparently this should be incredibly impressive. Quite honestly, it sounded like crap to me. Then again, I was listening as if underwater I was so stuffed up and I'm completely non-musical at the best of times so... Although I may have been congested from my eyeballs to my toes, I still heard the reedy whifflings by that same saxophonist and I know that those can't be good no matter that he can pull of the discordant to me multi-tonal thing. Lest you think I can only be grouchy and snarky when I am sick (99% true, incidentally), I will say that Amazing Grace played by Wycliffe Gordon, Marcus Printup, and Marcus Roberts was absolutely the most awe inspiring piece of music I've ever heard in my life. The minute they finished, the whole audience was on its feet. And the concert should really have ended on that note. Unfortunately for my highly contagious and plague-y self, it didn't.
The next night, rather than being smart and babying my sick self, D. and I went to more music from the festival. This time it was bluegrass. We parked the car and as we headed out of the parking garage, I walked right off edge of sidewalk and fell flat. Good thing I refuse to be ladylike and wear nylons because I scraped the snot out of my knees. More importantly, I looked like an idiot. Lesson learned: nevermind operating heavy machinery when under the influence of heavy duty drugs, don't even try to walk unaided. (And I'll pretend I wasn't the one who drove us downtown that night too.) Sitting in the chairs in the auditorum made the plague hit again full force so I once again accompanied the musicians with my very own nose trumpet. Catering to my misery, we left at half time (or intermission for those of you who are not my sports-minded husband or father).
The major reason we had pushed to get to Savannah when we did was to celebrate my grandmother's 90th birthday (and my nephew's 1st). Not wanting to cause E. a heart attack, we told her we were having a surprise party for her. The beauty of some memory loss: by the time people started walking in, it was a pleasant surprise to her again. My sister S. and I got a kick out of the birthday cake as my mother had asked for chocolate roses. They looked just like cow patties on the cake. Good thing the kids don't care how appetizing cake looks as long as it is chock full of sugar and butter. After food, we trooped downstairs for a puppet show that my mom had won in a charity auction. Normally the puppet show travels to schools and presents to kids about music (see the theme from the weekend?). They didn't alter the show at all and so it was one of those mind numbingly dull educational shows that kids welcome at school if only to get out of class for a few precious minutes (and I was one of the kids in school with a *good* attitude!). I think the old folks enjoyed it though. Mom had discovered that the retirement home wouldn't charge her for the room if she opened the show to all residents so we had the whole gamut of oldsters there. We are nothing if not cheap and resourceful in our family. ;-) Personally I think borrowing somebody's cane and thwacking the puppets over the heads would have livened the whole thing up, but no one else seemed to have the attention span of a gnat during the show. Maybe I was still just sick and crabby (entirely possible) or maybe I'm correct about the mind-numbing (I prefer this option).
After all the birthday festivities and Easter egg hunting and whatnot was all through, we settled down to stay for another week, especially since my dad was having an operation. You'd think this would mean that we would be nice to him. Au contraire. I told a few people he was having cosmetic surgery (you're welcome dad) and chewed him out for being a lousy patient. I think I'm probably officially out of the will now. Maybe my sister had the right idea, leaving before he went under the knife! My kids are likely out of the will too as they had one of their favorite conversations about who in the family has hair. (Why this fascinates them, even at their advanced ages, I don't know but the boys should watch out because they too will sport chrome domes one day unless the hospital switched them at birth with some less follically challenged family's kids.) Anyway, T. said my dad didn't have hair. My mom protested that he did. W. agreed: "On his back." Yup. You're welcome S., you and your kids will be inheriting everything!
Since dad was out of commission, I went to a fancy party with my mom. We toured the house in which the party was held and I spent most of my time looking at the bookshelves instead of the artwork that was supposed to be being highlighted. The folks that owned the house had kids about 10 years younger than I am. How do I know this? The kids' book originals they had saved for their grandchildren were just past my time. My mother who is used to my weirdness about books and bookshelf snooping, laughingly reported this to the lady of the house, who appeared to think I was mildly boring as a result. She got us back later by making us look at her daughter's high school graduation album though so we were officially even as that made me think she was also mildly boring. No wonder the bookishly socially backward (me) don't get invited to these kinds of shindigs very often--not to mention that we (also me) are most likely to dress in black pants and a white blouse, making us (still me) virtually indistinguishable from the wait-staff.
Most of the rest of the spring break we just hung around the house making sure someone was around to harass daddy into getting out of bed and walking around like he was supposed to be doing. The kids said he looked like an oompa-loompa with his goofy post-op bonnet on. I think he looked like he'd lost a fist fight with a shovel. When not endearing myself to the cantankerous patient, I sat around and read. The kids finally begged to do something so we drove out to Tybee Island the day before we left. In all the years we've been visiting my parents, we've gone out to Tybee a grand total of twice. The traffic has something to do with it (it's ugly) but my dislike of sand is also a factor. We circled looking for parking for quite some time and finally found a spot for less than $20. There was even time left on the meter. (Remember the resourceful and cheap thing in my DNA?) So I added my few quarters and told the kids we had an hour with which to play. It was windy and chilly on the beach. The kids went in the water while I sat wishing for a down blanket. Does this make me a real southerner now? Shaking my head at the crazy Yankees who were apparently unaware it was too cold to be sitting there in a bathing suit? Actually shivering occasionally? OK, probably not, but I think I'm getting there. The current kept pulling the kids way down the beach so I was very grateful when our hour was up and we headed back to the car, sandy and with a stinky shell collection.
The next day we packed everything up and braved the journey home. 95 proved to have several delays again as we rubber-necked past some more impressive accidents. But at least the President was off tying up traffic in some other city by the time we got back. Since we've been home so long, the laundry is finished and put away and one of these days I'll work up the motivation to take down the Easter decorations too. It may take until the Fourth of July decorations have to go up, but I'm workin' on it. Oh, and as for my dad and his recovery, he had to have the surgery again on one eye since only one healed like it should have. Bet he was spectacularly pleasant after cosmetic surgery take two. ;-) (OK, it wasn't really cosmetic, it was necessary but he got the equivalent of a face lift out of it so I can give him grief--plus he bequeathed me the same condition so watching him is just watching my future and if I can't laugh at myself...).