South by Southeast late 2018 - early 2019 travel blog

holiday wishes from Florida

a huge Xmas gift

our house celebrating the holidays

Rialto Theatre holiday decor

Because Thanksgiving was unusually early this year, we’ve enjoyed lots of time at home. Even so the time really flew by; perhaps this is a symptom of our old age. Every day is full; I never get as much done as I plan. After a great Thanksgiving feast at our niece’s home, the time was filled by doctors’ visits. Because our medical insurance is best utilized while we are in Illinois, I had appointments stacked up like pancakes. Most were routine, but an additional surgery on my heel was unexpected and unwanted. Two years ago I had surgery to remove the bone spur that had grown where my Achilles tendon attaches to my foot bones. Due to lack of blood flow, things heal slowly in that part of the body, but I was thrilled that it all went so well. I was less thrilled last fall when a lump at the top of the scar exploded and never healed properly again. My surgeon said it was dissolving sutures that never did dissolve and he had to go back in and dig them out. More EKG, more anesthesia, more stitches, more bruising, more swelling, more stiffness. Hopefully, it’s truly over now.

When we are on the road, we rarely buy things anymore. We have everything we need and where we stay in Florida, local retail opportunities are meagre compared to what we have all around us at home. On Black Friday we (mostly I) went bananas. The last time I tried to update the operating system on my five-year old laptop, it turned into a brick. Ken spent two days getting it going again, but it needed to be replaced. My iPhone battery had also become unreliable. I plugged it in every chance I got, even in the car. Apple took the old stuff back, gave us some cash for it and some additional Black Friday inducements. And now I have a new phone and a new laptop. After my last trip to the jewelry store to replace watch batteries, I began to think that it would be nice to have a watch that I could keep charged on my own. My watches always seemed to die the moment we went overseas. And the new Apple Watch comes with apps where I can track cardio and it will call 9-1-1 if I keel over and don’t move within a minute or so. Ken had an old Apple Watch to trade in. Ka-ching, ka-ching and now I also own an Apple watch. We’re doing our best to keep Apple the top earning company in the universe. For the moment, I am the one in our family with the most up-to-date technology. Merry Christmas to me.

The car which we leave at home because it cannot be towed is a seven-year old Lexus hybrid. Although it was in great shape, the batteries had lost their potency. Our previous 50+mpg had gone down into the 30’s. Replacing them and doing the required maintenance on a car that age would have been costly, so we bought a brand new car instead and spent even more money. The RAV4 is also a hybrid and we bought it on the last day of the month before the new model comes out and got a great trade-in on the Lexus. We would have preferred a somewhat smaller car, but they were $20,000 more. Go figure. It has many of the driving safety features we have come to rely on in our Jeep and has a larger back seat for elderly passengers (our friends). More ka-ching, ka-ching. So now we will spend the beginning of the new year with our wallets stapled shut, waiting for the stock market to recover.

The holidays are also the time to catch up with friends, some of whom travel almost as much as we do. But we all come back for the holidays. We hosted a Xmas potluck at our house for our tennis club, which gave me an excuse to get out all those old holiday decorations one more time. Lots of good travel memories hang on that Christmas tree.

And now it is time to put them all away, pack up the car, and head south again, escaping before the weather gets nasty. Except for a snow storm shortly after we got home, the weather here has been sunny and dry for the most part. We put the Christmas lights outside on a day so warm we didn’t need gloves and it looks like the take down will be comfortable, too. We’ve kept an eye on the forecasts and most of the weather excitement has been on the coasts. Ken has trapped a herd of mice in the basement while we were home; peanut butter is their downfall. We will take left over food with us and cross our fingers that we won’t be housing a new colony when we return in spring. And here’s hoping that no critters have moved into the motor home while we’ve been away.

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