Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fun in Florida

LONG POST ALERT!  (so what else is new?)

Well, I guess it’s about time I posted something.  I’m partway through my “Adventures with Grandpa” blog about our trip to Virginia in June (yes, way back in June), but I got discouraged because it was so dang long I figured people would utterly die with boredom if they tried to read it.  >>heavy sigh<<  I just blab too much, I guess.  One of my charms!  (?)

A couple of weeks ago, Susie and I went to Disney World.  Yay!  Disney World with my BFF!  I visited her in Denver a few months ago and again Jill in VA last month (okay maybe it was in August) using the wonderful flight benefits she bestowed upon me and have had nothing but fun fun fun.  Well, there have been a few bumps in the road, but who cares when you’re having fun, right?

But right now I’m here to talk about WDW.  I flew to Denver on Thursday night, September 13.  My plane was a little late and I got picked up at the passenger pickup curb quite a bit later because Gary fell asleep in the car while waiting in the cell phone lot.  I didn’t mind, it’s always fun watching the people come and go and the airport security kicking the butts of people who try to park at the curb and wait (although I have to say they weren’t anywhere near as mean as the ones in Vegas).  Finally Gary showed up and we headed for the casa de Oviatt.  Susie had waited up for me and we did a joyous victory dance about our upcoming trip to Disney.  The next day (Friday) she went to work and I just chilled.  I love chilling.  It’s one of my favorite things in the whole wide world.  Later that evening, Michael came over with his adorable little boys and it was great to needle each other, just like old times.  Every once in a while (okay, a great while) I can actually score a point on him and it practically makes me giddy with joy (he’s pretty smart).  The old lady’s still got it!  At least a little bit of it, anyway.

On Saturday morning, Susie and I headed to the airport, chauffeured by Gary, of course.  And we were off!  We made it on the plane and even got to sit together in the exit row!  What a coup!  We arrived in Orlando and picked up our rental car.  We really didn’t want a silver or white one, since there are about a jillion of those and it would be hard enough for us to remember which car was ours in those huge Disney parking lots, but not even Susie could persuade them to let us have something else (at no extra cost).  If you’re wondering what kind of car it was, I’ll tell you.  Silver.  I think.  Four doors, four wheels, all the standard equipment.  Make or model?  Not a clue.

We stopped at the grocery store on the way to their condo to pick up food and other necessities (like snacks).  We headed to the condo and Susie opened the owners’ closet and began to unpack their stuff, while I went to my bedroom and began to unpack my suitcase.  All was well until Susie realized that some stuff was missing from the owners’ closet.  Turned out that quite a bit of stuff was missing, including the suit, white shirt, and tie that Gary keeps there for church attendance, toys, Susie’s backpack with her season pass, their first aid kit, some videos, a lot of stuff.  Whoever burglarized the owners’ closet obviously had plenty of time to sort through everything and decide what to take and what to leave behind.  And of course nobody would know when it happened because the only people who would realize anything was amiss would be the owners, and they don’t tend to go there during the heat and hustle of summer. 

Of course Susie was very upset and called Gary.  She was trying to write down as many missing things as she could think of, and after she went to talk to the people in the office, she asked Gary to put in the complaint.  She was sure that the burglar was someone with a key to the deadbolt on the door, meaning someone working for the management company, not a guest.  (I should clarify that they have a management company that rents out the condo to visitors when they aren’t using it, complete with a cleaning service after each stay). 

Susie had trouble sleeping that night, so we both slept in a bit (I had stayed up kind of late too and yes, I was just feeling lazy).  The next day around noon we were sitting on their living room couch chatting, still wearing our night gowns, when we heard a terrific crash.  We thought something fell in the kitchen, like maybe a shelf in the refrigerator, so Susie went to inspect the kitchen and I headed back to the bedrooms.  The window in my bedroom was smashed in, and I do mean smashed.  It wasn’t a tiny little hole (imagine a window being hit by a baseball), it was SMASHED; there was hardly any glass left in the frame.  I guess anybody with any sense would have then run out the front door, since somebody obviously had just smashed it in, but no, I went over to it and peered outside.  I didn’t see anybody.  I had called out to alert Susie that I had found the source of the crash.  I looked in the pile of shards of glass (fortunately it was all over the second twin bed in the room, not the one I slept in) and there was no rock or anything else I could see.  I figured someone hit it with something, maybe a hammer, and was going to come into the condo through it, but they heard our voices and took off (thank goodness).  Susie called the management company again, and they sent the maintenance man that she doesn’t like to inspect the damage.  He was quite insistent that it must have been a guest who broke into the owners’ closet and said that there were nobody’s footprints by the window in the alley but his (it had been raining).  Sounds like a confession, don’t you think?  Susie and I were suspicious, and Susie was really ticked at him for trying to push his opinions.  It seemed that he was trying to claim that WE had somehow broken the window, when all of the shards of glass were inside the bedroom.  I guarantee you, there was no rock or anything else but broken glass all over that half of the room.  He also tried to say that the wind did it.  What a joke!  It wasn’t even windy that day, and I wouldn’t think anything less than a hurricane would break a window like that!  I think it was more like a wind BAG that did it.  Thereafter Susie referred to him as “that a**hole.”  The a**hole made an attempt to clean up the glass (didn’t do a very good job – got the big pieces but left lots of small glass shards all over the bed) and put a piece of plywood over the window.  The plywood wasn’t even big enough to cover the whole window, so there was a gap.  Great work, huh?

After dealing with all that we finally made it to Epcot for a few hours.  Then the next day we found out that we had to fill out a police report, so we had to wait for a police officer to come and get Susie’s statement.  The police officer was a nice woman, and while we were sitting around talking to her, there was a knock on the door.  It was the other maintenance man, the one Susie likes, named Noel.  He was carrying a large sheet of glass to repair the window.  Susie said, “Oh, I’m so glad it’s you and not that a**hole.”  And guess who was right behind Noel?  None other than a**hole himself.  The police officer about fell off her chair, laughing.  Susie didn’t seem bothered at all.  I had to hide in the bathroom for a few minutes to get my giggles under control. 

Meanwhile, things back home in Vegas weren’t exactly normal, either.  When I left, Jimmy hadn’t been feeling very well.  He had sort of a pain in his right side.  It wasn’t a bad pain, just a place that was very tender to the touch.  And he was running a low-grade fever.  On Friday, the day I was chilling at Susie’s house, he decided to go to a Quick Care to see a doctor.  After waiting several hours, they decided it wasn’t appendicitis but some sort of infection (obviously – he had a fever, you know), they gave him some antibiotics and sent him home.  We weren’t overly confident in the skills of the doctor at the quick care, and we would have been less concerned if I was home, but I wasn’t.  A type 1 diabetic with a mysterious infection and fever, home alone, isn’t the best situation.  He skipped his class that day and called in sick to work.  He didn’t get any better; the low-grade fever remained and the pain in his side stayed about the same.  He was told to stay on a liquid diet, and of course there was nobody to send to the store to get him what he needed, so I called our home teacher to ask for his assistance.  I asked him to call Jimmy to see what he needed, and he did.  The home teacher went shopping – at CVS! – and delivered whatever he could find.  I was so tickled that he “went shopping” at CVS when there are grocery stores all over the place.  That’s a man for you!   But it was sweet of him anyway.  (CVS is a drug store sort of like Walgreens, if you didn’t know.)

Finally on Sunday (the day our window in Florida was smashed in) he decided to go to the Emergency Room.  At least at an ER they will run tests to make sure that it wasn’t something serious; appendicitis can have many weird symptoms, I hear.  He spent the day waiting around and lying on a gurney in there.  After just about every test known to man with no definite results, they decided to admit him, just to make sure nothing got worse.  I got on the phone and he received a parade of (basically unwanted) visitors, one after another.  Of course I had called my home teachers again and they faithfully showed up, armed with a blessing that Jimmy conceded to receiving.  I think he got rid of them in less than 15 minutes.  Then my friends Julie and her sister Jeanne showed up.  After they left, Jimmy’s dad and his girlfriend showed up (Joanna had alerted him).  The main thing that Jimmy needed was the charger for his cell phone; Dave, the guy who gave Jimmy a ride to the ER, had played games on Jimmy’s phone the whole time they were waiting and of course it was dead.  Julie promised to bring him a charger the next day before she went to work.

Of course I was wondering if I should get on a plane and head home, but Jimmy assured me that there was no need for that just yet, so I waited.  Jimmy was discharged from the hospital the next day with no diagnosis and no prescriptions.  They told him his fever was gone so they were letting him go, and to stop taking the antibiotic he got from the quick care.  Jimmy still has the tenderness in his side, but the fever hasn’t returned.  He has since had appointments with his gastroenterologist and endocrinologist and nobody seems overly concerned, so I guess we won’t be either. 

Back in Florida, the window in my bedroom was replaced and we were back in business, so to speak.  Susie had Noel, the “nice” maintenance guy, replace the deadbolt on the owners’ closet and add some other little things to help prevent any further burglaries.  At least if someone did break in, they would have to break the door, too.  For the rest of the week we continued our fun visits of the parks, but I’m afraid we didn’t get to any of them before noon on any day (that I can think of).  Yes, I guess that was my fault.  I was feeling lazy and wanted to relax a bit, and I truly didn’t realize that Susie wasn’t happy about that until much later in the week when she was complaining to a complete stranger about it.  I protested that she never said that she wanted to go earlier.  I don’t think the stranger believed me.  I guess that was lame of me, I should have known better, but I was enjoying the lazy pace.  We were still arguing about it when the stranger tiptoed away.  I wasn’t too worried about any further break-ins (much), but I was careful to take my iPad with me and leave it in the glove compartment of the car whenever we left the condo.  It was the only thing of value I really had, and I didn’t want to lose it.  Also, I was fighting a bladder infection the whole week (I know, I know, TMI, but it is part of the story) so I spent a lot of time visiting the bathrooms around the parks, and Susie spent a lot of time disappearing while I was in the bathroom.  She’s always been very talented at that.

Anyway, by Friday I decided to try calling my urologist for a prescription.  I had tried all my usual remedies but was still struggling.  I knew the doctor’s office wasn’t going to make life easy for me, either, and they didn’t.  They first told me to go to urgent care, but I begged and pleaded and groveled and cried (well, maybe I didn’t cry) and they said they’d think about it.  It would have cost me a fortune to go to urgent care at some strange facility way, way, WAY off my health insurance’s radar.  I had called the Target pharmacy near Susie’s condo and alerted them to the possibility that a prescription for me might be on its way and got all their phone/fax numbers to give to the doctor’s office.  Later in the day the doctor finally called in the prescription, but due to the time difference (three hours later there) it was too late to pick it up, so I had to wait until Saturday to get my prescription, but at least I had it.  I began my road to recovery!

We were scheduled to leave Florida on Monday midafternoon (we were there over a week).  I had bought a few souvenirs (cough cough) and thought it would be easiest to mail the ones for Jill and Jared (okay, the grandkids) from Florida.  That way I wouldn’t have to try to cram everything into my carry-on both from Florida to Vegas and again from Vegas to Virginia when I attempt to visit there the weekend after next.  Believe me, and Susie can attest to this, I worked miracles to get the rest of the stuff I bought into my tiny carry-on bags.  There was no way I was going to fit anything else in there and I didn’t even want to open the suitcase until I was safely home and nothing flying out of there upon release of the zippers would injure anyone (TSA – open at your own risk!).  We even went to the post office on Sunday to see if we could at least get a box to put the stuff in for faster mailing on the way to the airport on Monday, but they had the boxes locked up (even though they’re free).  So when we left the condo on Monday, I had my carry-on suitcase, my smaller carry-on, and a smallish plastic Disney bag with the stuff to send to Jill and Jared inside.  I almost didn’t even bring a plastic bag, thinking I would just put the stuff directly in the box at the post office, but thankfully I did.  We left for the airport a little early so we would have time to stop at a post office.  When got to the post office, which was located in some small Orlando suburb, we found that it was CLOSED from 10 AM to 2 PM!  It was then about 1:20 PM and there was no way we could wait around for it to reopen.  I couldn’t believe that a US Post Office would be closed for four hours in the middle of the day!  And I thought Caliente’s business hours were bad!  At least their Post Office is open all day!  (I think.)

Time was beginning to run short, and Susie said we didn’t have time to find another post office.  I asked, what can I do with this bag ‘o’ stuff, then?  I couldn’t carry it onto the plane because I already had my two legal carry-ons, and I couldn’t fit another paper clip into my suitcase.  Susie suggested that I check my larger bag.  We were, after all, allowed to check two bags at no cost, but the bags would be going whether you got on the plane or not.  She said we could check it all the way through to Vegas, though, and that seemed a good idea.  I figured I’d get to Vegas eventually.  My only problem then was that my second carry-on was quite heavy, which wasn’t usually a problem when I could put it on top of the case with the wheels and pull it along.  Susie said no problem, just check both of the bags.  I asked, what about my iPad, what about my magazines and my wallet and my little velvet bag of jewelry and my meds?  She said to just put them in the plastic bag with the gifts and we would get to the airport in time for me to buy a tote bag at one of the gift shops.  Sounded reasonable, so it was agreed.

Then the trouble began (or continued).  Almost to the airport, we suddenly remembered that we forgot to get gas in the rental car.  Must return it full, you know, or it would cost us a whole lot more.  Using Susie’s GPS, we took off for the nearest gas station, and then headed back to the airport.  Then we couldn’t find the rental car return.  The sign said that rental car return could be done at both Terminals, but I swear, we saw no car return signs on the B side.  We ended up on the freeway going the wrong direction (away from the airport) and had to exit and return to the terminal.  Time was ticking away.  After more aggravation, we finally got the car returned and rushed to the counter, where we had to check in and check our bags.  That couldn’t be avoided, even if we hadn’t been checking bags, because we didn’t have a computer and printer at the condo to print out our boarding passes.  We were down to 30 minutes before flight departure when it was my turn to check in, and the clerk couldn’t figure out how to check my bags through to Vegas, I think because Susie had made our round trip reservations from Denver to Orlando and I had made my own reservations to and from Vegas to Denver, so they were two separate itineraries.  Susie rushed for the gate to try to secure our seats while the clerk helping me called for assistance.  I had quickly crammed my iPad, wallet, meds, jewelry, magazines, and of course my snacks in the little plastic bag containing the stuff I had wanted to mail to Jill and Jared.  No time for purchasing a tote bag, the plastic bag was IT.  The clerks finally got my bags to check through to Vegas, but they warned that they might not make it onto the plane, since it was now 20 minutes to departure.  I grabbed my plastic bag and ran towards security.  One of the handles on my plastic bag immediately broke, so I was now cradling the bundle in my arms, trying to hold the top closed.  

I had a terrible time getting through security.  They told me to go into the line over to the left side, which Susie later told me she always refuses to do, but I didn’t know any better.  It took (seemingly) forever, and I was so rattled that I tried to go through the scanner with my shoes on.  Problem with that is that I had to send them through the x-ray machine after a lot of other people’s luggage, so I was hopping up and down impatiently while the luggage between me and my shoes kept going back and forth in the scanner.  (Actually they were shoes I had borrowed from Susie, but that’s another story.)  They finally came through and I grabbed them off the belt practically before they cleared the machine.  Carrying the shoes and my bulging plastic bag, I ran for the train.  I came running up to the gate with about two minutes to spare, which I knew could still be too late.  Susie was standing there shaking her head.  We didn’t get on.  There weren’t enough empty seats for us.  She may have texted that info to me while I was sweating bullets, trying to get through security, but I didn’t have time to stop and look at my phone.

Susie immediately got on the phone with Gary so he could look up alternate flights.  She also called Carolyn, her daughter, who works for Jet Blue, to see if they had any flights.  There was apparently a Jet Blue flight that was leaving soon (going through Boston or somewhere), but it was in another terminal, so she rushed off.  I forlornly stood there, gripping my sagging plastic bag. 

I sat down and pulled out my iPad and looked up alternate flights.  Turned out there was a flight to San Francisco that was leaving in about an hour and a half with space available.  Then a couple hours later there was a flight from San Francisco to Vegas that had something like 40 empty seats.  I booked myself for those two flights and went in search of a gift shop to replace my plastic bag.  Long story short (and you thought I never shortened any stories), I made it onto both flights and arrived in Vegas about 1 AM (translates to 4 AM Florida time).  Jimmy was picking me up at the airport, but I had told him not to leave home to come get me until I found out what happened to my luggage.  As you know, in Orlando I had been told that there was no guarantee that the bags would make it on the flight to Denver, so I didn’t know when I would see my bags again and I needed to get that figured out before Jimmy left the house.  I didn’t want him driving around and around McCarran airport looking for me among those crazy cab drivers (especially in my car).  =)

The next little problem was that United Airlines has started using our new airline terminal, #3, and I had never been there before.  After wandering for a while through that vast empty terminal, I found the United Airlines office and, lo and behold, the bags were actually sitting there.  They made it, even though I didn’t!  (At least not at the same time as them, anyway.)  I sure was glad that I insisted on checking them through to Vegas, since I didn’t go to Denver at all on the way home!  I called Jimmy to come get me and went to passenger pickup for terminal 3, which is in a completely different location from where we usually go, so I sat on a bench at the mostly deserted curb for a long time while waiting for Jimmy to find it.  In fact, one of the airport security guys (the ones I described earlier as the meanest ones on the planet) offered to take me home as long as I could cook.  I told him I can cook, but I choose not to!
The Disney bag with just the gifts inside.  Imagine it with an iPad and everything else added!

Jimmy and I finally found each other and I made it home.  You would think that the story was ended, but it wasn’t.  No matter how much I searched, I couldn’t find the prescription bottle with those antibiotics I had begged my urologist to send me.  I took everything apart several times before I gave up.  Heaven knows where I lost it, but the bottom line was I’d have to call the doctor and beg for another one.  Great!  I e-mailed the office to let them know I’d be late (I was getting into bed about an hour and a half before I usually get up).  When I got up and started to get ready, I woke Chica up to go get fed (which she’s usually busy reminding me about before I reach that part in my morning preparations), and one of her eyes was completely white.  It looked like she was totally blind in that eye.  I rushed to the phone and called the vet, and they told me to come in right away.  I threw on some clothes, grabbed my makeup bag, and rushed out the door, waking Jimmy on my way out to ask him to feed the other animals.  Dr. Dave (the vet) said it might be the doggie lupus coming back and had to draw some blood, which is always a nightmare with Chica.  Poking both legs and both sides of her neck, they were only able to get a small amount.  While I was waiting to pay, I noticed a bunch of velvet bags with that “Rainbow Bridge” poem on them and knew that they held doggie ashes and I started to cry.  My baby!  (Let me know if you aren’t familiar with that poem and I’ll add it.)

We started Chica on a steroid, which is the treatment for doggie lupus, but Dr. Dave called me the next day to tell me that it wasn’t doggie lupus.  The test showed that her liver was in bad shape along with various other things that didn’t lead to one diagnosis (nothing about Chica is ever easy), but he said to bring her back the next day for x-rays.  The x-rays showed a greatly enlarged liver and a small lump on her adrenal gland, which we don’t know if it’s just a calcium deposit from an old scar or cancer.  It could point to several things that I won’t bore you (further) with, but she doesn’t have the other symptoms that would lead to them.  Dr. Dave knows I don’t want (and can’t afford) anything too invasive unless it’s absolutely necessary (and even then, sadly, there are limits), so we are treating the symptoms with eye drops for her eyes, an antibiotic, and a liver pill.  Her white eye cleared up after a couple days on the steroid pills (which I stopped giving her after her blood test results came back).  So now we’re waiting and watching to see what happens.  We need to take her back for another blood test on Thursday (yay – those are always a blast) to see if anything is getting better.  She acts pretty normal, so I’m hoping she’ll be okay.

So that’s the story of my trip to Walt Disney World.  Although it may not sound like it, I still had a lot of fun!  You know that my daily life is always full of one minor disaster or another, so it’s just life as I know it and I just try to enjoy the ride.  What choice do I have?!   =)