December 26, 2000

Nineteen Miles from Somewhere *

*not a country song but something Hubby was muttering while driving. One of those defining moments when you know you must use it for a journal entry title.

December 25 mid afternoon:

We finally arrived in Fort Lauderdale around noon today and are safely ensconced in the motel. After two and a half days of intensive togetherness the dysfunction index has risen but is not yet off the scale.

There is some territorial bickering going on re sleeping arrangements; I thought it had all been worked out but apparently I thought wrong. If weíre lucky, Mark will be bunking with his friendís family who have a larger apartment in the same complex. Theyíre out for the day as I write this so we donít know yet.

If youíre reading, it means I was able to get online (duh). There are a limited number of outside phone lines for guests here so I plan to connect mostly late at night, for two reasons:

1. being considerate of others
2. in an effort to prevent complaints which might lead the owner to forbid me from connecting at all!

It was fairly easy to connect from the motels on the road. You need an ISP with roaming or a free ISP with local access numbers everywhere; Iím using There are ads but since itís free itís a fair trade-off - more than fair, really. The desk clerk at the first motel told me she would give me a "device" to attach to the back of the room phone; this high-tech marvel turned out to be a plastic phone jack with two outlets to enable the phone and computer to attach to the line at the same time. I think itís worth at most about a dollar. I kept it.

So here I am at 4 PM Christmas day actually writing with pen and paper as Iím too lazy to take out the laptop; in a soft sofa in the living room of a small apartment-motel about three blocks from Fort Lauderdale Beach. The walls are pink; the floor is white tile. There are horizontal mini-blinds over the cantilever windows and ceiling fans in every room. Air conditioning too, perhaps as an afterthought. The kitchen (just off the living room) has an attractive white breakfront upon which rest some books, cassette tapes, laundry detergent and a few bananas. Thereís a fold down bed in the living room and a separate bedroom with a queen size bed.

Itís not luxurious but itís comfortable. I gladly trade luxury for breathing space.

11 AM Dec. 26

Now at the laptop at the kitchen table while the rest of them are shopping for breakfast food and snacks. We eat dinners out on vacation, due to a royal edict issued by me.

The wind kept up all night and many mysterious things went *bump*; Mark stayed with us and we were happy to give him the bedroom in exchange for peace. This child needs perfect dark and quiet to sleep, while the rest of us prefer to doze off with a TV on. Where did I go wrong...

Iím taking the day to try to shake this cold; after dinner I expect theyíll drag me through a mall. Rob heard about a sale at a Gap store somewhere.. heís the only one of us whoíd ever consider buying anything there. I guess I went wrong with both of them, in different ways.

Are we having fun yet? I think they are, and I am in my own way which involves comfortable seating, books, puzzles, and best of all, my laptop computer! I might even venture out to the beach one of these days..

Most retarded billboard seen in over 1600 miles:

somewhere in northern Florida:

something like this:

Microsurgery! Vasectomy Reversal! (long phone number including area code)..

Now there I am, minding my own business, driving south along I95 when I see this sign. And sign it must be, for suddenly I am overcome with the urge to reverse my vasectomy! Not even the ominous term "microsurgery" puts me off, as I screech the car to a halt on the shoulder, back up half a mile at top speed, and take down that long phone number.

I wonder how many clients they need to make back the money they spent on that ad...

Linque Du Jour:   The World's Tackiest Flea Market - By Far!

Variously known as the "Thunderbird" or the "Swap Shop", this monstrosity is not far enough from any part of Fort Lauderdale. It's big.. it has indoor and outdoor stands.. it has an indoor circus of all things, complete with live animals.. it has arcades and the biggest selection of outright junk for sale that was ever compiled in one place. Oh, and a drive-in theater after dark.

The website has a webcam so that the memory (and odor) may linger on long after the visit has ended.

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