The weekend was a great success. My parents wanted to take a walk Friday morning, which gave me time to hit the gym per my new routine. Every bit counts when you know you’re going to be chowing down all weekend.
Thursday evening I had suggested to both of them to peruse my iTunes and pick songs for the shuffle. Dad chose a few, clearly not interested at first but he came back in with more and more suggestions when he saw how much fun Mom was having.
Not only did this mean a little bit for everyone on the drive up, but they got the added bonus of knowing they raised me right when they can find Wilson Pickett and Fats Waller in among my Dixie Chicks and Nickel Back.
(Although Dad? Chose the Texas Tornados “Guacamole”. Which…I cannot explain why I own the Texas Tornados because the story is too boring. But I had never heard it until somewhere south of Ocala on Friday. With my father singing along. I’m not sure I can be a produce section with him ever again.)
We got into Gainesville around lunchtime. Although we first stopped for lunch (at the Oaks mall! Did you see us?) inside Gainesville because Mom and Dad are a little scared of being dragged to the cafeteria. I love the cafeteria food and my father once attempted to disown me when I asked him to give me tips to recreate a chicken stew-thing we ate there. But, food quality aside, the real issue is that it’s just such a damn TO-DO to go to the cafeteria. So Ruby Tuesday’s it was.
The afternoon passed quickly, catching up and getting my parents checked into their room. The retirement community has two guest apartments that can be rented by residents and it really comes in handy. (I stayed with the Grandparents.)
We had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants: The Stonewood Grill. And I had my two favorite dishes: herb encrusted grouper (I am not usually a seafood person, but this is awesome) and the chocolate bread pudding. It was heaven. Both the bruschetta and my salad came with balsamic vinegar dressing, and the grouper had a balsamic vinegar reduction sauce. I heartly approve of any meal where you can get balsamic vinegar in multiple courses.
I also tried a Pinot Gris. A little delicate, but better to me than a chardonnay.
Saturday we made it to the Santa Fe Community College Teaching Zoo for a tour and it didn’t start to rain until our last 100 feet. (I will answer for you the question asked of me from my family – I have no desire to be a zookeeper. I could do that at the sanctuary for the rest of my life and keep my high paying, amazing benefits giving, job. I wish to get into research that will help protect and understand animals in the wild.)
The zoo was interesting. I was impressed with their bald eagles. The South American porcupines wouldn’t come out though. I love me some porcupines.
Since it became so rainy and cold, I was half-hoping my grandfather would find the curry too much for him and I could snag it for lunch. No dice. I’ve been instructed to bring any extra curry in my possession to him directly.
Spent the afternoon reading and napping, then drinking mimosas while trying to ease kitchen tensions as Dad cooked in a strange environment. I know their layout and tend to get on Dad’s nerves a tad less. He is the kind of person that just needs to be left alone to work his magic.
But magic was worked and another yummy meal was consumed. This time with a shiraz and I’m sorry to disappoint wine-type people, but I find anything too dark to see through just too bitter and it gives me a headache. I’d love to be proven wrong, but haven’t yet so far.
Nothing too exciting for the evening’s endeavors. Mom and Dad once again skipped out early (it is rare they make it past 9:30 on any night) and Grandpa and Grandma and I watched some BBC and Olympics. I thought I would be jonesing for more entertainment, but just being around four other people non-stop tired me out.
Sunday morning was kind of annoying in that it was just hurry-up-and-wait until it was time to hit the road. I was very out-of-sorts. Perhaps it is because sometime Friday evening we had exhausted my interest and understanding of the Supreme Court, yet continued to discuss it throughout the weekend. (I am going to admit something to you that no one else in the world knows: when I am with my family? I often think I’m the dumbest person in the group. That is both cool and unnerving.)
Then we could not find a decent place to stop for lunch until it was way too late for me. I was shaking a bit in the restaurant and really biting my lip to ask everyone to just shut up until I’d had a meal and fifteen minutes to digest.
(Also – my family seems to exist solely on alcohol and dairy. It hit me more than once over the weekend that I was getting dehydrated. My usual intake of 100-160oz was probably reduced to 10.)
But luckily I perked up after eating. TPA has instituted a new “first hour free” in the short-term parking. It was a pleasant surprise on Thursday and Sunday it was nice to come inside with them and not be rushed with goodbyes.
I still got home earlier than I thought, got the grocery shopping done, and found surprisingly less damage to the house than I expected. The cats were happy to be fed. And later, after two meals, they were also happy to see me.