Man what a wonderful time to visit my old home state! The Fall temperatures where stile temperate in this subtropical clime. The 4 day, 5 night sojourn was fun, productive and relaxing (although not all at the same time!) Thursday night was a late arrival at MCO and check in at my hotel. A drink at the Why Not Lounge hotel bar proved hilarious as we where just in time to witness the drunken display of depravity that the watering-hole natives put on just after last call.
An early Friday morning (thank god for the hot breakfast at the hotel!) at my old house proved somewhat productive as I sold both my Triumph Thunderbird and my old Hyundai Accent, as well as a handful of yard implements and decorations. I then managed to store all the things I wanted to keep from my past life (which turned out to be only five boxes of book, pictures and assorted odds and ends as well as one LARGE luggage with “Winter” clothes). Although some snafu with the house and car keys as well as a case of misplaced vehicle titles made my morning stretch a bit past the anticipated open house/garage sale cut-off time. By the time I got back to the hotel I was clear that my date and I where going to be late to Danny and Ruthie’s wedding (although I didn’t anticipate just how late we would be)… a full hour after the actual wedding ceremony ended, Ms. Ray and I cruised into the reception. I was glad to be warmly greeted by the graciously understanding and forgiving Bride & Groom. So many familiarly friendly faces where present this evening I was very at home and comfortable. After the beautiful reception at The Courtyard at Lake Lucerne, the more adventurous wedding party attendees made our way to Church Street to extend the revelry of the night and meet up with even more rowdy friends and merry-wishers. Bottle service and VIP at 23 proved to be a hit with the newlyweds and everyone made merry into the night. I even introduced my main squeeze to a former roommate, who was DJing around the corner at the new Bullit Bar on Pine.
Saturday entailed checking out of The Magnuson Grand Hotel just N. of Orlando in Altamonte, car swapping, drive time to Cocoa Beach, and checking into The International Palms Resort for a couple days of chillaxin’ on the beach. And that is exactly what we did, making a bee line straight to the sandy beaches after checkin we sat until the sun set behind us and made our way to Mambo’s Beachside Bar & Grill, just on the other side of the sand dunes, where they gave me two for one drinks for checking in on FourSquare and had Karaoke (although I didn’t drink enough to sing that evening). After freshening up in the room we went for a cruise down the strip, stopping at Coconut’s Beachside only to discover they don’t have a late nite food menu so we made our way to Pig and Whistle where the vegetarian options where slim to say the least, but I found something to satiate me all the same.
Sunday was more of the same with another wonderful hot breakfast (more like brunch) provided by the hotel at their Captain’s Grill restaurant. Then, after checking out and loading up the car, you guessed it, a full day at the beach! watching the surf and surfers do their thing. Although we didn’t actually get in the water we did enjoy a lively round of beach paddleball. It was a beautiful day, hot in the sun yet cool in the shade of a beach umbrella. A couple boat drinks including a pinacolada and, my favorite, a bushwacker made the day that much more chill. Before heading back to Orlando we stopped by A N.Y. Pizza House and they served me the biggest friggin’ slice of pizza I have ever seen short of cutting a whole pie in half and plopping it on a plate and it was delicious (not to mention cheep as all get out!) I definitely recommend that joint if you ever travel to Cocoa Beach, it adjacent to Ron Jon’s surf shop.
We checked back into The Magnuson and on Monday morning I picked up my old roommate Tarrick and we headed to our old pad for a final sweep. To my surprise the place was cleaned out. I thought someone had stolen all the stuff I was gonna call and have the Salvation Army come and take away, my dresser, chest of drawers, table and chairs, all sorts of junk in the garage, almost everything was gone! It was unsettling but at least the work was already halfway done. So I set about looking through the final bags of miscellaneous items and file drawer paper to thin out the trash and the must keep stuff. I later found out that the neighbor who is taking care of my yard took all the stuff after I told him that I would be trashing or donating everything left in the house, so that was reassuring. So the house was relatively cleared out with only a little bit of Tarrick’s stuff left in the guest bedroom and my bed in my bedroom. I’m now ready to start trying in earnest to short-sell the home.
That evening we met with the newlywed couple as it was Danny’s birthday on Oct. 9th and we had a celebratory dinner at my old place of employment, Harmoni Market and Bistro in College Park. I was nice to sit down and have an actual conversation with them as, you know how weddings are, there was no time for intimate detail on Friday night, I also got to catch up with a few old coworkers in the process. The next morning it was planes, trains and automobiles as I was dropped off at MCO, hopped on a plane back to JFK, took the SkyTrain and Q44 bus up to my apt in Flushing, freshened up and jumped on the 7 subway train to Manhattan to help set up for Green Drinks NYC‘s October event at Restaurant i… & there I was, right back in the middle of my hectic NY life, I feel like I haven’t stopped since and this weekend will be more of the same. I love this city and all of it’s vibrant life but I do miss my lady, friends and a simpler life. Perhaps one day I’ll actually be able to slow down and enjoy what I’m currently working towards.