Friday, August 28, 2009

Where's Grandma?

It's five minutes into the trip, and we've already lost Grandma.

She was following us so we could drop her car off ... and now she's AWOL. Her cell phone is going right to voicemail. TO make matters worse, we're an hour behind schedule. My other BFF, Heidi, is en route from Orlando with her little ones to meet us at Weeki Watchee.

And that's not the half of it. As if being late and losing Grandma weren't bad enough ... when I went to plug the battery into my fancy new camera this morning -- it doesn't fit. I realize the bastards at Nikon have made the battery slightly smaller, so the extra ones I've brought from my last Nikon are too big. Sadly, I didn't have the foresight to actually charge the battery that came WITH the camera.

Still, we're excited ... and finally on the road! My brother calls to pray for our safety. A prayer issued over Mom's Blackberry. He repeats the words heavenly, lord and father so many times, I begin to wonder if there's a correlation between frequency of usage and the amount of safety we get in return. Or maybe God just has ADHD and needs to be refocused often? Regardless, I appreciate the sentiment and a safe trip would be ideal.

I'm calling on God myself for patience over the next hour as I watch cars passing us steadily on the left. I remind Mom that the speed of traffic is a perfectly acceptable way to travel. In spite, we arrive in the nick of time. Surrounded by gleaming white statues of mermaids, I marvel that this place has been around for more than 60 years. For us, it's stop number one on project Mermaids to Graceland. Ironically, Graceland -- or Elvis -- is actually one of the most famous guests the park has ever had. I feel almost famous when the nice lady at customer service desk allows me to plug in the battery for the camera at her post. Even she's excited about our trip.

It's only then that I notice that the size of the memory card has also changed. I now have six cards for the old Nikon, and not a damn one for the new camera.

Heavenly. Lord. Father.

Weeki Watchee is just as tacky fabulous as I expected it would be. I've always wanted to come here. There's something magical -- no matter what your age -- about dancing underwater mermaids. I'm as entertained watching Heidi's four-year-old experience the show as I am by the main event itself. But I think she might be more taken with the giant seashell sculpture outside than the frolicking girls with air hoses. I'll admit that the best part of the show are the turtles that seem to dive bomb the mermaids at every opportunity. They shoo them away like they're sea flies. It's hysterical. Really ... they are very determined turtles. I think they like the bubbles.

I'd like some bubbles right now ... in the bottom of a beer bottle. It's about 12 hours later and we've driven 600 miles today. We're in Mobile, Alabama, in a Days Inn near the airport. The room is hot as hades and smells like old socks. Grandma pulled back the bed covers and yelped. A bug crawled out and scurried across the floor. The other room they offered us smelled worse.

Lord. That's all I've got.

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