Saturday, March 24, 2007

Three Weeks, Three Vacations - (1)

Well well well Jason and I are back home again in Chicago and wow is it weird to be away from your home for 3 solid weeks. Packed in those three weeks we had a week at my mom's house, a week in the Bahamas and a week in Washington D.C. which was more of a business trip for me, but as it was so awesome I'll go with vacation.

I have some pictures here within the posts, but will have (hopefully) Picasa Web albums up with more pictures soon. (Picasa = free, iWeb=better...but not free). You can click to enlarge the photos.

To save you from reading a really really really long post, I figured I'd break it up into three just really long posts. So here we go. Enjoy.

The vacation started off for us at about 2:30am on Friday, March 2. I had been reading in the papers for the weeks leading up to the trip that planes had been grounded for 8 hours for de-icing and blah blah blah. Which was great I was thinking as when we left Chicago we were literally walking in a snow globe. We walked to our car which was parked near Lisa and Evin's and on the way to the train to drop off our coats since we wouldn't be needing them in the upcoming weeks. After the car window breaking incident we decided to leave the car by Lisa's so they could keep an eye on it (and move it in case street cleaning occured).

There was no need for me to worry about our flight because even though we did have to go through deicing and it was horrible in Chicago we only took off about 20 minutes late. After arriving in Tampa, we decided to take our rental car to visit my Grandpa who lives nearby in Temple Terrace. My Aunt Donna and Uncle Ken were there for the week helping them clean out their garage. In the upcoming months we are hoping that Grandpa and his wife, Georgia, will move into some kind of assited living facility. Georgia has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and it's getting to a stage where it's probably unsafe for them to be living without help.

After the Boca Del Grandpa visit we headed on down to Sarasota. We met my mom's husband, Ken, at the Sarasota airport and headed down to North Port where she is currently living. It was a GREAT reunion with my mom. I saw her for Christmas in 2005, so it had been a long time since I had seen her. This going from a woman who had big family dinners about every other weekend, so it's been tough going so long without seeing her.

Of course there are consequences for not keeping up in contact. In the past 18 months my grandparent's health has deteriorated to a point of....I don't even know how to describe and utter confusion. My grandmother has Alzheimer's and my grandfather has been diagnosed with mild-moderate dimensia. In the time that I was in Florida we had to put my grandmother in a locked unit nursing home. That actually happened on the Sunday of the Sarasota marathon and half marathon so it ended up being good that I hadn't signed up for it since I was up to bat to help out. I took my mom to the nursing home while my uncle took my grandmother. My mom was really upset, understandably, so I was happy that I could be there to help her out on the day.

Alzheimer's is the absolute cruelest disease that I can imagine. It's horrible for the people going through it (although I guess my stepmom's dad used to say, "You get to make new friends everyday and hide your own Easter eggs."), and it's horrible for the family. Everyone dies, we all know that, but this is different. This is lots of people being in misery for many many years. It was very tough for me to see my grandmother in the state she was in. She was always so beautiful and so neat and put together and so to see her in the opposite state of that was hard. I hope that the facility she is in now will help with the problems.

ANYWAYS.....none of that was fun per se, but again I was thrilled to be able to help out while I was there instead of hiding here while people are going through tough stuff alone.

So onto the vacation part.

On Monday we met up with Lora and Haight for a Reds spring training game. It was a blast to be watching baseball again and I have an even bigger hunger for the Cubbies to be back home in Chicago (Jason is currently watching a Cubs Spring training game on TV and might have peed a drop when he realized they were on TV today). The Reds game was a good game as well with the Reds coming back from 5 down to win 9-8.

While we were in Florida my grandfather was living with my mom. One of the things that he can still remember how to do fairly well is play chess. He used to be a monster at the game and was still able to take Jason for most of the games they played while we were there.

My mom and Ken live about 15 minutes away from a really nice beach and so we spent an afternoon there while people were working. That day it was actually pretty cold out though so we didn't spend much time there and didn't go into the water at all.

The day before we left we went to Siesta Key which is one of, if not the, coolest beaches I have ever been too. The sand is like snow it's so fine and it white white white! We did go swimming here and Floridian's crack me up. A lot of, "Oh my god I can't believe you went it the water! It's so cold out and the water is freezing." The temperature down ther was in the 80's and the water temp was low 70s. I'm used to swimming in Lake Michigan in the summers when the water temp is in the...oh I don't know....50s....60s maybe? The water was amazing and it was a beautiful day at the beach. We had to cut the day short however because I needed to attend a meeting telaphonically and so we headed to the nearest Panera and staked out a corner to hang out for a couple hours. I got a Skype account and it was a really nice way to join the meetings. My mic didn't work, but I didn't have any questions so it wasn't a big deal.

After that we headed to my cousin's school to pick her up from the after school day care program. She is 7 and so incredible cute. I told my Aunt and Uncle that I would take care of the kids that day and so Jason and I took them to the beach. They live right across the street from a beach, which is awesome. Miranda (the youngest) is a really good swimmer and not too scared of anything. I taught her how to do somersaults and handstands in the water. After the swimming Miranda and Micky (the middle child) buried themselves in the sand and went on a beach long game of tag with Jason while I stayed back to chat with my Aunt and Uncle.

After that is was back to my mom's to pack. We had a great time visiting my mom. Of course I miss her so so so much. I am hoping to make these trips to visit her more frequent. A week of relaxing and having mom cook for you...and admitting living in a bit of a lunatic house with my grandfather asking me every day when I was taking him to see his wife and take her home....but cest la vie....We had a great time! Oh yeah...this is a running blog...we ran about three days while we were down there for about a total of 10-12 miles. Didn't feel great, but not horrible either.

I love you mom!

Click here for the full album from this part of the trip :

Florida 2007


Firefly's Running said...

Leah and Jason, great pics!! Can not wait to see more about the trip.

Danny said...

no offense, but it's better to see pics of leah in a bikini, than jason naked in an ice bath!

Anonymous said...

Awesome pictures. And thanks for cheering today.

Bridgette said...

Can I just say that I am utterly & totally jealous that you look so gorgeous, tall, blonde, & beautiful! GRRRRRR!!

LeahC said...

aww...thanks nice! but i did pick and choose the pics i wanted up know right angle right light :-)