Ice is Nice! (and COLD!)

So, yesterday, my wife and I packed our daughter into the car (a feat that, although not impossible does come with its own hassles of dealing with a grumpy 20-year-old) and headed north to the town of Orlando to meet up with our son and daughter-in-law to celebrate Christmas. With all of our schedules, this was going to be the only time in the weeks ahead or shortly after that we would be able to actually meet up, so, with grumpy daughter (she didn’t know what our plans were.. so), ecstatic wife (a morning woman who is happy because the sun is up), a really frustrated me (I’ll explain that later.. maybe), and some semblance of a plan for the day, we got on the road and set our sights on O-Town.

With little sleep from the night before because of something that kept me up (which I just can’t recall at the moment), I was in a dour mode to start. Add to that the express need to caffeinate and the only Dunkin Donuts between us and the highway littered by a motorcycle squad filling almost every parking spot with their bikes or their bodies, this day was not starting off well. There were some other issues also that had me out of sorts, but in spite of all that, my wife still just kept smiling (which, in and of itself is quite frustrating to a person who is frustrated…). But, finally, I got my coffee and headed back to the road. Then promptly turned around as my wife kept calling me to come back and pick her and my daughter up.

What? I wasn’t awake yet.

Ok, not really, but it was a funny thought. The trip was nice as I had time to think about a book I’m still working out. Something about the open road and the quiet that just lets my mind figure things out… and puts my wife right to sleep.

Road Trip
Road Trip

So, there’s that…

Mall at the Millenia
Mall at the Millenia Christmas Tree and Fountain
Mall at the Millenia Christmas Tree – Bottom Up

We ended up at the Mall of Millenia.. Millenia mall.. Mall of WAY TOO MANY PEOPLE!!!! Seriously, the exit to this place off of I-4 (which is a major thoroughfare) was backed up almost a mile. And that’s just to get on the road that the mall is on. Come on people, have you not heard of online shopping? We do live in the 2000’s, right? They did have a pretty awesome Christmas tree out in the main entrance though.

Which does beg the question, why was I going there, right? Well, it just so happened to be a great spot to meet up with our kids and my dad and his fiance to have lunch. Oh, this lunch, I have to tell you.. Brio was the name of the place… this place was insanely good. I had this french toast stuff with berries.. so good… so good. Cause.. raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and creme filled french toast.. holler at your mother to make some. Right? So good.

Wobbling away from lunch, we said goodbye to my dad and his fiance as they went to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra and had to deal with my glaring ice daggers of jealousy stabbing them in the back, cause TSO IS Christmas music and their shows are insane. I actually think I’m still glaring a bit at him…especially since his seats were insanely good.

But, we had our own plans, so we packed our car with all the kids and just to draw an image for you, think about this. A Corolla filled with 5 adults, 3 of them stuffed into the back seat and one of those being 6’4″. Yeah, sardines do come to mind now that you mention it. Cozy is another way of saying it.. but sardines is just more fitting.

We made our way toward our next destination, the Ice show at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, the jokes started flying. There is just something about that name that elicits humor from my deranged offspring (who take after their father, I must admit), and even in this politically correct world of my wife telling them to grow up and smacking me as I snicker at their comments, it didn’t seem to ease their statements any. Of note, the funniest one was when our daughter, still not in the know that this is where we were going, made some weird comment about how she the place and the show, which I wish I remember because when we told her that was where we were going, she kind of quieted down a lot.

Of very important note, Ice is a walk-through experience of ice sculptures in rooms that do not get above 9 degrees (so they say) and have vents that blow at about hurricane force winds right in your face, and even though you are given a very fashionable blue parka… it really didn’t do much to keep this Florida native warm. They really weren’t lying about bringing mittens or gloves (which I didn’t, cause.. I’m a man.. and regretted it after about 5 minutes). At about 5 minutes, I stopped being able to feel my ears, 10 minutes and my nose fell off. Somewhere around the 15 minute mark I believe I stopped being able to blink as the liquid in my eyeballs had frozen and my eyelids formed icicles with the tears that I had been crying a minute earlier. My fingers… well… lets just say that I still haven’t quite recovered full use of them as of yet (I have been typing this since 10am this morning using the hunt-peck method and being careful not to hit my fingers to hard on the keys for fear of them falling off in the process.. the fingers, not the keys).

Overall, it was a pretty cool experience (pun intended). A bit pricey, but fun. The day ended with a gift exchange with my family huddled back in the Corolla at the mall (traffic this time around was far less stupid). In the end, on the drive home, I reflected on a great day spent with family and my new Hawkeye figure for my Infinity (seriously, don’t judge me.. I like my video games).

Doesn’t he just look cool?

9 degrees people… That’s some serious cold (remember, I’m a Florida boy…)

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