Happy first day of Summer here in Florida! Steve (DOS) and I are back from our China trip and I’m a bit behind catching up on this blog (and everything else) since we’ve been back, but will follow-up and fill in the details as I have a chance. This is just a quick post to say we’re back home and doing well. I still have several posts from the China trip I want to post, and update a couple I’ve already posted, but that will take a bit of time; hence this post.
We got back on June 10th, and then immediately made an unscheduled trip the next day to my hometown of Roanoke, Virginia to see my parents, (my Dad went in the hospital the day we got back).
Fortunately, my Dad (who is 87) is out of the hospital now, but will be in PT rehab for a while getting strength back in his legs. He had to have emergency surgery as the blood flow had gotten cut off to his legs. Fortunately the surgery was done right away, and he did not have a stroke as the doctor’s had first suspected. The staff at Roanoke Memorial Hospital was fantastic, and we felt much better and relieved seeing the staff’s compassion and care first hand, even writing a note on his wall chart for Father’s Day!
As Dad is a retired minister and has made countless visits to the hospitals (including this one) over the years, he doesn’t make for the best patient, always trying to get out of bed and seeing what’s going on. He’s used to being in charge, and not the patient. LOL!.
It was a quick trip up to Roanoke, but we were so glad to see the family and help out Mom and Dad while we were there. Mom is staying alone at English Meadow’s (formerly know as the Elk’s Home) Assisted Living in Bedford right now, while Dad is temporarily an hour away in Roanoke, where he’ll be for two or three more weeks undergoing therapy. It was also Flag Day while we were in Virginia, and the Elk’s Home had lots of flags on display. I’ve written about Elk’s Home before, but the complex is a huge and historic campus over 100 years old, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
We picked Mom up from Elk’s Home both days we were in Roanoke and brought her to see Dad for a few hours, and then back to Elk’s Home. My sister Jenni was in town as well, and we went with Mom down to dinner to see her table-mates, Eddie and Estelle (sisters) whom we’ve met on several visits there, and the nice Christian ladies are like family by now. We’re so glad Mom has such great company (and care at English Meadow’s) while Dad is away in the rehab center in Roanoke.
On Saturday, we took Mom out to a small family-owned Mexican restaurant, as she doesn’t get Mexican food at Elk’s, and was happy to try her favorite food. Bedford is a very small town, so there aren’t a lot of restaurants, but the charm is in the people and the all-American small town atmosphere.
My brother Andy lives an hour away in Roanoke, but has been helping out everyday and I’m sure needed a bit of a break as he’s still working as well. Andy didn’t ask us to fly up and help out since we had just gotten back from China, but I know he appreciated us coming up to visit. It was good to see him relaxing a bit while we were there, shown below with his and (our favorite) dog, Barnabas!
My sister Jenni was also in town from Maryland, so while it was a quick trip to Roanoke, it was good to see everyone, and check-in on Mom and Dad. Andy and Jenni, myself, DOS and Art even got together one night for dinner while in Roanoke at Billy’s Restaurant downtown.
DOS and I did have to fly home on Sunday, as I had a work conference in Orlando at the Gaylord Palms from Monday to Wednesday. It actually started the previous weekend, but that was mostly pre-conference and social activities, with the Key-note address and break-out sessions starting on Monday. DOS and I flew American Airlines out of Roanoke Sunday afternoon, connecting in Philadelphia. It was a beautiful day, and as always we love seeing the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance, something we don’t see back in Florida.
We had a three hour layover in Philadelphia, so we spent some time in the “A” concourse (international concourse) at the Admiral’s Club there. Along the way we saw this retro-decorated British Airways 747, all decked out with the former BOAC logo and paint scheme. We love seeing planes decorated with the retro colors of yesteryear’s airlines, brought back as memories of the not too long ago past. American has several planes with the different colors and logos of past airliners they have merged with, as does United Airlines. Here’s a photo of the British Airways 747, which will also soon be a memory of the past unfortunately, due to more fuel efficient and longer range aircraft that are rendering it obsolete for passenger travel.
We got back to Orlando late Sunday night, but instead of going home (as I had the conference early Monday morning), we stayed at the Orlando Airport Hyatt, which is always so convenient for late night arrivals or early departures.
The next morning, DOS headed back to Sarasota for the week to see his Dad, while I headed to my conference at the Gaylord Palms Hotel. While the Gaylord hotel is only an hour or so from my house, I stayed there a couple nights which made the conference much more fun and relaxing, not having to navigate the summer tourist traffic down by Disney every day.
The Gaylord Palms is an enormous hotel, originally based on the Opryland Hotel design (with a Florida twist) and is a huge hotel and conference facility. It’s completely enclosed with a gigantic glass domed roof, and the entire inside has a tropical feel to it with plants, waterfalls, ponds, and even an alligator landing as well as koi pond. There is also a Key West themed area which has a gigantic boat on display indoors.
I was attending a large Public Safety conference with over 2,000 people, and it was very educational and fun. I saw friends and co-workers I hadn’t seen in years! A side benefit of heading up to Roanoke and the conference right away, was it forced us to get over our jet lab (12 hours time change from China) and get back in the groove of things. On the last night of the conference, there was even a special event the last night at BB King’s in Point Orlando. The BB King’s event which was a blast, with lots of buses transporting the attendees from the hotel and back, and the entire venue had been rented as a private event for the conference attendees.
Anyway, back on the home front, DOS and I still haven’t unpacked everything from the China trip and it’s now June 23rd. Will continue the China trip on the next post. Oh, and Fby the way Happy Birthday today, Sis!