Happy Happy Birthday

September is a busy month for birthdays in our family.  My grandmother, J’s grandpa, my father-in-law, cousin B, Uncle Chris and J all have September birthdays!

We celebrated birthdays for J, Uncle Chris and Papa on Saturday night with a pool party, shrimp taco cookout and a little college football.  Go Gators!

This year my father-in-law turns 69, J turns 39 and Uncle Chris turns 31!

It was a fun evening spent with family and friends.  Of course, my mom was super tense because Big Red was there.  She blames him for everything that happened in Steph’s marriage and cannot get past it.  But she was on her best behavior and I’m hoping that going forward we can just learn to let bygones be bygones.  Bitterness won’t get you anywhere.

I picked up J’s favorite cake for dessert- Cold Stone’s Mmmmint Chip.  Everyone said it was wonderful!  I did not have a piece because of the South Beach Diet thing.  I amazed myself with my willpower 🙂  Let’s hope this two weeks of restriction pays off…

While watching the Florida- Tennessee game replay, the birthday boys opened their presents.  J wanted a bottle of port wine and a fishing shirt which the boys and I were happy to oblige.

Happy birthday J, Chris and Papa!  Here’s to many more happy birthday to come!!!


Wordless Wednesday

Quick Tour of Gainesville

We swung by Gainesville to pick up J’s brother on our way to Opelika, AL.  I hadn’t been back to the U.F. campus for quite some time so I insisted that we show the boys The Swamp before we picked up dinner and brought it to Uncle Chris’ house.

I cannot believe how much the town and the campus have changed!  I hardly recognized parts of downtown.  The copy center where I spent many a late night had been completely bulldozed along with one of my favorite restaurants.  It didn’t look like the same place.

We were happy to see that the stadium was open.  There were quite a few runners out racing up and down the bleachers.  I remember those days…  Running the stadium for exercise…

Wildman wanted to go all the way to the top.  Cutie Pie only made it halfway.  He was feeling a little under the weather due to a sore throat so I waited with him while the other two went up.

J and I decided to drive by our college apartment for old times sake.  Don’t you totally dig the Tudor Revival architecture?

Yes, we lived together in college.  My mom was cool with it.  J’s parents were cool with it.  My dad’s mom (who I hardly ever saw)?  Not so much.  I still recall the scathing, Bible-referenced letter I received.  Good times!  So glad her predictions of our doomed relationship didn’t pan out.  She has since apologized to me and J for her offensive remarks.  I found the whole thing quite funny.  Still do.

But I digress…

J and I shared the teeny, tiny studio apartment on the upper left of this building.  It had the sweetest orange and black linoleum in the kitchen.  It went so well with the avocado green, apartment-size range that would shock the crap out of you if you ever used a metal utensil in a metal pan.

Our king-size, black vinyl water bed barely fit in the one and only bedroom.

The staircase leading up to the second floor threatened collapse every time we walked on it.  I noticed that that safety hazard has been remedied though.  Hopefully it was fixed prior to collapse…

Our bikes were stolen from the porch.

Somebody threw a bottle rocket or something at our building and it caught fire one weekend.  We awoke to the sound of the maintenance man spraying a hose on the outside wall…

My car (a 1985 Honda Accord) was broken into one night.  The thief(s) made off with my sweet bag phone and my car stereo.  The upside of this incident?  It prompted the apartment complex to hire a nighttime security guard and I upgraded to a flip phone!

There was a trailer park on the other side of the natural barrier of trees that spanned the property line.  On Sunday evenings, the residents of the trailer park would erect a stage and jam all night long on their electric guitars.  It was awesome, let me tell you.

We were also lucky enough to live near the dumpster so we got to watch the daily rummaging of bums.  We watched our broken lamp walk off with a lady collecting aluminum cans one afternoon.

Ah, the memories!  For all the crap that we had to endure I have nothing but happy memories of our time there.  I consider living in the ‘hood a character building experience.

J lived in this apartment complex before I met him.  He lived on the first floor in another building.  We drove down to check it out too.  To our surprise, we found that white car still sitting out front.  The owner of the car was a rather large lady who lived alone in the apartment above J.  Every morning when she left for work that car would sputter, backfire and stall a few time before it warmed up enough for her to drive to work.


That car was a piece in 1992!!!!

We assume it still runs since it had a kayak strapped to the top of it as if it had just returned from an outing.

Some things never change, I guess…

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