Enjoying the wonders of nature….

On a cold and rainy Sunday morning. Some of my family and I had the pleasure of being in Orlando Florida. We live in Tampa so it is not a very long trip for us, but with other obligations, appointments, schedules and finances travel is not something we can do very often and certainly not all of us together.

It was my Dad, my oldest Sister and her Son and Granddaughter, my youngest daughter and myself. The day before we actually went to Orlando and even my other sister was there but only for that day. It was a pretty mixed aged group of family , kids and adults. went from 81 right on down to 4. My Dad has his health issues, my sister back issues, me knee issues and my daugher bone disease among of health issues. The other two are basically healthy as far as I know, anyhow.

The cold weather made it slightly uncomfortable on Saturday, but on Sunday it was added rain. It lasted most of the morning and it really not the best day to have spent a fortune on tickets that were only good for that day.

The main reason for the trip was to take my daughter somewhere fun. Her last trip was her Make a Wish, when she was 3 and sadly, she remembers just about nothing of that time. My daughter has been through an awful lot this past year alone, never mind it has been her whole life all 12 years of it so far. One surgery after the next, one trade off for another. She recently spent 5 months in and out of the hospital with urine infection after infection, to finally her native kidney got terribly infected requiring months of antibiotics and finally a nephrectomy. This little lady has been a trooper through all that she had to endure and she continues to be that way on a daily basis. Since transplant she has had a lot of downs and she has major spinal surgery scheduled for 2 weeks from today. We all just wanted her to enjoy some of what life has to offer while she has a break from some of this stuff.

We wound up in Universal Studios, all ready to see Harry Potter world in its full glory. The parks ability to amaze me has not changed in the 10 years it’s been since I was there last. There were tons of new things to see to the point that we did not even see the old things.

We get to the park, decide which side has the attractions we want to see first and head straight to the Harry Potter world. The kids first stop was surely to get a magical wand.We decided to do a ride first and then head over. By the time we walked from the entrance to that area, we were soaking wet and cold. The kids did not care much but for me my knees were crying. My Dad was frozen and my sister was only good when she was walking, once she had to stand still the pain would overwhelm her, sit or keep moving works best. My daughter ignored her issues and went straight for the fun.

Now it is time to see where we will get this wand. We decide we are here we should do the whole Wand Experience. So we get to the line. It is not terribly long as the cold and rain deterred park goers. We had to wait about 10 minutes that felt like and hour for sure. As we wait in the line I am taking in the beauty of the park. The way they designed the buildings to look like the movies. The way they designed it to look cold. The way the snow was atop the buildings truly made me feel like I was meant to be in a cold place, that I was pretty cold. As the line starts approaching the entranceway to the door of the attraction, I am stopped next to a drain pipe. I look down and I see this little yellow flower all wilted and being ravished by the rain, coming through the pipe. It was so simple and beautiful to me. I thought of all the things I will see today I know some will be so big and amazing, but I am sure that my memory of the day will go back to the simple beauty of nature. The one little flower just there for the taking of the rain.

No matter where I go and what I do I try to take in a little bit of the world with me. I remember a time in my late 20’s maybe even my early 30’s I was hanging out with my Dad. Doing something to my home. I think we broke the spigot to the outside water hose and my Dad was fixing for us. So a very big beautiful bird flew in the yard. I said look it’s a Pterodactyl. My Dad stopped what he was doing and said, Really? do you not know what that is , I of course responded with a big bird, I don’t know. He stated you are uncultured. Why, I thought I did a better job teaching you about the world. I felt stupid, like I live in Florida and I should know that was a Crane of some sort. I don’t really remember. I just remember feeling dumb and wishing that I did not say there was a long ago extinct prehistoric bird in my yard.

Over the years I started paying more and more attention to nature surrounding me. I tried to learn the names of things and have made it a point to take photos of interesting things and in turn have better adult type conversations with my Dad, after my mother passed 17 years ago I realized that getting to know him a  person and not just a Dad was pretty important to me and having him like me as a person and not just his kid was equally as important.

When I saw that little yellow flower just hanging on , on the edge of that drainpipe, next to the awesome wand experience of Harry Potter I knew it was something I just needed to discuss….

Here comes the rain!

It sure would be nice if the photo I chose was the picture I am seeing out of my window this moment. This is in fact a picture my daughter took at some point when she went to Alaska. I can’t say for sure where that is as she went with her Grandpa and Aunt several years back. Somehow I liked the photo and it stayed in my computer. As it would seem I think I only take photos on clear days, at least from the look of it anyhow.

So for days we were hearing about Tropical Storm Erika. I did the best I could to prepare my yard and home for the upcoming storm. Seems while I was busy around here, Erika fell apart. Just because it fell apart has nothing to do with the amount of rain we are expected to get. Much of Tampa and the surrounding area’s have been saturated for some time. I actually just noticed on Friday, a place I have been seeing flooded for weeks was actually dry. ┬áToday when I passed there it was a giant mess again and I am sure I will find a different route to the hospital come Wednesday.

I am looking out of my window, and notice that it is getting close to sundown, It has been thundering on and off for hours and its a light to medium steady stream of rain. It is actually quite peaceful to listen to. I have it very quiet in my room, my oldest daughter has friends over and my son is playing the game in the living room, while the little one is doing her treatment. (she has special needs)

I just opened the window to see if I could start to feel the breezes, It is not time. It is still warm and the winds have not picked up at all. So many years we prepare for storms that do not come. Other years we don’t prepare, thinking they never come and sure enough it storms all season and we always have power outages. In the area I am living in now is right off of the river about the length of one average city block. There are lots of old trees in the area and you always seeing broken branches in the streets. This happens even when it is just a regular summer thunderstorm.

I am quite certain that Tampa will see lots of flooding but I don’t believe we are in much danger of anything else. I am pretty thankful for this. When I was younger I used to get very scared this time of year. I would buy so much water, food that did not need cooking or heating or could be cooked on the grill if need be. I would make something the night before like fried chicken or a bunch of grill cheese sandwiches. I would prepare to stay home or if I got really paranoid I would go to another family members home(this was based on where I lived usually)(I have moved a lot in the last 20 years).

This is the first time I have had to do this alone in a long time. When my husband was alive he would gather up my the two older kids and they would take care of the yard and make sure nothing should be flying into someones windows in the event of high winds. They would take care of the outside, I would take care of the inside. Make sure we had flashlights and candles. Sometimes you get worried and get candles and don’t think of a lighter or matches. After 20 plus years in Florida I have learned a thing or two about Hurricane season.

I have been fortunate enough to never live here when the area has received a direct hit. I have been here through many tropical storms. Many many no named storms and many threats. Sometimes you don’t get the high intense winds but you get enough to cause damage. Sometimes they sprout waters spouts and tornadoes. I have seen the footage on the news but have never actually witnessed it.

Right now before the heavy rains start I will decide what to get my kids to eat. It is not like the old days. They used to eat whatever. The oldest eats only chicken no other meats and barely any vegetables. My middle one eats no meat at all and he does eat vegetables but he prefers salads with all kind of different stuff in them. My little on is a dialysis patient and she must follow her diet, with all that being said cooking is no longer a fun family event its a ugg, what do you want event. So the one thing they will all eat (rarely of course) is spaghetti. I have to make two sauces one with meat and one with out. This sometimes works but is kind of boring and not great really great for the little one.

Hope that it rains steady and peaceful when I get back from the store of course!

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