March 2-4 I visited my Dad, Stepmom, and Grandma in luxurious Leesburg, Florida! My stay at Hotel Viper was relaxing and nice.
For those of you who are new to my world of wackiness, Viper = my dad. Its a nickname he’s had for about six years now, and I call him “Viper” more than I do “Dad.” How the Viper got its name is a tale for another entry altogether (if you’re interested in hearing that story, comment and let me know!)
I left Hawaii on the afternoon of the 1st. Had a superquick layover at LAX, and then flew the redeye into Orlando. I landed at 6am, and I was exhausted. My two flights were pretty unremarkable. I mostly read and ate snacks. My first flight had mini-TV’s in the seatbacks and I watched two movies. “Hereafter” with Matt Damon was so good, yo!
Anyways, my stepmom Anna picked me up at the airport and drove me the hour to my dad’s house.
I lived in Jacksonville on my own for seven and half years. When I decided to go back to school (for a second bachelor’s degree) at age 25, Viper was super supportive and awesome and invited me to come live with him. I did a semester of pre-reqs, and then a really intense year of nursing school in an accelerated program. I had a lot of good times living with the Shapiro gang in Leesburg, and coming “back home” to visit them and see the house was really nice and comforting.
And of course, they spared no luxury when it came to welcoming me home:
Three cats live at Chez Viper: Rascal, Zach, and Sassy (aka: Smooshy). Rascal was originally my cat, but a roomie of mine was uber allergic – so Rascal moved in with Dad and Anna. Shortly thereafter, they adopted Zach. Their house is a cat haven full of towers, toys, and scratching posts. Snacks and treats are served on schedule each day, and well… it’s basically a cat’s paradise. Rascal and Zach became BFF’s. So even though I love Rascal and he’ll always be my baby, I just couldn’t pull him out of such a great environment. Not to mention the suggestion that perhaps some of the people living there have gotten attached to the guy too. Sassy, the third cat, lives upstairs with Grandma and she’s a pretty sleepy, chill, older cat. She’s really nice.
My Dad had to work both of the days I was home and visiting, but we were able to get some quality hangout time in the late afternoons once he was of work. During the day I hung out with my stepmom and was able to help my Grandma out with a few odds and ends. She gets tired pretty easily, so that was nice to be able to hook her up. (Gma ordered like eight bags of dried peas from the healthfood store and needed me to go pick them up for her. That was interesting, lol!)
We took the cats for a walk. Well, Zach refused to get in the harness… so we took Rascal for a walk.
I wasn’t sure if Rascal was enjoying himself, so Viper suggested we bust out the Kitty Mood-o-Meter, a ridiculous card that explains a cat’s moods based on their appearance.
Is your cat baring his teeth and hissing? He’s not happy. Thanks mood-o-meter, so helpful. Really though, they got it for Grandma because she was having a tough time relating to the felines in the house, and now its become kind of a family joke. When one o the cats is obviously freaking the eff out, my sarcastic dad will ask if I’d like the mood-o-meter to help me decipher what’s going on.
We spent a good amount of time going through old photos, and that was really fun. Grandma cooked dinner the first night – chicken, stuffing and gravy. Asparagus. The second night we ordered pizza and I ate this crazy homemade cannoli that was so good. I also discovered the WORST soda ever.
One day, Viper had a bunch of correspondence to manage. And I needed to do my toes. So we invented nails’n’mail day. How fun!
It was too short of a visit, but it was very sweet! I’m so glad I got to come home and see my fam, laugh a lot, and just catch up. It was just like old times and honestly it felt like I’d never left. Hanging out is just so natural and low key. I love my wacky, weird, silly, family. The more y’all learn about my fam – the more you understand why I’m so weird. I mean that with love!
Bonus – here’s a pic of my stepmom!