Stukas Over Disneyworld.
I started my month-long break from chemo with a bang. I have to continue with Herceptin every three weeks for another nine months, which will make a total of one year of treatment. I also have a month's worth of radiation to look forward to. I have a house in Florida that I have visited ONCE since we got it. Once since last December. So we are driving down, so we can have a car down there instead of renting, and bring some stuff down. It's not the time to UHaul it, so stuffing the sedan with clothes and basic needs will do the trick. I need to work on my Florida Wardrobe, so I see some Lilly Pulitzer in my future. I've already purchased a dress with tropical flowers on it.
The other John Oliver
We have stops along the way to visit friends to cut down on expenses. First stop Delaware with Bigtwin, an artist I met at my first advertising job at Mezzina/Brown working on Joe Camel (Yeah, I know. I probably deserved cancer for that. Karma's a bitch.). Jim and his wife Kate have a farm in Delaware which is amazingly peaceful and a lovely piece of land,with some nice Amish neighbors. He's always working on something cool and interesting. Kate makes a lovely dinner and we talk over some red wine, and Jim shares his latest projects with Kevin. This is the first time Kevin really have the chance to get to know each other, aside from meeting at Bigtwin's Cardinal Chaos one-man Easter show in New York City.
|Inner banks at Sunset|
We stop off in Virgina to visit a friend - John Oliver. I met John via various music Internet groups and we've been to many shows together. In fact, he bought me tickets to The Raspberries reunion when I was at a pretty low point many years ago. He saw Jimi Hendrix in the 69s so he's pretty much the most well-versed music person I know aside from Martin Percival (who will be in the upcoming blog). We are continuing to North Carolina to visit our former New York friends Jessica and Ed, whom we have really missed a lot. They have a boat and we had so many good days out with them on the water. They moved to the Raleigh area but have a condo on the Inner banks in Oriental. We get there late in the day, but not too late to take the boat for a spin. The neighbors all get together and party. We are having some drinks and a neighbor has a band set-up. We jam and play some songs but then again, I've probably had too many drinks to be any good.
FLORIDA HERE WE COME! Where does ANY New Yorker HAVE to stop off on I-95 on the way South? South of the Border. I think the signs start in Virginia and for 150 miles you are counting down to this ridiculous tourist attraction that would inspire a chorus of little angels from the backseat, "Are we there yet?". We drove to Florida three times when I was growing up and only once were we successful in badgering my Urbane and suntan-bound father into taking a detour to this place. My sister ate a taco and threw up immediately afterward, so there's the review in the days before TripAdvisor. If Disneyland had a Mexican Theme and was a glorified truck stop, it would be this place. Fireworks! Souveniers! Novelties! Adult Toys! T-Shirts! Tires! Mexican Food! They probably have a fortune teller and a shooting range. I pull off the exit since my dead father can't say no, and Kevin doesn't know any better. The Mexican restaurant with the giant sombrero looks abandoned. We fuel up and even the ladies room by the convenience store is pretty grim - a long cinderblock building across the parking lot with bad lighting and ripe for sexual assault. I recall my sister's one-star Yack review, buy the obligatory bumper sticker and a fridge magnet and we hit the highway again unscathed.
I have never been so happy to see a gutted, foreclosed house. It is, er, rustic, but it's ours. We need to make it ready for visitors who are not used to crashing in squats, like my mom. I know ONE person in Vero Beach aside from Kevin. We get friendly with the neighbors next door. They are the only other people on the whole block that looks like they care about the yard. After spending a few days looking across the street, it seems all four houses on the other side are rentals because no one takes care of them. Seems one family moved out and another moved in, only to leave the same trash on the lawn. There are two your people who sit in the entry-way on one house, all day on wheeled office chairs. They look suspiciously at anyone who drives by and you can't help but look suspiciously back at the people who spend 8 hours a day in office chairs in the entryway. Another house has three cars, one parked on the front lawn with a young guy who sits in the car most of the time and mows the lawn on occasion. One family has a pit-bull they let off the leash that lunges at everything that passes. Another house has a family with a man who spends all day sitting in his work truck blasting nu metal from some band not worthy of naming. He has an engine block in his front yard, which is mostly dirt, and a derelict vehicle parked on the side. We are surrounded by #FloridaMan and don't want to speak too loudly outside, lest we get the dreaded, "You're not from around here..."
So we have one working bathroom, which is all we need, and start work on the second one. There is a partition between the kitchen and the "den" which is not a bedroom, but counted as a bedroom in the listing. It was the wall we were projecting movies on, but it needs to go for our open floor-plan. Kevin quickly demolishes the weird kitchen counter strip thing and projection wall, and even with all the cabinets torn out, it looks better already. We replace the cube fridge with a $150 fridge off Craig's List. We find another blank wall on which to project our Shaw Brother Kung Fu films, or Magnum PI, as shown. When it comes to the hard work, aside from sweeping up and making sure we have enough food and beer, I'm pretty much useless. I have torn out pages from home decorating magazines and tacked them up with electrical tape, much to Kevin's annoyance. We're like the couples-team HGTV show without the editing and without the budget.
I only know rock. In my boredom, I cruise Facebook. WHAT? The Dickies are coming to Florida next week. Orlando. What the heck? What are the chances? They are the Disneyland band, not Disneyworld! THIS gives me a project - something I am good at, something I have done before and something to do aside from watch Kevin and comment, which he hates. I reach out to Stan Lee, and they have not even booked their hotels for the tour, and they start in Florida in five days. I asked Stan why he didn't tell me about the tour or ask me to book the hotels. He said he didn't want to bother me and wasn't sure I'd be up for it. Again, when people do not see me, I think they imagine I have movie cancer, that I'm weak and wasting away. I NEED to feel normal, and do the things I normally do. That's part of my treatment. I get the itinerary, plan out the drives and get to work. I know all the specs - three double rooms, minimize drive times and stay on budget. They arrive at the hotel in Orlando the night before and there's an issue with Leonard's room. I have to drive up there to sort it out. Management points to Hotels.com and vice versa, but the clerk who put it in the system duplicated the booking of a person with the same last name. I negotiate a make good, and we get a free hotel voucher.
I go for a swim at the hotel pool before the show, which means no wig. Stan Lee is a man with a head full of thick, black curly hair and the envy of any man or woman in the hair dept. Part of my job as tour manager is to procure additional hair conditioner at every hotel. Back in the room, I'm getting ready for the show and put the wig on and look in the mirror, "I think I look better with hair." Stan looks at me incredulously, "Everyone does!", says the man with more hair than everybody. We get to the show, we were making our way to the back, Kevin was making a joke, "We're finally in a place where you don't know anyone." We grab a couple of beers from the bar, and I hear someone call my name. It's Dave Scott from Adrenalin OD. I knew he lived in Florida, ut I didn't know where. "I didn't know you'd be here!" Who knew there was an Orlando punk scene, but this is it! They're all here! Kevin rolls his eyes. I think he jinxed himself.
The Dickies have a show the next day in Fort Lauderdale. Orlando is about 2 hours from us, as is Fort Lauderdale. After four hours driving, a long day at the hotel, a late show and the drive back, I do not have the energy for the next day's show, as much as I'd like to go. The good news is the tour takes them to New York and I have to go back to get me chemo in a few days. Treatment does make my bones and muscles ache. I do get tired more easily. I'm enjoying Florida because the warmth makes me feel better and less achy than I do up north.
The house is starting to have a framework where I can see the end result. The second bathroom is almost done. Kevin got a fancy island countertop with sink and hardware at salvage in Palm Beach. He framed it out so we can plan out what we will have in it a dishwasher, cabinet, shelves. It requires channeling into the concrete slab to run power to it, so there's another project I can't help with. It's time to head back up north for radiation. I get a last bit of natural radiation treatment having lunch by the pool in Palm Beach and having a lie in the sun before my flight. Hopefully I can catch some of the Dickies shows up there and not poop out. I heard radiation makes you tired, and the burns are famous, so I'm glad I could re-energize before the next bout in the ring. I got a couple weeks of solar energy stored up.