Friday, July 08, 2005

Bye Bye Jaguar

This afternoon, my husband returned the Jaguar that he won for a week. As reported in my 4th of July parade post, he entered a trivia contest at work, hoping to win a $20 Starbucks gift card. Instead, he was one of the grand prize winners, scoring a 7-day Jag rental.

Problem is, we didn't really know what to do with it. We prefer driving Canyonero (my Aztek) because of all the room for groceries, household stuff, gardening suppplies, etc. that we are constantly buying. Plus, we discovered that a Jaguar is hard to tame down on the 25 m.p.h. streets of Celebration. It rockets forward at the slightest touch of the accelerator, and the speedometer is marked in 20 mile incremements, which makes it hard to gauge lower numbers. I scrupulously obey the speed limit; if I'm feeling particularly wild, I might flirt with 28 or 29, but that's as rebellious as I get.

We entered it in the Fourth of July parade, and after that, it mostly just sat out front. This Friday, it was time to return it to its home at Hertz Rent-A-Car, hopefully to go to someone who appreciates its abilities. My husband drove it to the Hertz location just outside the airport's North Exit. Then he took the shuttle bus to the terminal, where I picked him up so we could head to Florida Mall. He has been in desperate need of a new computer for a while now, so we figured we could swing over to Best Buy. We hate shopping in and around the mall, so we were pleased at the prospect of getting that unpleasant task over with.

We took Boggy Creek Road to Sand Lake Road to avoid the typical mess on Orange Blossom Trail. Traffic around Florida Mall typically resembles I-4 at rush hour. It resembles a giant parking lot, although the vehicles do crawl forward an inch or two every five minutes or so. Sand Lake is typically not as bad as OBT, so we slipped into one of the mall's back entrances.

We both like California Pizza Kitchen, so we fueled up with a shrimp/goat cheese/wild mushroom pizza and two-in-a-bowl soup before heading off to the hell that is Best Buy. We also stopped briefly at Bath & Body Works to load up on scented plug-ins. I know you can get 'em at the grocery store, but B&BW has such wonderful smells. My husband's favorite is Sun Ripened Raspberry, but I'm partial to Pearberry or Tangerine myself. We keep them plugged in at strategic locations throughout Duloc Manor, just in case I've been lax on my daily litterbox duty.

My husband is a very focused electronics shopper, and he doesn't appreciate commentary from the "peanut gallery" (i.e. me). Often, he takes forever as he pours over each little feature and nuance of a computer or television set or digital camera. Even when he has already done his research on the internet (as he had in this case), I still find that it's best for marital harmony if I just stay out of his way. Thus, I dropped him off at Best Buy and headed into Barnes & Noble next door to see if there were any new true crime books.

I managed to dig up two books that I hadn't read yet and headed back to the car. A quick call on the cell phone revealed that hubby was nearly done. He'd chosen his computer and was heading to the checkout. I pulled up in front of the store, snapped on my flashers, and waited...and waited. Finally, I called him again, only to discover that the front cashiers had sent him back to the rear of the store to check out. I was getting nervous because I was sitting in a precarious spot, halfway between blocking a handicapped parking spot and the entrance to the store. You'd think an electronics retailer, were people are likely to be hauling out big, heavy boxes, would have a pickup lane, right? Heck, no!

I finally got out and opened the rear hatch so it would be quite apparent that I was only making a temporary nusiance of myself. A few minutes later, I saw hubby heading out; he paused for a third degree by a worker at the door who checked his receipt as though he were on th FBI's Most Wanted List. Then, at long last, his new computer was safely stowed in Canyonero so we could head back home to Celebration.

How I hate to leave "the bubble," as Celebration residents tend to call our hometown. We tend to put off shopping at stores that cause us to leave town as long as possible. I don't really count the Xentury City Publix, since it's right across 192. I don't count going to dinner at Disney World as technically leaving, either; for me, Disney property is sort of an extension of the bubble.

At home, my husband has been busily setting up his PC, while I have been glued to the news. On Saturday morning, we're supposed to go on a long-awaited Segway tour at Epcot. Then, in the early evening, the Front Porch Picnic is supposed to take place. It looks like the fringe effects of Hurricane Dennis might make the whole day a washout. Hard to tell; storms are so unpredictable, even with the best scientific equipment. I guess I'll know when I wake up in the morning.

No matter what, it looks like Central Florida is escaping a direct hit, thank God. I feel so bad for the people in Haiti and Cuba who are going through the brunt of the storm, and it looks like it's going to batter parts of the U.S. too. A very ugly start to hurricane season...maybe, if we're lucky, it will be the end too (although I doubt it, as we've still got a few months to go).

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