It’s always a bit disconcerting to return to a city where you used to live. On the one hand, memories are everywhere. You see a neighborhood and wonder what your gym trainer is up to now. On the other hand, things change so much that the memories threaten to be overtaken. You can’t even navigate in places that used to be familiar to you.
We took A with us to Atlanta this weekend. We had plans almost down to the last minute. We went to visit my husband’s dancing friend M on Friday afternoon, after I had spent the morning finishing up my clinic. We flew DH’s plane, so the trip was only about 45 minutes. My husband’s old friend has a lot of things in common with him – she is a computer person, she was taking pilot lessons, and she is a die-hard ballroom dancer. She is a lovely person and very interesting. She is an accomplished seamstress and has bought a huge embroidery machine which she is using for all kinds of crazy and creative projects. She invited A to bring a white t-shirt to embroider on, which we brought. We met Jake, a large golden retriever who is being trained to be a service animal. She has to train him in over 30 commands before she turns him over to the center in Tampa. She says he knows almost all of them. She has my bird; when we moved, DH and I agreed to divest ourselves of all our pets exept the two dogs. The bird is doing great and probably has a much better life than she would have had with me. She has an ancient Shi-Tzu who is both blind and deaf. She could use a service animal herself. She used to have a most amazing salt water aquarium, until a friend calculated that it was costing her over $600 a month to run the pumps and maintain the thing. She gave away all the fish and anemones, and the tank sits empty and silent now. She cooked us a dinner of Mexican food (you can tell that cooking is not one of her things) and we enjoyed the company of each other and the animals. Then she invited A up to embroider her tank top. A chose to have her name embroidered. DH’s friend has a $2000 software program on her I-Pad that she uses to run her embroidery machine. They chose a font for her name and then A chose the colors for each letter. They whipped her out a gorgeous little tank with her name in multiple colors on it. What a treat! I took some pictures and M asked us to send her some. We left to get to the hotel and to possibly get hubby to a ballroom dance, although his friend had told us that there was a better one on Saturday.
The following day, we had tickets to Legoland, which is a new Atlanta attraction. It is in Phipps Plaza. We arrived an hour before the gates opened because DH didn’t allow for the time change between Alabama and Georgia, so we had some time to kill. None of the stores in Phipps were open either. When they finally let us in, there was a little exhibit about how Legos are made. We were then ushered into a fun ride where you used plastic guns to shoot trolls and rescue a princess. DH was of course very competitive and announced that he had amassed the most points. We were then brought through a very cool room where the entire city of Atlanta had been made out of Legos. I took a few pictures. Then we were channelled into the main room, which had a bunch of different exhibits. There was another ride that went around and around, so I left DH to take A on that. There was a Lego Friends area, which was for the new girls’ Lego series, which was really quite decrepit. Our friend E referred to it as the girls’ Lego ghetto. There was a cool area for making cars out of Legos and then testing them on a big swoopy ramp. Mine fared pretty well. DH’s disintegrated on impact. A’s really didn’t roll very well. They had the requisite play area with slides and climby things, which we watched Bean play in for a while. They had a Lego cafeteria, which we did not eat at, and another ride that we did not go on, because it said it would get us wet. (DH had brought his computer in hopes that he could sit to one side and get some work done, and I had my camera equipment). We played until noon when we left Legoland to get some lunch.
We ate at Johnny Rockets which was kind of fun. A got the hat to wear so of course I had to get some pictures. I ordered a deluxe malt, which was delicious but entirely too fattening. DH got a Philly steak and fries and onion rings. Bean got a hot dog. They gave us a nickel for the jukebox, but we didn’t have one at our table, so Bean just played spinning heads-or-tails games with the nickel. We left nice and full and returned to our hotel for a nap.
Nap accomplished, it was time to go to the Center for Puppetry Arts. DH had been dying to go there since we were dating. We had tickets to a show and a special workshop. We arrived a few minutes late, of course, because that is what DH does. Fortunately they let us in. The show was cute, with a reworking of 5 of Aesop’s fables. They demonstrated the different kinds of puppets and how they work. The show was definitely for the kiddies, as was most of the stuff we did this weekend. We then went to a workshop where we learned to make a stick puppet – a mouse with a conical drinking cup nose. I made enormous whiskers and noses to go on A’s and my mice, and we tested them behind the curtain that they had provided. Of course I had to get more pictures. It was then time to go to the 57th Fighters’ at the airport to eat. They have a very nice chef’s menu and a view of the runways so you can watch the planes come and go, including a very cute red biplane that was selling rides. Our friend E, who knows DH from work(s) met us there. Unfortunately, her 8 year old was with his dad and couldn’t make it. That would have been more fun for Bean. We were also met by D and her husband, whom DH knows from bridge and computer work also. D makes the most beautiful Shibori tie-dye shirts, of which I have already purchased several. DH ordered a special one for me that night for a surprise. We chatted about computers and tie-dye and food and ballroom dance and all manner of things and had a very pleasant evening. We ate a huge amount of food and left stuffed without dessert. I had a delicious spinach salad with a champagne vinaigrette dressing with Asiago cheese and walnuts, then a piece of prime rib. DH had the filet. E chose the spinach salad with a salmon filet atop it. A great time was had by all. A pouted though, and said no one was paying attention to her and generally was a pain in the butt. Of course, she was the only kid there. She didn’t finish her chicken fingers. I even gave her the little origami crane that came with my new shirt and she had an airplane coloring page, but she was not interested. It was good to see everybody, and to finally meet D in person, since we have communicated so much by Facebook and Etsy. She has a wonderful shop on Etsy for her Shibori tie-dye creations and I am always seeing something on there that I would love. I have my Etsy store, which I must say is not selling much.
After dinner we headed back to the hotel. A wanted to stay in and make her little Lego bunny farm that we bought her at Legoland. DH was planning to go to his big ballroom dance. M was planning to go. I would stay at the hotel with A. She and I built the Lego friends bunny house. Then we snuggled up and I told her stories from when I was a kid. She thought some of them were quite hilarious. I told her the story about Tuppa putting our car on the neighbor’s front porch. She can’t wait to ask him about that. Then I had her brush her teeth and put her to bed and went to bed myself. DH came back in a little before midnight and apparently had a good time at the dance.
The following morning we got up and headed to the Children’s Museum in downtown Atlanta, with plans to eat lunch at the Varsity. We played in the museum for a couple of hours. Bean got to build with more Legos, try a climbing wall, “milk” a cow (and there was a sign urging parents not to put their kids on the cow for safety purposes that was pretty hilarious – I took a picture), and operate a crane. We were all pretty worn out by lunch time.
We headed for the Varsity and it was jam packed with all kinds of people. DH ordered a hamburger and a hot dog and fries. We got Bean another “naked” dog. I had an order of onion rings and a large chocolate shake, which was so thick I had to eat it with the straw like a spoon. Bean scooped up another straw and helped me out. That shake was huge. We finished up and headed back to the airport ready to fly back home.