|Lexie playing in the rain|
By the time the storm had passed and they left to shop, Norma Jean and I headed back home to Zephyrhills, about a 45-minute drive away. The entire atmosphere had changed after the rain. Everything sparkled and the oppressive heat was just gone. Funny how quickly I forgot about the heat and humidity, once it cooled off a little. Of course, I m a bonafide Pacific Northwesterner now, and Florida heat is not easy for me to love in any event. The heat wave is supposed to have broken today, and we should have more "normal" temperatures in the eighties rather than the record-setting heat of the past week or so. I have three more days here before heading back home.
I'm not ready yet to leave, even with the heat. I've enjoyed every little drop of time with Norma Jean, although we use video to "see" each other twice a month, it's not the same as being with her. And I've been enjoying the solicitous attention to our meals that her son Peter lavishes on her daily. He loves to cook, and he makes wonderful salads for each of us, beautifully presented and never the same thing twice. Tonight he will cook for all of us at Allison's, and I'm looking forward to whatever it is he will be preparing. I think I heard something about tuna steaks. He knows I'm happy to eat fish but not red meat, so I figure it must have something to do with me being here. He's thoughtful that way.
Peter also spoils the dogs. He buys a pork tenderloin at Costco and makes pork jerky for them. Boy, do they love that! Peter has been living with Norma Jean for more than two years now, and they have settled into a good relationship. Peter's dog Zen is older (13), and when Peter goes off on extended trips to California or Michigan, Zen seems very happy to be settled in at Norma Jean's home. Everybody is very content, it seems to me.
Allison, Norma Jean's daughter, moved from Alexandria, Virginia, to Tampa this past June. She has been promoted to full Colonel in the Army and is stationed at MacDill Air Force Base. I asked Norma Jean why an Army colonel would be at an air force base, and she told me it's because Allison is a member of CENTCOM, US Central Command, responsible for tactical operations in the Middle East. (That link provides a very interesting explanation of what my accomplished niece is doing with her life.) So, for the first time in many years, Norma Jean has all of her family nearby. And I benefit from it, too, by seeing everybody all at once. I hadn't seen Lexie in person since she was an infant.
Allison is a very high-powered person, very different from Peter. It's interesting to see how much Peter is like Norma Jean was as she was growing up, and Allison's approach to life is similar to her father's. Family dynamics fascinate me. Of course, I have four other siblings, but I am closest to Norma Jean. My sister PJ died in 2014, the last time I was with the rest of my siblings. With such a large number of siblings, I'm glad I have Facebook to keep track of them all. Some are much more active than others on social media; it simply amazes me how quickly all their offspring grow and change, and I wouldn't know any of that without Facebook. Some have even grown from youngsters to full-fledged adults, and since I haven't seen them in years, I would otherwise continue to think of them as children.
I'm sitting here in the living room now, with Peter, Norma Jean, and the two dogs. The sun came up on a day I'm hoping will be much less hot, as promised by the forecast. Sunday is the one day Norma Jean doesn't swim, so we'll go for a nice walk in what I hope will be cooler temperatures. And then Peter prepares omelets on Sundays, and that will be our wonderful breakfast. Oh, I'm getting spoiled. Not really, I am just enjoying it all.
Until I see you again, back in my normal routine, I do hope that all my dear blogging friends will have a good and productive week. Until we meet again, be well.