Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Catching up while the first coat dries.

I slapped on the first coat of paint in my dining room this morning and now I'm waiting out the required four hours before I slap on the second coat. Lordy, how I hate to paint! It's not really a necessary paint job, either--I'm just putting on a satin coat over the original semi-gloss coat in a slightly more muted color. The semi-gloss has always bugged me. I was young and dumb when I decided on semi-gloss five years ago. It shows every tiny imperfection on the walls.

I scheduled the new carpet installation for next Wednesday, so this really is the right time to get that painting done. I've dripped on the old carpet a million times already. I am the world's messiest painter.

We got home from Florida on Saturday evening. It was such a relaxing week--even Todd got some relaxing in after his training class each day. This was the view off our hotel room balcony; that's the Cocoa Beach pier on the right:

I went to the Kennedy Space Center; here's their "rocket garden:"

And the Mercury Seven astronauts:

A re-creation of the old mission control room:

The space shuttle Explorer:

I took an extra tour called "Cape Canaveral: Then and Now" where we went onto the Cape Canaveral Air Force Base and visited all the old launch pads. This is the actual blockhouse and control room from which Alan Shepherd was launched into space in 1961:

When you look through the reinforced windows, you can see the launch pad and a replica of the rocket and capsule:

This is the sign on the front of the blockhouse:

This is the oldest building at Cape Canaveral and it dates back to the earliest days of the U.S. rocketry program in the late 1940s. Werner von Braun's office was here. The Cape Canaveral lighthouse is visible behind it.

The sign in front of the launch pad where John Glenn and some of the other Mercury astronauts were sent into space:

And this is the remains of Launch Complex 34 where the astronauts in Apollo 1 were killed when a fire swept through their capsule during a routine test.

Apollo 7 was the last manned launch sent up from this site and from Cape Canaveral--after that, all manned flights moved to Kennedy Space Center. Cape Canaveral is still the site for rocket launches--we were eagerly hoping to see a rocket launch while we were there, but it was scrubbed several times and we missed it. Here's the rocket on the launch pad, though--I was very excited to be that close to it!

The Cape Canaveral tour was really amazing--our tour guide was a retired high school history teacher who did a great job. Todd and I watched an excellent program called "When We Left Earth" on Netflix a couple of months ago, and it turned out to have been the perfect prelude to this tour.

Since Todd's class was at Kennedy, his co-workers dropped him off in the visitor center parking lot and I picked him up when my tour was done so that we could speed away to Orlando, an hour away, and go to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom.

Neither of us had ever been to Disney World, or ever really even given it any thought, so we weren't sure what to expect. We climbed on a ferry boat to take us over to the entrance, and we could see the lights of Cinderella's castle in the distance. That was when I started feeling like a little kid!

It was extremely crowded at first as the regular visitors were leaving and the Christmas Party visitors were arriving. Really crazy. And the weather was unpleasant, extremely humid and eventually rainy. And in the dark it was hard to get any good pictures, but we did take a few:

Apart from the weather, we had a very good time. There were fireworks and a holiday parade, free cocoa, apple juice and sugar cookies throughout the park, and the lines for the rides were very short. My favorite was the "Small World" ride--I think I could have ridden it ten times! The singing kids from all over the world were so darned cute!

Then it was past midnight and we still had to get out of the park and get back to our hotel in Cocoa Beach. I drove most of the way and had to sing--loudly and badly--with the classic radio station to keep myself awake. We rolled into our hotel at 1:45 AM. It was a long day!

I've got a few more Florida pictures...I'll share them later. Time to get back to painting.....