Saturday Night Serenade–Disjointed

We’re living in weird times. If this post is disjointed, it’s because I am, too. I don’t know about you, but everything just seems upside down. Which doesn’t make sense–my work schedule is unchanged. I work from home every day. Everything should be the same. Only it’s not.

Here at Chez R, we’ve started keeping weird hours, staying up until one or two in the morning, sleeping until one o’clock in the afternoon. I still teach online classes beginning at 5am, so I get up around 4, do my thing, and go back to bed.

While Mr. R walks the land shark on a regular basis, there are days when I don’t venture even as far as the front porch. Other days, we go for a ride just to get out, or to make a Publix run.

As far as the grocery store, we’ve decided that it makes sense for only one of us to go in, minimize the risk of exposure and all that, so I find myself sitting in the car people-watching and listening to the radio while Mr. R gathers what we need. Tonight’s serenade is Victorious by Panic at the Disco and it’s my new favorite ear worm. I heard it in the car the other day.

Mostly, we sit and worry about how we’re going to stay financially afloat. I know, stimulus money is supposed to be on the way. I guess we’ll see, but I’m not holding my breath.

Between book royalties and my tutoring pay, I still bring in a little money but since his work completely dried up a month ago, Mr. R has not earned anything. So our bills are calling, including the rent. For the last few weeks, he has been trying to apply for unemployment pay, and while he’s been assured he’s entitled to such relief, he, like tens of thousands of people, have been unable to complete the application, let alone get approved.

Turns out, that’s no accident. Florida’s former governor and current Republican senator Rick Scott saw to that before he headed to Washington. He figured out that you can keep your state’s unemployment numbers nice and low if you confound people trying to apply. You can read all about that here.

Which is why I’m not counting on any stimulus check. They’re all a bunch of crooks who don’t care anything about real people. But maybe I’m just jaded.

In other news, in our free time, we have lots of entertainment options as we hunker down at home. I’m excited about watching the National Theatre’s performance of Jane Eyre, which is free to stream. Here it is, if you’re interested.

Last week, I watched Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and just loved it. Several of his works are streaming free on YouTube, including Jesus Christ Superstar, all with the original Broadway cast. The only thing is that they’re available for a limited time, so you have to watch before they go away. Will Cats be next? We’ll see…

Last night, I watched the 2019 Academy Award Winning Best Picture, Parasite. It’s in Korean with English subtitles, and it’s available to stream on Hulu, It’s an odd film, but I enjoyed it. Here’s the trailer.

It’s Easter weekend. We will watch our church’s Easter service live on YouTube tonight. There are services all weekend, and you’re invited if you have a mind to attend. On Sunday, I’ve scheduled a Zoom meeting with the family, all of us spread out in Florida and Pennsylvania and Missouri. That will be our Easter get-together. Life in a global pandemic.

I hope you’re staying safe and healthy. Be sure to at least virtually hug those you love. Have a blessed Easter.

Happy Saturday night!

My First Drag Show or Date Night–Ybor City

Ybor City, the historic Cuban district in Tampa, is one of my favorite places to visit.  Mr. R. and I spent last St. Patrick’s Day there and we had a blast.  I know what you’re thinking, St. Patrick’s Day, Cuban district…???  But go with me on this. 

I feel the same way about hotels that I do about restaurants, which is to say, I prefer to avoid big box chains and stay in smaller, funky, boutique places.  Which brought us to the Don Vicente de Ybor Historic Inn in Ybor City.

Photo by Loyce Hood, from Google Images

This hotel is absolutely beautiful, inside and out.  Its sixteen guest rooms, all located on the second floor, are tastefully decorated with antique furniture and accessories, as is the lobby and the other common areas.  The inn is remarkably affordable and because there are so few rooms, the place did not feel crowded.  It is, ahem, supposedly haunted, but we can report that we had no disturbances during our stay. 

I found our corner king size room breathtaking.  We had windows on two walls, making for lots of natural light.  One of the french doors on the front of the hotel opened onto a Juliet balcony overlooking the street. 

don vicente bedroom
Our king room at the Don Vicente Photo by Mrs. R.

Again, it was St. Patrick’s Day, so we went in search of an Irish bar, and found a terrific one within staggering distance of the hotel, The James Joyce Irish Pub.  It looks just like an Irish pub should, all dark wood and bookcases, and being a holiday, it was packed, but we managed to snag a high top table right in the front window.  We parked ourselves there for the next five or six hours, enjoying live music and libations, before stumbling back to our splendid room at the Don Vicente.

The problem with the Don Vicente is that it is an extremely popular wedding venue, making it difficult to secure lodging on weekends, especially Saturday nights.  Which is why, on our recent trip to Tampa Bay Comic Con, we ended up at the Hampton Inn in Ybor City (eyeroll, whatever).  There was nothing at all wrong with the hotel, it was just crowded and corporate. 

On Saturday night, Mr. R. and I had planned to attend Comic Con after party at The Castle, a dance club in Ybor City.  The party started at 10:00 and required costumes.  Alas, after a somewhat strenuous day, I was not feeling it.  So instead, we set out to find a bit of dinner.

burger marysWe ended up at a place called Hamburger Mary’s, because after a long day, doesn’t a hamburger sound great?  Who knew they had a drag show?  Certainly not the family with small children that abruptly got up and left the restaurant.  I had to switch to Mr. R.’s side of the table to watch the show and I ended up digging all the singles out of my purse so he could give some to the performers.  We had a blast!

james joyce1
The James Joyce Irish Pub, Ybor City, FL Photo by Mrs. R.

After the show, I made Mr. R. take me back to the James Joyce one more time so we could catch Kirk, the guy who plays there on Fridays and Saturdays.  Interestingly enough, we got the same table we’d had on St. Patrick’s Day (or maybe they just keep that table for us, that’s probably it) and settled in to enjoy.  Kirk plays all kinds of songs on his acoustic guitar, but after he played Galway Girl, Mr. R. used some of my singles to request Dirty Old Town, my love’s favorite Irish song (you can find it on YouTube by The Pogues or The Prodigals). 

Ybor City, FL Photo by Mr. R.

It was before 10:00 when we staggered back to the Hampton (eyeroll, whatever) and we knew we’d made the right decision about skipping the party.  Ybor City is a really cool town.  Next time you head to Tampa, try this little district.