With Tom's 60th birthday coming up this Thursday (07/28), we had an early celebration doing the things we both love. Earlier I bought him a patio umbrella (which he had already picked out himself) and some flowers at Stockslager's which he wanted to plant at his apartment. Mom and I each gave him cards. We also take each other out for our birthday; he chose Cracker Barrel, lusting a bit for their Coca-Cola cake.
But first we stopped at the Central Parkway YMCA where Tom is a charter member. They have been closed for about a year for a major renovation project. They gave an advance look to members on Wednesday (Tom attended) and then re-opened on Thursday. We stopped on the way to Florence, KY where we planned our lunch.
This branch was built in 1917 so it's approaching it's centennial. Even from the outside, the $27 million dollar project is evident. New windows were installed and the brick sand-blasted. It looks like a new building. Read about the renovation by clicking here.
The front desk has moved and it's much more spacious. Since the reopening was just two days prior to our visit, it was a busy place. I have access via my Silver Sneakers membership but I had to fill out a form and was given a new YMCA members tag.
Before we exercised, we toured the building. The swimming pool is something we'll have to visit soon.
There are plenty of new, modern (electronic) exercise machines. This is a great place to burn calories and enjoy the camaraderie. Tom and I used the running track on the 3rd floor. It now sports windows (before I remember nothing but a block wall). Many areas of the facility have a commanding view of downtown Cincinnati's skyline.
We didn't stay very long, hungry for lunch. Instead we ended up on southbound I-75, mostly sitting in stop-and-go traffic.
I never did see anything to account for the hold-up. Tom thought it was mostly the entry-exit ramps causing traffic to slow to a bottleneck. We never saw an accident or construction that blocked traffic. While approaching Florence, Tom's digital thermometer gave the outside temperature as 97° (it peaked at just 91° at home).
Tom peruses the menu and settled on a large chicken/spinach salad. Then later, that special cake he really came for.
I ordered their vegetable plate: hash brown casserole, macaroni and cheese, broccoli and okra. A couple of biscuits were included, too (I brought one home for Mom).
The drive back to Cincinnati was as slow as the drive south. Traffic was congested mostly in the area just south of Cincinnati. But even while sitting there, the view is spectacular.
And so Tom's advance birthday celebration came to a close. A great day with a great guy. May there be plenty more ... for both of us.