Florida is having a shit show of a year.
I have another Florida story for you. It doesn’t involve deaths.
Although, it may involve deaths. You never know if our plane will crash into the ocean off the coast of Florida. You never know if we’ll get shot in Miami by a man holding a gun and a Cuban cigar. For the record – and you can totally call into Anderson Cooper and tell him this – my last words were, “Scott, is that Pitbull?”
My Florida story starts back in March. Emma and Kate decided to have a few words with us after our trip with friends to Colorado. They told us our vacations without them need to stop because it’s not fair.
I told them they better start lifting weights to fight a sailfish in Costa Rica. Scott told them they better get their alcohol tolerance up for Nashville, Tennessee. I told them they better start learning how to breathe out of a straw as I push them down a mountain in Breckenridge, Colorado.
If only the kids could see we’re trying to become expert level empty nesters.
Fine. They’re right. We weren’t being fair. They don’t need carseats anymore. They aren’t in diapers. They’re old enough to remember a vacation. They don’t require anything but an iPod on the plane. They are easy ages to travel with.
We booked a vacation to Captiva Island on the west coast of Florida. The land of beaches, seashells, manatees and maybe booking a small fishing charter for the kids. Scott and I can’t sit and look at the ocean. We crave adventure. If we’re bringing the kids this close to salt water, we’ll teach them our ways. The best way to see a beach is from the water.
Then Florida’s shit show shined its light up on us, the little family in Kansas.
We don’t know where we will be waking up in four days.
Cyanobacteria – toxic algae blooms are sitting along the Florida coasts. The algae spilled in the ocean from Lake Okeechobee. This algae is not safe to swim in. It’s not even safe to breathe. Lee County, Florida is in a state of emergency.
“Hi, my name is Julie Burton and I live in Kansas. And we’re not bringing our kids to that shit show there. Thank you for your understanding.”
Scott and I crave adventure. Florida is giving us one. We’re leaving in four days because we couldn’t tell the kids vacation is cancelled this year. They’d murder us. Did we ever figure out if Lizzie Borden murdered her parents because she couldn’t go on a summer vacation?
Four days. No hotel reservation. No car reservation. No plans. My itinerary plans – deleted. The girls’ half day manatee camp – cancelled. I memorized the resort’s layout – I don’t know if I’ll ever see it but in my mind.
We will be walking out of Fort Lauderdale’s airport with two kids, 1,500 miles away from home. We have friends in South Florida. We’ll be showing up on their doorstep.
Emma and Kate told us our vacations without them needed to stop because it’s not fair.
Our planned family vacation is cancelled. And it’s not fair. The only adventure we can give them is spontaneity.
And maybe we’ll run into Pitbull in Miami.