Day One

I contemplate playing a "flight's been cancelled" April fools joke on Melissa, so, thankfully I pretend to check our flight status and I discover that the correct departure time is 1:05p not 10:50a.  I hold off on that prank, but a plan begins to formulate in my mind. We discuss ways of getting to the airport, besides Jen taking us, and opt to stay with the original plan.

Have I mentioned that I love Midway in Chicago...it is just so doable. We have a big breakfast at Harry Carey's, do a little airport shopping, find our gate, and begin the wait. I could people watch all day, so it doesn't seem long until they're calling our seat row. After getting situated I begin watch the guy in front of me pull the headrest towards his head and miraculously it stays put.  I try mine.  Instant pillow. I quickly flashback to my nine hour head jerking trip to Paris and wonder if all modern planes have this luxury.

Sleep does not come easy because of Mary and Melissa's constant chatter about 6 full days of beach and sun. My plan to April fool her starts to take a nasty turn. Now to set up the joke fully, I must describe the characters that will play the parts. I'll start with grandpa and grandma. They like to do things certain ways and who can blame them? They have just entertained my brother's family of 5 for a week and we heard nothing but exciting stories including a day trip to Disney. Then they traveled back to Orlando to pick up my sister-in-law and niece so they could spend 3 days while waiting for their cruise ship to sail.

Let me see, we each had a suitcase and a carry-on, and I never did get a final suitcase count from the other relatives, but I say all that to say this...it's ok to say, shoes go here...makeup goes on the left of the bathroom sink...we'll take your suggestions into consideration but we'll pick the restaurant. AND sleeping arrangements have been predetermined. Long story short, I'm a little worried about Melissa getting to the beach EVERY day, because I want to meld my schedule into theirs. Foremost in my mind is April 1st, as I start my sermon to Melissa that consideration and respect to Gram and Grandpa might mean using the trailer park pool instead of the beach!!!

She understands the consideration part but she's having nothing to do with the pool vs. the beach. After touch down in St. Pete/Clearwater, we head to Bradenton via the Sunshine Bridge, and past the Pittsburgh Pirates spring training ballpark where Grandpa belted out the national anthem a few short days ago.

We eat supper and catch up with Ardy, and then I pull Gram aside to give her the game plan. She doesn't want to comply, at first, but when I tell her Melissa has fooled Mark and I every year since she was about 5, she jumps on board. Gram starts in with everyone on the "rules" of the trailer, then she talks about how tired she and grandpa are this year and that the pool is just going to have to do.

It almost sounds like we're not going to the beach at all. Melissa's face starts to turn a pallid shade of white. Then grandpa jumps in and says this is just the way it's going to be and that the pool is going to be good enough. Melissa is now looking somewhat horror stricken. Aunt Ardy takes the side of the pool and says how you don't get all sandy and that the water temp is set on about 98.6 degrees.

Finally Melissa sheepishly starts to ask for at least one day at the beach and we can't hold out any longer...April Fools. I finally got her good and it's close to midnight, by now, so I don't have to worry about any repercussions. It's good to be me and in Florida.

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