Hot sand and high prices

It sounded pretty simple the first time we talked about it: Plan a week’s vacation to Florida. But it’s been anything but simple.

It all started when my sister Donna and her husband Homer said they planned to spend two weeks this summer in Florida, one in Key West and the other on the Gulf coast. Did we want to join them? she asked.
We mulled it over. My wife doesn’t like hot weather, but loves going to the beach. Jenny’s idea of a perfect day is 70 degrees; she can sit in a beach chair for hours reading a book.
I like hot weather, but don’t enjoy the beach. I’m not really a water person, and I hate all that sand blowing in my face.
First, Jenny said she thought we ought to go because we haven’t had a real vacation in three years and she likes to pal around with my sister. But then my sister mentioned that it might be a hundred degrees in summer in south Florida.        No, we shouldn’t go, Jenny said. It would be too hot.
“That’s OK with me, but it’ll probably be the same temperature in Mississippi,” I said.
Back and forth, we went. We were going, and I would start looking at the cost of places to stay. Then we weren’t going, and I would start thinking about other places we could visit.
Now, we’re going again, and I’m about to make some hotel reservations. I was about to conclude that most of the hassle was behind us when Jenny announced that we needed to lose some weight if we were going to the beach.
“We need to start using our treadmill,” she said. “We’ve got to lose 15 pounds before we go.”
Oh, no, I thought. It was making me tired just thinking about it.
We bought a treadmill several years ago after we made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. I used it a few weeks, decided it was a really boring activity, and quit. Jenny was a little better, but hasn’t walked on it since we moved to New Albany. Joe used to run on it, but because it was on the second floor in our house in Alabama, the ceiling shook so much that it made us nervous when he was pounding on the running strip.
Now it looms behind our bedroom door, daring us to move the laundry basket that sits on it and get to work.
The plan is that we’re going to walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes every day. We even have a little TV sitting next to it so it won’t be so painful. Jenny tried reading a book while she walked a few times, but concluded that it only works with really large-print books because they bounce up and down.
Maybe I’ll spend my time thinking about my trip. There will be sunny beaches and gopher-sized bugs. Magnificent sunsets and hordes of sun-burned tourists. Comfy beach chairs and sand blasting my skin. Beach food and sky-high prices.
Why did I want to go on vacation, after all?

T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at