I'll have to admit, I was nervous. We fly for free which is great since the Captain's airline contracts with US Airways/America West so anywhere they go, we can go too - hypothetically. We also fly non-rev, which is not so great. Non-rev stands for non-revenue producing passenger. Non-rev also stands for nervous Nellie IA Pilot Wife. We get on after all the paying customers do and take whatever seats happen to be left. We are the bottom feeders, the scavengers, the senseless drivel of all airline passengers - speaking of senseless drivel - sorry got a little carried away.
Anyhoo, great for the pocket-book but it wreaks havoc on my nerves. All last week we were watching the available seat numbers wither away and I was having heart palpitations - calmly. The Captain said I hid my anxiety well. I personally think it was the Dramamine - but that is a whole 'nother post.
So why Florida? Hot, muggy, Florida in June? Well, my passport had expired, so Mexico was out, and besides that, many things can be tolerated when only steps away from an ocean. Also, I had gone to Florida with my family on our last family vacation and had many fond memories. Mostly, we wanted the girls to see the ocean and we wanted to see them see the ocean. We were not disappointed. Their reactions were as different as their God-given personalities.
Sweet Marissa jumped in feet first, as is her nature. She took to it like a fish takes to well... water - pun intended. She was out there swimming with her Daddy faster than you can say "remember the ocean is salty" but she picked up on that real fast. I think she may have slept out on the beach if we had let her. She dug a deep hole in the sand near the surf which she was quite proud of, until we were told she had to fill it in. See, the sea turtles were coming in to lay their eggs at night and if holes were left on the beach, they might get stuck and not be able to lay their eggs and get them covered properly. She filled that hole in faster than you can say "be kind to the mama sea turtles". She was amazed to see a nicely marked out "nest" the next day close to where we were the day before. The mama had done a great job of gently rounding it out and patting it down, and they marked it out with more yellow tape than a murder scene. She was glad she had filled in her hole.
Princess Maren, however had a different response, as is her nature. Let's just say if all the ocean were poured into a puddle at her feet, Princess Maren would politely step right over it. She was not impressed with the sand - too dirty. Not impressed with the water - too salty. Not impressed with the shells - too sharpy. Nothing was just right in her book. I do think she appreciated the beauty of the sunsets though, and would occasionally meander down to supervise Marissa's excavation site. What can I say? Am I surprised? No amount of coaxing, cajoling, pretty darn close to frank manipulating would get her into that ocean. Maren's will is that big.
Here's the IA Pilot Wife, with all the world at her feet and the curve of the earth in the background. It's good to be Queen for a day, or even for a sunset.
What is it about the ocean? What is it that smooths out the rough edges of your life and puts things into perspective? For a girl born on the plains of the Midwest it is a beautiful and magical place. It is big and vast and we are so tiny and speck of sand small. I fear it, yet I am still drawn to its beauty. We can only see the surface and marvel at it, yet all its mysteries are gathered fathoms below. I personally like the ocean very much. God did a great job creating the ocean.
Maybe when we retire, I will be one of those brown leather satchel skinned white haired ladies. The Captain will play golf and I will ride my bike with the big swoopy handlebars down to the beach and leave with my basket full of the oceans choice shells of the morning. Tourists will look at me and think that I am odd. The girls will come to visit with their families -well, Marissa will for sure. We'll see about Maren. To be continued...