A Manatee Ate My Phone

Being with family is wonderful and excruitiating. Maury and I do our best to entertain the grandkids so their parents get a brief break from sticky fingers and an occasional whine. Or a sock in the back. After all these eons you’d think some clever little cutie pie would have come up with something better than, “He touched me,” and “She touched me first.”

I favor educational forays so when I saw the Science Museum in Fort Lauderdale was open, we gave the parents an afternoon off and took the children to view a hands-on museum. We kept my mother with us because she doesn’t rollerblade or ride a skateboard. The parents took off for the riverwalk and we found ourselves at the Grossology exhibit. Are you ready? Large, interactive displays that let kids walk into a nose, watch snot dripping and closely examine every piece of waste that our bodies produce filled a large room. Heaven for a ten-year-old boy. Stress for me. If he says. “I smelled an arm pit” one more time…

In the beginning Maury tried to enhance their experience with more scientific explanations. But when Tangie, short for Tangerine, and Buzz couldn’t stop pushing buttons to create a gaseous song, he abandoned ship. Suddenly he put his ball cap on backwards, disappeared into the flight simulator room  and flew into the clouds.

That left me with three munchkins and my mother who said everything was disgusting. “Jean, you’re a bad influence on these kids. They never would have thought of what comes out of all their orifices if you hadn’t brought them here.” Right.

However, our true bonding moment came when we were sitting on the sea wall feeding fish along the waterway. All of a sudden a giant manatee sidled over to play with our toes. Our daughter, Lara (Yes, “Dr. Zhivago” was our first date), massaged its head with her toes. We were rewarded with the manatee doing a flip to show us her belly. The kids decided it was a girl for lack of other apparatus. Unfortunately, in all this joy Lara’s iPhone slipped into the water, its light blinking us a good-bye as it fell in slow motion to the bottom of the canal.

So if you’re on a boat in the intercoastal waterway in South Florida and you hear ringing, you know where its coming from. And don’t forget to look for our favorite vegetarian endangered species.

Frog Self-Expression

I love nature and the animal world. It seems to make more sense than the one I live in with people. Glee has a new friend to help her relieve her anxiety. (Which spa to choose can be very high pressure nowadays.) She has a golden retriever like our Amber that goes with her everywhere sporting a blue vest. She says Archimedes makes her feel secure. “But, Glee, you’re coaching other people on how to manage their lives.” “Even coaches have stress,” she told me with all sincerity.

Aaaargh! Which leads me to screaming amphibians. People in Honolulu have stress. A tiny, non-native frog called a coqui screamed all night. Residents went out to look for it but its the size of a quarter. It took many nights of persistent people on frog-hunting missions to capture it. Finally, the tortured complaints are over and the residents of the Manoa neighborhood can lull themselves to sleep with  Don Ho’s ukulele, the sound of which gives me stress.



One Response to “Family Vacations and Screaming Frogs”

  1. Kitchel Says:

    One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.

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