2014.04.09 Grandkids are fighting back


I remember going to Miami in the past with plans of adventure. There was geocaching to do, places to explore, beaches to enjoy. So much to cram into a short visit while spending a few days with my son, Ben, and his wife, Sarah.

Now when I make that rare visit, I go with nothing in mind. I don't map out geocaches and check on bus routes. I don't even leave the apartment early to go exploring while my wife sleeps. How could I leave? Ryland might wake up ready for action.

Ryland, you might remember, is one of those babies born months too early—only 2.2 pounds in his case—who miraculously grew to become a normal kid. No miracle, really, just amazing medical and parental care. He's 21 months old now and lots of fun. 

I hope you read the notice on the front of last week's paper, the one telling that we would be one day late with the next issue. That was because of our little vacation. Plane tickets are much cheaper with a Monday return rather than Sunday. I'm somewhere over the Carolinas as I write this, wondering if I really can fill a newspaper by midnight Tuesday. 

Our trip started this way: I took my usual window seat on the plane and Colleen sat next to me, even though her seat was actually on the aisle. She would ask the person who had not yet arrived if she would trade seats so Colleen could sit next to me.

"Not if it's a really beautiful woman," I said. "Then you're back on the aisle."

Colleen laughed, I'm pleased to report. Sometimes I say things and wonder how they will go over.

Eventually my seat mate arrived. A lithe, blue-eyed, six-foot blonde from Wisconsin. Colleen later described her as "the most beautiful woman on the flight." She was happy to take the aisle seat and Colleen got to know her well enough to exchange phone numbers so she could get our restaurant recommendations once we talked with Ben and Sarah to remember the names of the places. To say "That one with the amazing gingered Brussels sprouts" isn't quite definitive enough.

Colleen and I went on true grandparent duty Thursday morning. Ben and Sarah went to work and we were left alone with a sleeping child. And a good time was had by all.

Ryland currently has quite a liking for older men and for four days I carried him around Coconut Grove. He would take brief breaks when he wanted to walk, and sometimes he would ride in his stroller, but usually he just stood in front of me with his hands up, beseeching me to pick him up. Maybe he will be into older women the next time we visit.

Once again, I was quite amazed by Miami—by the small amount that I saw. It's such a bizarre place. Stores run their air conditioner with the front door open. Lizards scurry ahead of you on the sidewalk. There are more Lamborghinis and Teslas than pickup trucks, and most of the pickups never haul a load.

The flowers are so brilliant. There are so many trees with enormous leaves and strange fruit. There are trees that grow around other trees and strangle them to death. 

Nearly every house has a gate to keep out everyone who can't climb. There are law offices that apparently specialize only in traffic tickets. Apartment complex laundry facilities are located outside. It looks like a wonderful, wonderful city to live in if you're rich. I'm not sure how long you would last otherwise before joining the guys I spotted from the train to the airport who lived under a sheet of cardboard. I suppose it would also be a wonderful place to live if you had nothing.

I’m probably over Ohio now. It's been cloudy since central Florida and I've lost track.

I'm returning to Michigan wounded, which should be of interest to my granddaughter, Caroline. Whenever she's under my care, she comes up with an injury. The longer we're together, the more wounds she acquires.

With Ryland I think it's going to be a different situation. I have an abrasion on my face and I'm not sure just how he did it, but it looks as though things are going to even out in the injury department.