It was a quiet morning when we abandoned the Jeep at my Uncle Jimmy's house to get fixed by his neighbor, Cheeto (or is it Cheese Nip? Or Cheezit? I don't remember) and took our little Chevy rental car down to Phoenix. We were on the 1:00 flight from Phoenix to Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. Now here's the funny part. Dad had been in LA for the week doing work on a film project, and he was flying from LA to Ft. Lauderdale the same day we were. He had a 45 minute lay-over in Phoenix, and as it turned out, reservations made 3 weeks apart put us all on the same flight to Florida. We were even sitting right behind each other in the exit row. Until Amy admitted she wasn't 15, and therefor not responsible enough to sit in an exit row. She was afraid to move to another seat alone, so I bid farewell to the legroom and moved with her. However, we did have the middle seat between us free, so that was kind of nice.

Sky Harbor was insane. Mom droped us off exactly 2 hours before our flight left, and we were literally running to the gate and were nearly the last to board the flight. Apparently the person-in-the-know who told us where to get in line put us in the middle of the line, so the man behind us took on the mentality of an elementary school student, muttering things about "no cuts" in the line. But I wasn't about to give up my spot and hike down to the end of the terminal to the "real" end of the line, so I feignted ignorance. Not too difficult.

I gave myself one task to complete on this trip. Editing a bunch of role play logs I'd recently discovered on my mactop (which does actually work, mostly). So I began cleaning up the text files, ignoring the stupid movie they were playing which looked like a bad immitation of Dead Poet Society.

Off the plane we had to go down to a place I hadn't been to in a long while - baggage carousel. I pride myself on being able to pack a week's worth of clothing into a carry-on bag, and with my laptop case I'm able to jump off the plane and get to where I need to go without waiting around. Those of you who went to Europe might remember the general size of the bags we brought along containing clothing for 2 weeks travel. Amy had managed to fill an entire bag that size for a 7 day trip. She brought her own sterio, for crying out loud. She brought 13 outfits, plus enough face stuff to work in makeup on set if she needed to. To each their own, I suppose.

As we wandered through the parking garage to try and find Dad's car I was reminded of the Seinfeld episode where they spend the entire show wandering around a garage. Lucky for me I didn't have to go to the bathroom.

So we found the car and decited that we'd swing by the set before heading home. Dad called up the location director, and lo and behold he gave us the wrong directions. So we drove half an hour into Miami in the wrong direction. Oh well, it was a scenic route adventure. We stoped by the set and I got to meet several people, the cutest of which was a guy named Eric who was sitting off to one side of the soundstage working on his own litte iBook. He was sweet. :) After chillin' on the set for a while we got some of the best meatball subs ever made from this little Italian place.


Then we got to see dad's townhouse. If I ever live near the ocean, I want to live in a home like this one. An entery way opens up to a kitchen on your left, and you walk into the dark and cool living room with the oak TV hutch and the oh-so-glorious TIVO. Upstairs is the huge master bedroom (the size of our livingroom and kitchen combined), the guest bath and the office looking out over the Intercoastal Waterway. It was beautiful. You walked less than 30 yards and were standing in the little grassy park that you see up in the title picture. The air was warm and filled with glorious moisture. My skin has never felt so soft and healthy.


I often took my laptop out and did what I now refer to as "blind typing". The sun is so bright down there that I can't see what's on my screen unless I'm sitting in the shade. So I would train my eyes out across the waters and just type.

"Sitting outside on the intercoastal waterway, watching the boats go by on a lazy sunday afternoon. The vuage scent of sea water as the wake from the boats occasionally creates waves to wash against the un-smoothed rocks which line the shore and frame the tiny strip of sand that buts up against the thick blades of bright spring green greass which is soft as velvet to my feet."

I swam in the pool when it wasn't a vibrant shade of alge-green. I was reminded of Ben's bedroom. We went to the movies twice at my favorite theater of all time: Muvico. I mentioned this theater in my last trip page, and thanks to Dad this time I have pictures. We also discovered what is called "The Premier" Biestro and Bar. For moviegoers ages 21 and over, you can go upstairs to a restaurant and bar before your movie, have a nice dinner, and then watch your movie selection of choice in large red loveseat style chairs with your date, sipping your beverage of choice. Valet parking is included in the ticket price, which is about double that of the normal peasant-people's price, but it looks like a great deal to me. I can't wait until I'm 21. We saw Agent Cody Banks (pretty good) and then Dad and I went one evening and I got to see Chicago. Poor dad fell asleap, but I loved it. The sound in this theater is so phenominal, I knew I had to see Chicago there. Simply amazing.

Dad took Amy and I grocery shopping. That in of itself was an adventure. I have never shopped the way we shopped then.

"Look, guys. Get whatever you want."

Wheeee! Mom would be proud of me though, I did get two cans of vegetables, which I lovingly placed between the Dreamery ice cream and the box of wheat thins, behind the four bottles of pepsi and right infront of the frozen pizza. We decited that we wanted to try some fish (Dad and I did) so we went to the elderly lady behind the seafood counter and the conversation went something like this:

"Hi there! We don't know what we're doing. We've got a george forman grill and we'd like to have fish tonight."

"Okay, what kind of fish would you like?"

"Good fish."

"Hmm. The salmon is good today."

"Salmon. That has a nice ring to it. Okay, we'll take some of that."

"How much do you want?"

"Um, enough for the two of us."

"What seasonings do you have?"

"What seasonings do we need?"

"Lemon pepper is good with salmon."

"Can we buy that here?"


"Great! Thanks!"

She was very helpful, and as we were walking away with our white-paper wraped prize, she called out, "Good luck!"

The salmon was superb. I even got out one of the cans of veggies and we had a very nice meal while watching the Tivo.

The next day (or so - time all runs together when you're on a tropics vacation) I asked Dad if Amy and I could take the car and go cruzin'. I headed first to the place Dad and I had stayed after our cross-country journey. Crane's Beach House. I wanted a picture by the door. Amy wasn't there of course, but I took a picture of her anway, while a woman looked on with a curious expression on her face


Then of course we hit the beach. Amy took a few pictures, but they were all of my butt, so I'll spare you and just say that there was sand and water, and it was overcast but pretty. ;)

We continued to drive. I figured we'd hit a few bars, pick up a couple guys, then go have a big party on the beach. You know, the usual. I ended up lost in a torrential downpour on the interstate filled with road construction. Then the transmission broke.

Yes, broke.



Okay, not exactly like that.

With the expedition limping along, trying to get Amy to give me accurate directions from the Thomas Guide with her unable to figure out why things are listed as letters and numbers (A-45) I get on my cell phone and with no less than 2 phone calls to Dad, I pull into the parking spot with a frown on my face and fear in my heart.

I was reminded of Bill Cosby's skit about returning his father's car without gas in it. Well, I'd filled the tank to the brim, but that doesn't help when the car won't shift into gear. I decited then and there that I was cursed with vehicles, and might as well just learn to walk everywhere or grow wings. I'll keep you posted on the wing thing.

Well, it was well and truly broke. The next morning we limped it over to Dad's mechanic, and gathered up our tiny little rental car. Ironically enough, it was the same car that Mom had rented for her drive to California over the break. It was very odd to see Dad driving something that was not the expedition. So in our bright red rental car, we continued to run errands around DelRay.

One time we had to wait for over an hour in a waiting room, where I got to discover the joys of Sports Illustrated magazine. Especially Rick Reilly's colum. This was my favorite column. It reminded me of when I played basketball in 6th grade. Heh.

So anyway. One day we needed to go to the Everglades to do some research on air boats for the next film. In our little red rental we jumped on the turnpike and drove for an hour, all the while desperatly trying to figure out the name of this band that Dad could not get his mind to relinquish to him. We were (Dad was) frustrated to the point of calling a few musical friends in LA. "Hi, Todd. Listen, I just heard this song and I don't remember who sings it. It's driving me nuts. It was an album from the 70's. I think it was Ablum of the Year. Every song on it was good. No, I can't remember any lyrics, but I think the cover was red, with a spaceship. No, not Starship. No, no, no, not the Eagles either."

I suggested calling someone up and asking them to run a search of albums of the year during the 70's. Which he did.

"Super Tramp!" (I about died laughing) "That's it! Thank you, it's been driving me nuts."

This is how we spend our time.

We got to the airboat place and wandered around the neat little animal park/zoo thing they had while waiting for our airboat tour to leave. I liked our guide immedietly after he volunteered Amy for the human sacrafice. We got to see a whole lot of aligators. They sometimes came right up to the side of the boat, unconcerned. Then after slowly cuizing through narrow channels lined on either side with nothing but green, we came to a very wide, clear swath of water about a foot deep. This is when it got fun. Earplugs went in, and the speed went up. We sidesliped across the water, darted through narrow channels and then burst into the open again, a fine misted spray settling down around us and the noise of the boat roaring in our ears. It was so much fun.



We had lunch at a rickety BBQ place where the corn on the cob was magical and the pork sandwich was excellent. Sometimes I forget that Florida is down south.

Well, the next day (or there abouts) we packed up and an got on an uneventful flight back to Phoenix. After about 14 hours of travel, we returned home tired but happy. What a fun trip! Thanks, Dad!


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