A few months ago, Derek came home from work and sighed.
“I have to go to Florida in October for a business convention. Do you want to come? We could fly to Ohio after, to see the grandkids.”
He said this like he would totally understand if I didn’t want to go.
My shriek of excitement clarified my response.
“I’ve never been to Florida!”
He pulled up the convention location on his phone and handed it to me.
“I’ll be in meetings for two full days and you’ll be on your own. I hope you won’t get bored.”
I scrolled through the resort description. It’s set on 230 acres and features a golf course, sand volleyball court, tennis and fishing. Those amenities failed to impress, but the nature trail, 15 restaurants, spa and three seasonally heated pools in a lush tropical setting certainly did. I quickly booked a spa day.
We worried when Hurricane Ian struck the week before our departure. Thankfully, Orlando was spared any significant damage and we landed in Florida on a balmy Sunday evening. We checked in and explored the expansive grounds, followed by a fabulous meal.
Bright and early the next morning, Derek headed out for his busy day while I rested up for my own excursion.
After a leisurely breakfast, I meandered to the spa. Wearing the spa-issued robe and flip flops, I curled up with a novel in a comfy chair in the “Whisper Room” to await my appointments.
A pair of voices disturbed the quiet as two ladies chatted.
“So, then I just shaved his back and mixed oil and sugar and rubbed it in,” said the first voice.
She did not whisper and I regretted not overhearing the opening of their conversation.
Whose back was shaved? Why the oil and sugar rub?
Her monologue continued with a long list of what everyone in her family died of. Then I learned she has two sons and no daughters, so no one will point out when she has long whiskers on her chin.
It was like eavesdropping on my future.
I tried to delve into my book, but then the other lady spoke up.
“All this industrial tool drama! It’s so ‘Peyton Place!’ ”
Now, I wondered exactly what kind of convention my husband was attending, but a massage therapist called my name before I could discover more.
That evening, I accompanied Derek to a meet and greet which included a trivia contest. Mercifully, the questions didn’t involve industrial tooling and I earned my keep when our team took third. We would have placed higher if any of us could have named all five members of NSYNC. Every person at our table was over 55 and all we could come up with was Justin Timberlake and Joey something.
Also, none of us knew Orlando’s nickname is “The City Beautiful.” Since I didn’t exactly see the city, I’m going to take their word for it.
The president of the business hosting the event was on our team and he was most impressed that I knew nappies are diapers in Great Britain. I may not know my boy bands, but I excel at diaper trivia.
The following day, I planned to walk the nature trail. The hotel’s backdrop is Shingle Creek, one of the headwaters of the state’s scenic Everglades. The trail promised towering grasses, graceful Spanish moss trees, dramatic pine tree stands and blooming flowers. But after a late breakfast and time spent reading in a cozy lobby nook, I discovered it was already 88 degrees outside. That’s much too hot for hiking, so I changed into my swimsuit and surveyed my choice of pools.
The lap pool? Too vigorous.
The family pool? Too splashy.
The cabana pool? Just right. The sign on the gate advertised it as the “quiet pool” and unlike the Whisper Room; it lived up to its moniker.
I nabbed a chaise with an umbrella and spent the afternoon gliding through the sparkling practically empty pool, sunning on the lounge, reading and sipping chilled beverages, delivered poolside. Time slipped away and before I knew it my phone buzzed.
“I’m headed to the room,” Derek said. “Are you ready for the awards dinner?”
Alas, all cabana pool days must come to an end.
My inaugural visit to the Sunshine State left me refreshed and ready for a week’s worth of wrangling our toddler twin grandsons.
Turns out, my husband’s version of boring is my version of heaven.
Cindy Hval can be reached at email@example.com. Hval is the author of “War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation” (Casemate Publishers, 2015) available on Amazon and bookstores nationwide.