Ah, vacation. Relaxing strolls on the beach, sipping cool drinks by the pool and riding bikes seven miles in 90 degree heat with 99 percent humidity.
What? That’s not your idea of a relaxing vacation?
Well, if you choose a trip to Florida in June, that’s your reality. We went to visit family this summer in Florida and Ohio, and one week of that trip was spent in Florida along the Gulf Coast.
Our condo was air conditioned, but we wanted to get out and see the sites. With one day left of our stay, we decided to go ahead and brave the heat by taking a bike ride to lunch. We didn’t know where we were going, but we spontaneously headed north and figured we’d find a place.
We did. It was called the Lazy Flamingo and we loaded up on fish and chips since we would surely sweat out all those calories on the ride home.
Most families on vacation would opt for a leisurely pace for the ride home, especially given the heat - unless you’re a Burmeister male. Then every activity turns into a feat of strength in which one person wins and lords it over the other for the rest of the day.
Relaxing family bonding time, right?
It began innocently enough. Bellies full, we headed back toward the condo. Craig and Natty took off a little quicker than usual and Lily and I stayed back.
“Why is Dad riding so closely to Natty’s bike?” asked our 11-year-old daughter, Lily.
“Oh, he’s probably just being obnoxious,” I said.
“Yeah, that’s how we show love in this family,” she said.
Next thing I knew Craig sped around Natty’s bike on the grass, and took off ahead of him. Natty, not to be outwitted, got up out of the bike seat and pedaled toward his father at top speed. Mind you, there are families, strollers and dogs on the sidewalk, all trying to have their own relaxing vacation, but that didn’t seem to matter to the Burmeister men.
Natty was clearly ahead and was going to win when he made a major tactical mistake: he turned the wrong way. Craig was gleeful (like a good father) and said, “He sealed it there,” as he rocketed the opposite way toward the condo.
As soon as Natty realized his mistake he turned around and headed back our way. Once Craig realized he was back in the race he picked up the pace so abruptly that his chain popped off. Jumping off of his bike quicker than I’ve seen him move in years, he dropped to his knees and started fixing the chain.
Natty rode by, smirked, and simply said, “Bike problems?”
Can’t you just feel the love?
As I rode past Craig, he was mumbling to himself, “I just HAD to push the envelope. I flew too close to the sun.”
I left Craig on his own and headed back to the condo just in time to see Natty sitting outside the door in the heat.
“Forget your key?” I said, enjoying myself. “Karma stinks, doesn’t it?”
Ten minutes later, Craig came around the corner, looked up at me, Natty and Lily sitting outside the door and said, “Hot enough up there?” And then he laughed, and laughed, and laughed.
When he finally opened the door, Natty was checking his phone for a text and the door shut before he came in, once again locking him out in the heat. He knocked gently and Craig stood on the inside and asked, “Yes? Can I help you?” through the closed door.
And THAT, my friends, is how we Burmeisters have a relaxing family vacation.
Natty 0, Craig 0. The competition rages on.
Eileen Burmeister is a freelance writer who lives in Winchester, Ore. She can be reached at email@example.com or you can follow her on Twitter at EBurmeister.