Where there’s smoke, there’s panic

For the first time in all of the years I’ve been traveling to our homeschool convention in Orlando, my sister-in-law (Trish) and I managed to talk our husbands into living without us until Sunday.  In years past, we’ve only attended Thursday through Saturday.  This time we stayed until the bitter end.

I’m not sure, but perhaps it was the fact that we were both face down on the linoleum for the better part of the last month that convinced our husbands we needed to be away for 4 days, instead of 3.

And listen, we’re not all about the vacation aspect of the convention.  We packed a plethora of books so that we could begin planning the year.  We also arrived with a Vita-Mix, mini-blender, coffee press, and rice cooker between us so that we could hunker down and not worry about staving off starvation. While packing and trying to appear as unassuming as possible, my daughter quizzed me, “Why are you hiding the appliances in your bag?”  “So that I don’t look cheap and tawdry.”  She walked away and over her shoulder she tossed, “Too late.”

Trish and I are rather serious with regards to attending the homeschool convention, in that we stay very focussed in the exhibit hall and attend most every seminar.  Well.  I attend most every seminar.  Trish’s attention span is even shorter than mine, so I’m not sure she made it completely through any lecture.

At one point she and my other sister-in-law (Cathy) were studying (use of air quotes) by the adult only pool.  In their bathing suits.  The plan was for me to finish the seminar I was attending in its entirety, and then I would join them for a lively homeschooling discussion.  I exited the class and ran into one of my homeschooling com padres.  “Where are you going?”  “Out to the pool.”  “The pool is closed.”  “Why?”  “It’s on fire.”


I wondered what Trish and Cathy had done to set the pool ablaze, as they are well known for their inappropriate playfulness.

What I learned was that a brush fire that was only a mile away was threatening the hotel and surrounding wildlife.  I later learned from Trish and Cathy that they were lounging quietly (unlikely) and noticed that the sun disappeared.  In a few moments large black billowing clouds moved in, and live ashes were raining down upon their heads.

(Pool loungers point of view)

This is when the pool was closed.  I knew I’d better stick close to Trish should she desire to flee, as she was the designated driver.  I headed back to our room and found my sister-in-law glued to the news, car keys clenched in her fist.  She was especially worried about the cows loitering on the field very nearby.  She shared with me that she felt very much like she was on the Titanic, and the crew kept telling the passengers there was no problem.  Because, you know, the band played on.  Evidently she visited the front desk on her way to retrieve her keys, and what she heard was something to the effect, “Look at the pretty ice burg!”

I may have misheard her, because I did what any caring and sympathetic family member would do.  I collapsed into a fit of inappropriate laughter.

Oh, I am fun in an emergency.

After a time, it seems that the firefighters had the blaze under control, and no cows were bar-b-cued on the field.

The pool was reopened and convention life went on as usual.

I’m pretty sure that Trish slept with her car keys, however.

Except for the blackened tree line, the convention was an extreme success.  We left rested, refreshed, enlightened, and cured of our end of the year homeschooling blues.  Because laughter is, after all, the very best medicine.

Tomorrow I will discuss how I joined the ranks of the cart people.

Special shout out to Michelle from Tallahassee, a long time reader and new homeschooler!   It was a pleasure meeting and hanging out with you.  You are adorable.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

5 Responses to Where there’s smoke, there’s panic

  • I know exactly how you feel about going away to a conference. Sadly, our teacher’s conference is only one night away and in early spring in Illinois (no sun or outdoor pools!) We did however sit in the hotel hot tub with our pasty, winter-white selves playing silly college girl games like “I’ve Never Ever”. The conference was pretty good too 😉 Glad you got the recharge you needed!

  • I am really looking forward to our state’s convention this year. It will be our 8th year attending…wow, how far we have come!

    Sounds like you had a great time AND it was productive. Can’t wait to hear about your joining the ranks of the cart people…I did that myself a few years back!

  • We enjoyed watching the cows stay one step ahead of the bulldozers. 🙂 And later the resort threw in free ice cream to compensate for the pool closure. Of course we left the pool 5 minutes before they handed the freebies out, but our friends benefited. Glad you had an excellent weekend!

  • Okay, you should have heard my fit of glee…I’m on the blog!!!
    Thank you again for your wise words & great company…hoping to see you again next year! (When I will pack my own rice cooker, blender, etc…OUCH on the food prices!)

  • Well now, the “studying” by the adults only pool area makes me almost want to take up Homeschooling. Sounds like an exciting time was had by all – and that you are a hoot in an emergency. 🙂