Monday, January 26, 2015


 When Diana selected our Florida hotel, she wanted to make sure it was kid-friendly, had a menu that focused on chicken fingers, was just far enough from the airport to drive Elijah and Luca nuts, and was fully stocked with dolphins.

Apparently this wasn’t too hard to find, because by day two we were elbows deep in playful aquatic mammals.  

There was a little pond behind the hotel where the dolphins lived and where they hosted their “dolphin experiences.” Luca, a Hamann through and through, wanted to wait in line a full 45 minutes early. Which was fine by me.

I spent that 45 minutes explaining to the boys how it’s been my lifelong dream to punch a dolphin in the face. “I just want to wipe those grins right off their dumb faces.”

Diana had to explain to the boys that their father had a sick sense of humor. She also told me to shut up.

Eventually, we lined up on a dock and a dolphin trainer took their charges through their paces. Each dolphin had the expression of a dinner theatre actor who was on their 1,000th of performance of “H.M.S. Pinafore.” Kinda bored, but happy for the regular gig.

The boys gleefully dropped fish and ice cubes and cubes of gelatin into the mouth of Lucky, the resident 42 year old male. I was immediately overcome with a sense of kindred spirit. I couldn’t bring myself to punch him in the face. And he couldn’t bring himself to biting my arm off.

We all came away from it a little changed. The message of conservation got the boys on a kick of throwing away the daiquiri-filled plastic cups left on every surface of the hot tub. And they almost made the choice of giving up any and all toys for the rest of the year to afford another dolphin experience. Almost.

Diana also declared her desire to give up the wine store and go back to school to become a sea animal trainer. The time and expense of such an endeavor made perfect sense to all of us, especially when it meant we could all live at the hotel permanently.

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