This writer finds it difficult to unwind on vacation

By Melanie Yingst

February 26, 2014

One of the hardest things to do as a news reporter isn’t finding sources, juggling appointments or staying awake during less than interesting meetings about meetings.

Truth be told, the hardest thing to do is take a vacation.

In today’s world, it is harder than ever to take a break from the constant flow of information.

Last week, I tagged along with Mr. Obvious to head back down to the Florida Gulf. It was an unexpected get-away, but it wasn’t too hard to turn down with this never-ending winter weather.

And getting there is always half the battle.

With Mr. Obvious’ busy season coming up, we even delayed our flights to cram one more productive day into our schedules.

While you all were bracing for those high winds last Thursday evening, we were bracing ourselves in mid-air with some of the worst turbulence I’ve ever experienced in all my years of flying. Vacation was getting off to a rough start.

But a few hours later, the 80-degree muggy midnight air greeted us in Fort Myers Beach.

Of the two other times I’ve been invited down to Fort Myers Beach, I’ve always managed to be down there during record breaking lows and citrus-crop freeze warnings. It’s like I bring the cold with me every time I’m here.

I apologize for having that much power.

Finally, I was able to leave the winter behind and soak up the Floridian sun like the rest of the Ohioans down there.

Everybody down there is from Ohio. So much so, there are even “Ohio Days” at the local beach restaurants. Ohio loves Florida. And Florida loves Ohio (except on college football days). Throw in a Minnesota and a Canadian or two, and the rest are Ohioans. Trust me.

The first full day of vacation, I couldn’t help but check the paper and other news outlets. It’s become such a habit that I can’t seem to shake it. Now with my iPhone at hand, I still scrolled around looking at all the stories about the wind damage and other news items that popped up over night.

On the first day of vacation, I wrapped up a story I didn’t have time to finish before departure. Finally, a sense of freedom washed over me.

I could relax, but would I?

Boating around the back bay for lunch and cold beverages, I still found myself wanting to know more about Fort Myers beyond the boats and sea seekers.

I picked up a copy of the local paper, and one of the headlines warned residents to lock their doors and secure their valuables — Spring Break was on the horizon. It reminded me how our local law enforcement gets amped up for Country Concert and festival season. But their mayham lasts for weeks and weeks as college coeds flock to the gulf.

One story shared a little bit of how local government codes are enforced in town, much like the city of Troy’s ordinances regarding fences, height of grass and other zoning violations.

Fort Myers Beach’s biggest pain of the day are above ground luxury pool houses in a new development. Sure that’s kind of a boring story except for one minor issue — they are already in the middle of building it. Ouch. That can not be good.

On the lighter side of Florida news, a fun event also caught my eye — a fishing tournament.

Sure, they may have those all the time, but this one was unique — it was a blind man’s fishing tournament. Seriously. The event pairs a blind angler with a volunteer captain and sighted mate for a three-person team. The blind fisherman who catches the biggest fish wins $500.

At least, I hope he gets five $100 bills instead of five $1 bills for that big catch. At least you couldn’t fault the blind fisherman when tells his tall tale of the one time he caught a fish “this big.”

All in all, my boss City Editor Melody Vallieu finally reprimanded me for working while I was on vacation so I put down my phone and managed to read a book and do a few crossword puzzles in the warm sun.

One nice lady at the pool even commented to me that it was “nice to see someone your age not on your phone all day.”

A taste of retirement life was sweet, but doing nothing all day sure is a lot of work!

Melanie Yingst appears on Fridays in the Troy Daily News. She is terrible at shuffleboard, but is a great Bridge player.