Monday, February 18, 2008

Florida III--The Car

With our 3-hour delay in Las Vegas we got to Tampa after 3 in the morning. It was Valentine's Day, and we had reserved a room at a really nice hotel (through Priceline, as a good Mennonite minister ought, getting a $300 room for something like $65), so of course we had been expecting a Wonderful Romantic Getaway despite the fact that our purpose for going was actually a ministers' convention, which by definition isn't especially romantic.

So we got our luggage and shlepped it down passageways and around corners and up ramps to the Budget car rental place. After a long wait we were finally informed that the attendant was gone for the night and we had to go to another place on the other side of the airport. So we retraced our steps plus a bunch extra, and found the right place.

Of course Paul as a good Mennonite minister had reserved an economy car. However, those were all taken, so we had three choices, all for the same price as an economy car: a sedate minivan, a kind-of-sedate SUV, or a Mitsubishi Spyder convertible. Now this is a terrible moral dilemma for a Mennonite minister--like free beer, as the old joke goes--two much-too-large gas guzzlers vs. a worldly hot rod.

Stewardship and gas mileage won out, and we got into the convertible, which was like getting into a kayak, and took off to find our hotel, using the map Paul had printed off Mapquest.

But we might as well have had a map of Boston for all the good it did us. Almost nothing matched up--names, numbers, nothing--and we went around and around through lots of road construction and got very confused and I must say crabby, as morning was rapidly approaching. Paul finally got the right Hyatt on the phone--the third try--and the nice lady talked us in, and by this time it was after 5 a.m. and the less I say about our state of mind and body, the better.

The nice lady told us we can stay til 2 pm instead of the normal 11 am checkout, and we collapsed into bed and woke up many hours later to brilliant sunshine peeking around the drapes, and I made coffee in the adorable little machine, and all was well, and later we headed leisurely down to Sarasota, and Paul was a romantic husband and stopped so we could take a walk on the beach.

We had great fun all weekend tooling around in that convertible, and on Friday night as we drove out to the beach with the top down and the warm breezes blowing, just as the sun was setting, we had this conversation:

Quote of the Day:
Me: Maybe people will think that you're really rich and I'm your trophy wife.
Paul: You're my trophy wife whether people think so or not.


  1. What a funny story....a good laugh for the day! Isn't travel a challenge? It's more often than not a horror story, but good to tell to those who will listen later.

    Thanks for your writing. You are a friend that I haven't had the pleasure of meeting yet.

  2. Thanks for the photo as even my VERY GOOD imagination has a hard time imagining Paul in a Spyder! Pauline

  3. that is too cute: the quote of the day, i mean. ;-) and wow i must say the CAR... is something else! how cool--guess God worked it out instead of the 'economy' car gave you something fun.
    i wish my mom and dad were home.

  4. Oh, how sweet! So romantic! Juanita

  5. LOVE this post - and the picture! I would think there weren't too many cars like that in the parking lot at the ministers' convention...

  6. Great picture! Thanks for posting it and not just leaving us to try and conjure up an image in our minds! ~ribbit98

  7. fun, fun still waiting for margaret mead (there always the best you know)

  8. This is too funny, i was there too, I think maybe we even a convertable in Sarasota, talk of class! Did you drive it to the church? I never saw it...=) Miriam Orendorf

  9. Miriam--Yes, we had the car at the church. We got a few strange looks but usually there wasn't anyone about when we arrived or left.