The Color Red

Our trip to Florida has taken on a vivid shade of red.

We’re in Fort Myers now, and one of our priorities has been to visit the Red Sox spring training site. Exhibition games haven’t started yet, so here’s what happens when you go to their City of Palms Stadium. Arrive. Get on a bus to go about a mile to their practice fields. Watch the players stretch for 30 minutes. Watch the pitchers throw some balls, and run through some practice drills (e.g., fielding bunts). Watch the hitters take batting practice. Watch the players leave the field to go to the shower room, doing their best to avoid autograph seekers.

The highlight for me was a sunny spring day (unusual for us on this trip), and all the joy I associate with the sounds and sights of baseball. I don’t put a big premium on seeing famous baseball players close-up, which seems to be the principal appeal for many attendees (maybe 2,000 in total). But just being here, with my thirteen-year-old son who loves baseball and the Red Sox, was a real treat.

Until a month ago, I had never given much (dare I say, any) thought to the texture and nature of a pig’s skin. But with a pet pig, it’s become very tangible. They don’t have fur, and they have a very thin covering of hair. I sure didn’t realize a pig could get badly sunburned. But we took Rosie for a walk on the beach here, and after an hour or so in the sun, her skin turned quite red — downright rosy. Our lesson learned — our pig needs sunblock before going outside.

Homer’s “rosy-fingered dawn” took on new meaning for me over the past week. I am almost always the first one up in the morning for our family, and love the early hours of the day. But the normal calm I experience these days has been shattered by the sounds of pig squeals. My complaints to my daughter, though, were met with her claim that the sound of my alarm was causing Rosie to speak out.

Well, last night, I lowered the volume of the alarm, and buried it under some clothes. Better yet, I awoke quite early this morning before the alarm went off, and disabled the alarm. Best (or worst, depending) of all, I already heard the loud squeals of our pig. I’ve got a video here of a perfectly boring door, but it gives you an idea of what she sounds like. Eventually, our eleven-year-old daughter was awakened by her pig, stormed out of her room, opened the bathroom door where we keep the pig, shouted, “Rosie, shut up!”, and went back to bed. I can see our enlightened parenting skills are rubbing off :-) .

But Rosie hadn’t quite got her full measure of revenge. A bit later in the morning, I was lying in bed reading when our little pigger walked in to our bedroom. I thought, “Gee, how nice that she’s coming for a visit.” She walked up to the edge of the bed, did a 180, squatted, and peed all over our floor. I suppose the positive interpretation of this is that she’s clearly learning some basics of communication.

Even though it’s been a bit chilly, we’ve had some great walks on the beach here. The apartment we’re renting has a short path to a wide and beautiful beach. We go out for walks frequently, and really enjoy the beauty of the ocean — even when you can’t swim in it.

We’ve also had our share of cold, rainy weather on this trip. Local residents are telling me that they have been shocked at how much colder it’s been this year than any in recent memory. The rain has given us a good opportunity for reading and home-schooling. But we’re ready for some warm sunshine, that’s for sure.

Today, off to Naples for the day, which should be fabulous.

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