Gulf Oil

Word that the leaking Horizon well is under control is encouraging, and that is good. But damage has been done in ways we’ll be dealing with for years. Husband and I were in Pensacola, Florida, this past week for a quick couple of days. It’s one of our favorite vacation spots and we were anxious to check out the oil-leak effects. Here’s what we found: The Emerald coast was gorgeous, as always … but, sadly, clean-up workers seemed to outnumber tourists. We didn’t mind no lines at restaurants and no crowds on beaches, but that also meant no money coming in and no jobs for the folks who live there. And that is not good. At Joe Patti’s Seafood, there were more employees behind the counter than shoppers in front of it — and no local shrimp, grouper or oysters. The Boardwalk shops in Pensacola Beach practically echoed with emptiness. A local newspaper story quoted locals as saying it was “January in July.” And even though theoretically folks who’ve lost money and jobs to the oil leak will be reimbursed, what’s going to happen next year when all the tourists who got scared off by the oil this summer decide to stick with the new places they found? We’ll be back. And you should, too. You can order from Joe Patti’s online at http://www.joepattis.com and keep up with the latest Pensacola happenings at http://www.visitpensacola.com/.

Family Vacations

You know how when you go on a vacation that involves sharing a space with a bunch of other people who are mostly related to you and there’s always a point when you declare that you absolutely positively never ever will go to the beach or anywhere else again with your cousin Michelle? The key is to be prepared. Look, you plan the food and you organize the packing and you get the car ready for the trip so do the same thing for family dynamics. You know somebody will be the Worrier and somebody will be the Worker and somebody will be the Fun-Lover, so proceed accordingly. Just make sure the Organizer does her job. Read more at my weekly newspaper column, http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20100716/ARTICLES/307169994.