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When you move to the tropical paradise that is Florida, you'd better expect visitors from the frozen tundra you left behind.

Even when the tundra isn't frozen.

Even when it's so hot here you can't imagine anyone in his or her right mind coming to visit.

Well, this month, my family - this is probably not a good place to discuss "right minds" - is coming down in droves by land and by air.

Most aren't staying with us but there will be a couple of days when relatives in double digits will be sprawled on every couch and bed and corner of our house.

The occasion?

My niece is getting married on Anna Maria Island in a ceremony on the beach with the lapping waves of the Gulf of Mexico and swaying palms serving as the backdrop. It's the wedding of every girl's dreams.

Every girl in northern Ohio in the middle of the winter, that is.

As she gushed details of her upcoming nuptials last Christmas, I tried to tell her it might be a tad hot for a wedding on the beach in Florida in June.

But I don't think she gave that foreboding much credence, or maybe she didn't even hear it over the howling wind and the chattering of her teeth. In suburban Cleveland. In December.

Since then, I've only occasionally mumbled, "It's going to be really hot," about the wedding plans.

Like when she told me she was wearing a wedding dress with a train made of silk and satin instead of gauze or bathing suit material.

And when she told me she wanted the groom and his band of merry men to wear tuxedoes.

I didn't want to be a spoilsport, and I sure didn't want to ruin the happiest day in the life of the oldest daughter of my only sister. But sometimes I couldn't help myself. The words slipped out of my mouth like a scoop of ice cream slips off a cone on a hot summer day.

I'll soon find out how many of my warnings she heeded. The days till the wedding can be counted on one person's sweaty fingers.

It's a big deal, this Ohio wedding in Florida, but actually, every event is a big deal when there are five kids in the family and they all have kids and some of those kids have kids.

We haven't had a sit-down dinner - Thanksgiving or otherwise - since the '90s when my grandma was still alive.

It didn't matter if the food got cold as platters were passed down the long, long, long table because my grandma, pretty forgetful by that point, was served first and she never remembered to put the serving utensils back on the platters before passing them. You couldn't take any food, hot or cold.

I've been working hard to get ready for my company. All I have left to do is stock the fridge, vacuum and sweep the floors, dust the furniture, clean the bathrooms, straighten up the garage, wipe the dirty fingerprints from around doorknobs and light switches, buy beer, wash the glass on the sliding door, mow the lawn, clean the pool, power-wash the birdcage, find someplace to put the biting bird, make sure there's enough bedding and pillows, convince the love of my life everything will be okay, and, oh yes, blow up the new air mattresses.

Whew, good thing I bought the kind that pump themselves up.

Patti Ewald can be reached at or (727) 893-8746.