“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.”
We’ve reached the sixth month mark in our relocation to Florida. During that time, we’ve continued to tweak our possessions. Lampshades have been changed out for lighter colors. It’s a small detail but it does give a brighter and more “Florida” feel to our rooms. We’ve let go of more things, not always an easy task when they have memories attached. Some have gone to the trash or Goodwill and a few larger items have been sold.
We’ve had the security system checked and explained and thought we understood it. However, after a weekend away, we returned and opened the garage door, not realizing it would trigger the alarm. By the time we got into the house, I quickly tapped in the code to turn it off. Seconds later, the alarm went off again and I realized I hadn’t pressed “off” after the code. No harm, no problem, right? Not exactly. The security company called and said that because the alarm went off twice, the “authorities” were on their way. It was embarrassing but we resigned ourselves to an all-too-public “all clear.” A patrol car showed up about half an hour later. (Good thing it wasn’t an emergency.) An officer rang the doorbell and inquired, “Are you folks okay?” I explained the mishap and he said, “Okay, but next time I’ll have to charge you.” Then he laughed and said, “Just kidding!” (I got the impression false alarms aren’t unusual in these wired communities.)
At last report, the gate entry codes for guests were all set, or so we thought. They forgot to tell us to have guests press # after the codes. We learned about the glitch when a guest had a problem entering. It may not be the final solution however, because a new management company has taken over and the gate access system may be changed. If you’re coming to visit us, we’ll try to stay updated.
Air conditioning is a new fact of life for us and we struggle learning to deal with it. As two people with different sensitivities to heat and cold, we’ve had to compromise on the set temperature. It’s often warm for me but too cool for him. Another challenge is maintenance. We had one company come in to clean and check the AC system but we felt they took advantage of our ignorance. We paid their exorbitant fee but we’ve since learned no one in the community uses them. Next time we’ll check with the neighbors for recommendations. The learning curve continues.
We have different preferences for morning workouts. He bikes or runs and follows up with a session in the hot tub. I still enjoy doing my morning pool laps but I’m now being kind to my eyes by wearing swim goggles—not a pretty sight, but they work.
We have long enjoyed kayaking but we left our old kayaks in Maine. So, we bought ourselves new Florida kayaks for Christmas and we enjoy paddling up and down rivers and the Intercoastal Waterway with its many canals. We pass lots of boaters, paddleboarders and other kayakers and we see ospreys, wading birds, turtles and occasional alligators, which thankfully have left us alone.
There’s little yard work for us here which is a luxury after owning a Massachusetts high-maintenance property. Our work pretty much consists of picking up dead palm fronds and putting them by the curb. An unexpected upside of less yard work is that my fingernails are growing longer and stronger!
We’ve learned that different dangers lurk in the outdoors here. In Massachusetts, we feared ticks and mosquitoes and the diseases they bring. Down here, poisonous toads can be a problem, especially for pets. Haven’t seen any yet but the “Toad Busters” trucks are out and about.
Back in our early months here, the ocean was struggling with red tide. It soon went away but was replaced for a while by man o’ war jellyfish. Most of the time, however, we are enjoying the beach. Love that salty air!
Moving from a town with no sidewalks, roads like country lanes and minimal traffic to a city with busy multi-lane roads has been an adjustment. Stop lights here last a long time while the various straight and turning lanes have their opportunities. And it has taken a while to learn what lanes I need to maneuver into in order to avoid a forced exit or forced turn when I need to go straight. One positive is they have dotted lane lines to follow when you do make a turn.
Back in Massachusetts, I enjoyed a couple of great writing groups, so I was anxious to find something similar here. It has taken a while but I now take part in two monthly groups which each offer a different type of support. One encourages me to dig deep each time by responding to a writing prompt and having it critiqued. The other group provides feedback on my work-in -progress.
Writing reminds me of books and, I have to say, I miss the wonderful Boston Book Festival with its deep roster of well-known authors giving presentations at no cost. The Palm Beach Book Festival also has an excellent line-up of authors but it charges a hefty fee.
Finally, you can’t beat the plethora of restaurants with fresh seafood and outdoor water views down here, especially when Happy Hour prices make them affordable.