Florida Beginnings

For those of you that have been asking how life is in the warm sunny state of Florida for this Northerner girl, blogging is the easiest way to respond. First know that those down here call me a Northern, inspite of the fact I have lived in Nashville for 16 years! I guess, in Floridians mind that is not the south.

When we first moved in, we found out quickly, we have a neighbor much like Mrs. Kravitz on the Bewitched show. Ours is named Wally. He is a very likeable fellow but makes it his responsibility to fill us in on everything not limited to but including:

·        If we pull our trash cans in off the curb and see others, we are to pull theirs up at the same time, as that is the “neighborly” thing to do
·        Our dog, since over 100 lbs. should be wearing a horse saddle
·        Instructions on how often the grass should be cut, how things should be planted
·        We must get Direct TV so he can get $25.00 off his next bill!
·        The bugs on the front of our car have been there for two days and need to be cleaned

In driving around the area, trying to get familiar with the roads, we have discovered our GPS is also unfamiliar with this area of Florida. Apparently the woman inside our navigation system has blonde roots or prefers the scenic route.  She frequently takes lunch breaks and leaves us in a lurch.

We quickly discovered, Florida is the one place everyone makes U turns, and I mean do mean everywhere. Turn signals must not be mandatory or break easily and are never fixed as  u turns are down with relatively no warning and at the most inopportune times.  Imagine, driving down the road, and all of the sudden, in the left-hand lane, the car directly infront of you hits its breaks and makes a u turn in the middle of a double sides highway. Welcome to Florida! Roads aren’t marked well and either are locations, stores, or restaurants. I constantly miss the turn off for Starbucks.  That is downright sinful! So u turns it is,  we have begun to conform to the norm.

I am enjoying seeing all the tropical plants I use to only see on television and on occasional vacations to the beach. Palm trees are everywhere, lining many streets. Drivers are not good-natured when I stop the car though to snap an occasional picture of one to text a friend so I have had to refrain doing so. And our neighbors, they are removing their large palm trees from their yard. As they do, they are gleeful about it and I am sad. Apparently these trees, once large, are a nuisance and yet, I am new to the area and love them. Slowly but surely, I fear the large ones will disappear from our neighborhood.

One of the most bizarre things I have seen in our neighborhood is pots of plants literally lying on the ground as landscaping!  Some folks put the pots half in the soil. I found this silly looking so took it upon myself to take two of ours that were left like that on our newer home to transplant in the ground.  Now, as they are quickly dying, I took the time to ask neighbors why they keep them potted. Now I learn it is because it allows the water to be held in the pots much better than the sandy soil to keep the plants from dying. I come home and look at my dying plants and say lesson learned.  Wally peeps out the window at me shaking his head and laughing.

Our lanai, also called a Florida room is much like a sunroom in the North.  We had no idea, if the door is left open long, those strange reptiles found in the south can find their way in. Baby lizards called salamanders and yes, even last night,  frogs. One night, two were found in it and we fought over who was going to catch the critters. I think we would have left them there with the door propped open but our fear was that Charley would eat them.   It is preferably though to mice in the house in the north.

We lucked out that we are located within ten houses of the doggie park. Charley is overjoyed. However, wow, every time he is taken outside to go to the bathroom, he is pulling at that lead as if there is no tomorrow to walk down there until we give in and off we go to appease him.  And wouldn’t you know it is right by the last hole of the golf course so carts seem to go by frequently getting him all riled up. The good part of this is he comes home exhausted. My arm is pulled half out of the socket too.

Oh we also have had a bout or two of poop in our new home! Strange huh when the HOA insists everyone pick up their dog’s poop.   We thought so too until we learned coyotes are located here too. And we then learned what their waste looks like and found it was that.  Disgusting huh, it somehow landed in our living room. So now, we are on guard for their stuff in our yard.  I am hoping they don’t like oranges as there is a nice orange tree in our backyard.

We have both been busy, my husband and I working on things fixing up the house, putting our touches on everything. Constantly we are asked how is the beach? We want to say, “What beach, are there beaches here?”  We really need to take a break and start doing more things Florida is known for. Home Depot is everywhere and even in Florida it looks exactly the same.

Interesting bit of trivia we learned regarding the county we live in Pascoe County. This is the nudist capital county in the United States. Clothing is optional in many areas. Isn’t that nice to know? Perhaps when my grandchildren come down, I should be certain I know where those areas are at! 

While painting our rocking chairs green, one neighbor was extremely friendly. Ed. He drove his golf cart right up through our yard to the garage to chat with me. As he watched me he kept commenting on how good a painter I was and how much I seemed to enjoy it. That should have been my cue, but no red flag went off.

He then went on to tell me where he lives in the community, towards the front where a huge Buddha is out in the front yard. I told Big Ed I would never have known that. He goes on to tell me Buddha needs very badly to be repainted. Okay, here I sensed what was coming. He told me he can’t handle painting Buddha. It hurts his back too much to bend over. He went on saying he would pay someone to paint it, “Hey why not you?” 

I got out of it but have decided, from here on out when painting I need to look more in pain when I do outside work if Ed is around. He is a sweetheart but I don’t see Buddha in my future!  

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