Archive forOctober, 2006

Last Day of our Fall Florida Trip – But scroll to the bottom to START the journey

Our trip home (north) has been fairly uneventful but not perfect.

Our first problem came up when, even with trusty GPS, we made a mis-cue while going through Atlanta on I-75. We ended up heading on I-85 east instead of north on 75, but we eventually got on the 275 loop which at least got us back on track. It added probably 20-30 minutes to our already long day and John wasn’t happy.

We also had a problem with sand burrs. It seems Willow got a little frantic about needing to stop at a rest area (she’s on medication and it has affected her thirstiness and subsequent output). There was no place to stop and we recognized her urgency, so we pulled over on the shoulder of the highway near a truck weigh station.

As soon as I stepped out on the shoulder I was ankle deep in sand-burrs. I had on sandals and there were probably a dozen between the sole of my foot and my sandal. These were really sharp buggers and not like the gentle kind I’ve seen in Michigan. I sat Willow on the only clear spot I could find so I could get them out from between my sandal and the sole of my foot. While I was busy pulling them out of my foot, she took a step or two forward into a thicket of them. Of course her little feet were immediately in agony so she rolled over, yelping. John came to her rescue and soon his chest was covered with burrs where Willow had transferred them to him. They also impalled his sandal clad feet (but not under his soles). Thankfully all were easily (but uncomfortably picked off).

But other than that, our trip has been fairly uneventful.

Florida and Georgia looked like summer, although the temperature had dropped dramatically. Tenessee had the very few colorful trees, but Kentucky was cloaked in a beautiful fall display what I’d consider “peak color.” In Ohio, there was still some color, but it’s definitely well-past peak. There were a lot of bare trees. Michigan is about the same.

Temperature is currently 49. Overnight both Monday and Tuesday, it was below freezing. This a.m. the grass was definitely frosty in Florence, KY.

We should make it home by about 2:30 this afternoon. We’re just crossed the border into Michigan so we have only about 130 miles to go.

I’ll probably write a little more, when we get home

Comments off

Headin’ Home!

It’s a gloomy cloudy day so I don’t feel as badly as I would if it we had bright sunshine and the promise of perfect weather.

We will overnight in Locust Grove, GA. The 1,300 mile trip, when divided over three days, isn’t bad. Of course, we’ve heard the reports of the bitter cold Michigan is experiencing, but I am looking forward to a fire in the fireplace, and relaxing in our comfy living room then bedding down in our own bed.

Yesterday I said good-bye to Mom and it bothered me a lot. I made her promise she’ll remember us when we return in February. There was a little problem in the unit, so the residents were restricted. Therefore I wasn’t able to stay as long as I’d planned, but we did have two visits with her. and brought her a milk shake. The rest of the day was glorious. We spent several hours in the pool chatting with “friends.”

Last night we took another golf cart “night ride.” This time we took Willow with us. We toured much of Kings Point, but it was a little cooler than Saturday night. Nevertheless it was a nice final evening outting and I’m glad we did it.

The golf cart was a wise purchase. It was so much easier than using our big diesel truck. We figure we put close to 300 miles on the cart just going back and forth to the pool and to Mom’s facility.

But now it’s time to get back into Michigan mode. We have some fun stuff coming up that we’re looking forward to.

‘Ain’t life grand??



We’re here in Locust Grove, Georgia, and a frost is predicted tonight! Until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, they expect it’ll be about 32 degrees. what a difference from yesterday’s 89 degree pool time!

Comments off

The end of our Fall Florida Adventure

We’re about ready to head home from Florida to Saginaw, Michigan. I can’t begin to tell you how nice the people at Kings Point in Sun City Center (Florida) are or how welcome we’ve felt.

Last night it we were invited to a concert at the Methodist Church by our new friends, Gary and Darlene. Friday noon we lunched with Sandy and went with Gary and Darlene to a Pennsylvania Club Party, Thursday it was the Rockin’ Rendevous at the South Club, Wednesday a gormet dinner at Bob’s house. Every evening it’s been a fun time.

Both John and I love Michigan and our Michigan friends can’t be equaled but this Florida adventure has been really awesome! There are beginning to believe there is something about the conversations shared in a warm swimming pool that brings about a special openness.

I must admit that we’ve discovered a different lifestyle that is really fun for us.

Tonight, long after dark, I talked John into a “night ride” in our golf cart. It is a fun experience. The warmth of the evening is enveloping. We drove through different areas we’d been curious about. It was fun. John said he wished we’d done it before. (“Why’d we just discover this when we’re heading home?” he asked.) We have only one more night left.

Tomorrow we need to finish packing. But I also want to spend time with Mom, and a long soak in the pool is MANDATORY! Then tomorrow night, I’m hoping for another “night ride.”

I can’t imagine how life could be better. Our friend Bob, who has experienced a lot, frequently says, “It just doesn’t get any better than this.” I’m beginning to believe him.

Comments off

Retarded Grandparents

After Christmas, a teacher asked her young pupils how they spent their holiday away from school. One essay sounds just like Kings Point complete with golf cart and the guard at the gate:

The child wrote:

“We always used to spend the holidays with Grandma and Grandpa. They used to live in a big brick house but Grandpa got retarded.

“They ride around on their bicycles and wear name tags because they don’t know who they are anymore.

“They go to a building called a wrecked center, but they must have got it fixed because it is okay now, and do exercises there, but they don’t do them very well. There is a swimming pool too, but in it, they all jump up and down with hats on.

“At their gate, there is a doll house with a little old man sitting in it. He watches all day so nobody can escape. Sometimes they sneak out.

“They go cruising in their golf carts. Nobody there cooks, they just eat out. And, they eat the same thing every night: Early Birds. Some of the people can’t get out past the man in the doll house. The ones who do get out, bring food back to the wrecked center and call it pot luck.

“My Grandma says that Grandpa worked all his life to earn his retardment and says I should work hard so I can be retarded someday too. When I earn my retardment, I want to be the man in the doll house. Then I will let people out so they can visit their grandchildren.”

Ok, so we wear name tags, ride golf carts, no one cooks, and all of us wear hats in the pool (’cause very few really swim, most of us just soak and want to keep the sun out of our eyes), but most of us are retired NOT retarded.

Comments off

Love Bugs!

They seem to have followed us. Last year we ran into them in Georgia and northern Florida, but none were in this area. This year, they seem to be enjoying the hospitality of Kings Point.

Again, for clarification, what are love bugs? I found this technical explanation:

The love bug (also known as lovebug, march fly, honeymoon fly, telephone bug and double-headed bug) (scientific name Plecia nearctica) is a small flying insect common to the southern United States, especially along the Gulf Coast. It was first described in 1940 in Galveston, Texas, and was said to be invading Texas and Louisiana. By the end of the 20th century, however, it had spread heavily to all areas bordering the Gulf of Mexico, as well as Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, and other parts of Central America.

The female is the larger one on the right.

love bugs

We find them floating in the pool, and in the air around it. They don’t bite, but there are just too many of them. And the fact that they are so obvious about their passion makes them like lovers who have no consideration for the priopriety of keeping their bedroom antics behind closed doors.

John said he fears that they’re spreading to this part of the state, but today at the pool, it was said that they’ve been here for at least 19 years. Guess we were just lucky last year. I don’t miss them, when they’re not here.

Comments off

End of Week Observatons

Time here in Florida flies. I suppose it’s because we’re having fun.

Last night we hung out at Rockin Rendevous in the club house. It was a lively bunch and we enjoyed ourselves. Folks are really nice – as are our Michigan friends.

I looked around last night and came up with a few rules old folks should observe when it comes to a “senior dress code.*” Some things just don’t go well together:

1. Nose ring and bifocals.
2. Spiked hair and bald spots.
3. Pierced tongue and dentures.
4. Miniskirts and support hose.
5. Ankle bracelets and corn pads.
6. Speedos and cellulite.
7. A belly button ring and gall bladder surgery scar.
8. Unbuttoned disco shirts and a heart monitor.
9. Midriff shirts and midriff bulge.
10. Bikinis and liver spots.
11. Short shorts and varicose veins.
12. Inline skates and a walker.
And lastly(and most scary)….
13. Thongs and depends.

* Credit should be given to Mary Perdom from “Senior Connection,” Tampa Bay’s award winning magazine, who came up with these 13 items.

Today at the pool we saw a fellow who came close to violation #6. He had to be 90 and he was in a skimpy speedo. There is also a guy who swims in his whitey tighties. Yup, his fruit of the looms are his choice for a swim suit! Look away, Girls, no fair peeking.

John and I fit in but we’re not in the extreme. We dress appropriately. I’ve mentioned that down here I’m more aware of my wardrobe and definitely have decided that (FOR SURE!!!) before February I’ll lose some weight. Last night we saw everything. Old men with younger women, younger women with really old guys. And on and on.

Last night several of us realized we don’t have one answer… We are puzzled. Are there any rules when it comes to which ankle on which you wear your ankle bracelet? We’re afraid that we could be giving the “wrong signal.” Maybe there’s some code we don’t know. We looked around and most wore them on left ankles, but is there a difference? Does it mean anything? Now we’re concerned. (Don’t laugh. I looked on the internet for an answer and apparently others are concerned about the same thing. We all wonder if we are not “in enough” to know the signals given for a left or a right ankle.)

Ahhhh… such are the mysteries of life.

Comments off

Oodles of Noodles

Today it’s a bit cloudy, but it probably won’t stop us from enjoying the pool after we stop to see Mom. (I’m pretty much over my cold.)

I haven’t mentioned one of the must-haves at the pool: a foam snakey looking thing everyone uses for floating in the pool. We call them noodles. Noodles are mandatory. Everyone has one. We started with the popular variety which is about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. One day we stumbled across two that are a larger version in the Goodwill store. It’s probably close to 4 inches across. I love the larger one because it keeps me high enough in the water so my hair doesn’t get wet. We float for hours at a time. The pool is the social spot. We meet folks, enjoy lively conversations, and relax. No store locally sells the big ones, so with our big noodles, we’re the envy of everyone at the pool.

Below you can see both the smaller ones being used in an exercise class and John using one of ours. (Mine is a pretty royal blue.)
a noodle exercise class


Comments off

Sniffling Sunday

The cold’s still with me. It seems slightly better today so hopefully it won’t hang on too long. I’m still hesitant to visit Mom. I’d hate to pass it on to her.

At 2:00 we’re going to go look at a house like Mom and Hoagie’s that’s for sale here in Kings Point. Probably late this afternoon, we’ll find time to hang out at the pool.

It’s a weird tempo around here. Things like lunch at Taco Bell become “outtings.” A trip to Walmart is a day’s excursion. Since so little time is spent doing “work,” doing the laundry or cleaning becomes an accomplishment. It’s an adjustment to get used to 24/7 relaxation, but we’re managing.

We only have three weeks left, and then we’ll head home and start planning for our February return visit.

When we get back to Michigan, we need to be ready for holiday plays. John’s taking every opportunity to practice Christmas carols, and does it ever seem strange. The temperature is 90 but he’s playing “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.”

I was down here right after the first of the year in 2005. It amazed me that there were Christmas lights decorating homes. It felt like someone had mistakenly left them up into the wrong season. For me Christmas includes snow and cold weather. I guess I’m a died-in-the-wool “Northerner.” I love the crunch of snow underfoot. I love the drifting of snowflakes past the window while enjoying a fire in the fireplace. I love to wrap up in a cozy warm robe or afghan while enjoyng a nice glass of wine. We have scheduled things so we’ll have the best of both worlds. We’re darned lucky!

(Later in the evening:)

We did take Mom in the golf cart about 3:30 for ice cream but skipped the pool. (I figured it would be hard to blow my nose when neck deep in water.) It was a beautiful day. Feeling punk didn’t fit the setting. I dressed nicely in crisp white pants, black off-the-shoulder top, and a big-brimmmed straw hat with black band. At least I looked ok. Generally that’ll perk me up but it didn’t work. I felt red-nosed and yucky.

Mom is much more alert than when we arrived. She expresses herself more. Today she asked me to sit beside her and talk, but I explained that I wasn’t feeling well and wanted to avoid spreading my germs to her. She seemed to understand. We said we’ll see her tomorrow or Tuesday. She was ok with that.

Tomorrow there’s a sale at Beall’s and I want to go shipping. I have a totally different-than-Michigan wardrobe when I’m here. The hot item at the Rockin’ Rendevous are fitted white cropped pants. I need some! It would be great if I could just leave my summer clothes here until we return in February, but after our experience with all the stuff being taken from the condo when we arrived, I won’t take a chance. So we’ll haul them home and I’ll bring them back. Between now and February, I’d like to shed about 10 pounds. Nothing like bathing suits to make you aware of your body.

I hereby vow I’ll be in better shape when we come back.

Comments off

Click here to go to the Skaryd's Biography and a link for emailing.