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Category Archives: General Rambling

Retirement

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We plan to leave Florida and retire to the mountains of either north Georgia or western North Carolina. I am well aware that there is a fairly large contingent of folks native to those parts who feel a certain hostility toward Floridians who retire to their region. I’ll admit that’s a tad off-putting, but I am hoping that we can come in under the radar. From what I understand, much of the complaining is about Floridians who leave Florida cities to move to rural communities in the mountains, and then they attempt to change those communities to more closely resemble the area they just left. This will not be us. First and foremost, I don’t like the area where we currently live, so I will welcome any change there may be. I like our house and our property here, but once you leave those borders, I hate it. I would never attempt to get our new home to resemble in even the remotest way the place we live now.

In fact, I don’t anticipate interacting with locals much at all. We have a list of priorities for the next house, and that list includes having neighbors that are visible but not within hollering distance.  Therefore we will likely not impact anyone in the vicinity of our new home (not that we have loud dogs, play loud music, drive loud cars, or in any other way behave in an obtrusive manner). As far as I can tell, only the realtor and the person who handles our initial banking needs will be aware of our Floridian nature, unless we choose to share it. We are conspicuously without southern accents, though (since we are Ohioans who have lived in NC, Canada, and NM before landing here).

I would opt for early retirement for my husband and go now, but I believe he will want to hold out for the 3 years until he turns 65. We are, nonetheless, already doing some minor preparations. Our bathroom was painted a bright and cheery tangerine orange, a decision I made while clearly having moments of insanity. It wasn’t that terrible but there is no way we could put this house on the market with an orange bathroom. So that is now a far more normal pastel yellow color. Today the man who installs vinyl floorcovering came out and we made arrangements to have the living room floor replaced, which is another thing that had to be done before we could put the house in the market. I have purchased some very large and sturdy trash bags, which I intend to fill with all the stuff and junk that has accumulated but which we will not be taking with us. That right there is easily a year-long endeavor (some will be donated, of course).

I’m very excited about this plan, I cannot wait to leave Florida. It’s not just the heat and humidity, which is terrible. Right now we can’t go outside without covering from head to toe to avoid being bitten by yellow flies. Yellow flies are vicious deer fly-like creatures whose bites will leave huge red, swollen welts on your skin. The heat and humidity have nothing on the flies. The other day I had to walk outside from the front door to the car to get something. It was 96 degrees and I didn’t want to put on my long cotton sweat pants and long-sleeved shirt and shoes to be outside for less than a minute. So I sprayed Deep Woods Off! on my lower legs–yellow flies generally swarm and land on the backs of your lower legs and backs of your ankles, spots that are difficult to swat. I drenched those parts in repellent, full well knowing that it was futile. On my way back from the car I swatted a yellow fly that had landed on the still-wet layer of repellent and was biting me, the swat leaving a large swath of blood. By the time I got back in the house after being out about 45 seconds, I could feel stinging bites on both legs as well as on my hands. Applying an ice cube to these bites cuts the pain considerably, so I spent the next few minutes rubbing ice over the bites (and repellent, yuck). This is a very typical result of being outside for less than a minute without dressing for a desert sandstorm. When we moved here about 30 years ago, yellow flies showed up sometime around July 4th and left sometime near the end of August. They now show up in May and leave sometime in October. I’m tired of having to stay in the house all summer to escape them. And then of course there are the fire ants. Not a good idea to stand in grass or dirt while wearing sandals. I recently went into our garden area and was checking to see if some bulbs I had planted were sprouting. Yes, I had sandals on. Mistake. I would say that one yellow fly bite is about like 3 fire ant bites, pain and swelling-wise. In rural Florida, the bugs are winning. By a very wide margin.

So really it’s the bugs I hate the most. Sure, the heat is terrible, but I think it’s a fair trade for the relatively mild, snow-free winters we have. I suspect that many of the other things I dislike about this area will not change–this is a small town and we will be going to a small town. The people will be about the same, except for the hating-Floridians factor (we don’t hate people from NC or GA).

I can’t wait to go.

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Resolution

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I have discovered that I henpeck my husband. I never thought of it in those terms before, but a reference in a book I am reading caught my attention. I have decided to make a very real effort to stop doing it. This will have to be another thing that is done one day at a time. I have tackled other issues in that manner. Sometimes my online spending gets a bit out of control. I try to curtail it, and at the end of each day I am either proud that I went the whole day without placing any orders….or I’m not so proud. A similar thing occasionally comes up involving alcohol, but that’s another post entirely. So the henpecking will be something that I will try to cease doing one day at a time. It accomplishes nothing and I’m sure it’s annoying.

To my credit, I have noticed when I do it that I am invariably right. He pays no attention whatsoever–in fact, my pointing out his mistakes probably only compels him to double his efforts in that direction. Ultimately I end up/will end up having a right to say “I told you so,” but when the damage is done, that’s small recompense and I never say it.  He gets up most nights at about 3:00 and takes ibuprofen (on an empty stomach) and goes back to bed. I point out that if he continues to do that, he will destroy his stomach lining and end up bleeding from both ends, as happened to my father. Yes, I’m right….but it falls on deaf ears and after pointing it out once, I should quit. To continue to point it out qualifies as henpecking. He spends a fair amount of time in a terrible reclining chair that puts a strain on his back. When he reads in bed, he is so slouched down that his head is at my shoulder level when I sit next to him (he is a foot taller than I am when standing), and he is not only slouched, he is canted so far to one side as to almost be able to lean on an elbow, but not quite. And then he walks around unable to easily bend down to get things from a lower shelf of the refrigerator because his back hurts. I should have quit after just once making the observation that that is not a surprise, given the chair he sits in and his slumping posture while reading in bed. Again, falls on deaf ears, if in fact he doesn’t make a point of slouching even more.  His father was also an idiot; between that and being a man, he comes by this naturally.

My husband is a very timid creature, and as such he is unable to directly express his feelings and reactions. As do most timid sorts, he has become adept at the art of passive aggression. Rather than simply telling me to lay off, he hears me but he will do as he pleases (a directness that I would appreciate and heed), he expresses his displeasure with my nitpicking by doing small things to make my life more difficult. This is, of course, the blueprint for many, if not most, longstanding marriages. The wife henpecks, the husband retaliates with childish annoying pranks. Since women like to talk things out and men don’t, this is an endless conundrum.

Therefore, not only will my stopping the henpecking improve the quality of his life, I should, within a period of a few weeks, start to see an improvement in the quality of mine, assuming that his anger and resentment toward me is not so massive that it will have no effect. There are other forces at work here aside from the henpecking. And I’m not sure at this point how long I can go without saying something about the daily acts of idiocy that I observe. This post is just shaving enough ice off the top of the marital iceberg to make one cube. But I thought I would bring this up. So far this blog is at the bottom of a very deep, dark well, and nobody knows it’s here. I’m just talking to myself, and since I am privy to the whole story, it’s ok to be somewhat superficial.

Today is Day One of this new pecking-free period. We’ll see how it goes.

Enter the New Blog

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I have a lot of blogs and I have made some friends via those blogs. And so, as often happens…

Let me insert this. I have decided that it is very  much not a good idea to get to know owners of vacation lodging (B&B’s, cabin properties where the owners reside on-site, and other small inns, etc.) or proprietors of small local businesses. It starts out just great, you feel like the guy from Cheers, so happy that everyone knows his name, but ultimately it becomes a drawback. I had to finally stop going to a vacation destination that I loved because everyone liked me and we had such nice chats. So, after driving for nine hours, I would get there just wanting to get my cabin key and pour a bit of libation over ice and sit for a moment on my porch enjoying the country air. But no, I got hauled into the owners’ house, hugs all around, let’s catch up since I was there last. They meant well and I am not faulting them–after all, they had had a normal day and this was something new to add to that. But it was prolonging my time before porch libation, and I was so bug-eyed and tired from the drive that I didn’t feel like chatting endlessly about what we had all been doing for the last six months. So I finally just stopped going there and switched to someplace I could announce my arrival, exchange a minute or two of pleasantries, and be on my way to my little home away from home. I also made the mistake of getting to know the owner of the local liquor store. I now know all about the problems he had with his father-in-law when he got married, and other bits of trivia about his life. It reached a point where it would be rude for me to go in, select an item from the shelf, pay for it with a smile and a “how are you?” and be out the door and on my way home. I finally started sending my husband in for my purchases. To summarize, there is a lot to be said for anonymity, and I am striving for that.

…I feel constrained by my associations with the friends I made via my other blogs. If I want to write a post about something annoying, one of them may think it relates to them. And it very well might. Maybe I want to talk about something I haven’t shared with them, while cloaked in anonymity. So I am starting this blog. I don’t know you (probably), and you don’t know me (probably), and that’s great.