2005/09/24

One Florida couple strives to live out their sunshine years.

We moved into our new home about six months ago, but were not quite sure what to expect. Problem was, we had lived the last few years in a gated community in Ormond Beach, about fifteen miles North of here. To be honest, we had been spoiled. The rules had been very strict, but we had been happy about that. No children under 18, no motorcycles, and all dogs had to be on a leash. These were just some of the rules. It was the most quiet place we had ever lived in. Needless to say, my wife and I were in heaven. We felt totally safe every time we came through that front gate. We originally moved there to be near the hospital, due to my wife's medical problems. But, after a while, we startd to miss our grandchildren, who were about a thirty minute drive away. So, we had our son-in-law, who buys and sells homes, look for a suitable one for us. He found a 1982 manufactured home and we moved in February. The home was no problem but I wasn't so sure about the neighborhood. After what we had before, this was going to take getting used to. It was like living on another planet. Having been here six months now, things are getting better every day. We are getting to know our neighbors, who are very kind; but we will still be putting up aluminum fencing around our yard. Most of them have already done this to their own yards. It is now September and everyone in Florida is looking out for hurricanes. They say that no matter where you live in this country, you have to worry about mother nature in one form or another. Well, every year from June through December, we all put our lives on hold and watch the weather channel. I guess this is the price we pay for living in so called "paradise". My wife and I have lived here since 1985 and I have changed my opinion over the years. I remember my first few months here watching the sunrise come up every morning at the ocean. Now I'm lucky to see the ocean once every five years. The interest just isn't there any more. Funny thing is, that's one of the reasons we moved here to begin with. End of Part 1.

2005/09/23

I guess my heart is still back in my home town of Rochester. It probably never left. And the older I get, the more I think about it. I miss certain things more than others. The changing of the colors and the mountains mostly. But the snow finally drove me out. If Florida just wasn't so darn flat I might be able to live with it. That's the only reason I'm still here: that dumb snow. Some people don't seem to mind it at all. They just take it in stride. I guess we're just warm bodies at heart. Of course, now that we are seniors, we could never survive a Winter in upstate New York. Maybe if we win the lottery some day, we can have a home in both places. I truly believe that if I could just go back one more time, that would be enough. Someone once said you can never go back, but I never bought into that theory. I have too many memories and too many old friends to see. Don't think that I hate Florida, though. We've had some great memories here too. We raised three wonderful children and now have two fantastic grandchildren that we see often. Life has been pretty good to us. There's not too many things we have left to do in our lives. How about a cruise? How about a little more travel? Our new home probably won't be finished inside and out until next year. Then we will take pictures and send them to everyone. End of Part 2.

2005/09/22

Katrina and Rita are fading now. The rebuilding process begins for those living in the affected areas. Looks like it will be long and complicated. Those of us who reside in the Daytona Beach area consider ourselves very lucky indeed. It has been many years since a major hurricane hit us head on. We also know down deep that it's probably only a matter of time. It's a lot like living on the edge of a cliff. When the time comes, if it ever does, we can forget about our house. We live in a manufactured home, so we will be forced to leave it at the very first sign of trouble. There is also a lake behind our house, which makes the problem even worse. Anyway; enough about morbid things. It has been three years since I retired. I'll never forget my last night on the job. I was so excited I didn't really get too much work done, but I didn't care. About ten of my co-workers had a party for me. We had cake and ice cream and talked over old times. I go back once a year now just to say hello. There are many things I love about not working, but one in particular. The ability to go where you want, stay as long as you want, and then come home when you want. I used to work from 3:30 'til midnight. My wife and I would be doing something enjoyable when we would have to rush home so that I could get ready for work. It always irritated me immensely. Fortunately, working for the government all those years has meant that I won't have to get a part-time job. At least for now that is. End of Part 3.

2005/09/21

One thing I noticed right away about our new neighborhood. Most people already had aluminum fencing up around at least part of their yard. Apparently they know something that I don't. My son-in-law put in a gate on one side of our house last week, so that side is done. The other side will be done in different parts. First, the rear end of the back yard will be done. Later, the last part will entail going up the side of the house and then cutting over to the porch where another gate will be put in facing the front. It probably will take a while, but we will feel more secure when the job is completed. Right now both of us are waiting for fall to get here with the cooler temperatures. We both need exercise, but it is too blasted hot during the summer months to do anything except stay indoors. We go to the mall once a week at least to take in a walk and get some lunch. It's not an overly exciting life, but at least I don't have to work anymore. My job is to stay by my wife's side and be her caregiver. She is handicapped, having gone through a bout of two Cancers some eight years ago with the operations to boot. Thank God she now is in remission; hopefully forever. We both have bad backs, high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, and I get headaches that keep me out of the sun for long periods of time. I guess you could say that we deserve each other after 35 years of marriage. One very nice older neighbor even offered to walk with my wife once a week this fall if I couldn't make it. It's amazing how truly wonderful some people can really be if you just give them the chance. End of Part 4.

2005/09/20

2005/09/19

Thank goodness Fall is almost here. My favorite season in Florida is Wintertime because the temperatures are nice and cool. You don't need your a/c on, and you can actually leave your home and go for a walk without sweating yourself silly. One interesting thing about this state. Anything worth its salt always has water nearby. There are lots of lakes and fountains everywhere. The holidays will be coming up shortly. Always a great time to get together with the family. As usual, money will be tight this year too. We probably will do xmas the same this year as last. We all get together at our daughter's home for dinner and each person brings a gift not over a certain price. The wife and I started talking about a trip up to Rochester next year. Since we are both have diabetes this will require a lot of planning however. Probably end up renting a car using our AARP or AAA for a discount. When you live on a fixed income, you have to watch where every penny goes. You hate that cheap feeling, but you just can't help it. That's why many seniors go out to lunch rather than dinner. Prices are a lot lower. Hurricane Wilma passed through our state this week and left the southern part looking like shedded wheat. All we got was a lot of wind and rain. I try not to think about the fact that someday we will be the target. Tony and Dawn brought the grandkids over last night in their Halloween outfits. He was a cowboy and she was a princess. We had a total of 4 kids the whole night. Not very productive. For a solid week after Wilma, the temperature dropped to 50 at night, which is rough on us since our blood is so thin after 20 years here. I finished 4 weeks of dieting classes last week. Have lost 6 pounds so far and am now eating less. Learned a lot of great information. Cathy and I go to the mall once a week for our walk. One funny thing about retirement. It gives you a lot of extra free time, but you have to make good use of it or it will drive you crazy. I have my computer baseball and Cathy works on her genealogy as much as she can considering her trigger finger problems. We really enjoyed Thanksgiving at our daughter's home last week. Food was great and we spent the day with the grandkids. She cooked the bird and we brought all of the extras. Now that one holiday is over, we can make plans for the next one. It's only been the last few years since I retired that I have really started to enjoy Xmas. It was always way too hectic at the Post Office. End of Part 5.

It has been almost 4 years now since my retirement from Government Service. Not that I am complaining mind you, but it does have it's lonely periods. I knew it would be like this, but it's still better than going to that stupid job everyday. Retirement couldn't come fast enough for me. Spring is now upon us, which means soon we will all begin to sweat like crazy. Lord knows how much I hate Summers down here. But it's either that or shovel snow. We have lived in our new house for one year now and basically are used to it. We are 5 minutes away from our grandkids which everyone should be. This neighborhood has turned out to be bearable after all. Temperatures have been pleasant for the last week and when the wife feels better I hope to take her for a ride. One nice thing about living in a state thas 1500 miles of coastline-there's always something to see and do. Like every one else we all try and forget about the new hurricane season which is quickly approaching us. I guess that's the price you pay for living in a manufactured home. We are always the first ones that are asked to leave in a crisis. This past week the wife and I had a bombshell dropped on us. She has had Cancer for 8 years now and been under Radiation and Chemo. Unfortunately, her tests show that now too much of her Liver has been eaten away by the disease. The Doctor reluctantly gave her a month to live. But they have been wrong before and we intend to make sure it will happen again. After the initial shock, we simply decided to take it one day at a time and wait for a miracle. I try not to think about how my life will change after she is gone. We've known each other for 45 years and been married for 35. She is so many things to me. The love of my life, my driving force, my best friend, and the woman that gave me three beautiful children. Somehow I always felt that I would be the first to go. I really wish that I could take her on some kind of a vacation(even a small one). But we find ourselves totally tied down to this house.

2005/09/18

Another day begins in paradise. The calendar tells me it's the first day of hurricane season. Can't wait for that ever year. Ever since Cathy got sick we have had the joy of seeing the kids every weekend. Thought about putting in more fencing around the yard but have decided against it for the moment. More important things to worry about. Have to have some work done on the car and finally got taxes sent out. It was the first time they were ever sent out late, but couldn't help it. Everything hit us at once back then. Finally got taxes back and used the money to buy the cable baseball package. Since we can't go anywhere and both of us love Baseball, we figured why not. Up to 10 games per night for 130 dollars. Not bad. It's the dead of Summer again, and things are pretty quiet. Cathy hasn't had Chemo in awhile, but at least she isn't on Hospice either. It's kind of like being in the Twilight Zone. Everday is the same. Back and forth from the Bedroom to the livingroom and the recliner. She has good bays and bad days. But she is always weak and tired. I feel very helpless that as her caregiver I can't due more for her. There's nothing worse than watching someone that you love slowly vanish before your eyes.