Florida is the beach person and retiree’s paradise. You can roll out of your lounge chair by the Gulf shore and stroll right into the tepid, azure water without turning blue or purple, or having your teeth chatter so much, you wonder if they’ll shatter into a million pieces and come cascading out of your mouth. You remember scolding yourself for not putting in your biteguard when participating in previous ocean adventures up North. But with Florida’s warm waves, who needs the teeth protector?
In Florida, you get to wear shorts year round, even on Christmas Day. This is the one time during the year where you really feel in sync with your Aussie friends, who are surfing the rolling waters Down Under on Christ’s birthday.
While your Northern buddies are scraping ice off their cars’ windows and shoveling two feet of snow, you’ve thrown away your shovel. No more back breaking snow removal labor for you!
You get to enjoy hot, sticky weather for approximately nine months out of the year, and mild weather the other three. You watch with interest, the pine needles trickle down and litter the grass in your back yard, and nod in relief and pride that your palm tree doesn’t shed thousands of colored leaves.
As for those nasty bugs, and there are oodles of them – many of which you probably will never see in the other forty-nine states – the bug terminator comes once a month to every three months to spray copious amounts of toxic chemicals to make sure all those creeping critters are deader than a tree stump. Once and a while during the summer months, truck-sized cockroaches manage to dodge the toxic fumes and enter your home looking for refuge. But you take care of the uninvited visitors with a can of Raid from your kitchen cabinet under the sink, or the one just outside the kitchen door that leads to your garage. The grotesque, hard-shelled vermin may have escaped death outside your house, but they met it inside.
On occasion, a large, hairy wolf spider will find its way into your abode, and sometimes she is carrying millions of babies on her fuzzy back. Of course, you don’t realize this when you go to squirt it with your trusty hair spray to stop it in its tracks since she is wandering about your toddler’s bedroom. Before you can set the can of aerosol down, her mini wolfies jump ship and spread across your child’s carpeted floor like angry ants on a mound. You begin to stomp around the room doing a type of flamenco dance. If only the proper music accompanied it. Surely, it would have aided in your crushing all the wolfies.
After you’ve finished your performance, you collect the vacuum and let it do the rest of the work in disposing of hairy, brown mama and her wolfies. Once this task is done, remorse shakes your insides and a tinge of guilt bites you right in your stomach, just below your beating heart, realizing the genocide you’ve committed on a whole family of wolf spiders. Ah, but this state of being is short lived, and you move on to the rest of your day of cleaning the house.
Every evening, you make sure to wash all the dishes in the sink and put away all food remnants from dinner because you remember the first couple of post dinner evenings when you moved into your home. You had placed the scooped out casserole dish in the sink and filled it with a bit of water and realized the next morning that this was a playground for the cockroaches at 2 a.m.
Each year, you brace yourself for the summer months with its stifling heat and horrific humidity, as well as being greeted by different groups of insects every few weeks, that would surface in your backyard, front porch, garage, and occasionally, your humble home. As summer roles by, you’ve enjoyed your trips to the nearby seashore, and then hunker down inside your air-conditioned house for the onslaught of August in all its sweltering brilliance. You make short trips to the local grocery store, dodging the no-see-ums nipping at your skin.
When the end of August and early September arrive, you grunt at the love bugs congregating on your car’s windshield, grill, and hood. But these amorous critters are of little concern to you. A turn of the key in the car’s ignition and the swish of the windshield wipers send the pairs off to other more suitable areas to copulate, such as your front porch.
Ah, but what great fun those toad-stranglers — also called thunderstorms – are in Florida. Why, the lightening is spectacular, and the curtain of rain you see falling in what was your backyard only lasts an hour or so. Once the excitement ends, you are able to see your lawn again, puddles and all.
In between the rainy days, you can golf year round! Never mind the alligators sunning themselves near the water hazards and holes on the golf course. Just be careful not to slug the gator with your ball. Hit around him and go on your way.
Since you’ve retired in Florida, someone comes to mow your lawn, which is another perk in living in this state. This advantage saves you from venturing out to retrieve your mower from the shoddy shed where you find a queen termite and her termite pack dining on its dilapidated wood. Most importantly, the mowing service saves you hours of sweat, dehydration, searing stings from angry fire ants strategically nestled in your backyard’s sandy ground, and the no-see-ums’ numerous bites. This is what retirement is about!
Every place has some type of natural disaster, so you pick what you can live with. The year-long mild and hot climate, the beautiful Gulf water and Atlantic Ocean, the tropical vegetation, and no state income tax for retirees keep you in the Sunshine State to live out the rest of your existence on earth in moderate contentment. Cheers.