I hate snow. I’ve hated it since I was a kid, and as an adult, I’ve had the same pair of winter boots for 25 years. They go in style, out of style, in style. Not sure what they are now, but that shows you how often I go outside in the white stuff. My goal, for most of my adult life was to become a Snowbird…someone who spends the summer months at home in beautiful Toronto, and the icky snowy sleet-filled, frosty, nose-hair-crackling months in a warmer climate. I finally succeeded in that goal about four years ago, but getting a little place, renovating, furnishing etc etc has been a project in itself, so this year was the first time I could actually take full advantage. I managed to vamoose from the frozen north just after Christmas and *almost* managed to get away without seeing any of the white stuff at all. It snowed the night before departure (and if you’ve followed my blogs you read all about the Great Septic Event that delayed that departure by a day).
The past four months have been glorious as far as weather goes. Florida has had an unseasonably warm winter (yay) with only a few nights when it was cold enough to need extra blankets and only a couple of chilly weeks when the pool was unapproachable even for Tundra folk. (I’m hearing the collective awwwwwwwwwww *snort*) But on the whole it’s been warm/hot and wonderful. My house-sitter tells me the weather back home has been pretty terrific too, with hardly any white stuff to speak of. He’s actually managed to keep all my plants alive and my birds happy and chirping.
It was fun packing to come south. It’s a chore packing to schlep north. I’ll miss my little home away from home. The neighbors are great, we’ve had a lot of laughs, played a lot of cards. The Canuck Contingent claimed the deep end of the pool just about every day since February 1st and I won’t begin to tell anyone how much food and wine has been consumed over much laughter and good times…the size of my hips should be evidence enough.
Somewhere in all the frivolity I did manage to get a lot of work done…ie, finished the last few chapters of The Following Sea, had it proofed and edited and uploaded. I thought it would be easy writing with the sound of palm trees swaying outside the windows, but most days there were accompanying shouts of “why aren’t you at the pool!” Ergo the note to myself to have Jonas’s story closer to being finished before I come down next year.
Even Suzie the dawg had buddies down here. She’s enjoyed our long walks and as valiantly as she’s tried, she has yet to catch a gecko or nail the two squirrels who sit in the palm tree out front and chitter and breakdance in the branches to torment her. She’ll miss Misty (middle) and Kaylee (right) and even the yappy little furred thing next door, Princess.
I took a little side trip this week to visit my very good friend, Virginia Henley. We’ve known each other since our first books were published together at Avon of Canada. She moved out of the Tundra completely quite a few years ago and I’ve managed to see her just about every year that we’ve come down to vacation at St Petes Beach. Now I’m an hour and a half away, but we got together for a 24 hr gab-fest and I took her to my favorite restaurant in Seminole…Cafe Cajun by the Bayou. AUGH! Best crab cakes in the world. Best Jambalaya. Best whiskey bread pudding. Crawfish are in season and patrons were snuffling into huge platters of the critters, which I would have dug into too if I had more than a day on that coast, but I was there for the crab cakes. Next year I’ll have to arrange an outing for the H&F ladies. Yes, it’s worth the trip.
Over the past two weeks most of the Canuck Contingent has packed up and skulked off in the early morning hours. Only two of us are left and we’re leaving the same day next week. Between then and now there’s a sh*tload of packing up and cleaning and putting stuff away to do. Thank goodness for those suck-things-up vacuum bags that might make it possible to get everything into my one lone suitcase, although last year I had them stacked like pancakes in the trunk of the car. My brother in law is flying down again to help with the drive back, so a chunk of the trunk has to be reserved for his golf clubs…same as last year. I kept that in the back of my mind as I went starry-eyed shopping for bargoons, so the acquisitions haven’t been quite as extensive as they could have been *snort*. Still pretty impressive, however, to judge by the pile I’ve started making, but then he’s a pretty good car-packer. I didn’t think we’d manage to cram it all in last year, but we did. It helped that my son and his family came down during March Break and took a big box home with them. Might have been a bit tricky otherwise LOL.
I keep looking at the fridge every time I walk past the kitchen. That’s going to be the Big Job, cuz even though I haven’t bought any manner of foodstuffs for the past two weeks, it’s still full. Rumor has it that Sunday might be lousy weather, so that will probably be Fridge Day. ugh. There should be a button you push that makes everything vanish and the shelves sparkle. As it is, there are going to be some pretty creative meals over the next week or so, I hope Hork comes down with his usual appetite. Last year I assumed “gumbo” meant “whatever is left in the freezer that can fit into one pot”. Should be a tasty concoction this time around.
I do love it here. Thank you Florida for being so hospitable. Thank you to the ladies of the Hand and Foot Cult for making the afternoons and evenings enjoyable and to the Entertainment Committee for those impromptu shopping trips. Five minutes was all it took to have someone waiting at the bottom of the driveway, purse in hand, to go shopping. I still have Bealls Bucks to spend next week if Hork has a day when he’s not golfing.
Unless a frothy reason to vent comes along, I expect this to be my last post from south of the 49th parallel, so….see you all on the other side *s*.
Oh. And I can’t leave without a last minute self-promo tidbit. China Rose will be free over the weekend, starting midnight tonight Pacific time. I have a soft spot in my heart for that book since it was my first, and it truly was like giving birth. I remember standing in a book store and staring wide-eyed at it the first time it appeared on the shelves. The poor woman who was next to me probably remembers it as well, but more like “the incident where the crazy woman hooted and jumped up and down and blubbered like an incoherent fool”. Hmmm. I’ve come a long way since then. I think. I only blubber over excellent crab cakes now. LOL