Friday, January 13, 2017


It's official. My husband and I are snowbirds. For those who are not aware, a snowbird is an individual of approximately middle-age or older who leaves the ice-capped tundra of the north to descend upon the State of Florida for the winter. We arrive in flocks, following the lead bird down I-75, stopping only for fast food, gas, and visits to the lady's and gent's.  As a unit, we all flip on our blinkers the  moment we cross under the sign that says, "Welcome to the Sunshine State!" and don't turn them off until we head back north in the spring. You will recognize us by our plumage - thick, white sneakers worn with socks (even on the beach,) colorful shirts printed with palm trees, and cardigans draped over our shoulders in restaurants because "they keep the air conditioning turned up too high!" But, before one officially becomes a snowbird, one must, as with any journey, prepare.
"I've only got four months to pack! Better get on it!"

I started packing on the afternoon in August when we put down the deposit on the condo we'd be renting for three months. Being a northern gal, it was a challenge for me to know exactly what type of clothes would be needed in the Florida winters. Instinctively, I understood that my wool Lands End sweaters adorned with snowflakes and polar bears, would be frowned upon, but what about turtlenecks? I did a quick check of the average temperatures in our new Florida locale, and learned that, though the temperatures would hover comfortably in the 70's, a night or two of bone-chilling 40-degree weather followed by a high only in the 60's was a possibility. Therefore, I packed two pairs of flannel pajamas, three hoodies, five long-sleeve shirts, and my entire collection of the jeans. Then, I unpacked them because it was not yet autumn in Ohio, and they would come in handy when we had a high of 30 degrees in November.

Since I could not actually pack in August, I did the next best thing. I created lists. My most important list was entitled "Shoes." Obviously, flip flops were mandatory, but how many pairs? Do Floridians have a pair to match each outfit? Are there formal flip flops, business flip flops, casual Friday flip flops? "Jewelry" was next on the list, and I didn't hesitate. I brought it all. Why not pair a string of pearls with bright t-shirts adorned with palm trees and alligators? Fabulous! Naturally, I packed all of my summer clothes...except for all of my t-shirts and most of my shorts. Actually, I did pack them but cleverly stored them in a box on the top shelf of my closet where they remain to this day. Fortunately, my Floridian friend reminded me that there are stores here. YES!!!!!! I was ready to shop. What she didn't tell me is that Florida has a winter fashion season. There are no shorts or cute summer tops to be found in January! If I wanted to buy jeans, long-sleeve shirts, and cute blazers, I'd have stayed home! (Not really.) Thank heavens for Amazon!

Hello, my darlings!

The truth is, it does not matter what you wear in Florida because the surroundings are so beautiful that not a soul will be looking at you. Though I arrived with 80% of my closet, I'm learning that a handful of clothing for each of the four florida seasons that occur once per day during the winter -  AM Chill,  Mid-Morning Perfection, Afternoon Tropics, and After 5 Jeans and Jacket -  would have been sufficient. Also, a good  pedicure replaces the need for multiple pairs of shoes. (Though it's wise to bring an extra pair of walking shoes in case you accidentally drop yours in the Gulf of Mexico while taking pictures of waves with your phone.)

At any rate, this is probably the most dramatic step we've made in our lives since parenthood (which is still ongoing - you don't ever get to snowbird from your kids.) Two weeks in, I can report that we are thrilled, every day, by Florida's incredible beauty and the kindness of the people here. We'll try to be good snowbirds. As my friend requested, we'll have our GPS on hand and will go at least the speed limit. But, I'm clinging to my cardigans and white tennis shoes. I will reek of suntan lotion, and I will stand on the beach taking pictures of seagulls. I will point and shout to anyone within listening distance every time I see a dolphin. I will chat up anyone I see on the beach wearing an Ohio State, Michigan, or Wisconsin t-shirt. It's going to be an adventure, and I hope I have plenty of fun stories to share here. Meanwhile, stay warm and safe.

No comments:

Post a Comment