Sunday, March 5, 2017


The number one rule of Snowbirding is "Never talk about Snowbirding." However, that rule was created by a committee of people who still drink Harvey Wallbangers, so I refuse to be intimidated. As we have been at this new gig for over two months, I feel perfectly qualified to share my expertise. So, listen up future Winter Warriors! For my first lesson, let's start with the age-old question, "What should I pack?"

Watching the Jack-In-the-Box dogs in this gif is like popping bubble wrap. You just can't stop. Am I right?

Let's begin:

1.  Clothing: Optional - to an extent. As a rule, men go shirtless, unless required to toss on a turquoise polo for dinner or drinks. Therefore, if you're into white chest hair, a snowbird condo complex is the stuff of dreams! Pool-wear for women follows the feminist theme: Your body, your choice. Women in their 70's and 80's choose bikinis. I mean, why not? It's not like Perez Hilton is hovering behind a palm frond to take a photo and draw all over it in white crayon. I'll admit it was a bit jarring, at first. After all, in the Midwest, every woman over 45 wears turtlenecks to the beach. But, after a few weeks, it occurred to me that these folks are the perfect example of rejecting body-image stereotypes. Look, we pat ourselves on the back for encouraging our young people to feel comfortable in their bodies, yet we shudder at the thought of a man in his 70's in the male version of Daisy Dukes (yes, that's a thing down here) or an 80-year-old lady in a skort, sleeveless blouse, and cute sandals. I say, "Power to the people on Medicare!" Nevertheless, for the time being, I think I'll stick to my one-piece with matching cover-up.

Do not judge me. I forbid it!
2. Shoes: I brought 20 pairs. I have since learned that I need exactly two: a very sturdy walking shoe (preferably orthopedic) and a pair of Cobian flip flops. (Trust me. They make it feel as if you are walking on a cloud.) A single, neutral pair of adorable sandals to wear to the Early Bird Specials is popular amongst the older snowbirds, but if you tend to frequent eateries with the word "shack" anywhere in the name, as do my spouse and I, even flip-flops will be redundant. Rule of thumb:


Not even!
As long as they do not inflame your Morton's Neuroma, 
bunions, or plantar fasciitis. 

3. Jewelry: For the seasoned snowbird, this, unlike clothing, is not optional. Draping oneself in various forms of gold is the snowbird's version of gang colors. East coast? Gold chains tangled in the above-mentioned white chest hair for the men and rings that could double as brass knuckles for the women. Mid West? A simple wedding band for the fellas, while the women wear thick turquoise necklaces that coat their decolletage and large earrings shaped like flamingos. Chicago? Diamond studs and armfuls of bangles. Of course, I brought all the jewelry I own, assuming I'd want to mix and match my pieces to coordinate with the dozens of outfits I planned to wear. I've since found my jewelry clashes with my new wardrobe of choice - shorts and over-sized t-shirts with the name of our beach bedazzled on them in rhinestone and/or glitter. That's enough bling for this gal!
4. Winter Wear: When it gets below 75 degrees, it is automatically Fall. Winter occurs during those daytime/evening hours when the temp drops to a bitter 68. This is when a cute puffy jacket and a jaunty scarf come in handy. I prefer hoodies. Anything below 70 is one-hoody worthy. Below 65? I'm wearing three. Of note: Sometimes, the air-conditioning pops on while I'm in my hoodies and thick socks. I have no logical explanation. Anyway, rule of thumb:

Appropriate for 65 and mostly cloudy

For those crisp 75 degree afternoons

At 80 degrees, let it all hang out

Obviously, these are just general guidelines, and each Birder may make their own wardrobe choices. There is only one thing that is mandatory wear for everyone down here.

Thanks for checking in!

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