Christmas In July – December 12, 2020

Santa in Christmas cactus – Care for a cookie?

I don’t think I could live in Florida.  By that, I mean live there all year.  Permanently. That’s been an intermittent consideration now that complete retirement1 is on the table.  Downsizing.  Situating to give ourselves, the Boss and I,2 some things we’ve delayed for several reasons not all career and work-a-day whirl related.

Life’s unfolding has provided opportunities to experience northern latitudes and, um, sub-tropical ones.  Along with a mix of east and west variations on temperate zones in these states more-or-less united.  Never spending enough time in Alaska and Hawaii, they are ruled-out of pending relocation decisions because family, especially important to us, would be stupidly distant.

Exotics like Australia and Italy3 are appealing.  Very much so.  Those places and several others would be inconvenient again for distance.  Australia has stiff emigration policies (anyone in the Dungeon of Confusion listening?) so I rather think they might disallow expatriate curmudgeons. Italy is such a lovely place, Italians so delightful, they would have no difficulty accepting an irascible old dork, because Italians know full well their climate – meteorological and social – would quickly amend him into something useable. Maybe even likeable.

Why not Florida?  Let me back into my explanation.

Today in the middle south it’s an overcast day with intermittent light rain.  Not drizzle or a wet fog, Londoners and Seattleites.4  Unseasonably warm, but not suntan weather.  Proper “Christmas season” weather is just around the corner.  I know that for a fact.  We might even see some snow.  All this October-ish to real December-ish weather speaks to me of Christmas.  That sets a mood.

Yes, I’ve (sans Boss) Christmas-ed in tropics.  On a whim, on a dare, or duty bound, that’s okay.  But not year after year.  It’s not so much I spent my emotionally formative years in the snowy north, or that my European ancestors hailed from snowy climes, it’s that Santa without snow is just, well, wrong. Santa wasn’t a Beach Boy or an Outbacker.  Santa, proper Santa, must be from Norway, Switzerland, Poland, Russia, or Barnalovia.  Okay, the North Pole, maybe, JIT5 supply chain challenges aside.

North of here, where real “winter” visits most every year, folks have Currier and Ives Christmases. There’s a lead-in ripening and harvest season.  There’s a re-awakening (rainy, wet, muddy) spring season after.  A summer that can, at times, give Florida, south Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona competition for national high temperatures.  Okay, can’t out-swelter Arizona.  Still, Arizona has…

Florida on the other hand is seasonally borderline monotonous.  Not sure I can see myself on a long pier fishing for mackerel or on a channel dock fishing for mullet on Christmas day.  Not an orange juice fan, but I hear anyway Florida exports most of the crop to foreign countries like Alabama, Wisconsin, and Oregon, making the commodity expensive to native Floridians.  Is that stupid or what?

Christmas is not orange juice.  Christmas is eggnog.  Christmas doesn’t come in July.6  Or May for that matter.  Christmas comes in December.

I would have difficulty at Christmas accepting Santa in a Hawaiian shirt with Leis around his neck strumming a ukulele, or on Panama Beach in flip-flops and tank top flailing-away with his surf-casting rod.  Hawaii is to too too far from family,7 too. I need seasonal variation.  Like to understand nature has a time she too wants to rest, recuperate, rejuvenate.   Don’t want either, to fly to snow, borrow it so to speak for two weeks, then return to sunny humidity bordering on boredom. 

Florida has appealing qualities.  Christmas is only part of the year.  But to face “wish you were here” sandy beach postcard scenarios year around?  No.  Great selling-points aside, I pass.

1 Retirement.  I’d like to font that so it looks like a creep-show banner.  Realizing the flack it will cause, I still admit I’m just now making progress convincing myself retirement is not a death sentence, not as close to death as one can come retaining hopes of escape if another option presents.

2 Hereafter you understand, “us” and “we.”  Relocation left to me alone (I can’t imagine that, don’t want to contemplate that) would be different, have different parameters.  Suppose since I’ve mentioned it, I have contemplated it. “We” have those discussions, too. Unpleasant. Dismissed.

3 Exotics. Frame of reference.  Remember, I hail from the US(of)A.  Alabama and Rhode Island are “exotic” to me.

4 Please don’t correct me, telling me of lovely sunny days in London and surrounds, or remind me of proximity to fresh Salmon in and around Anywhere, Coastal Northwest. Refrain, too, from telling me of the wonderfully mild seasonal variations in Iberia.  The decision under debate is already difficult enough.  Then, there’s the distance thing.

5 JIT “Just In Time.”  Get out your Six Sigma hats.

6 Lest my Down-under and other Southern Hemisphere friends take offense, it’s an accultured thing.  I’d been born and raised in Brisbane, I’d consider snow Un-Christmasy.  Forgive me my parochialism.

7 Air travel is out of the question.  Just for the holidays or just to see family. Years ago (I understand those who tire of hearing of it, but shut up, it’s all true) air travel was an adventure and pleasant.  Any long distance, tiring, but pleasant, even romantic.  I personally have no desire to be seat-bound for six hours or more with a group of sloppily dressed, often unpleasantly fragrant boorish clods and entitled biddies with their emotional support iguanas.  The bawling babies?  I wear hearing aids.  Plop, plop: quiet.

Surrogate Episode II.

Published by spwilcen

Retired career IT software engineer, or as we were called in the old days, programmer, it's time to empty my file cabinet of all the "creative" writing accumulated over the years - toss most of it, salvage and publish what is worthwhile.

17 thoughts on “Christmas In July – December 12, 2020

  1. Growing up in LA, most (most) Christmas Days were spent on Seal Beach out Long Beach way. If Dad got a particular hair he’d drive us to Mt. Baldy for a few hours of snow then back to the beach to thaw out. But Dad didn’t often get that “perticular” hair often what with the beach being “good enough.” And close.
    I’ve found the absolutely most important thing about retirement is: Have a plan. Do that plan. Suddenly waking up to days where you can “do what the hell I want to do” sucks; unless you have a plan. I’ve spent months with “I’m gonna.” or “I should …” and gotten nothing done.
    Good luck with that. Retirement thing.

    1. Thanks for popping in and lending advice. I know what I want to do, it’s the “when you get a minnit” things that ruin my “plans.” Plus I never really wanted to retire. Was damned good at what I did and enjoyed it immensely. More or less pulled the plug because some “mandatory” minnit things couldn’t be tended TDY (dunno what USN called it, that’s USAF for temporary duty.) But I was at the age I could retire which gave me time to tend those “things” until we could relo to our whims. We’re there now but, whatsit called COVID? All up in the air. We’ll get through it. Never run out of things to do. Always a “minnit” thing coming up. Do well, bud. Stay healthy.

  2. Another exotic place you might want to consider is Switzerland : and here you might get the snow you would expect to see at Christmas… but then there’s that distance thing again…. A happy and fulfilled retirement in any case, wherever you are!

    1. Yeah, it would be the distance thing. Plus, and I suspect many would wonder, but I rather love my country. Not proud right now, but it like a marriage. You don’t work on it, it won;t survive. I appreciate your stopping by and offering advice.

  3. Must say I lived in Miami for more than 40 years and my opinion is that in South Florida you will live in eternal summer. We ran out A/C all year long and many New Years Day we spent it at the beach, so if you’re into sun, sand and beaches, it’s the place for you, however, bear in mind that Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Palm Beach (South Florida) is very, very expensive, everything is very, very expensive. You mention Italy, but I suggest Spain or Portugal instead. I know that in the states they usually ignore countries and enhance others but Spain right now is the top country in Europe, we’ve the city recognised as the best place to live in Europe, happens to be my hometown Valencia…So SP, you’ve much to think about…another great post, witty and brilliant! And, oh, I forgot to mention that I did spend a sunny, bright and lovely day, not in London but in Bristol… 😊 All the best my friend!
    F.

    1. Boss loves the beach, any water actually, but I believe give a choice between the grandkids and a lake for her kayak, she’d be grand-moming. Thanks for the advice (and continued revelation of the grand past that has given us the FBC we all know, respect, and appreciate) but a delicious as the Iberian landscape sounds, our relo will be to a place considerably closer. Have a marvelous start of your week, sir.

      1. Thank you SP! I hope yer both happy and satisfied with the choice you make and I am sure you will enjoy it to the max! Still enjoying Sunday morning (our mornings are until 4pm) and “comida”, the midday meal, and on Sundays in Valencia it is paella 🥘 and wine and dessert 🍮 and being that it’s gotten quite warm (18 degrees) everyone is out, the streets, parks, bars and restaurants are all full. We are blessed here and I thank God! All the best to you and may you enjoy a lovely week ahead.
        F.

      2. What a lovely afternoon picture. Hmm.. Valencia, eh? Paella, a fave, hmm? Pretty good wine. Maybe I can sell the Boss on the trout fishing. I understand there are trout there. I fancy a tromp in the mountains myself…

  4. I spent some time in Fl in July, it was oppressively hot. Everybody had a/c which, let’s face it, people are going to be under pressuse to be using a/c more and more. I found a definite lack of culture in the USA compared to Europe – for that reason Italy would be great, the only place that really did it for me in the US was NYC but these days, too many people.

    1. Appreciate your input, sir. Not likely we’ll be able to make such a glorious move. Now. When it comes time to pack and load, pop on over. We will need a good project manager to point and plan. You’re elected.

      1. Reckon ur missus will want that job 🤣 Our plans gor a 2nd home had it definitely warmer. But we also wanted it to be day-drivable from here (we never wanted to give this place up), That puts us in nFrance where the climate is basically the same as here. I would have been happy to take a chance with the language but Mrs Bump was not.

  5. When I retired (for the first time) we went to live in France, where we had kept a run down holiday cottage for a few years. We renovated the cottage, learned the lingo and had a good circle of french friends. We lived in a small (600 inhabitants) village with no other English speaking neighbours. The french way of life in the village was very laid back and the villagers really welcoming. We would take it in turns to visit friends houses and have a meal and a chat. These soirees usually went on into the early hours.
    Everyone was so friendly but (here it comes, the BUT) at the end of these evenings, when my head was spinning with a combination of thinking in french and drinking too much booze I would suddenly realise that no matter how friendly the locals were, we just didn’t share their culture. They would talk about politics, sport, television, even music in a way that couldn’t be comprehended if you hadn’t shared their upbringing. This was never done deliberately you understand, they always tried to be inclusive, but it was just a fact.
    Anyway, after almost 10 years of living there very happily, this and the pull of family finally won over and we moved back to the UK.
    Our position has changed again (parents dying) and although I wouldn’t rule out another move abroad, this time I would go somewhere with a small community of ex-pats, so that I could occasionally re-immerse myself in the culture of my native land.

    1. Hobb – wonderful “for example” for me to consider, but as much as I am fascinated by thoughts of a relo to Italy especially, that’s fairly well out of the question. I’ve always found wherever I go, there are marvelous people willing to help, share, and befriend. Overseas and here stateside. As I’ve comment4ed to others, an overseas move is highly unlikely. Your “return home” is where I am (we are) presently – pull of young family is too strong. ANd there are other (boring) considerations. Thanks for stopping by and offering your insight.

      1. Thanks. I wouldn’t offer any advice. Just thought it was worth sharing my experience with you. Someone else might feel totally different of course!

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