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“Live free or die!”–this was the refrain I was used to hearing from where I just moved. A war cry I often made fun of when I was there, especially as a paramedic. We would change the saying to: Live free AND die when we’d arrive on scene of a motorcycle accident, no helmets, the person dead or dying. Ayup, no helmet laws…that’s right folks, do whatever you like for sure. It’s your life despite best practices and safety information! Go ahead: live free and die for sure…keeps me in business.

It was all a big joke, but many there took their freedom very seriously. And, I suppose, with good reason. In a world, where Big Brother seems to encroach upon us in so many aspects of our lives with all the rules and regulations, I kind of get it.

I, for one, have never been so good at following all of the rules. The ones that didn’t make much sense to me, or seemed unfair or unjust–well, yeah, I definitely went outside those boxes. In that way, I related completely to the above sentiment. It makes me nuts when someone tells me to do something that I deem as irrational or I simply know to be incorrect because I have proof. It gets all my hackles standing on end.

And I must admit, I’m not very good at being quiet about it. I’ve always had a rather big mouth–for as long as I remember. Pressing the boundaries and getting myself in trouble. Not exactly self-righteous, but willing to go against the establishment.

So here I am facing The Establishment like I never have before: buying a condo! It’s a whole new experience for me. I was always afraid I might not be able to do it and to ‘fit in’ and follow The Rules of folks telling me just what I could and couldn’t do with reference to how to live. But I had no idea to what extent it would happen until I went to my ‘orientation’ meeting today. There was reams of paperwork and boxes to check off. It was nuts.


Already a bit crabby missing work because they only have it during the week, something I felt rather archaic–maybe I was already a bit prejudiced I admit. Sure, it’s ‘an active adult community’ (this meaning 55 and over), but that means many of us work for goodness sake!! So why not run some of these after hours or on weekends?? I suppose because the office lady doesn’t want to come in then…but sheesh.

This meeting is mandatory, even though I had already met with someone from my particular building. One can’t close until you go and get some paper from them for the title company!! She didn’t want to overfill the class, meanwhile (if you include a couple) I was the 5th person. Really, 5 is too many? She’s afraid someone would ask too many questions. But instead, SHE talked in redundant circles, about nothing. Garbage, what colors to paint your house, where to park your cars… Are you joking? An hour and half later, I thought I might scream.

And even though she told us to hold all questions until later, she snipped at me with the one question I had, which was never answered. Ahhhh! It was crazy. And there were so many rules! I’m not sure I can go to the bathroom without checking with someone first. Or at least…the color of the toilet paper I buy…


No, but really, it all seemed rather silly, but I’m sure once you move in nobody even cares. And when she said there’s a woodworking club that the MEN are in (I asked if woman can join…yeah yeah, I was being smart)…I thought: maybe I’ll start my own club. Like the rebel club. Or the people who use weird toilet paper club. Or those who never listened during meetings in high school club. Or the live free or die club….

Or maybe I’ll just go into my cute little new condo, shut the door and mind my own business.

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“I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.” Groucho Marx

Groucho

Everybody know this fellow, right?? I felt a bit like him today when I was ‘interviewed’ by the condo person (it was supposed to be people, but one didn’t show), for the place I’m buying. Before moving here, I had never heard of such a thing. Being interviewed before you move into a building?? Say what? You mean to tell me I can’t just buy an apartment and move in? This was definitely not like that state where I used to live–someone would probably pull out a gun before they would be interviewed for something like this…I mean you’ve got to be kidding. “Live Free Or Die” baby…don’t you know?!

But OK, I’ll play by the rules. What could they possibly ask me, right? Or could they?

When I showed up today at 3pm, I was early and waited outside…by the mailboxes. It’s not as cryptic as it sounds, because there is a little area to sit with a table. But one would think the president of the building complex (there are multiple complexes) would invite you in for a cup of tea in a more welcoming way. But no, when she came, it was pretty much all business. Take copies of my papers, take my check, ask a few round about nosy questions and that was that. And, in the end, she was the only one there.

I got the paper signed that I needed–I guess accepting me into ‘the club’. Or whatever. I’m not exactly sure what that signature represented. And I’m not sure if they can exactly turn someone down or what you’d have to do to make them say no. Maybe act like Groucho Marx? Maybe if I had walked up with a big hairy moustache smoking a cigar and darting eyes, they would have thought twice. Who knows? I didn’t push it…yet.

So I clutched all my official papers to my chest and scurried over to the condo office to get stamped with approval to be part of The Club. Oh wait, I have to first take an Orientation class so I know how to live there first!

What, wait? A class? Rules of how to live around other people? I know, I know…it has been a long time since I have and I may have forgotten. If I don’t refresh my memory,  I might just do something stupid like get my mail naked or leave dog poop everywhere I go. Yeah, I guess I should go…

Or better still, I could do like Groucho, and could consider not being a member of any club that would have me as a member??

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Soaking Up The Rays


As many of you readers know, I’ve been on a mission of contentment in my life. Pretty much since I moved almost a year ago…and maybe even some years before that really. Coming to the south was part of that on a number of levels for obvious reasons. Gee, I figured living where it was warm all the time, well, I would just naturally just be happier.

Today I had an interesting realization related to that expectation. Usually this time of year, as midsummer rolled around in New England, I would almost get depressed. I love spring and summer. They were my favorite times of year! You can’t beat the beauty of those seasons in the North–let’s face it! The budding flowers, then in full bloom, the trees filling out with their greenery, the smells and birds. And of course, the lack of snow and cold!!! This was the best part.

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Winters could seem endless there: the blizzards, downed power lines, leaking roofs, shoveling snow, winter jackets/boots/mittens/hats/scarves and frozen body parts, plus the driving. It was all just awful! When those days finally melted away into warmth, it was heaven on earth. Those who haven’t experienced it, well, they don’t know real beauty.

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So when August would come, I would think: summer is half over and that means Fall and that means it will start getting cold soon. I know, silly of me, but I couldn’t help it! The summers seemed so darn short some years and the winters horrendously LONG. And time just moves faster now that I’m older. All the projects one planned for the summer, there was never enough time…

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But I realized today: wait a minute….there IS no real winter here! No fall or snow coming in few months. In fact, it’s lovely weather (although I haven’t minded the hot weather either). It was crazy to think about! I’m tan, have no winter clothes to drag out, no boots to find, no moth eaten hats, no rusty shovels to find…nope, just my flip flops. Yesss!

True, the gardens aren’t as nice. I do miss that terribly. I’m not crazy about cactus or Palm trees, or lizards. But I have seen Cardinals and some other cool birds. Maybe the new place I’ll put up a feeder. And maybe I’ll try some more potted plants. And since it’ll be my own back yard (sort of), I’ll sit out more and enjoy.

You see, I have this tan now–all year round!

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