Monday, April 18, 2011

Dad's New Toy

I just spent a week in Florida with my almost-89 year old Dad, George. Just us. Dad and his eldest child all by ourselves in his Florida condo, where he spends 5 months of his year.

The funny thing about Florida in the winter is that it's usually not warm. Every time we've visited, it's sweater or fleece and definately not beach gear. This time, it was beastly hot(as my Mother would have called it) hitting high 80's and even a pass by the 90 mark at the mid of the day. The other funny thing about Florida is that at this time of the year, the folks clear out for their "other" homes north. Those that can't afford it stay put and bear down for the real heat. The ones that are left are usually pretty old. I mean, the kind that can barely see over their steering wheel. They drive the cars that they took down to Florida the first time they came--around the 1950's! They stay within the speed limit at all times. They don't take rights on red. They also feel like, since they have been alive since ought one or so, that they can commandeer the left lane at snail speed.
They also love bargains. We were out to dinner one night and the restaurant was chosen because of the two-fers special. The movies are chosen on the price, too, even if they're years old. BYO candy and water! The restaurants are packed but they're all ordering 5 appetizers and enjoying the free refills of bread and soda.
There are a lot more funny things about Florida in the winter but I will save them for my book "How I survived Florida without becoming brain dead".

Dad, on the other hand, enjoys the easy life down there. He's been going down for over 20 years, about 17 as a "Snow Bird". It has improved the quality of his life and, at 88, he plays golf three times a week, enjoys a good social life and has avoided getting re-married since Mom died in 1995. He brings down about 25 books all non-fiction! He has a regular regime:Mass in the morning, breakfast and golf or a walk on the beach. He doesn't nap. Dinner is out or a quick bowl of soup in.
His political talk shows are taped if he's going to be out. Otherwise, it's catching up with the talk of the day.

He found out about Ipads through me. I found his name on the manifest of his POW camp from WW II. This piqued his interest. So, in January, he bought it on one of my trips South. Many trips to the stores, and several passwords later, he got stymied! I got down there just in time to re-do the mess he'd made by his quest for information. He's now getting the Long Island paper and the New York Times online. He can google like the 20 year olds and get his Tee Times without picking up a phone.

He may be grouchy sometimes, but never to me. I hooked him up to the Ipad. He's never had a computer but loves this new toy. He loves to brag about his new-found ability to be "up there" with the folks ten or twenty years younger than he. I love it-even though he doesn't want email! When I grow up, I want to be just like him!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


After the bleakest of the bleak winters we've ever experienced, we finally have a taste of Spring. At one point last month, temps soared to the high 70's. Then this week, we had freezing rain and back to the 30's. Oh well, just Mother Nature teasing us.

Actually, I don't really pay any attention to the weather. That is, unless I have a outdoor day planned or a trip so I can dress accordingly. I've hit Florida in January only to have to shop for sweatshirts and long pants. I enjoy the showers of April. It makes the grass green and, together with the sunshine, forces the sleeping tulip, daffodils and hyacinth to pop through the cold ground.

I have a little plot of land right in front of the front door that harvests a sea of yellow once a year. The daffs show their sunny faces for a few days, then a couple of red tulips join the party. Then the greenery is allowed to hang and die to make room for the perennials housed in the patch of land. I bring in some annuals for company; it makes for a welcome entry. The backyard has several different areas for planting. I love cut flowers so dahlias, zinnias, cosmos are staples. Cherry tomatoes, lettuce and green peppers always make it to my summer salad. There is something wonderful about picking warm tomatoes that I've grown and nurtured. And they're strictly organic so I can pop a few while I'm weeding inbetween the rows.

I have a little shed that houses my summer decorations: little garden statuary, great old clay pots, wind chimes. They dress up my outdoor summer living room. I'm in the market for a fire pit--maybe for my birthday in May?? I found out about them last year when friend brought one to a beach gathering. It was almost like the bonfires I remember from girl scouts, without the 'smores!

I'll enjoy the bright forsythia along the highways and the sprinkle of blue on the lawns from the tiny crocus. Pansies are showing their cute faces on everyone's doorstep. Splashes of color are everywhere. It's all there if we pay attention. I love the quote from "A Color Purple" by Alice Walker: "I think it pisses God off if you see the color purple in a field and don't notice." Look around--miracles abound!