Once we were snowflakes. We spent many years flitting in and out of the usually sunny state when we visited my husbands parents. Gradually as our children grew older and we had more spare time, we vacationed for longer periods of time in Florida. Now we are officially snowbirds. For the past two years we have spent the winter months down south.
   A snowbirds life is a good life. This year was an exceptionally good life, because we birdies escaped the record breaking horrendous winter conditions that hit Toronto and much of North America. Conditions were so bad that many of our friends and relatives who normally cocoon for the winter in Canada became snow flakes and flitted down for a week or two. We birds welcomed the flakes with open arms or should I say wings. When snowbirds have guests, we play the role of tour guide and do touristy things, even though we may have done them multiple times before. It is a special treat when our children and grandchildren come to visit. We look forward to their visits with abated breath. When they arrive we abandon our usual routine and our time is devoted entirely to our family. When they leave we collapse from exhaustion. The exhaustion lasts for two full days. You have to be young to have kids.Hopefully our family will visit again next year, even though it will probably take us three days to recuperate because we will be another year older.
    People often ask us what snowbirds do in Florida for such an extended time. A lot of time is spent driving on I-95 {a dreadful highway in my opinion } to visit snow bird friends and relatives who stay in other parts of the state. I -95  is the quickest route to get to Boca, Boynton and Beyond from where we reside near Fort Lauderdale. We have learned the Florida custom of honking ones horn and using hand gestures when driving. It is interesting that many of the cars appear to be driverless. This is an illusion. It is just that many of the drivers are very short. They probably have difficulty seeing over the steering wheel and thus honk their horns to warn the other drivers on the road to get the hell out of their way.
     We do much of the same stuff in Florida that we do in Toronto. We do laundry, shop for groceries, tidy our condo or apartment and nag our husbands to dispose of the garbage and recyclables. Those early risers who walk or work out in the morning at home tend to do the same when they are in the south.Those who normally play golf will play golf. We go to movies, the theatre, museums  galleries and concerts. We also play card and board games, attend lectures and many take courses from a Florida University. We attend religious events and sporting events. It is fun to attend a Raptor game or a Maple Leaf game, especially if our home team wins. A bonus – tickets are easier to obtain and cost a lot less. In the past we have attended the Blue Jays spring training sessions in Dunedin Florida.
   There are some differences in our southern lifestyle. Most of us cook less–a lot less and dine out more frequently. We complain bitterly about the expense and state that we are sick of restaurant food. We vow that we will eat-in more, but we don’t. Invariably someone will call and ask if we want  to join them and so and so for dinner or do we want to try this or that new restaurant and we say :”Sure”. We attend and host a lot of happy hour parties.
     The weather is much more user friendly. We enjoy the luxury of sunbathing and swimming in a heated pool. Dips in the ocean are fun and walks along the beach are wonderful, as are the sunsets and sunrises. There are outdoor art festivals or antique shows nearly every weekend.
   Then there are the casinos. Unfortunately some of us are getting addicted to the penny slot machines.The name penny slots is misleading, because most machines require you to play a minimum of 40 lines which costs 40 cents every time you press the play button, This makes them more costly than the quarter machines. Shopping is another addiction. How can one resist the temptation to buy when one is inundated with sales, coupons, promotions, tourist discounts and more. We are lured to designer outlet stores and flea markets, My husband is known as the coupon king. We can’t understand why the more money we save, the more money we spend.
    We meet and converse with interesting and dynamic people, who have travelled or moved to Florida from different parts the world. What a wonderful way to broaden our horizons. It is wonderful to have the luxury of being a snowbird. The very best part of snow birding is coming home and being greeted warmly by family, friends and neighbours. Yes -home is the best place to be.

About epsnider

E.P SNIDER is the pen name that I used to publish "WHY ME- a memoir". I used a pen name so as not to embarrass my spouse, my offspring, their offspring, my grand dogs and my friends. A dream came true when I had my first book published at the age of sixty-nine. "WHY ME? "is a collection of memoirs recounted from various stages of my life and the lives of those that I love or like at least some of the time. Most of the incidences are humorous-some are not. I am a senior but I feel more like a junior except for the aches and pains. When I look in the mirror I often see my mother or some other aging lady with wrinkles and sun spots. The amount and depth of wrinkling depends on which mirror I am looking into, the degree of lighting and how well my skin absorbed the moisturizing cream that day. Although I am mature in years, maturity is definitely not one of my virtues. If something strikes me as funny I get the giggles. Most of my family and many of our friends have a rather warped sense of humour-so I giggle a lot. Laughter plays an important role in our lives. My friends were a significant inspiration for me to begin my writing career. For the past number of years hubby and I have been spending part of the winter season in Florida to escape the sometimes bitter cold climate in Toronto Canada. Every year I send emails to those left behind. To my delight they find my emails to be hysterical and a cure for their winter doldrums. They compare my style of writing to that of the late Erma Bombeck. For those of you not familiar with the author-- she was a beloved American humorist in the 1970's and 1980's. I have loved literature and creative writing from an early age. I spent some of my growing up years in Alberta and won a prize for a best poem commemorating Alberta's bicentennial year. My grade seven teacher was a large and forceful woman, with white hair and course bristly white chin hairs to match. We were all intimidated by her and thus listened intently as she drilled us about parsing sentences and adverbs and adjectives. She provided me with a good basis of the English language. In addition to "Why Me" I have had a short essay published in a book of assorted memoirs by Canadian woman. I currently write for our Toronto Condominium newspaper. I hope to do more writing, although I am not sure if my family can cope with any more of my meltdowns when blocks of written material mysteriously disappear off of my computor. I admit I am computor and electronically challenged, but I will persevere. - - - - - - - - - - - Writing has been a passion of mine through out my life. Ever since I took a step forward and entered into the world of computers, a new world of opened up for me. I found myself engrossed in writing emails with lengthy updates about my life's recent highlights. To my delight, people found me...funny! I then offered to write for my condo newsletter, and I recently had a short memoir published. For the last several years I became glued to my computer, transferring my hand-written life adventure notes to an actual story of my life's defining moments. Finally, at the age of 69, I was done... I wrote a book! AND it's actually published. People are reading it. People are enjoying it. I am thrilled! Plus, it's one of the greatest gifts I could ever give my family. Talk about a dream come true. My advice to you: Think positive, keep your eye on the prize, and you too can enjoy as your dreams and desires come to fruition.
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  1. Your paragraph on I-95 made me laugh, which is always a great way to start the morning. As you already know, my husband is wanting to move back to Florida and is pretty determined to do so. As for myself I’m okay with it or not. Doesn’t matter too much. But hearing that there are outdoor art shows nearly every day makes me much more inclined to the move. I knew there were quite a few years ago when I lived there and I’m so happy to learn they’re still going strong. 🙂 Have a lovely day.


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