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Wednesday, November 10, 2021

A Trip Like No Other

I've pondered this for weeks, wondering if I still know how to write.

I'm actually scared to put greasy fingertips to keyboard, it's been so long.

But, a trip is coming, the first time we've gone anywhere in 688 days! So, I finally have a legitimate reason to get my ASCII back in the saddle.

It's not what you think, though, not at all. On Monday November 15th, the Quad Queen, Chippy and I will depart Flusherville for Las... Florida?

Yes! Florida! There's sooooo much to tell you, so let's spill some beans. The easiest thing is to just tell you what's going on, going back four years.

We decided to re-align our priorities, and retire. And when the Quad Queen asked me about my priorities, top of the list was to escape winter. I hate winter because I hate winter, but I also hate what the darkness does to me, suffering from S.D.D. - Seasoned Defective Disagreements. (Okay, fine, it's S.A.D., Seasonal Affective Disorder.) I believe that for so many reasons, a winter full of sunshine is just the ticket.

Some research ensued, and after considering all points south, and taking a few exploration trips, we found a park that ticked all the boxes, in Florida. And we figured out a timeline - we could swing it in November, 2020.

Then COVID hit, but regardless, broad hints at being open to a layoff from Royal Canadian Veeblefetzer (which may involved pleading on my knees) did not bear fruit for me - but did bear ripe, luscious, seedless fruit for Mrs. F - in August 2020, she was dismissed, and got really good compensation. It was almost too good to be true. On top of that, there were COVID relief payments, and EI.

Meanwhile, grommets were flying off the line, selling like crazy, and I was stuck still at work.

Right about that time, the perfect little winter hideaway came up for sale. It's price had dropped significantly.

"Hon, look at this," said the Quad Queen one day in early September, 2020. "This trailer is in the park we like, and it's dropped in price like crazy. It's been on the market a year!"

"It's a manufactured home. Show me the photos."

She brought up some images on her tablet. I have to admit, it looked great. It was exactly in the park we wanted to be in, it had a decent view out the back of the Cornhole pitch, and it had survived a direct hit by a hurricane.

Our place needs some gardening attention.

"What's that in the front yard? The thing that looks like a rusted out Karmann Ghia?" I asked.

"It's the neighbor's, the agent promises it'll be dragged in front of the owner's trailer any day -"

"Not trailer - the neighbor's manufactured home."

There was a YouTube of the place online to watch, and we got hold of the agent, who did a Facetime walkthrough. There were also the photos - and to make a long story short, we bargained hard and got a great deal on the house.

All of a sudden, we found ourselves to be Florida homeowners of a Floridian winter retreat, a place we'd never set foot in, and weren't allowed to visit. Even better, if things didn't move fast enough, we might find ourselves owners of a vintage Karmann Ghia.

My planned retirement date was coming up in November, but there was no way we were going to be able to go south. We could have flown down, but Chippy is too old (12!) for us to trust to Air FU Canada. In fact, I would never have trusted them to fly my dog at any age. We weren't allowed to drive across the border, and even if we could, the situation in Florida was a COVID-aganza. We'd have to wait it out.

I mentally rejigged my retirement date for May of 2021 and put my grind to the nose-stone, while the Mrs. ate bonbons, watched soap operas, and avoided housework.

Come May this year, I pulled the plug, exactly four years to the day since my cousin Piffles passed unexpectedly. It was my way of paying tribute and to try to bring some good out of it all.

Impending retirement, and the first few weeks of it, played havoc with my barely-functioning brain. I've worked since I was 15 in one capacity or another, never efficiently, but that's not the point. Like so many men, it much defined me. If my life meant anything, it meant I could sling size 7 grommets, dammit!

I had many nightmares, and the nagging feeling that I, like Piffles, would basically die upon retirement. In a sense, it was a death, and a rebirth. I had dreams about all the people I've worked with over the years. This lasted a couple or three months. I constantly felt that I was 'missing something', that I hadn't taken care of some work duty, only to finally come to and realize, no, there was nothing, nothing I had to do.

A couple of friends of mine retired right at the same time, and they said their process was just the same, same nightmares, dreams, weird feelings.

I coped by paying full list for a Weber grill, drinking beer in the soft summer breezes, and searing rib steaks at 700 degrees.

Finally, finally, I learned how to cope with being free of Veeblefetzer.

(It wasn't that hard.)

Here in the late fall of 2021, things have fall-en (heh) into place. The land border is open! The house here in Flusherville is almost shut down! Chippy is de-wormed!

On Monday, just a few days from now, we load up the Tercel, steer her across the jet stream with full sail, and head south to our home away from home. The one we've never set foot in. The one that has not a stick of furniture in it. The one that we bought essentially over the internet.

All of this before I can even think about a return to Las Vegas.

But what the hell, I have to live blog this, it's going to be a trip like no other.

The reward?

When all is said and done, we'll be retired Snowburgs.


    1. Yahoo! Glad you're back. Looking forward to your Florida adventures. Glad Chippie could join! Casinos in Florida aren't as good as Vegas, but they have Buffalllooo (-;

    2. I am so happy for you!!! I just retired 4 weeks ago from retail I couldn't work through another Christmas & hubby is done end of Dec. We plan to move in the spring an hour away close to my daughter & grandkids. We also hope next year to be snowbirds we might go travelling around the first few winters then settle into Florida at some point. My dad has had a winter trailer for 23 years south of Daytona so we got to enjoy many visits over the years. Keep us updated I am sure you will have a fantastic winter.

    3. There is a much more serious tone to this report than your Vegas TR's. We are with you on Florida for the winter. We rented for quite a few years near or on the Homosassa River, and finally bought a place that is tucked in out of the weather but not far from Crystal River. So nice to just hop on the plane rather than load up the van. We actually could go with no luggage and have everything we need. I've been retired a long while, but I did not have that same experience because teaching school meant a yearly change of everything for a couple months, and retirement just seemed like another long summer break only instead of going back in September, at some point I just die. I love migration. It seems the answer to so many discomforts. Enjoy.

    4. I am excited for your retirement. Not to mention the two Hard Rock Casinos in Florida will soon catch your eye. I see many trip reports in your future.

    5. Congrats! And glad to see you posting again. We're on the same retirement AND Florida

    6. Great to hear from you again. Congrats on both retirements, the first few months certainly take some time to get acclimatized to but once the transition has been made it's a wonderful time in life as long a your health allows you to enjoy the retirement. We have been retired for 11 years and although we cannot do all the things we love anymore (golf, trips to Vegas, etc)we have just made a move to be close to our children and grandchildren and we are so happy we did. Look forward to your continuing blog and wish you both the very best.

    7. Flushy great to hear abou you Quad Queens new adventures. Enjoy Florida and Snow Bird life. Can't wait fo updates.


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