We have now been back in the USA for 2.5 months. We have been in a short term rental in a place called The Villages, FL. It is very near Ocala in the north center of the state. Denise’s parents and my mom live here. It is a 55+ community with currently about 115,000 people and 540 holes of golf and still growing. There are only approximately 3% of the population in our age group according to demographics from 2014. If you advance about 15+ years older than us then the percentage goes WAY up. Yes, lots of Silver and bald heads but regardless there is lots a person can do.
Denise and I have been trying to get a routine going. We are not feeling as ‘healthy’ or active as we were before getting here. Since we left the beach the tan has toned down a little and my clothes are not fitting as well. I have even greatly reduced my alcohol intake as well as continuing to eat pretty good. There is just something about being at and walking on the beach that just keeps me in much better health/shape. We will be back to the beach soon – more to follow.
We have started playing AT tennis 2-3 times a week. I say ‘AT’ since we are not yet at a stage I would call actually playing the game. It is good exercise though. Especially the part where you have to run outside the fence and chase the ball as well as the constant bending down to pick them up off the ground. We definitely can see an improvement from when we started playing but we don’t keep score, though I wonder if secretly Denise is doing so. She is so competitive. After tennis, Denise and I have been going and sitting on the patio at Dunkin Donuts and having a morning coffee (just coffee) – relaxing and cooling down.
We try to ‘work-out’ 2-3 times a week. There is a park with a rubberized path that we walk to and in a certain area there is outdoor resistance equipment that uses your own weight as a counter-balance. It is not a lot but it is something. Most residents just use this and almost all other areas as a dog walk. I think it is mandatory that every resident have at least 1-3 dogs.
We try and get to the pool 2-3 times a week. We try to go for at least 1 hour and we take our noodles and float/kick around in the deeper end, 5-8 feet usually. In Panama we never saw a pool that was deeper than 4.5 feet. Most folks are a little shorter there :). You can actually get good exercise doing this. In Panama we were doing this anywhere from 5-7 days a week and sometimes 2X a day. We find that hard to do here. Not just because we need to take the golf cart to get to the pool vs in Panama we just walked up one floor to the roof pool but we find the weather here is being a real detriment to activity. For at least the time we have been here, the weather has been very HOT and very WET. Panama was hot all the time but central Florida does not have the ocean breeze and the humidity can be stifling during the morning/afternoon. I do not think I have ever seen so much rain – EVER. In June it was raining every mid-afternoon so you needed to do things just in the morning and evening. Next it continued having storms in the late afternoon and evening so our evening swimming was interrupted. Why does rain interrupt swimming? This is not just rain but rolling and rumbling continuous thunder and lots of lightening and very heavy cloud bursts. Can’t be in the pool or even out in that stuff. Maybe the season will begin to fade?
Other than that we have been pretty much relegated to being in doors in the A/C. We did go to a lakeside bar called Gator Joes and also saw the old Ma Barker’s hangout where they got taken out by the FBI. Kind of the original Waco. We have also been over to Denise’s folks place a number of times and I also have seen my mom a couple times. It is nice to catch up. We played Shuffleboard with Denise’s parents. The women smoked us guys. We hope to start playing some golf in the evening if the rain allows. We have heard it is the rainy season and we heard this season is more wet than normal but it also seems that we get more rain where we live vs other areas of The Villages. Guess it is just my dark cloud following me.
Denise and I took our first trip down the south east coast to look for an area to live long term while also celebrating our 31st anniversary. We have narrowed our search to Delray Beach and Jupiter/Juno Beach areas. We were able to stop in at the Square Grouper Tiki Bar (my old haunt) and a great Irish bar in Palm Beach. We will go again in a few days to do more in-depth analysis of the areas and maybe find a long term rental home. There is a lot less rain down there. Our requirements are that the development has a pool(s), tennis court(s), fitness center, a place Denise can work on her mosaics, AND walking or at least biking distance to the beach. We also wanted to be within reasonable distance of a major airport, the cruise terminal, and easy access to the Keys. Thus our focus on the SE coast vs the gulf. Shopping conveniences are important as well as the population mix. We like a diverse mix but we would prefer to be the older ones vs the other way around. We have a lot of in-person research coming up. Our chosen areas looks promising.
It will be great to get settled in a more permanent place especially for Denise. We have a 10×15 storage unit full of what we moved from Washington so we have to move that stuff. She will be happy to get her hands on her own things again. Once we get settled we can then plan for our next adventure and/or maybe entertain guests. All of those that are invited have already received your invitations. Denise personally selected and sent them out to make sure it got done.
Just kidding, nothing was sent out – yet! Well that is it for now. Tennis, pool, park, coffee, blah, blah, blah…I know tuff life. Actually pretty boring for what we had been previously experiencing but hey, somebody has to do crazy and leisurely stuff.
As always, enjoy the pictures and let me know if you have any comments or questions. BTW – what’s with a trampoline event as an olympic sport. The world has gotten so soft!