We're six weeks in to our first snowbird winter. We leave our Tucson RV resort in two weeks. I am feeling nostalgic already.
I have made friends here while doing activities I like. When I walk up to get the mail I usually see a familiar face. I notice people on bicycles and remind myself we will be bringing ours down next year. Thanks to swimming three mornings a week and dancing a couple of times a week and all the walking I do around the resort, I am in better shape physically than I was when I got here.
I did a presentation in one of my discussion groups yesterday and have been asked to moderate the group next week, and "Will you consider being the permanent moderator for the group next year if you and Art come back?" I have taken a walk with a distraught woman whose feelings got hurt in a heated current events discussion. See, I'm being useful. My mediation training, taken in Washington State, is coming in handy in Tucson.
Our mail is being forwarded, so I'm keeping up with bills and business. I have my laptop, so I'm able to do my internet stuff and blog. I have my Kindle and all the magazines I brought along.
We're not on vacation, is what I'm seeing. We're living here in the winter. There's a difference.
The Bag Lady has some thoughts about this situation. She knows it's expensive to rent a park model in high season. But the Bag Lady approves of this expense, because the sunshine is so healthy for my spirit that I'm not taking any homeopathic supplements for seasonal affective disorder, I'm getting the exercise I need, and best of all I'm not worrying about ailments, real or imaginary. All these good things mean less money spent on medically-related stuff.
The Bag Lady also notes that I have not bought an espresso since January 2, on our way out of Reno. My daily espresso at home is a big budgetary item. I have not missed it. My husband Art makes good coffee, and for some reason, here in Arizona, I do not feel a pressing need to walk or drive to an espresso stand. No matter that it's eight miles to the nearest Starbucks.
The Bag Lady also sees that in the last six weeks we have eaten dinner in a restaurant only three times. As compared to two or three times a week at home. We're living very locally here, and there's time to cook.
The Bag Lady observes that, though I brought more than a suitcase full of clothes, I am wearing less than half of them. It's been unseasonably cool in Arizona this year, so I've worn jeans almost every day, with assorted T-shirts. Life is casual at our RV resort. I do laundry three times a week here - right after I get home from swimming I toss my bathing suit and towel into the washer and add whatever laundry needs doing. Forget the sorting into whites and colors, cotton and permanent press. With laundry getting done that often, I need only a couple of outfits. No trips to Chico's for me, no ordering from LLBean online. I'm good with what I've got.
At home we have two cars and a pickup. We need both cars because our activities are often at the same time, in different directions on the freeway. Here we have one car and we share, using less gas.
The Bag Lady's observations are being confirmed by the amount being charged this month on our credit card. We put almost all our spending on the card and pay it off each month to get the air miles. This month the bill is lower than in recent memory.
I think about the park model rental. It is cheaper than we'd spend on a month-long vacation.
It's a matter of perspective. So the Snowbird and the Bag Lady can be friends.