When we're snowbirds, life is simpler than it is at home. We live in a smaller space, so cleaning is quicker - or at least, in my case, housekeeper free. We have a tiny lot which is taken care of by our landlord and consists mostly of raking up the palm fronds that come down when it's windy. No vegetable garden, no lawn to mow, no drains to keep clear of debris.
When we're snowbirds, we have no community obligations. We're not home for our regularly scheduled meetings or volunteer activities. We don't even have a cat to feed!
Freed up like this, we did some things differently for almost 60 days, and they became habits. We have decided to take them home with us. Here are our snowbird souvenirs:
1. I haven't had a latte since January 3. When I'm home I probably stop by my local espresso stand four or five days a week. Usually I'm in the car, on my way to someplace, but sometimes I'm on foot, walking to the library a block away from the espresso stand. I've been a Jason's Java customer for almost 15 years. At $3.75 for a triple tall split shot mocha with half the chocolate, that's a lot of money, and almost as many calories. Here in Tucson, where the nearest Starbucks is eight miles away, I have been fine with the coffee Art makes each morning. It's comfortable to buy a latte and chat with Jason at home, but it's not a necessity. I'm going to reevaluate my latte consumption. I will still meet my niece and friend Colleen at Starbucks every couple of months for coffee and talk, though. For sure.
2. In two months, Art and I went out for dinner five times. At home, we usually go out two or three times a week. That's expensive and also unnecessary. We can stay home to eat way more often, save a bunch of money and not a small amount of guilt at the excess.
3. For the last two months I have gone to an aquatic exercise class three mornings a week at 8 a.m. It is a habit now and I will be doing that when we get home. It will take me ten minutes to drive to the pool at home, but I can do that. I found a deep water aerobics class that meets at a time convenient for me.
4. Art hasn't read the newspaper in two months. He says we can cancel our subscription to the Seattle Times. He's been going to the gym three mornings a week. He says when we get home he'll continue doing that, at the gym we belong to already but haven't used often. While he's exercising he'll watch the morning news on television. It looks to me like he has lost some weight with the exercising.
5. In Tucson we didn't have a dishwasher. I actually enjoyed washing the dishes by hand and I think I will continue that when we get home. It's a nice tactile experience.
6. We learned how to line dance in Tucson. Last week I looked for line dancing lessons at home and found them at the local senior center. I joined online and we will be continuing to line dance. I have avoided the senior center, but having spent two months with other people my age I think it will be a good place to meet people with common interests who don't work during the day. I really enjoyed the social contacts we made in Tucson and I would like to do more of that when we get home.
7. I didn't do any volunteering in Tucson and I am taking home a recommitment to do more of it. I like being useful, and two months without it was enough.
Next year we will be staying in Tucson for three months, instead of this year's two. We like the sun, the activities, and the friendships. I'd like to try a few new things next year, maybe pick up some more habits to take home as souvenirs.