Friday, February 15, 2013

The Snowbird and the Bag Lady

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.


Teri said...

So, the bag lady approves and you can be healthier and happier in the sunshine. If you find the right RV park, life is good.

Bob Lowry said...

I'm so happy your first experience wintering in Tucson has been such a positive experience. The activities you and Art have tackled, the adjustments to life away from home, and the healing power of everyday sunshine obviously agree with you.

You are probably going home to drizzle and clouds but you've had such a wonderful time I'm sure it will sustain you until the beautiful Seattle summer.

I look forward to seeing you and Art on Monday. You'll have lots to share!

Linda Reeder said...

I love the way you talk to yourself to resolve any conflict between the two sides of your nature. You are your own mediator, and then you share your wise thinking with us!
May the sun you've soaked up sustain you as you return home.

Teresa Evangeline said...

I'm so glad the two of you can be friends. :) It sounds like a pretty good way to spend the winter and it's nice when it comes to feel like home through activities and increasingly familiar faces. You continue to make good choices for your life.

DJan said...

When I visited my sister in Florida for two weeks, I didn't have even one latte, my daily habit here. I also didn't wear anything but shorts, although I brought two pairs of pants. My shorts and sandals are put away now, but it was nice for a change. I get why you are enjoying your snowbird experience. Of course you will return, it seems perfect for you. :-)

Linda Hoye said...

You make a good case for the snowbird life. I am so tired of the gray and wet Seattle winter. The sun came out yesterday and I put only Capri pants to celebrate!

Muffy's Marks said...

Living in Lake Havasu for three months, I totally agree. I am going to hate to see April 1st roll around.

Perpetua said...

"We're not on vacation, is what I'm seeing. We're living here in the winter. There's a difference."

Exactly, Linda,. This is just how we feel on our long visits to France and Scotland, but it isn't always easy to get others to understand. We too take more clothes than we need and actually live very simply when we're there.

I love the Bag Lady's running commentary on your discoveries. :-)

Tom said...

A good thoughtful analysis. And I like the distinction you make: "We're not on vacation, is what I'm seeing. We're living here in the winter. There's a difference."

#1Nana said...

Seems like you've got the best of both worlds.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

I, too, enjoy the way the two sides of your nature reason things out. And I suspect it's no accident that things are affordable; the Bag Lady guided you to make some good choices to ensure that this new winter experience would be sustainable. Glad you are enjoying it so much1

Ms Sparrow said...

I'm so glad it's working out so well for you. I admire your reasoning skills too!

Dee said...

Dear Linda, I was grinning broadly by the time I got to the end of your posting. I'm so happy for you that you've found all these good results of taking these past weeks to be a snowbird. It would seem that it's just what the Bag Lady needed. And hey! Maybe it's what I need also. You've given me something to think about.

And being asked to be the moderator next year says so much about your skills. I'm glad you were able to use all that you learned in the mediation classes. You are a gift to any group. Peace.

Tamara said...

Linda, what would I Google to look into this for future consideration? I'm not familiar with these type of rentals and need your expertise!

b+ (Retire In Style Blog) said...

Well said my friend. You will fit in anywhere you decide to live. I admire your involvement in that community.

As for the nitty gritty of snow bird life, I might add that we put our house in Oregon to sleep when we are gone. Gas, water, internet/tv all get put on vacation. The savings from that move more that pays for our utilities here. If your park model rental includes any of those things you are in the black+.

When you decide to stay for more than 3-4 months, it may pay for you to own a park model. That is what we found to be true.

FYI: Monthly park model rental here at Rincon is usually over $2000 a month.. Lot rental is around $4500 a year.

Be well.


Michael said...

Linda, you've documented several significant life changes, or lifestyle changes, you've made during your time in the sun. I'm wondering if you will take those observations back with you and attempt to inculcate them into your northern lifestyle? Using less in so many ways, making do with one car, moderating your group...all deserve consideration as permanent additions. And of course continue to take care of the wounded spirit of your friends.

Your journey is inspirational.

b+ (Retire In Style Blog) said...

Linda, just a note. I had some thoughts on the comments situation. Notice at the top of my blog I have added a reaction box. You might be interested in doing this.

Miss you guys yesterday. We may be snow birds but these bird stay at home when it snows in Arizona!


Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

This is a great observation of why it will work for the better. I think I need to be a snow bird but Buddy won"t leave without hubby and hubby loves his work too much!

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