Monday, March 28, 2016

All of a sudden, they're gone

We've been busy this winter in Tucson.

I took water aerobics at 8 a.m. three days a week. I played handbells on Tuesday, in preparation for three performances during the season. We had 12-step meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings; one of those groups was new this year, started by me and two other people. On Wednesday I went to current events; the people in this group are a lively, politically diverse bunch, and we have learned to respect each other. Thursday was Great Decisions (a foreign affairs discussion group); I was the facilitator for this group for the third year.

Art had a lead role in our resort's Voyager Light Opera Company production of Oklahoma!, so he had rehearsals on Monday and Thursday afternoons, and spent lots of extra time working on his role, both alone and with others.

I was responsible for setting up and supervising a box office for Oklahoma! ticket sales. We recruited 15 volunteers to staff the box office for two months, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We sold nearly 900 tickets from that box office. Art deposited the money at the end of each shift in the bank branch on the resort.

I'm also taking an online class by Brene Brown. And there is the usual grocery shopping, haircuts, pedicures, lunches out, a movie, visits with friends on the other side of Tucson, trips to the dentist in Nogales, Mexico.

During the three-month high season, we interacted with multiple people every day. Some of them became our friends. We bonded over common activities or common interests. The bonding happens quickly in our winter home.

Then came the end-of-season potlucks. We went to four of them. People say when they'll be leaving the park for home. Kathy said, "I usually stay into April, but I'm going home early so I can spend Easter with my family." JoAnne said, "We were planning on leaving next Monday, but we ran out of propane and the next delivery isn't until Tuesday, so we're going home tomorrow." Our neighbor Carl, who heads up the group that sets up chairs for the large events in the ballroom, said, "We're leaving on Wednesday." Marion said, "We're taking the long way home so we can see Bryce and Zion National Parks." The talk and laughter swirls around the tables as we celebrate another season together. 

And then Kathy isn't in water aerobics. And Dick and JoAnne's park model is dark when we walk their street at sunset. And Carl's car is covered in his carport. Our friends Marion and Mike leave on Monday. All of a sudden, they're gone. 

On April 21, someone will walk by our place on 4th Street and notice the blinds drawn and the deck furniture and bicycles put away. Because we'll be gone.

Until next year.


DJan said...

What a wonderful life you've created, in what seems to me to be such a short time. And now it's the season of beauty and sunshine (mostly) here in the Pacific Northwest, your other life. And it will soon be just as bustling and filled with your inimitable style. :-)

Janette said...

Like summer camp!
Enjoy your trip home--with a car loaded with memories.

Meryl Baer said...

I get exhausted just reading about all your activities! Steve and I signed up for an 8 week Great Decisions foreign policy class, first class is tonight. Looking forward to it.

Carole said...

You have found a wonderful community for your winter home. We are still searching for that. Where we stay is beautiful, right on the ocean, but most people living here are full time residents, so there is not a lot of interest in getting to know someone who is only around for 3 months. We will try something different next year. We will be staying at a condo complex that is smaller, and mostly consists of snowbirds. We have friends that winter there now, so at least we will have them to socialize with.

Mona McGinnis said...

As I read your post, I was reminded of the activities at work - planning for the next season's work, executing those plans, attending further education sessions, socializing at holidays, celebrating birthdays and other life events, attending weddings of co-workers, noon-hour potlucks, taking on community challenges as a team, participating in exercise programs, etc. And then it's all gone, with retirement and on to the next phase in life.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Your winter home sounds absolutely perfect! How terrific that you found just the right place! I think that a community made up of part-timers who bond quickly and warmly is ideal. In my Arizona community, we're about 50-50: half winter residents and half full-timers. There are many fine people in both groups. But, to tell the truth, there is some resentment of the winter residents. The snowbirds tend, as a group, to be more affluent, to expect everything to be just right, and to flock together. There is talk among the full-timers about snowbirds being too entitled and among some, there is outright celebration when the winter residents depart. If I had it to do over again, I would either decide to be a part-timer and look for a community like yours where it appears that all are winter residents or one where everyone tends to be a full-timer. The 50-50 mix tends to make for cliques in both groups and a lack of effort on both sides in bothering to get to know each other.

Linda Reeder said...

This winter has just flown by, and we were just in our year round home. We will try to be sunny here when you return to your PNW digs.

Olga said...

This, for me, is a very familiar tale. I am staying in Florida until May, but Easter always starts a significant migration of us "snowbirds." I really feel the tug of two different places around travel times.

Tom said...

... and so the snowbirds fly home. Sounds like a nice way to live!

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

The name of your blog is so very ironic are anything but a bag lady and you are no longer waiting. You have put your talents and energy into creating a wonderful double life, with two home bases. Enjoy the rest of your southern sojourn and your trip back to Washington.

Perpetua said...

Like Meryl, I get tired just reading about all your activities. :) Though we do move around in our peripatetic retirement, we're not big joiners in outside activities other than my involvement with church and knitting groups. We're basically home-birds in different environments.;) Enjoy the rest of your stay and have a safe journey home.

Deb Shucka said...

Camp for grownups closes up for another year. What a year this has been for you and Art. So glad I got to be a small part of it. It will be nice to have you closer again. :-)

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

I love this time of year so much. I have discovered (remembered) how much I loved playing golf. As the snowbirds leave the little country club we are joining will slow down a lot. I like a more leisurely pace.

We have golfed three times a week, I started playing cards with the neighbor women once a week and we eat with friends on our porch as much as we can.

Life is so good. But, Linda, as you know. We all want to go home when the time comes.

Take such good care of yourself and Art. I think of you often.