Thursday, May 1, 2014

Five Anti-Favorites: On Living in Florida

I'm acting as anti-Hallie you not 5 Favorites, but 5 Least Favorites - of living in the Sunshine State.

Because it's May and the high has hit 90 for three days in a row.

As most of you know, I grew up in Florida. I'm a Cracker. Being raised here is a unique experience: I saw snow for the first time when I was twelve. The term 'skiing' is associated in my head with bathing suits, not snow suits. In high school, I sported permatan - mostly from walking to class in my outdoor high school (think like an outdoor mall).

Now, as an adult who's come home, I'm finding a whole new - more challenging - aspects to Florida living. Granted, I am still pleased about many aspects - we really only needs one season in our wardrobes, we can go to the beach more or less every day of the year, I could still have permatan if I wanted to - but now there are other things that make living in the sunshine state uniquely painful.

1. Serious weather (weather-related wardrobe) envy. Every year, round about September, we have to endure articles, magazines, Facebook posts, ecetera about impending Fall weather. Pumpkin everything! Leggings and boots! Sweater weather! Hot cocoa recipes!
Yeah, throw all that on your cozy log fires because we live in hot hot paradise. There will be no fall chill in the air or beautiful changing leaves! No snow! Piles of lovely plaid blankets are useless here, as are all those dang songs about letting it snow. And Halloween costumes?  There's a reason I went as a belly dancer for several scandalous years - no, I wasn't a junior Mata Hari, but just a very heat sensitive tween.

2. Insane bugs. I joked about roaches the other day, but they are no joke. In Florida, our bugs are so big they have faces. We have grasshoppers the size of locusts. Palmetto bugs (I can't bring myself to link; they are huge roaches that fly). Rats that live in palm trees. Fire ants - or worse. The thing about these bugs is that everyone has them - they're not a dirty house thing, or an old house thing. They're a Florida thing. If you don't want to shell out serious bucks to have some dude in a hazmat suit come to your place and spray toxic chemicals around, then yes, you will have to make peace with finding roaches in your dishwashers several times a week.

3. Seatbelts of death. You know how you jump in your car during wintertime and quickly turn it on, revving up those great seat warmers if you have them, waiting for the heat to toast your buns? Well, imagine you left those seat warmers on high with your car in the baking sun, maybe on the actual sun, for like a week and then got in wearing shorts and a tank top.
That's what it feels to get in your car in Florida 11 months out of the year. God help you if you have children, because they will - from the time they can talk! - shriek "HOT HOT" every time they get in the car, and make you feel like a horrible parent.

4. Insane humidity. I'm not even complaining for the sake of my hair (who pleads its own case every time we walk out of the house without professional styling). I'm complaining for the sake of anything that is supposed to be outside - patio furniture, hammocks, the siding on your house. Apparently, one of the benefits to living in Florida is all this outside time you're supposed to get. Well, everything you want to sit on outside has mold on it, or if it's a cushion, has a general spongy wetness that seeps up and onto your legs and behind.
Also, on the days where it is actually below 80 and breezy, you want to leave your house open, right? We do that (mostly because we are always trying to save on AC costs) and now one of my chores is scrubbing mold off of our TILE and the backs of our dining room chairs and oh yes, all of the 10,000 books we academics own.

5. Bikini-ready, 24/7. I probably didn't think about this in high school when I was, for the most part, bikini-ready 24/7 (because back then I didn't know Jesus or a swim burqas). But Florida is full of exercise buffs, who are always outside in the blasted heat keeping themselves ready to prance around half naked. It's more like a state of perpetual paranoia for me, where I realize that at any moment I could be asked to show up somewhere in my bathing suit - and I ponder the condition of all of my body parts that I must either bare to the sun or squeeze into lycra.
Sometimes, I just long for the comfort - and converge - of a snowsuit.

So to those of you in Minnesota who just got snow at the end of April, I am sorry. But at least you don't have to worry about shaving every day of your life.


  1. This made me laugh!! I am in CA... so I get some of your complaints.. esp the beautiful Fall wardrobe that never is... but thankfully I don't get the "bugs". ugh.

    1. Yes, I think Californians - and really, a lot of people living in the desert - might get this too.

      My mom moved from California to Florida in the 70s. Her first night in the little house she had rented, she found a palmetto bug in the medicine cabinet. She packed up my sisters and ran to her mother's, sobbing they couldn't live here!

      After 30 some odd years, I still don't think she's adjusted. Yuck!

  2. Ha ha...all the thing I don't miss about Fl. Especially the heat one. This winter, whenever I was cold or complained about the cold, all I could think is that "it could be 90 and 1000% humidity".

    1. Yeah, after living outside the state for 8 years, I really never have fully come to love it again because of the weather! Once you have Fall and Spring, endless summer feels so...monotonous.

      Enjoy your lovely seasons for my sake!

  3. I'm moving to the Orlando area in a couple of months from NC so it's good to get these warnings now, haha :)

    1. Oh, I'm from Orlando - it's definitely not as bad there as it is here - I'm three hours south, so we're basically living on the equator.

      But do be prepared...and also for an unholy amount of rain. If you need any advice on your new city, please feel free to email me! My parents still live there and I visit quite a bit, so I'd love to be a virtual tour guide if you need it!


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