Another Snowbird Winter

We’re here in Florida for another winter. This year, we’re staying for six weeks instead of five. We want to be here for baseball spring training. Even though last year’s spring training started late, we left too early even if it had started on time.

At the start of January

I have to admit, it hasn’t been a great January for me. As you know, I lost a good friend and her visitation and funeral were on January 1 and 2. It helped to write this post about her but I struggled before then.

If you’ve followed me for a while or read some of my older posts, you know I suffer from spontaneous vertigo. It’s mostly under control, but it flares up occasionally. It’s not nearly as debilitating as it used to be, for which I’m thankful. But the little flare-ups zap my confidence and energy.

I was eating my lunch on January 8 when a spell hit. I started to walk to the bedroom so I could lie down and I fell. That’s never happened to me before. While walking isn’t easy during a spell, I’ve never felt that out of control. I bumped my knee pretty good and I can still feel the bruise even now.

I’ve reached the point where I can almost tell when I could have a spell. My head feels wonky and my vision is a little blurry. But on January 10, a day when I thought I was feeling great, I had a spell while I was driving. Ok, now I’m really spooked. Fortunately, I was almost home and it was a quick one. I was fine by the time I pulled into our garage. But I was definitely nervous.

I was mostly fine while we were getting ready for our trip to Florida. I had a few loose ends to resolve and then pack. I had good notes from last year which helped. However, I didn’t do a great job of packing shirts. I didn’t bring very many!!

We were kind of excited about the snow we got the day before we left. It made us even more thrilled that we were leaving for a while.

The three-day trip

Just a couple of weeks before we were to leave, Tim made a change in our route. Instead of going south first, we were going to go east and spend our first night in a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. I was familiar with the area because I’d gone to the Western & Southern Open (tennis) there so many times. And we had reservations at a favorite restaurant.

The reservation meant we were on a schedule. So, we got up early to be on the road by 7:00. This would be our longest driving day and we needed to be at the restaurant by 7:30.

Everything started out fine, but we stopped at a rest area around Galesburg, Illinois and as we were getting ready to leave, I had a spell. It didn’t last long but I was afraid to eat much after that. I never know what causes it.

I was fine for the rest of the day but nervous. At the restaurant that night, I had a couple of little twinges. Great, I thought. But I was able to enjoy my meal.

Here I am in front of the Montgomery Inn

To summarize, I had a spell that night in bed, one the next day in the car (which was a little worse and I missed driving through Chattanooga), and then one that night in bed. I was very apprehensive about our third driving day. But I made it through. I ate very little and I didn’t work any more on my knitting project, since both spells in the car came after I was knitting for a while.

So far, I’ve been doing OK here in Florida. I have had a couple of days when my head didn’t feel quite right, but nothing I can’t manage. I’m pretty sure stress is a trigger and hopefully finally getting here has made things better. It’s unlikely, however, that I’ll go anywhere by myself for a while.

Things we did differently this year

Last year, before we left, I made a note of the things I wouldn’t bring again and those I wanted to add to the packing list.

If you followed me last year, you know I wavered on whether I’d want a printer here. I even considered buying one just for our trip. But I didn’t. We did OK, but I did kind of miss it. I don’t print a lot, but it is nice to be able to do it when you want something.

Plus, we have an HP Instant Ink plan and when we got back, after sitting idle for almost six weeks, the printer wasn’t happy. The ink cartridges were dry and it took me a while to finally get everything straightened out. So this year, I wrapped it in bubble wrap and we brought it with us. I haven’t used it a lot but I have been glad it’s here.

I also hated the knives in this condo. Actually, any condo I’ve ever stayed in has lousy knives. So, I packed up some of our favorite knives this year. We haven’t done a lot of cooking yet, but they’ve definitely come in handy. We also brought a crockpot again and I filled it up with the spices I thought we’d need.

I missed having a clock in the bathroom. For some reason, I need to know what time it is when I’m getting cleaned up in the morning (or afternoon, as is often the case here). I took the clock from my bathroom at home and stuck it in my trip bag. I also brought a little clock we had in our spare bathroom, and it’s by my reading chair. I’m so happy!!

Last year, I fretted about our mail. We checked into the UPS Store as an option and in November, I secured a box at the store closest to us. I was starting to think our forwarding wasn’t working until yesterday when we had several things in our UPS box. Finally!! But there are still some things not being forwarded. We left a key with a neighbor and he’s checked our box once since we left.

Tim had shoulder replacement surgery in September and was going to physical therapy up until the day before we left. He wanted to bring a few weights and things so he could continue with his rehab. But I think he’s already concluded he won’t be doing that again.

Next year?

When we first got here, I was wondering if we should come again next year. Why do I let it create so much stress for me? I think some of it’s because I am such a homebody and I like being around my “stuff”. I can’t sew or make cards while we’re here. Although I have made progress on both knitting and cross stitch projects.

The other thing is my dad. I hate feeling like I’m leaving everything to my sister. We’ve made some changes recently to his level of care which should make leaving easier. (I don’t have to fill his prescription boxes weekly.) We have applied for LTC benefits and I’m the one who takes care of that stuff. I did call about his tax appointment in December, so we’re set with that and I’ve done all I can until the 1099s, etc. are delivered. I’m trying to tell myself that I need to take care of myself too and this trip is part of that.

We’ve looked at a couple of other options for next year, mainly because we would prefer a king-sized bed. But there are so many positives about this place that I hate to give it up. Unfortunately, we’ll have to make that decision before we leave in March.

Next time, I’ll update you on what we’ve been doing since we got here. The weather is SO much nicer than last year’s. Can’t complain about that at all!!

11 thoughts on “Another Snowbird Winter”

  1. The last few days have been glorious weather wise! Make sure you check out CocoWood – a new restaurant in Redington Shores that is really good. Kenny’s Korner is under new management and does dinner now as well; we had a nice dinner there a couple of weeks ago. Wahoo’s also under new management and while prices much higher, I’ve heard food quality is good (and it’s much cleaner).

    As you might have seen from my blog post, January’s rocky start got rockier. Hopefully things will settle a bit on my end and we can link up for a beach walk and lunch one day before you leave.

    1. Oh yes, this year’s weather can’t be beaten. We have already found CocoWood Grill and even have reservations for Valentine’s day!! We really liked it. Good to know about Kenny’s Corner. We drove by last night and were surprised to see they were open. We’ve been to Wahoo’s and I wasn’t excited about returning, but maybe we’ll have to try it now.

      Yes, I’m so sorry about your mother. I’m sure you have many loose ends to tie up but do let me know if you have an open day for lunch. We are here until March 5.

  2. Wow, I had no idea your vertigo was this bad. I have had it in the past, and still have occasional episodes, but nothing that the Epley method won’t fix in one session. What you have described sounds terrifying. I also did not know that it is triggered by stress. Are you sure there isn’t more going on there?

    I can imagine that preparing for six weeks away is stressful, especially considering your Dad’s care.

    The weather has been cloudy for more days than I’d like this winter, but I’ll take 70 – 80’s over what is happening in the Northeast any time. I hope your settling-in period is brief and you will experience all that is wonderful about Florida in winter. Looking forward to hearing about what you are up to.

    1. I’ve been to Mayo and take medication which has helped immensely. Even they couldn’t give me a confident diagnosis. Most of the time, I’m just fine. It’s never going away so I have to live with the occasional episodes and do what I can to avoid any triggers.

      I can’t complain about this year’s Florida weather. Clouds are ok when it’s in the 70s!

  3. Wow, your vertigo sounds worrisome. Getting it while you are driving… yikes! I’m sure you’ve done what you can with your doctor trying to find the cause but I wish you luck.

    I’m glad you got out of that snow! You don’t have some of your “things” there, but I imagine you have other diversions to keep you occupied.

    1. Yes, I’ve been to the Mayo Clinic and take medication daily. Even they weren’t sure if it is Ménière’s disease or vestibular migraine. I’m starting to think it’s the migraine. Fortunately, I am fine most of the time. But when I do have spells, they come in bunches.
      Definitely don’t miss the snow and it’s been very cold back home as well. I am able to bring a few projects with me so I have plenty to do when I’m not at the pool or out and about!!

  4. I’m sorry to hear you were having problems with your vertigo. I have benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) which isn’t nearly so bad, at least for me. It happens usually when I roll onto my right side in bed or lean over to pick up something. Not fun at all! I just finished a physical therapy session for it a couple of weeks ago because it was getting stronger. Thankfully one session usually takes care of it. It had to be scary when your vertigo hit when you were driving. I also sometimes have migraines where I am seeing wavy lines which increases until I can only see through a small space. It happened once when I was driving to work and was terrifying. Thankfully I haven’t had one for several years. But I understand how you felt when your vertigo hit when driving. Thank goodness you were close to home. And thankfully you don’t have it all the time. I used to work with someone who had it 24/7. Also, people have asked me if I plan on wintering in AZ, but I would have to pack my whole craft room to take with me! I know whatever I didn’t take would be exactly what I would want to work on! So, no, I’ll just be a homebody and enjoy being with all my stuff. Take care, and if you ever need anything, just let me know.

    1. Thanks Jackie. When this all started 7 years ago, I went to PT to see if I had BPPV. Unfortunately, not that. I think it’s vestibular migraine. I take medication daily which I believe makes my spells less severe when I do have them. And stress and possibly certain foods seem to trigger them. I no longer drink alcohol or anything with caffeine. I also had three cold sores in January which is another sign of stress. I’m glad that month is over!!
      I miss my studio so much while we’re here. Tim says I should bring stuff with me but like you, I wouldn’t know what to bring and would undoubtedly leave something crucial behind!!

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