Guest Author - Laura Strathman Hulka
A piece of silly humor going around the internet these days! ENJOY!
For those of you contemplating retirement, I would like to share my
retirement experiences with you, which I hope will be helpful.
Fifteen years ago, my wife and I moved into a retirement development
on Florida's Southeast coast. The last time we saw our grandkids was on
Grandchildren's Day when they were dragged down by their parents. We
were living in the Delray/Boca/Boynton, Golf, Spa, Bath and Tennis Club
on Lake Fake-a-hachee. There are 3000 lakes in Florida, only three are
real. It would be great if the kids came down to visit us this winter,
as there is so much going on.
Back by popular demand, the feisty, Hip Replacement Tappers Club will
be tap dancing to the Flight Of The Bumble Bee. It promises to be quite
a production with lots of singing and dancing. This year I am not in
the cast but will be standing by with the defibrillator volunteers.
Our biggest retirement concern was time management. What were we going
to do all day? Let me assure you, passing the time is not a problem.
Your days will be eaten up by simple, daily activities. Just getting
out of your car takes 15 minutes. Trying to find where you parked takes
20 minutes. It takes 1/2 hour on the check-out line in Wal-Mart and 1
hour to return the item the next day. Then of course, there are the
visits to the doctor's and dentist's offices.
Let me take you through a typical day.
We get up at 5:00 AM, have a quick breakfast and join the early morning
Walk and Talk Club. There are about 30 of us and rain or shine we walk
around the streets, all talking at once.. Every development has some
late risers who stay in bed until 6 AM. After a nimble walk avoiding
irate drivers out to make us road kill, we go back home, shower and
change for the next activity.
My wife goes directly to the pool for her under water Pilates class,
followed by gasping for breath and CPR. I put on my 'Ask me about my
Grandchildren' T-shirt, my mid-calf shorts, my socks and sandals and go
to the club house lobby for a nice nap.
Before you know it it's time for lunch. We go to Costco to partake
of the many tasty samples dispensed by ladies in white hair nets. All
free! After a filling lunch, if we don't have any doctor appointments,
we might go to the flea market to see if any new white belts have come
in or to buy a Rolex watch for $2.00.
We're usually back home by 2 PM to get ready for dinner. People start
lining up for the early bird about 3 PM, but we get there by 3:45
because we are late eaters. The dinners are very popular because of the
large portions they serve. You can take home enough food for the next
day's lunch and dinner, including extra bread, crackers, Sweet-and-Low
packets and mints.
At 5:30 we're home ready to watch the 6 o'clock news. By 6:30 we're
fast asleep. Then we get up and make 5 or 6 trips to the bathroom
during the night and it's time to get up and start a new day all over
Doctor related activities will eat up most of your retirement time. I
enjoy reading old magazines in sub zero temperatures in the waiting
room, so I don't mind.. Calling for test results also help the days fly
by. It takes at least half an hour just getting through the doctor's
phone menu. Then there is the hold time until you are connected to the
right party. Sometimes they forget you are holding, and the whole
office goes to lunch.
Many of the receptionists are quite rude. They keep you standing at
that dopey little, closed glass window, totally ignoring you. After 1/2
an hour, I ignore the 'Do not tap on the window' sign and tap on the
window. This always drives them nuts. If you do, they put down their
Egg McMuffin or their copy of the Enquirer, and fling open the window,
ready for a fight. I lie, explaining I tapped on the window
accidentally because I have Parkinson's. They claim they are required to
keep the window closed because of the privacy law but l don't believe it.
Are they afraid if I were to overhear Sol Lipshitz has hemorrhoids, that I
would blackmail him or sell the information to a foreign government? In
Florida everyone has hemorrhoids!
Should one find they still have time on their hands, volunteering
provides a rewarding opportunity to help the less fortunate.
Florida has the largest concentration of seniors under five feet and
they need our help. I myself am a volunteer for 'The Vertically
Challenged Over 80..' I coach their basketball team---'The Arthritic
Avengers.' The hoop is only 4 1/2 feet from the floor. You should see
the look of confidence on their faces when they make a slam dunk.
Food shopping is a problem for short seniors or 'bottom feeders' as we
call them because they can't reach the items on the upper shelves.
There are many foods they have never tasted. Whenever I see one of them
struggling to reach a can of tuna fish, I rush over to lend a hand.
After shopping, most seniors can't remember where they parked their
cars. They wander the parking lot for hours looking for their car while
their food defrosts.
Choosing a development with suitable amenities is an important
decision. The various clubs in these communities provide most of the
activities. Our development has over 300 clubs. There's something for
everyone. Clubs like the kidney donating club, the
East meets West club, not to be confused with the West meets East club,
etc. A truly active community is one where the ambulance is there
several times a day and is part of the Travel Club.
Lastly, it's important to choose a development with an impressive name.
Italian names are very popular in Florida. They convey... world
traveler, uppity sophistication and wealth. Where would you rather
live... Murray's Condo's or the Lakes Of Venice? There is no
difference. They are both owned by Murray who happens to be a cheap
tight-wad! The Italian names appeal to those name-dropping, phony snow birds
that are out to impress their friends up north. I once heard someone say
...'we spend our summers in the Catskills, but we winter at Villa
Borghese in Delray Beach'. I have been to Villa Borghese. There are
1,200 women and 2 men!!
I hope this material has been of some help to you future retires. If I
can be of any further assistance, please look me up when you're
in Florida. I live in The Leaning Condos of Pisa in Boynton Beach.