Wintering in Florida

Azaleas blooming in January

Azaleas blooming in January

I am still in a bit of shock that we are really spending the whole winter down here.  I used to think that was only for well-to-do snowbirds from way up north — never me!

There was a group of 4 peacocks today, but I couldn't catch them close enough together to get them all in one picture.

There was a group of 4 peacocks today, but I couldn’t catch them close enough together to get them all in one picture.

The affordableness of it is what staggers me!   Just by making it a top priority, the finances just kind of fall into place.

We had both dogs groomed yesterday — a full grooming for Sunny, and a mini groom for Sheba.  Sunny looked so bad, I was ashamed for anyone to see him.  I kept putting the grooming off for him due to his anxiety attacks.  But finally there was no putting it off any more.

Another leaning tree (besides the one I photographed yesterday).

Another leaning tree (besides the one I photographed yesterday).

Also I wanted to get Sheba a sanitary trim so she would be easier to keep clean (and smell better).

While we were in Ocoee doing laundry yesterday, we noticed a dog groomer in the same shopping center.  I asked if they accepted walk-ins and they did.  So I got Sunny and Sheba off the truck and left them at the groomer.

Sunny was already having an anxiety attack from the truck ride.  I give him a Benedryl when he is really out of control and it does calm him down — a little.  But it didn’t do much for him yesterday.

Base of the leaning tree.  Looks like it's not going to be able to support itself too much longer.

Base of the leaning tree. Looks like it’s not going to be able to support itself too much longer.

Sunny apparently was yipping, pacing and shaking during the entire grooming… and got so upset that he wet on the table.  The groomer said he really went ballistic when she tried to trim his face.  This is so unlike the little dog who used to stand statue still for grooming.  Everyone always told me what a good boy he was.  But he even does that now when I try to brush his ears or tail or wash his face.  And he gets aggressive if I keep trying.

Resurrection ferns on the leaning tree.

Resurrection ferns on the leaning tree.

So I think that might have been his last grooming.  I will try to keep his hair from getting too bad myself.

Sheba, on the other hand had ticks that I had missed in her thick fur.  So the groomer hand picked them off and gave her a dip.  She also got a haircut and it is amazing how much neater and cleaner she looks (and smells).

So the bill for having my two difficult dogs groomed was $115 plus tip! But it was worth every penny to us.

Sunny's haircut

Sunny’s haircut

There is another couple in a Casita here.  They parked next to us for a couple of days, but had to move today as another person had a reservation for the site they were in.  So they moved across the loop from us.

Ron has spoken to the man, but I haven’t had a chance to speak to his wife except for a few words.  They are constantly going and doing.  They did ask Ron if he would close their windows (from the outside) if it rained today.  But we lucked out with no rain.



We are an odd sort of snowbird, I guess.  We aren’t much for going and sightseeing.  Instead we love to choose beautiful places to camp, then spend our time there observing the marvelous details of nature around us.

What matters is that Ron and I are content and are loving our lives as they happen day by day.

Sheba showing off her haircut

Sheba showing off her haircut




  1. Jan Davis

     /  January 16, 2015

    What a wonderful life. My husband and I use to do this type during the summer. Being from Texas, we didn’t need to go far in the winter but loved the higher elevations in the summer. Enjoy every day while you can.

    • Jan, the groomer told me that I am living her dream. 🙂

      It IS a wonderful life. If we could get away in summer, we would head for higher elevations too. But I am trying to just concentrate on the wonder of being here today. Thanks for commenting!

  2. The Azalea is beautiful how I love them. Poor Sunny just isn’t happy with being messed with anymore poor little guy.

    I’m with you on not going all over the place I like to explore where I am at. Hope to do that tomorrow.

    So glad your enjoying your winter yes it can be done with out being overly rich or just plain us

    • And I love the pictures you post from your trips, too, Jo. This really is a dream come true!

  3. Very relaxing! ;->

  4. So happy for you guys! I am green with envy!

    • Janis, it is an almost unbelievable blessing! A dream I thought I could never have. 🙂

  5. Your grooming experience w/Sunny nearly brought me to tears. That kind of anxiety in a pup is so difficult to experience. I love the idea of a sanitary grooming for Sheba. What a prettied up term that is! A pooch with a thick coat like that is always a challenge he.

    Funny that you think of snowbirds as well-heeled. Sure, it costs a bit of gas $$ to get into a warm weather area from Michigan (lovin this sub $2.50 gas!), but we can camp as cheaply as we can pay our gas bill for heating the house. Our goal is to die as we’re spending our last hundred bucks, so it appears that we’ve got a plan in motion.

    My heart bursts with happiness for you having your dream winter. Hang in there!

    • Judy, what is so bad about Sunny’s anxiety is that I can’t comfort him at all. I just have to watch and die a little myself as I watch him struggling with his fear. Fortunately those times do pass and he is okay again.

      We’ve experienced camping costing us much less than we figured it would. It was tough when we tried to figure it out on paper, but it is easy in real life. The money just stretches.

      It IS a dream winter! My sister told my Mom that I was in Central Florida enjoying azaleas and peacocks. She said Mom couldn’t quite get why we would not be ready to think about going home. 🙂

  6. Marcia GB in MA

     /  January 17, 2015

    The azaleas are beautiful! I hear you about the dog grooming. Poor Sunny! My old girl gets too anxious so I don’t even bother. She has a thick double coat and sheds like murder the first few weeks we’re here. I brush her every day and use a shedder on her. I was able to trim the hair under her tail but things still get a little messy back there sometimes (I know, TMI). Now she’s slowed down on the shedding, so I’ve cut back to every other day.

    We have found it fits our budget just fine to be here all winter. We don’t do a lot of expensive outings, but like you, we tend to enjoy wherever we are. We do eat out 3 or 4 times a week but more often breakfast or lunch rather than dinner. Sometimes we split a sub from Publix for lunch or supper. That’s inexpensive. Later this month we’ll be celebrating our 20th anniversary, so we’ll plan something special for that day.

    We are headed to Lake Manatee SP tomorrow. That’s one we haven’t stayed at before and are looking forward to poking around there.

    Keep on livin’ the dream ❤

    • Marcia, I didn’t realize that dogs get nervous about getting groomed when they age. The groomer said it is common.

      Well, the details are fact, so for dog owners it’s not TMI. 🙂

      We also eat out or get take out food fairly often. I usually enjoy cooking, but sometimes I just don’t want to. No expensive dinners except for special occasions, though.

      I wasn’t familiar with Manatee Lake, so I looked it up. Don’t you love camping near water? We stayed at Manatee Springs a few years ago.

      And Happy Anniversary! 🙂

      • Marcia GB in MA

         /  January 17, 2015

        Sharon, I always want to be near water 🙂

  7. So happy for you and your spiffy looking pups!

  8. Sandy W

     /  January 17, 2015

    Marcia, reading your blog gets us all fired up to do the same after I retire Dec 31st! We’re in Sarasota for a week, and visited the RV Show in Tampa this weekend. My, it’s fun to see thousands of different rigs for sale! Gets us all fired up!

    • An RV show beats a candy store hands down! Glad you are getting excited by the prospect of doing the same thing.

      And thanks for your comment! 🙂

  9. cc

     /  January 17, 2015

    does Sunny like peanut butter? Smear some on something dog nose high (fridge, tree, get creative) and then do as much as he will allow, even if its just clipping one paw. If you do it every few days, even the most skittish dogs will eventually get used to being groomed. And peanut butter is a cheap bribe to teach a dog to hold still 🙂

    • cc, I really appreciate your suggestion. But the problem is that Sunny is a very old dog. He used to behave perfectly when groomed. But he apparently has something like doggie Alzheimers now and his little brain isn’t tracking right.

      But he would love the peanut butter anyway!

      Thanks for commenting.

  10. cozybegone

     /  January 18, 2015

    Nothing like a good haircut 😉 Lv the Azaleas!

    • Azaleas look like the glory of spring to me. They just make me happy!

      And good smelling dogs are so cuddly! 🙂

  11. Love your closing line! And agree! Enjoy each day…the sunshine is such a gift! Love to both of you!

    • Love to you, Lynne! I’m trying to imagine what clean, dry desert air must smell like. 🙂

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