First and foremost I have to pause a moment in my ramblings and wish our daughter a happy birthday. She is the joy of our life and we love her loads. And I never get tired telling and showing her. Happy Birthday Sweetie!
Yesterday was the last of the group events for this season. The management of the park put on a meal for the residents who are still here. It was a modest affair, sloppy joes, a bag of chips, pinto beans, coleslaw and a piece of cake/cobbler but it’s the thought that counts I guess. There was entertainment — an entertainer called The Castaway (from Minnesota I understand) who played keyboard/drums/cymbals/steel drum. He was pretty good and there were smiles all around.
As I sat there on a table for 8 and looked around the room I was struck once again by the fact that there are so many old people in the room. I know I talked about this before, but I realize now it’s a bigger thing in my head — actually in both of our head — than we’ve been willing to admit. In our Mid-Sixties we aren’t old and decrepit quite yet. We still think reasonably young, we try to stay active and do things that people younger than ourselves do. And I know that we too will soon be among the most wrinkly faces, and the most debilitated bodies as any who sat there across the tables last evening. Youth is to be treasured, and so is old age. Not all of us make it to old age, and that makes the ‘achievement’ even more valuable — but there’s nothing pretty about the aches and pains that come with old age (to which point we have not yet arrived — we’re retired but we aren’t OLD by any measure)
All of these thoughts arise not because we are RV’ing, but because for 4 months we have been cloistered together with a bunch of other older people. This is a 55+ park, so 80% of the population has to be 55 or older. And we are every bit that. Among the residents there are about 40% whom I would estimate to be about our age — give or take a few years. And the rest are older.
The fact that we are separated from other ages is poignantly made in contast to our 10 months in Oregon as volunteers where the vast majority of people we dealt with were below 55. Our volunteers were a mixed lot of diverse ages; the USFS staff were mostly sub-55, and of course the campers and public who visited the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area were of every age from newborn to crotchety old folks.
We do a lot of State Parks, Corps of Engineer Campgrounds, etc. and there is the perception that we rub shoulders with all ages while there. Or course that’s really only true during the summer and school break periods because the young ones are in school — as they should be — during the rest of the year — so our perception is biased! We accept that.
Still and all, I think there’s a part of us that would like to achieve a wider association during more of the year and we have no idea how to go about that. There I said it. I have no idea how to fix what I’m troubled by.
I’m not ready to take up the cry of “Volunteers to the rescue”. Which is to say I’m not ready to put on the harness and go back to work. We have been considering returning to Palmdale next year — but arriving earlier (Nov 1) and staying through April. We may yet do that but the roadtrip to Milwaukee gave us time to mull over how we felt about being here and we’re looking to tweak our plan. For one thing I want to be aware of the long range climate predictions for the area. Last year we knew that the long range forecast for was cooler & wetter than average. That certainly was the reality. At the moment the long range guesses are for an average winter in both temperature and precipitation for next winter. That would be fine with us. But if the prognostication changes I think our plan would change as well.
A year ago I looked into volunteering at Wildlife Refuges — that might be a possibility if we found something this far South. I don’t think that I want to try a winter North of Corpus Christi — my feeling is that it’s just going to be colder than what I’m looking for.
On the other side of the story is the fact that areas like Yuma have been average and above average in temps and that means winter temps in the 90’s — and I’m not sure I want to push that far into the heat curtain. I’m being fussy — I realize — but at this age I can afford myself the luxury of going for what I want instead of what I have. That’s why we bought the RV.
We really like the people who are here. And even though we are not big ‘joiners’ we have been welcomed with open arms — that’s a lot to turn your back on when you consider alternate choices. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know. 🙂
I’ll admit that I’m tired of hearing about the bad roads here. I’ve mentioned it a few times but no day goes by without being told by several residents how bad they are. Let’s not beat a dead horse. And if they are so bad what are you doing here in the first place: go someplace you like better. But then you know I’m not going to actually say those words. Even though there might be times when I really, really, really wanted to!
I spent most of the morning on the phone with Apple. Over 10 years ago I opened an Apple ID with an email address I want to get rid of. And for years Apple did not allow you to change your email identifier and I cussed and muttered about having to keep an email address which had begun receiving more junk mail than real mail. It’s amazing how complicated life can get when you are connected via several electronic devices and something gets screwed up. Apple Care took care of me over two phone calls — for free. I’m incredibly grateful that they can make complex things so simple. I realize that one change as I age is that I am more and more impatient when I lose control over some aspect of my life. I try my best to stay on top of things and when an account gets messed up — often because the company changes something I never wanted changed in the first place — I’m really not fun to be around until the complexity is simplified.
In the meantime neighbors are getting ready to move. One Class A moved off their winter site onto a pull through to avoid any chance of getting stuck in the soft ground should it rain again before their departure on Monday. Another neighbor who bought their pull-behind trailer last winter and have never towed it anywhere decided that next year they are wintering near Tarpon Springs FL — so they are checking lights and tow bars and equalizer arms and all that stuff you do to make sure you’re ready to pull off on a scheduled day. Others are washing salt off their fishing tackle and putting their bits and bobs away in anticipation of their departure.
We kind of feel like everyone is abandoning ship; we aren’t the last rats on board, but it’s an odd feeling for people who usually are among the first to leave. But, who knows — some day we may stay here year round — so I guess we better get used to it.
I’ve rambled on long enough for today. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.