While I was nonchalantly sweeping the house the other day, it dawned on me I was doing a chore now that I live here in Florida, that I've never had to do anywhere else that I ever lived. Hmmm.
When I say that I was sweeping the house, I actually do not mean that I was sweeping the inside of the house (although that happens too). No I mean I was sweeping the outside. Oh no, not the courtyard. No. I mean I was literally sweeping the exterior of the house. Yup that's a thing.
Cobwebs, spider webs, collections of outside ick tends to accumulate anywhere it can get a grip. And then when a breeze blows by, and bear in mind here that we live by the ocean and therefore we have a lovely sea breeze most every day, the breeze brings with it, dust, sand, leaves and so forth. Together it makes icky little corners in every window, every doorway, every nook and cranny of the outside of the house. And therefore, I find myself, now and again, sweeping the entire exterior of the house.
This particular time, I was especially careful to not disturb the wasp nests that I also found. Not because I want wasp nests around my house but because I did not want to get stung. So I was super careful with my broom to sweep gently around the nests. As it tuns out, just being in the vicinity of a wasp nest is enough to piss them off. I was reminded of every single episode of Star Wars when the bad guys release a swarm of their tie fighters to kill the good guys. You know how they looked as they buzzed out of the death star? It was kind of like that. Only Wasps. Good news, I did not get stung. Bad news, they know who I am now. As Astro would say, Ruh-Roh.
So that is one of the Florida chores. Which made me wonder if there were any others. And yes, yes there are.
For example, pruning palm trees. I suppose when I lived other places, I probably pruned trees. But it was never as necessary or as often as it is here. For example: There is this one particular palm tree where I park my car. Let me back up a little bit (hah! ..car...back up...unintentional pun) Our driveway is a half-circle. It's very handy. Neither of us every has to back out into the street. Very nice. Tim parks on one side of the half-circle way over to the side and I park on the other part of the circle, again, way over to one side so that we can literally pass one another in the driveway. Coolio! My car ends up parked under a tree which in one way is good because the shade keeps the car a little cooler. But on the other hand....palm fronds. I'm not at all certain what sort of palm tree it is, but I refer to it as the Muppet Palm because that's what it looks like to me.
When it's properly trimmed, I park underneath with no problem. But as the tree grows, the fronds hang lower and lower until the tips gently sweep the top of my car as I drive underneath. After awhile, it's more of a combing than a sweeping and then I know it's time to trim it again. This necessitates several things: me moving my car, hauling out a ladder, gloves and the giant chompers and then bravely climbing the ladder, chomping off as many fronds as I can reach, moving the ladder and climbing back up over and over. And that would be fine. I am not a delicate little flower. I can haul ladders and chomp fronds, but I'm not a huge fan of climbing ladders. And I particuarly do not climbing up high on a ladder (good thing I'm short eh?). Add to that the fact that the grounds is NOT level. Not ever. So the ladder wobblies the entire time. Cue heart palpatations!
Another Florida specific chore is bleaching any white exterior doors. It's entirely possible that people with other colours of doors have to do this too. I honestly have no idea. I do know that our doors are white. And the reason they are white is because I clean them all of the time. I speak not just of normal dirt but of mildew. The scourge of Florida. The outside doors to our utility room are not just white, they are blindingly white. Super duper clean. And the reason that they are is because I HATE mildew. This means that on a regular basis, especially in the summer when it's hot and humid and rainy, I find myself, armed with a roll of paper towels and a spray bottle of bleach & water spraying and scrubbing over and over until the doors are white again. So there's that.
Another chore. It's not horrible. It's not even something that happens often. But it does happen. Somehow sneaky little lizards creep into the house and then they must be captured and put back outside. Or scooted out. Or swept out. Or encouraged out. Or by whatever means necessary removed from inside to outside. We do not dislike the lizards. We do not want to hurt the lizards. But we also do not want them in the house. And so when one sneaks in we find ourselves doing Abbott and Costello routines in an effort to remove them.
The last one that comes to mind (although I've probably missed a few) is emptying the de-humidifier. During the humid season, I find myself emptying it several times a day. It's not a difficult thing to do, but it's something that must be done. If for no other reason, than to keep that musty, gymsocky, decomp smell out of the house. I absolutely hate that smell and therefore, I go to whatever lengths necessary to not have it.
But we also have the dehumidifer because, as two people with allergies are well aware, humidity breeds the dreaded mildew and that is ALWAYS a bad thing. A dehumidifier takes care of the problem. It's not like if I forget to empty it there is a giant puddle on the floor. No. There is an automatic shut off. When the reservoir is full, it beeps a couple of times and then shuts itself off. Eventually I notice, empty it and then it resumes it's job. Not hard.
We have also lived places where we had the opposite problem - dry air which required humidifiers. Again, as two people with allergies, we also are aware of the problems inherent : nose bleeds, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis and even dehydration are some of the fun filled problems associated with dry air. Wow! So in those places we had a different machine...a humidifier where I was constantly filling the reservoir so it could introduce moisture into the air. Of the two, I find it easier to empty than fill.
On the other hand, a chore I never ever have here is shoveling snow. We've lived here more than 3 years now, haven't had to shovel snow once. Also don't have to salt icy walk ways. Or load up the wood box for the fireplace (don't have one). Or deal with wet mittens, galoshes, scarves or hats drying on the radiator.
Seems like a fair trade to me.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.