My family and I just came home from spending a week with my Dad and his lovely partner Bobbie in Florida. My Dad has a condo in a gated community there, and it is a different world from Ottawa in February. There are seven swimming pools, clay and hard tennis courts, a full 18 hole golf course, and almost as many golf carts as palm trees. The golf cart is just the best way to get around from the condo to the pool, to the tennis courts and back home again – it’s always our favourite mode of transportation when we visit.
I do wonder what it would be like to live here though. There are a LOT of rules. For example:
-Even if I wanted to live here, I wouldn’t be allowed to until I turn 55; I am only allowed to visit for prescribed periods of time until then.
-The sign posted at the large pool has 21 rules listed on it, not including the giant sign on all of the gates stating that NO CHILDREN ARE ALLOWED IN THE POOL BEFORE 10:00AM. This sign was new this year, and it is entirely possible that it was instituted after our last year’s visit. Woops.
-If you live here, you are not allowed to own a dog that weighs more than 20 pounds.
-Residents are not allowed to back into their parking spaces. Why? No one really knows.
-Plus a zillion more. The rule book for the community has ballooned to over 70 pages in recent years.
The harder part for me, though, would be the community itself. People know each other’s business. It’s like Peyton Place without the sex, so says my Dad. The introvert in me wonders how I would manage the people and parties around all the time. When we were there last week, we parked the golf cart at the clay tennis courts and asked the girls to run over and grab some tennis balls for us to carry over to the hard courts. We were yelled at because those tennis balls belonged to the tennis courts and were not for playing with. Tony had to explain that yes indeed, we were picking up the balls to take over to the under-utilized hard courts right over there, sir, thank you very much.
Also hard? I would have to embrace my naturally frizzy hair.
HOWEVER, there is an awful lot to like here. It feels fabulous to lie by the pool in February and not be bunched up in winter clothing when everyone else is. There are 90-year-olds on the tennis courts, and people can be active all year round. In fact once you become inactive, you are “encouraged” to move on to somewhere else. I believe it is one of the rules.
So yes, it is a different lifestyle, and yes it would be tough, but if I tried really hard, I think I could handle it.