Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Wintering in Cypress Lakes 55+ Resort

A huge cactus in Florida, proudly waving the American flag above it.
Large Cactus
Here we are, running close to the end of our "winter" at our home in Cypress Lakes (Lakeland, FL). It's been an interesting winter ... certainly much better than our Canadian winters. From the time we arrived (around the middle of January this year) right up until now, the weather is sort of unpredictable. Well, it seems so for us - maybe because it's really our first winter doing it. January and February were pretty cool at night (low 40s to low 50s) and where the day temperatures got to was pretty variable. We some days as high as 78-80 (not many, but some) and some days as low as the high 50s and low 60s, but I guess on average the day temperatures were around 69 to 75 - often with a nice breeze (though sometimes that breeze made it feel much cooler).

Come March the temperatures moved upwards; at night in high 50s low 60s, and during the day up into the mid to high 70s and low 80s. Very up and down from day-to-day in early March, but still ... certainly better than -20C which is where Canada was sitting (and the snow and ice which doesn't happen here). We've had several weeks with slightly higher night temps, and really hot days (up into the low 80s, with a "real feel" more like 85) and some super hot (91-92 with a "reel feel" of 98).

A small wooden footbridge over a stream on a golf course.
A small area of the Golf Course at Cypress Lakes with a wooden bridge.

We finally had to turn the air conditioner on. I probably wouldn't have bothered for myself, but when it hits 81-85 in the house, it's hard on my husband so I shut all the windows and turn on the air until just after supper, when the air outside usually starts to cool slightly. Then I turn it off. There have been a couple of nights I left it on overnight set at 78F, but even when I turn it on during the day I keep it around 76-77 degrees. (Cause, you know, I didn't come here to freeze!)

Putting up a shelf in the golf cart shed.
Adding another shelf.
My husband has had a great winter - he "went to town" on our two "sheds" (one to store a golf cart, and a smaller one for storage) and completely built over the insides of each one, turning the small one into a workshop for himself, and building overhead shelving and installing brackets to hang things from on the golf cart shed. While this might not sound like an unusual or exciting task for most people, if you know what he's been through health wise, you'd realize how miraculous this was.  The most important thing I think he realized doing that handy-work is that he can still do it. He was pretty pleased with himself, and I was immensely proud of him for even trying to do it. This is another step in his recovery that I feel will boost his confidence to try other things.

A club-car golf cart with "wild" on the side.
That's my side of the golf cart ... I'm a little bit wild sometimes :)
Hahahaha, already he's thinking of motorcycles and growing his hair ... if he could do something now that he never could before, he's about ready to try anything.

Turquoise touring bike with a retro style.
My bike - a retro style touring bike WITHOUT speeds! I love it.
We walk every day ... well, I walk every day. He walks with me 3 days a week, and goes to the gym 3 days a week. I gave up on the gym when it began getting so crowded you weren't allowed to use the treadmill for more than 20 minutes. There's 4 treadmills, but not enough if there are 6 or 8 people in the gym wanting to use them. The park has miles of paved roads to walk and bicycle on, so I make use of those. I use my bike more for entertainment than exercise, and walking is more my choice for a workout that involves some cardio. On average, I've been hitting around 3.5 miles to 4 miles when I walk, but I think the most I've managed with my husband (and I have to walk slower when I go with him, but that's okay) 3.3, with the average being around 2.9 miles.

A fiery sunset over Cypress Lakes 55+ park.
Another nice sunset at Cypress Lakes
Equally as important is that we spend time together when walk, and we're getting to know all the areas of the park when we travel on foot. He still gets his own time to do things with his sport-minded friends (he plays bocce ball (twice a week), and horseshoes (3 times a week), and meets a couple of guys at the gym 2 days a week, and plays shuffleboard one night a week). Me ... not so much (I always think of those things as being for "old people", which I guess I am but they don't interest me much).

Playing bocce ball at Cypress Lakes.
Bocce ball tournament at Cypress Lakes 55+ resort.

As for me, the entire bonus of being here in the winter is the warmer temperatures and not having to shovel snow. I tend to live here the way I do at home - do the housework, cook the meals, do the laundry ... housewife stuff. But I do get out more here than at home, and we're just beginning to explore more fully our surroundings outside of the resort. Oh, we found shopping areas right away because you need to buy groceries and stuff, but we're learning "back roads" into town, finding little stores that we didn't know existed, visiting the park areas in Lakeland (lots of small "lakes" in the city with park areas and walking trails around them). In coming posts I'll write about some of the ones we've visited, as well as our trip to the Boggy Creek Air Boat rides in Kissimee (boy that was fun!)

Evening light brightens dark hanging spanish moss.
The pond with overhanging trees and sparsely lit spanish moss.

Probably my biggest joy is sitting out back of our place enjoying the pond. It's peaceful there, with the breeze blowing off the ponds, the birds and other water critters (ie: "the gator"), the little geckos running up and down the arm of my chair ... that's a place I could sit forever.

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