Last year, we moved from Kentucky to Florida to assist in my father's care. He has passed away, but we appear to be stuck here for the long haul. I'm sure this sounds like fun to everyone who only comes here to vacation at the beach, but we live with my mother and we're not making enough money to buy any of the fun vacationers get to have. My spouse's asthma has gone into remission since our arrival, but I'm having far more trouble with the climate adjustment.
Kentucky is hot and humid far more often than I would like, but it doesn't even come close to Florida. We live about a mile from the ocean, which means we get all the humidity and none of the breeze. Plus, 'winter' here consists of a week of autumn-like coolness preceded and followed by temps in the high 70s and lower 80s. That sounds fine until you realize that winter only lasts 3 months. The rest of the time it is punishingly hot. As in 'blast furnace' hot. Since it rains at least once a day during the summer months, I don't think it'd be going too far to apply the term 'outdoor sauna' to the state.
- Exercising outdoors is only done during the winter months by sane people. These are usually the snowbirds, who still have brain cells undamaged by the heat. Even walking along the causeway is a dangerous undertaking if there is no breeze. If I want to get up at an obscene hour, I can walk at the community center, but let's get real - I only get up early if someone is paying me to do it. Exercise is not happening.
- Moisturizers with an SPF factor. Treating skin cancer is a big function of Floridian dermatologists. My late father had pieces cut and zapped out of his scalp on a regular basis. Some stores even sell clothing with an SPF factor, which tells you how serious a problem the sun is here. I use Lubriderm SPF 15 and watch my moles like a hungry hawk would.
- The constant use of Zip-Locs and Glad bags: rain comes and goes with very little warning here, and with great ferocity. Why? Because there's nothing tall enough to slow rain clouds down, and they've got an ocean to draw material from. Wearing rain gear all the time is begging for heatstroke, so people just do their best to protect their electronics and other delicate items.
- Hair: Whenever it rained in Lexington, at least one person would ask if I'd just gotten a perm. With the humidity here, I'm using all sorts of conditioners I never needed before. If I didn't, I'd have bigger hair than Carrot Top playing with a Van de Graaff generator.
- Legs: Women's work attire generally involves skirts and capris, although during the 'winter' months 'regular' slacks are preferred. Me, I've worn shorts almost every day since I moved here in April. There's only been a few days in which I willingly wore anything longer. It's that hot here, especially when you live in a house with old folks. This also translates to my sudden need to shave my legs when employed. I have a question for drag queens and very butch women: can you shave your legs with a Norelco, and if you do, will you damage it?
- Nether regions: I am much higher-maintenance here, too. The heat and humidity cause a malady referred to as 'prickly heat' by women and 'swamp ass' by men. I powder everything when I get out of the shower, and have even had to change my brand of pads... which may be TMI for the male readers out there.
I've been told that my blood will eventually thin and I, too, will learn to tolerate the summers and come to think of sixty degrees as a 'freezing' temperature. Question for other transplants: is this true, or is it just a line of bull Floridians came up with to conceal their possible reptile heritage? I'm not seeing it.