It was a cold night here in normally warm central Florida - in fact in most of the continental USA. Our Canadian friends sent down a lot of their excess freezing weather and the jet stream did the rest. Thanks a lot, people !
Being the weather freak that I am ( by that I mean I religiously monitor the 3, yes 3, temperature display units in this 5th wheel which show indoor and outdoor temps and I've more weather sites in my favs than just about any other subject - except sport of course), I was expecting it to be cold, but not THAT cold.
I'd bought an electric blanket on our way down here from snowy Michigan at the end of October but that was mainly for the overnight stops twixt there and here. I did NOT expect to have to ever use it once we arrived and so it was packed away in the far recesses of some cupboard.
So last night at midnight or thereabouts, I blew up my inflatable doll....sorry, mattress, threw down the sleeping bag, covered the lot with one of those lovely soft throw blankets and climbed in for the night. I moved one of the little temperature display units so it was in my eyeline as I had a feeling I might be looking at it sometime in the wee small hours - and how right I was.
About 2:45am I woke and my immediate thoughts were........oh heck, I'm cold ! My thoughts are VERY polite and well mannered at 2:45am.
I reached an arm out of the 'not so warm anymore' sleeping bag, grabbed my little keychain torch and flashed the beam on the temperature unit. It was 41F outside and not much warmer inside at 52F. I lay there trying to decide if I could be bothered getting up, finding the electric blanket, introducing it to my sleeping bag and settling back to try and sleep all without totally waking myself up.
I let lazyness win and just curled up inside the sleeping bag and eventually drifted off to sleep - dreaming of being inside a tent near the Pole and some idiot opening the flap and muttering something about having to pee and how he might be some time.
At 8am, Pixie decided to leave the relative comfort of the other end of the 5th wheel as she felt we'd all slept long enough and it was time we were all up and about. And she'd start with me. So she bounced up on top of the soft throw, which she loves, moved slowly up and down my body and finally nestled down on my back, pushing me deeper into the blow up mattress. I didn't move. She then moved onto phase 2 and padded up to my half buried head and started sniffing the back of it. She knows not to lick me and this is the best she can do and it's almost as annoying as I just know her wet tongue is centimeters from my skin and the stress and tension of wondering if she'll brave my anger by taking a sly lick is much worse than if she actually did the deed.
I gave in and got up. I packed up my bedding, deflated the mattress and put it all away. It was still way too cold so I fired up the furnace and left it running for almost an hour until the temp rose to a more comfortable 65F. The sky was blue and the sun was doing it's best but it was still only 50F outside. I fixed coffee and had cereal and decided to go for a walk to try and undo some of the Christmas eating excesses.
I left at 10:45am and as this wasn't a time I'd normally be out and about here, I saw all sorts of new sights for me. I was immediately struck by how busy it was on the park roads. Cars, golf carts, bikers and walkers were all over the place and cheery greetings filled the slightly chilly air. Being the brave (and stupid) Brit I am, I was out in a polo shirt and shorts whilst everyone I paased had on full arctic gear with wooly thermals underneath. You could hear the cracking of joints from afar and asthmatic wheezings mixed with bird songs to create a sort of geriatric dawn chorus.
I strode along with purpose and old fashioned British pride. Longjohns, pah ! Sweat pants, pah. Fleece lined jacket and matching trousers, double pah ! The dew on my thin polo shirt glistened in the morning sun and the soft hairs on my bare legs rapidly congealed with the early signs of ice buildup. Ok, I exaggerate but it was uncomfortably cold for the start of the walk although as I heated up, so did the weather and after 20 minutes or so, I was warm, in full trot mode and enjoying myself.
I went down past the bocce ball courts and as I approached the lake, I came across a gaggle of golf carts (what IS the collective term anyway ??) seemingly being pulled by tiny dogs. Was this some sort of practice for a little known Florida version of the Alaskan Iditarod ? No, it was simply what passes for walking your dog here in Buttonwood Bay. The owners would drive along in their golf carts with little Flossy or Mitzy running behind, alongside or in most cases, ahead. From a distance it looked like the dogs were indeed pulling the golf carts - although given the size of most of the pets here in the park, this would be a feat of strength beyond anything found in the Guinness Book of Records. It was a joy to behold.
I went along the edge of the lake, along several of the park roads and ended up back at the bocce courts and finally at the Cafe On The Lake - which I discovered was closed due to the cold weather ! Wimps. The sign on the side of the unit has a few reasons for the cafe being closed and the staff can cover over the ones which do not apply. The main ones are cold and rain but I noted with some amusement that 'crappy' was there as well. I doubt if that would be enough of a reason on it's own and I think it would always be used in conjunction with one of the other reasons. Like today......the sign said......closed due to cold crappy weather. I'd have thought that a nice warming cup of soup and a 1/2 pound bacon cheeseburger would've been just the thing on a day like today but I guess they know their customers well enough by now and when the temps are under 60F, no one here wants to sit out and eat food and risk hyperthermia. Maybe oxygen tanks freeze up at such 'low' temperatures or walkers ice over or something. I donno. In any case the cafe was closed and I walked back to the 5th wheel to relax after my 90 minute walk.
And to think I would've missed it all if Pixie hadn't decided to use me as her personal treadmill !
God bless her little hairy paws. Same time tomorrow, eh ???