So for the last 4 days we've had to live on pizza slices and toilet water, huddled in our blankets around the 4 portable heaters, swapping stories of warmer days when steaks roamed the land and people wore flip flops.
But at 1pm when the temperature in the lanai hit 73, it was time to switch off the heaters, discard the blankets and check if all that cold air had 'melted' enough to venture outside.
It had and I did.
I soon came upon a scene of total devastation. Dead vegetation and fallen oranges told their own tales. The cold spell had wreaked havoc and let loose the dogs of.....oh wait.....that's something else entirely. The cold spell had caused a lot of damage though - as seen in these photos that your intrepid reporter took, at no small risk to his personal safety.
I'm sure that nature will do a 'new for old' deal eventually and order will be restored.
Other parts of the park were just as beautiful as ever and it was as if the wildlife had decided to stretch their legs and wings as well because they were everywhere. Snakes and gators were basking in the sunshine, birds were wading in the shallows of the lake and sunny Buttonwood Bay was living up to its scenic reputation.
The clunk of bocce balls and the whoooosh of the shuffleboard pucks could be heard as the park residents came out of their houses and began to enjoy the facilities again. Drunken seniors wobbled on their walkers and the usual group of AARPs huddled in dark corners shooting up on heroin, crack and meth. No not really. Not on Medicare anyway !
It'll probably be the weekend before the pools are opened up again and today I found them covered over and the entrance gates firmly locked. What does that MEAN ? Firmly locked ? As opposed to what, exactly ? Locked but not very firmly really and you could push them open if you wanted.
So no swimming, water aerobics or wind surfing for a few more days then. I've been doing my exercises in the shower since the cold snap came and it's just not the same.
On Sunday I think I pulled a muscle doing a high kick and managed to send my bottle of Oil of Olay shampoo over the curtain and into the toilet bowl. I think the top wasn't on properly as every time we flush the toilet now, bubbles fill the bowl and the place smells like a Turkish whore house. I've heard.
It's due to get down to -2C overnight so although we're not out of the woods yet, there is bright warm sunlight at the end of the tunnel.
I'm ready to get my flip flops on and rush towards it.