But nothing takes the curb off those fantasies like a visit to Florida in August. A morning run alone is enough to remind me why I never ran in Florida. The thermometer may say 70, but the sheer humidity turns a run into more of a swim.
|Sandhill Cranes stalk the neighborhood yards.|
"You were just going to let him jump on me and not tell me," I accuse her.
Along with frogs and fire ants, daytime dragon flies buzz past floating on the waves of heat. Fist-sized spiders build webs both inside and out.
Birds as big as me stalk through backyards and refuse to leave golf holes.
The day we took Spencer over to school in St. Petersburg, Mom had a run-in with a wasp nest inside the rolled up hose. The wasp sting swelled her hand and her entire arm.
Mom's stories alone should have reminded me that nature is just too close in Florida.
Last week, she told me about finding a snake in her garage after she had pulled her golf cart in. She's had snakes in the garage before and she was determined not to let this one hide somewhere. So she took a blunt-nosed shovel, a spade and dug it into the snake in the corner of the garage. But she wasn't strong enough to cut through it. Instead, she had to steadily increase the pressure of the spade as the snake wriggled trying to get free. Mom estimates the time at about 10 minutes before her spade finally hit the concrete of the garage floor.
|Huge spiders build webs inside and out.|
Later that same week, Mom told me about a trip to the emergency room because of another run-in with nature. This time, it was a beetle. On the golf course, she saw a beetle flying straight at her. She turned her head quickly and the bug flew straight into her ear. Instead of retreating though, the bug decided to persevere to the other side. It dug in. The pain became so great that Mom abandoned her golf game and called Dad to meet her at home. They went to the doctor, who sent them to the emergency room, who sent them to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist. As the bug dug into Mom's ear, blood spurted out covering her outer ear and the collar of her shirt.
The doctor said the bug was about dead by the time he finally squirted some antiseptic in there and extracted it.
So wasps, snakes, beetles, spiders, sand-hill cranes ("They will peck your eyes out," my mom warned when Earl scoffed at the big birds.), and we haven't even got to alligators, and someone here in Central Florida had a black bear in their front yard the other day.
If the heat isn't enough to remind me why I don't live in Florida, the wildlife is. I miss my parents and now my son in college who stay in Florida throughout the year, but I'll take Ohio with its tamer outdoor creatures.