I have run away from home, bootstrapping myself to Steve's return to Pompano Beach. I love being in this very unfashionable, sturdy part of Florida. My Grandpa and Grandma came here in the winter, attracting winter visits from my parents, and ultimately, Mom and Dad planted roots in this 24 unit condo complex. We are an offshoot of those roots, and I like the connectivity. My Aunt Carol lives here in the winter, and once upon a time, my Aunt Sharon did too.
This place is called Coastal Vista, despite having no view whatsoever of the coast. The view, instead, is of the Intercoastal waterway, a triumph of engineering and a lovely parade route for boats idling their days away. During the tourist season, speed limits are enforced to protect the occasional manatee that mistakenly makes a bad turn. The slower speeds create a lovely panorama, which my husband captures via U Stream with his Flamingo Camera
(Note: Steve has tried his best to get Florida screened in porches called FLAMINGOS- like a Florida version of LANAI. He has failed, but I humor him)
Our history here began 18 years ago. We wanted our kids to get to know their grandparents, since they lived in Detroit, and had sporadic contact. That first year we stayed at the Palm Beach Breakers with all 3 kids. We were not their target audience, as we did not play polo or croquet. Mike the adventurer set out for the golfing range in shorts, God forbid, and we received a shrill call. Later the three Dahls were chased from the croquet area (whatever the hell you call it) because they had no white gloves. As we signed our enormous bill, a socialite, recently kicked to the curb by her husband, checked in with a cart of Louis Vuitton luggage and twenty garbage bags of other stuff. Little tykes bikes hung from the clothing bar. She was treated like visiting royalty- perhaps her husband had called ahead with generous arrangements. We decided that we would never go where we were patently unwanted.
The following year we rented a condo on the Galt Mile in Fort Lauderdale. That was the year that the flu zig zagged from child to child. If we went out, we needed to take our rented metal pans as emergency emesis bins. Mom and Dad were up the street and despite our germs, they were a welcome port in the storm. One of their friends was moving to the West Coast (of Florida) and wanted to sell their condo, complete with all furnishings. Once we did the math regarding hotel costs, the decision was a no brainer. The law restricting certain properties to senior citizens had been repealed, so Coastal Vista grudgingly welcomed us upstarts to the generally gray and grayer ranks. As long as we parked between the lines, kept the kids out of the pool during adult swim, laundered only on our 4 hour allocation- we would be allowed in. It has been a wonderful part of our history.
See those rules? Rules are the thin thread that unite Coastal Vistans. We try to obey
Because we could bring the kids here, they associate my parents with a joyous love of life. Because we could come here together, Steve and I had some adult time with no kids- a good balm for a long term marriage. Most of all, because we owned a scrap of this building, Steve could watch over Dad, and be with him as he took leave of the world. Had we paid a fortune for these 800 square feet, that would make it worthwhile.
Now we are here without the tether of my parents, and re entry is a little jagged. I get sad with my memories before I am comforted them. It just takes a day before my adjustment is locked in. Dad and Mom's condo is still owned by the Joliat siblings for the moment, its long term fate undetermined. This week, it is inhabited by my brother and his wife, next week by my sister. I see them so rarely, that this is a fresh gift that Pompano brings me.
Above all, this Florida getaway helps Steve to keep the faith that Spring will arrive. My California boy curdles in the Chicago haze of gray; with his banishment from radio, there is no reason he should be parked there. Being the best wife ever, I have freed my spouse to take up winter residence here, as long as I am granted visitation. Voila! Here I am.
I would be content here forever, but dogs are not welcome in this building. Only a grandfathered-in parakeet disturbs the "humans only" mandate. Matt has moved Walter to suburbia that I might fly South for a winter breather. Ultimately, I suppose that Steve and I will retire somewhere- but that somewhere will need to be dog friendly. In the meantime- I am in heaven.
Sure- I picked the best winter week in Chicago to ditch. It is only 20 degrees warmer here. But the sun is bright, Steve is jolly, and my siblings are nearby. Life is really good. I want to share some of the odds and ends we have here in the next few days. Check back. ( I stole all the pictures included today from Steve's computer, as I am here on a frolic, and did not bring my lap top. I will start taking some of my own and sneak them into his i photo.)
I wanted to start out my Pompano tour with pictures of the dive bar on the corner called "The Bearded Clam"- but the ones I tok were really blurry. The name of the emporium is evidence that whoever grants business permits is really, really old- or really, really dumb. Or both.