South Florida – Five Years Already?!

Wednesday 7 October 2015.

FLL 5Sitting here in my bedroom in South Florida in the late evening (just about past my bedtime…) and listening to the hard rain as it comes down the gutters and the side of the house. I love hearing the rain like this. It reminds me of my time in Cape Town, when I had rented that little apartment at 159 Waterkant Street with the tin roof and when it would rain it would be impossible to ignore the insistent patter of the rain drops. Here in Florida I am excited by the rain because it is good for the plants–the plants that I have planted and have wished to grow and thrive. Yes, a heavy rain in the late evening (not during the day) is just fine with me.

We have had some spectacular days since I arrived last Friday. I think the weather has been absolutely perfect. In the low seventies in the morning, getting up into the mid-eighties in the afternoon, and then some rain scattered throughout the day. It is still hot in the middle of the day in the sun, but not unbearably so (like it was in late August). The humidity has come off and the sky has been beautiful.

But even down here in the land of endless summer, I can tell that autumn is here, just by looking at the long face of the paler clouds in the sky. I have talked to people back in New York and they have told me that it is perfect weather. I beg to differ. They have to put on coats in the morning. And closed toe shoes. And there is a chill in the morning and evening and it is not possible anymore to wear shorts and a tank top. No, in the north it is fall definitely. And I am now a warm weather person. That is what five years in South Florida will do to you. I listen to them tell me how beautiful it is in New York, and I don’t say anything.

So yes, I am coming up on my five-year anniversary of my house in South Florida. I have spent a lot of time and effort in this house and garden and a part of me is surprised that it is only five years. But then I look back through time and remember where I started five years ago. Time will pass here and I will just have to go along with it.

Because I am coming up on the five-year anniversary, I am also coming up on another bill for hurricane insurance. And because this is South Florida, the bill is not exactly inexpensive. For five years I have dutifully paid the bill and thus have slept well through the nights knowing that if a hurricane came through I would have insurance to rebuild the house if the hurricane took it out.

But since I have been in South Florida, I have experienced two hurricanes, both of which have been in New York. My house in Florida has stood the same. Even this year, we had Hurricane Erika threaten us, but she eventually petered out before she even got close. And then just this past week, Hurricane Joaquin missed Florida but set all of the Northeast coast into a tizzy. Why, I wonder, am I paying hurricane insurance in Florida when all the storms are hitting New York?!

I called my real estate agent for his thoughts. He has lived down here for thirty years now and also has many properties to worry about so I think he will have some good advice. “It’s all about your risk tolerance,” he wrote back to me.

“Of 2012-04-02 15.13.43course,” I think, when I read his response. “Risk tolerance. That’s not just about the hurricanes coming to South Florida or New York. Risk tolerance – that’s essentially life.”

It’s a good problem to have. Sitting down here in South Florida listening to the rain, and contemplating my risk tolerance for hurricanes and whatever else may come through in my life…