Bill and I rented a place near the beach for three months to try the “snowbird” lifestyle. In case you’ve never heard of it, the idea is to escape your crummy winter by heading south. We were serious about this test, so we brought our pets and about 100 lbs of luggage.

After five weeks, we’re back home. Recounting everything that wasn’t ‘in the plan’ is not productive. But: if I tell you the last time Florida had this much rain was 1932, you get a little sense of it. And if I mention that to get the front door of the place opened, it required not just a key but a swift kick, you begin to get the full picture. The door walls were so low, and my 6ft 5” husband hit his head so many times that he pretty much walked around in a state of concussed delirium. I ask you, what first- time snowbird knows to specify nine ft. doorwalls in the rental search?

So we’re back, and as is true with all of life, we need to look for the lesson. My friend Anne once said, “Always have an escape plan.” I liked ours– go home. And we could laugh about some of the moments, like the ferry ride we took with the barefoot, smoke-dopin’ captain. The ride was billed as ‘Jupiter homes of the rich and famous’ and we did see some incredible homes from the view off the water. But our guy had a problem with Tiger Woods. I’ve got some problems with Tiger too so I could relate. I guess Tiger moved several trees endemic to South Florida onto his estate so he could build a barrier of privacy. We heard a lot about that.

And there’s a lot more to appreciate when you go through a rough patch, like our home dishwasher that hums when it cleans, not at all like the Florida washer that sounded like an atomic bomb exploding.

Wisdom from friends. Laughter. Appreciation. You’re ahead of the game if you can find a few nuggets of good, when life happens. Because mark my words, it will indeed happen.

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