20 Things…you learn after moving to Florida.
1. There is a big difference between a roach and a palmetto bug. Real roaches are the guys from New York. They infest, they are spooky smart, they are dirty and nasty, and you have to work really hard to get rid of them. Palmetto bugs however, are big and creepy and dumb. You usually see them outside at night and they will fly right at your face. They don’t infest because they are native and they can’t survive in our AC temps.
2. Every public indoor place will always be frigid. Most of your friend’s houses will be as well. I take a sweater with me almost everywhere that I go, and if I forget to I regret it.
3. Outside of weather emergencies, weathermen are superfluous. In the rainy season, which is most of the time, there is an eighty percent chance of rain, every single day. The weather man has no idea what time it will rain, how hard, or for how long, and there is no way for him to predict it. You just have to go out there with your fingers crossed and hope for the best.
4. Sharks are not nearly as dangerous as you thought. The majority of sharks that come close to shore are smaller than your dog. They swim around with you all of the time. Most of them would never consider biting you. Most shark bites in Florida only require a stitch or two.
5. Tampa has more strip clubs that anywhere else. It is truly staggering. We drove across town one time and my husband and I played a game pointing them all out. It was mind boggling, and I still don’t understand why they are all there.
6. Know where you are going and do not get lost. You could be in a beautiful safe neighborhood, but the next block over might be the most dangerous street in the state.
7. Drive at your own risk. We have more car accidents per year here than any other state in the country. With the combination of retired people; who sometimes have slow reflexes, new citizens; who can’t read signage in English, and tourists; who are always lost…it is understandable. Be cautious ever time that you get behind the wheel.
8. Don’t bother trying to do your hair. If the soup-like, high humidity air doesn’t destroy your hairdo, then the rain will. Give it up.
9. Floridians own more swimsuits and pairs of flip-flops than any other item in their wardrobe. It is not odd to see us roaming the neighborhood in this signature outfit. It is hot here.
10. Electricity is expensive in the summer, but cheap in the winter. I didn’t turn on my heat last year.
11. Jacksonville Beach is one of the tattoo capitals of the country. The beach scene over there is something not to be missed.
12. Publix is the absolute most wonderful grocery store on the face of the earth. If I go there in a bad mood, it doesn’t last long.
13. Alligators aren’t dangerous, amoebas are. People go out and swim in the same rivers that the gators frequent all of the time. We rarely ever have an attack; however there have been numerous amoeba deaths in the state.
14. We don’t have stray dogs. There is too much wildlife and extreme heat for them to survive away from home. If you see a dog wandering alone, help to find its owner before it gets eaten.
15. Screened in outdoor areas are essential. They aren’t aesthetically pretty, but if I didn’t have one I wouldn’t spend any time outdoors. Our bugs are plentiful, and big, and scary.
16. If you don’t know what it is don’t touch it: Florida is home to poisonous snakes, spiders, scorpions, jellyfish, ants, anemones, stingrays, urchins, catfish, and caterpillars. In addition we are home to bobcats, panthers, wild boar, bears, coyotes, and cougars. We are also now home to many pet snakes that have no predators here, and they grow very big in the wild.
17. There is never enough ice. If you go to someone’s house, take ice. Ice in glasses outside melts faster than imaginable.
18. Check grains carefully at the store before you bring them home. The heat and humidity are welcoming to all kinds of little creepy critters. Everything must stay in the fridge as well. Leaving one apple out on the counter can result in a terrible fruit fly infestation.
19. Don’t mess with the mouse. Disney basically owns the entire state so don’t make fun of it. Someone might be listening. If you take a little time to learn the ropes the numerous theme parks around the state can actually be pretty enjoyable. Our friends who come to visit are always thrilled to discover that our knowledge can make their park experience much more stress free.
20. Beware the tourist. The majority of these creatures leave their brains behind when they go on vacation. Most of the people that come here, have paid a lot of money for their Florida experience. The vacations here can be pretty stressful for moms and dads. Never expect that the cars will stop for you at the crosswalk, they may not even notice if they run you over. Be helpful; be ready with directions or theme park advice. Recommend a great restaurant. Oh wait…I can do that. My husband’s restaurant is right in the middle of tourist land. Give Marlow’s a try: http://www.marlowstavern.com/about