What fun it has been following my nephew, Drew and his new wife, Helena, as they navigate the Southwest Florida tropical paradise. While I have not worried about them per se--they are after all--a very flexible and resourceful Power Duo, at times I wondered if they truly appreciated how out of step they were with the uptight Eastern environment they had immersed themselves in.
Beginning with the park I am in--Limetree- -an 0ver-55 community. From my experience so far, it's more like an Over 75 community. Even I--Sue--have been surprised at how people on vacation can be so darn negative and curmudgeonly about every aspect of behavior. It is guarded by an energetic entry gate that remains in the up position for 5 seconds so as to ensure that a second rogue vehicle has no chance to scurry through. Arrows are painted on every road surface telling you which way you can drive, in addition to one-way road signs planted at every intersecting road. Papers are taped on every interior door and wall at the locked-down Community Center with some kind of reminder of acceptable conforming behavior. People here are extremely fearful about their world running amok with...Rulebreakers.
Enter Drew & Helena from California...
OK so maybe having a 20 year old van with no license tag driven by a young man resembling Osama and a crazy lady wearing pants "down low" exposing tattoos might be considered provocative anywhere, but in this community, they just went bonkers!
Soon after their arrival, the Community Association Manager approached me and suggested that he had been deluged with complaints by the residents.
I was violating an archaic rule which said that a 2nd RV could not occupy the same lot as another RV. Despite the fact that they were not occupying the lot but only parked on the roadside with all the other vehicles, I believe ya gotta pick your fights and this one was likely a loser.
So, the van (an RV???) was relocated and next morning Drew & Helena attended the community Pancake Breakfast to reassure the residents while I went to LA Fitness gym to release stress.
They took a swim in their Community Pool at which many Rules were posted but there were none prohibiting tats.
Drew and Helena found a nearby remote parking area adjacent to Robb & Stuckey (aka Rob 'Em and Stick 'em). Robb & Stuckey is an overpriced, biege & gold furniture showroom patronized by people living in gated communities.
Suddenly, at 2:30am, the sleeping couple was awakened by lights, pounding and shouting by a team of Bonita peacekeepers. Terrified, their RV was searched as they sat dazed in the front. Of course, nothing but used McDonald's Cafe cups was found...
In the aftermath of the rude rousting, Drew & Helena were found to be innocent of having set off R & S's internal store alarm. It was theorized that the Night Manager set off the alarm to summon the police because of the strange vehicle parked on the property.
The peacekeepers, themselves about the same age as the Perps and somewhat fascinated by their trip, directed Drew & Helena to a parking lot where nobody would be upset by their presence and commented if anybody called on them, at least they all knew each other.
Despite the nighttime problems, we had great times during the day after the weather warmed up. We visited the Bonita Art Festival and I took Cassie there in her stroller.
Drew posed at the "ManTrap" sculpture--a contraption fashioned like a mousetrap but instead of cheese, the traptreat was beer.
Drew & Helena also spent time in the Disney area, stopping along 192 to pick the mermaid's nose ...
...to record a sad country song
... and renew their 4 month old marriage vows at a WalMart (which
are non-existent in Eureka, CA)
The hapless travellers will spend another afternoon in my friend Kim's driveway, doing construction repair and modification on Bella, the Van/RV. This is to prevent assault to the delicate sensibilities of folks who are afraid of power tools which we are certain there must be a Rule for.