The Sunshine State Indeed

We have been Professional Nomads for a bit over three years. In this time we have become members of the flock of”Snowbirds” that make their migration to the south to avoid cold, snowy winters. The first winters we spent on the Gulf coast of Alabama and the panhandle of Florida. Our mission was accomplished as we did not have any snow, but there were definitely cold days and even colder nights. We had to invest in a space heater to compliment our furnace, there were freeze warnings that made us disconnect our water supply from the spigot, AND we had to wear jackets and gloves…BRrrrr! Now don’t get me wrong, we had our more than fair share of warm days that we could enjoy a bicycle ride, fish and sit outdoors enjoying the warm sun, yet my Handsome Chauffer and I wanted WARMER winters so we set our sights on traveling further south on coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

It took 2 years on a waiting list to get reservations, but FINALLY we were able to join our fellow retired Veterans and make Macdill AFB in Tampa, Florida our winter oasis!

As we settled back into our “Normal” life in the Mobile Condo it was like putting on a comfy pair of slippers. There were no “surprises”  on our journey which was a blessing indeed. We began to get settled and learn the ropes about our new spot from our welcoming neighbors. Many of the folks have been making Macdill their winter home for years upon years. No wonder it took us so long to get reservations! This place is a gem and the wait was worth it!!Macdill AFB is a very active base. It is a home to the Air Mobility Command. The base is also home to the headquarters for two of the U.S. military’s joint warfighting combatant commands: Headquarters, United States Central Command (USCENTCOM), and Headquarters, United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). To say the least this is where lots of decisions are made to protect our nation and allies.

Most of us in the Fam Camp are retired and represent all branches of the Armed Sevices. We have at least 100 slots filled with active duty personnel and their families. It is truly a sense of family. It is the “Military Mentality”.. everyone is kind, helpful and supportive. We were privileged to learn this “mentality” when we were much younger and my Handsome Chauffer was a young Airman We lived on base and off base. We made friends for life, which we consider family. In the military, team work is a must and being part of that family we are part of the team as well. Everyone is away from their”home” and their families that raised them. This is why we become family. We help each other adjust to a new community, share knowledge and just plain care for each other. The very same thing happens when we move on to a military campground. Someone is always saying hello, asking if we need help and showing us the “ropes” about this our new community. We feel like we are “home”.

We have stayed a many military facilities. You would think that because they are military they would have the same rules and regulations, but they do not. Some allow you to wash your vehicles, others it is strictly forbidden. Some allow campfires others don’t. So we spend time getting to know what is expected and what is not. We were told early on by our neighbors that we are each responsible to mow and trim our campsite. This indeed was a huge surprise for us. When we left our sticks and brick house we GLADLY  gave up lawn chores along with all the equipment that is needed to do such chores. How were we going to accomplish the much needed lawn care? Our neighbors told us that there was a community shed with all the needed equipment to do our chores. Phew! 

Off we go to get the mower and weed eater. As I was mowing our new yard running over Red Ant hills, getting sand burrs flung up on my sandal clad feet …OUCH … my Handsome Chauffer was manning the weed eater. He was a wee bit out of practice and it showed up on his poor ankles as his leg got in the way… double OUCH. Man, we sure were giving our new helpful neighbors the giggles for sure. 

One of the best things about staying here is that we have full hook ups that allow us to use our washer and dryer without the need of going to the laundry mat. Doing laundry takes much longer due to the size of our washer; but hey, I’m a retired Domestic Goddess and have all the time in the world to do the chore😜! 

When doing this chore while living in a stick and brick house I never had to give a thought about where the water drained. In the Mobile Condo we have to keep a close eye on our grey water tank status. With experience we have determined exactly how many loads of laundry, showers and loads of dishes I can wash before the tank starts backing up into our shower, which is a SURE sign the tank is full. No problem, all one has to do is go outside pull a lever and “Wha La” the water goes into to sewer via our sewer hose…that is UNLESS    the weed eater got too close to the plastic corrugated tube!!! Yep, I went out to dump the tank and to my BIG surprise our  sewer hose had turned into a SOAKER hose/ FOUNTAIN! Oh my gosh…. the stench the water flying out! Before I could get to the lever at least 2/3 of our tank was emptying out on the yard! YIKES!!! Houston we have got a HUGE problem! This is NOT the way to make friends with neighbors or the environment. All I could think was THANK goodness I was not dumping the BLACK tank 👀🙈😬!!

As in most campgrounds there is a shower house, bathroom and laundry mat and here is no different EXCEPT that it is about 3/4 mile away from the Mobile Condo!!! We were no longer “Glamping” we were CAMPING as we awaited delivery of our new sewer hose. 

In a few days we were back up and running. No worse for wear and the EPA/ Hazmat was not called. This life is always filled with “learning” experiences. Our wonderful neighbors got a huge chuckle from this shenanigan. 

I am certain we will have many more learning experiences as we make sunny Florida our home for the winter. For now we will chalk this one up as one we hope doesn’t happen again and go out and enjoy the SUNSHINE!!