Silver Blue

September 15th, 2010

You know, almost five years after we first moved there — three and a half since we left — and our life in Florida seems like a dream, and a bad one at that. I cannot believe we lived there for as long as we did. I mean, to reiterate: We lived in the worst part of Florida imaginable, at least for my taste. Confederate flags! Nooses hung up on docks, and neighbors who thought that was okay! Once, we had a man and his girlfriend show up on an ATV with guns around their shoulders! And they had swastika tattoos! HA HA HA OH MY GOD.

Good thing we still own a house there. Anyone want to buy a house? The area’s wonderful! Close to the beaches! Warm! A FAMILY DREAM HOME!

Oh ho ho HO! But you know, I wouldn’t change it, even in retrospect, even as I watch my bank account drain slowly from the weight of this large, house-shaped albatross. We changed as a family then, and I think it was that move that changed me entirely — I became a more relaxed, happier person in Florida, and I’ve been that person ever since. And hey, that revelation only cost me thousands of dollars! And I’m still paying for it! What price, happiness, really?

No, but seriously. We stepped off the hamster wheel in Florida, and we’ve stayed off, for the most part, or at least slowed considerably. I’ll always remember and be grateful for that, even if it came with a heavy dose of bizarre racism and endless days of watching old people be wheeled away on gurneys because they got in their fifth fender-bender of the season after failing to see over the steering wheel.

It’s nice to be home, and I’m not sure I would have appreciated it as much had we not taken such a long, um, journey. (CUE BACHELOR MUSIC!) I think everyone should live somewhere completely different than where they think they should live. It gives you an amazing perspective on how the other half lives. I understand the appeal of Sarah Palin, if only because I lived among many people who now count her among their personal heroes.

(Note: I’m not calling Palin’s supporters racists, although I’m sure there is some of that, just like there is everywhere. But my area of Florida was a definitively conservative county, unlike Massachusetts. And Vermont. And anywhere else I’d ever lived.)

Speaking of fender-benders, or rather, not really at all, we ended up at the pediatrician’s office today because for a few mornings, Sam was waking up with, uh, blue lips. Nice, right? Just want you want to see! Toddler of the Walking Dead! Zombie Toddler! Blue-lipped Half-dead Monster Toddler!

Okay, fine, it wasn’t that bad. It was more like a tinge of blue. A DROP of blue. A LITTLE PURPLE, if you will. But it was enough that I noticed, and once she warmed up, I noticed her lips were pinker than when she woke up and I thought, well! She’s cold! Kid refuses to sleep with a blanket because — duh — she doesn’t know how to USE ONE. Not that properly draping oneself is such a complex act of coordination, but I guess for a toddler who can’t figure out how to put a hood on without it resulting in frustrating tears, it is a bit more challenging than it seems.

I called the pediatrician to make her well-baby visit, and mentioned it in passing, thinking they’d write it off, but to my surprise, they were all, ZOMG BRING HER IN TOMORROW! And so we did, and after many oxygen saturation tests, it turns out she was … cold. Ergo, we’re in fleece feetie pajamas in September. SEPTEMBER. This means by winter she’ll be wearing fleece, burlap AND PolarTec. Look for the giant stuffed baby at your Christmas dinner! Served with yams!

All this excitement and I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of True Blood OR Mockingjay and WHOA NELLY, maybe take a drink for those two, because Alan Ball, you are on notice. You too, Alexander Skarsgard.

Happy Thursday, y’all.

*Roxette. Yes, THAT Roxette. Don’t knock it until you’ve heard it.

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Entry Filed under: Beeber McSteebs,Boston!,The Floridian Nightmare

31 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dr. Maureen  |  September 15th, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    I was going to link to them for you, but they seem to be unavailable so far. But LL Bean fleece pj’s. Buy them. (The ones on the site right now are “featherweight fleece” and I don’t think they’re the right ones. The heavy-duty fleece ones we have have a zipper tab thingy up top. And there is an LL Bean in Burlington if you want to feel them before you buy them.)

    Note: They are pricey, but worth it, especially if you get your in-laws to buy them for you.

  • 2. Mama Bub  |  September 15th, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    I just clicked through to recommend the LL Bean pajamas. They are the best. Even in California, they are necessary at my parents house where the guest rooms are frigid year round.

  • 3. Ginger  |  September 15th, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    You know, I feel exactly the same way about my time living in the New York metro area (I lived in Jersey City and commuted into midtown). Those years sucked. I loathed living in New York, even as I found the city to be amazing and fascinating and a place I’ll always want to visit. I hated it, but I’ll always be glad I experienced it because it changed me, in amazing ways, and changed my relationship with my husband and my outlook on life.
    So sometimes good things can come from something that makes you miserable, even if it’s just after the fact.

  • 4. Suebob  |  September 16th, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Florida may have racists and snakes and alligators and bad voting machines and bad drivers, but YOUR KID WOULD BE WARM THERE, SO TAKE THAT, YANKEE.

    Do not ask me why I am defending Florida. I was possessed.

  • 5. Paula  |  September 16th, 2010 at 6:00 am

    I have read you forever, but rarely comment. (Mea culpa.) But. BUT! I am on tenterhooks waiting to hear your views on Mockingjay AND OMG, True Blood. I follow you on Goodreads, so I have an inkling of what you thought of Mockingjay, and I anxiously await details! As for True Blood, well, it’s indefensible. IMHO.

    (Btw, I LOVE your writing and really should comment more so you would know that. I look forward to your posts and you are in a favored category in my reader…one of the ones I save to read because I always enjoy them.)

  • 6. Chris  |  September 16th, 2010 at 7:02 am

    They do make sleep sacks for toddlers who can’t use blankets yet. They look a little ridiculous, but would keep her warm when you get to New England winter!

  • 7. AndreAnna  |  September 16th, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Because we keep our house cool pretty much all the time, my 2-yo has been in fleece pajamas since birth. Even in the summer.

    All because I married outside my race.

    My husband is part Yeti, you see.

  • 8. cindy w  |  September 16th, 2010 at 8:54 am

    I’m confused… Why does Sam need the motor skills to cover herself with a blanket? Can’t you just put a blanket on her when she goes to bed?

    (Disclosure: I have a kid who always sleeps with a blanket, and who furiously refused to wear footie pajamas after about… oh, the first 12 months. And she yells for me in the middle of the night when she’s kicked her blankets off to come re-adjust them. So THAT’S fun!)

  • 9. mar  |  September 16th, 2010 at 10:17 am

    dude! i love me some roxette! i was just listening to the radio a couple weeks ago & they played a song on their flashback saturdays. i wonder where my cds are? i’ve got “the look” on cassette, somewhere at my parents’ house.
    and i’m really glad sam’s blue lips were merely cold related.
    also, agree about the living somewhere else. it totally gives you some perspective, even if it means you eventually end up back in your birthplace.

  • 10. Jennifer L  |  September 16th, 2010 at 10:37 am

    SO glad to hear that Sam is just cold. I read your Tweets the other day about it. I was born with a heart defect that produced similar symptoms and my mind immediately goes there. My dad had to talk me down when I was certain my girl had the same thing as a baby. As in “no, your lips were blue ALL the time – and fingers & toes”. And I’m sure the Ped got sick of my insistance that she check her heart ONE MORE TIME and REALLY LISTEN. So yeah, more jammies = great outcome :)

  • 11. Annie  |  September 16th, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I’m about to move across multiple states to some place that I have been TWICE. The move is in less than a month. And I’ve always lived where I’ve lived and I’ve alwaye been happy here. Moving is scary! Very few things are scary to me! But, reading your post about how it made you appreciate other things in your life more is really resonating with me, so thanks for that little paragraph. Made me smile a little bit about moving. :)

  • 12. Shelly  |  September 16th, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Thank you! We lived in FL for nearly 4 years and I hated it. When I tell people I did not like living in FL they look at me as if I’m crazy. But the Confederate Flags, the blatant racism, the total shunning when people realized we were not Southern Baptists. I knew it was not a place I wanted to raise my child. I’m sure it’s great for some people, just not me.

  • 13. Li  |  September 16th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    So glad Sam is OK! i am noticing the same thing here and am having a very hard time with pulling out the winter pjs in SEPTEMBER.

    Ah… Florida! A few years ago, we went to a wedding on the west coast of FL. When we clearly didn’t actively participate in the church service, another guest asked us if we were “outsiders” so we responded, “yes we’re from boston.” turns out what she really meant was “are you jews?” and for the rest of the wedding and reception, we heard old ladies talking about us (“did you know there was a jewish couple here? i hear that they’re very nice.”); we were introduced to other people not with our names, but with our religion (“have you met sandy’s jewish friends?” in fact no one asked our names the whole time, but plenty of people walked up and said “i hear you’re jewish”); and fielded some of the most idiotic questions we have ever heard (“is that a jew-drink?” I was drinking a cosmo, which while cliched, is not exclusively jewish as far as i know). And sadly, i am not exaggerating even a little bit.

  • 14. DCZia  |  September 16th, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Halo sleep sacks. Get ’em. In fleece. (They make cotton too, but we haven’t used those as much as the fleece.) We put my daughter in them to sleep when she could bust out of her swaddle at 4 months. She likes the cozy, wrapped up feeling. She is still in one at 21 months, and will probably stay in one until she demands a blanket. They make them toddler-sized, and some have foot-holes in them, since when they can walk they might get a little edgy about having their feet in a sack. You can get them on the Halo website or on Amazon.

  • 15. DCZia  |  September 16th, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Also, Florida? Lived there for 2 years. I have never been in a place where I so didn’t belong. And I tried. I TRIED. I can make friends with fenceposts, but not many Floridians, it turns out. My experience sounds not unlike yours, having lived in New Mexico, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Orleans before that brief, weird, wrong time in Florida. I getcha.

  • 16. Maria  |  September 16th, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    I hate your house for you, man.

  • 17. Shin Ae  |  September 16th, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    I am having the experience of living somewhere completely different from where I think I should live. I’ve been here ten years, and no end in sight. I hope someday to look on this place in hindsight, as you are now able to do with Florida. Well, minus the House That Ate the Bank Account.

  • 18. Kristin H  |  September 17th, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Apropos of nothing, all of a sudden your blog looks *huge* on my desktop. Did you change something, or is it just me? Seems to have coincided with the launch of Google Instant (or whatever they’re calling it), so possibly it’s just me.

  • 19. jonniker  |  September 17th, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Cindy: I cover her when we start the night, but she’s a SUPER mobile sleeper, so the blanket lasts approximately five minutes, and I’ll be damned if I’m going in there to re-cover her all night long. Heh.

    Kristin: Yes! I changed the resolution so that it fits the latest … uh, whatevers. It was so, so tiny before.

  • 20. bessie.viola  |  September 17th, 2010 at 8:38 am

    My toddler is in fleece feeties too. God help me if I ever actually am able to potty train this kid, because I have no idea what she’ll sleep in then. Already now she tries to get out of them and it’s just totally confounding… add the peepee dance and I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing lots more laundry.

  • 21. Jamie  |  September 17th, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Dude. I lived in central and eastern TN for almost 2 years. I know of what you speak, and you speak it good. My time in Tennessee was all peaks and valleys – no flat land. Incredible highs, and devastating lows – so I moved home to find some level ground. Which is what the Midwest is known for, after all. :)

  • 22. paintball sniper rifle...  |  September 17th, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Sorry to hear about how horrible Florida is. I thought that kind of stuff was long gone, but I guess in some areas it still lives strong. Here in the boring midwest we don’t get many nooses handing from trees. Hope you can get over it!

  • 23. Ali V  |  September 18th, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I lived on the far southern west coast of Florida in a very well-to-do city and managed to stick it out for one year before I ran screaming back to my home state (which is in the south too for the record). Florida was just very weird to me – I’m sure it suits lots of people, but I can’t figure out the appeal. The demographic was so….old and strangely angry? These people seemed pissed off – and that was before the housing market tanked. And the beach is lovely, but you can’t get anywhere close to it unless you can throw down 10 mil for a house, so meh….

  • 24. GingerB  |  September 19th, 2010 at 12:42 am

    I really do recommend the sleep sacks, I only choose not to use them on #2 because she has CP and is rather tippy. I don’t want her to not be able to stand at the side of the crib and holler.

    But what fleece jammies don’t have flame retardant stuff impregnated in the fabric? I’ve been using Carter’s and now find that every set for sale says flame retardant and I don’t want my babies sleeping in chemicals. So I lack solid recommendations for you but will look inot the LL Bean version recommended by your commenters.

    My two year old with CP is possibly less fuhreristic than your wild at heart 18 month old but probably equally unable to don a hoodie, desire notwithstanding. And we are a bloody poopy dog household, so I feel your pain, sister, I do.

    I did love Disneyworld, but the people on the ATV? Here in Utah they stay out of the big city, which is good enough for me.

  • 25. Margie  |  September 19th, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Roxette were/are amazing – end of story. Three cheers for your impeccable taste. I’ve been reading for ages & haven’t ever commented so I’m not sure what it says about me that its when you mention roxette that I decide to write.

  • 26. Stephanie  |  September 20th, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Definitely get some sleep sacks — they have them in larger sizes and they work better than fleece PJs (warm air circulation, like a sleeping bag). Even better than Halo sleep sacks IMO are Gro-Bags:

    They aren’t fleece but are more like a quilted material that I think regulates temperature better than fleece (still warm, less sweating).

    Or, IKEA sells toddler-sized comforters and duvet covers, and I find that young kids have an easier time keeping those on because they’re big and very thick so they don’t get twisted.

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