How To Happily Survive in 
South West Florida
and most of the state also

1) Know that everyday thousands of crooks come up on Florida's eastern coast then immediately proceed toward Florida's Gulf coast screwing everyone in sight. Never pay for any service or product until it is in your hand and complete.

2) Learn to live with the fact that Floridians cannot walk down a grocery store aisle without blocking your access. You will pick up the nasty habit also after a couple of years.

3) Unless you live in Central Florida expect humidity beyond belief.

4) Learn the Spanish language. If just a bit. Do not ever think or tell everyone around you to speak English, they will not. In fact, they will rebuke you and tell you to learn Spanish. It's a lovely language and a lot easier to learn than English, so do as they say - Cause they will NEVER come over to our side. Face it. Handle it.

5) Always have plenty of Andro and especially Orthene on hand. The South has a really nasty ant called the Fire Ant. Their mounds are everywhere and if disturbed - I mean even if you tenderly tap once atop a mound - millions of ants will attack you and you will learn why they are called FIRE ants. Their sting will blister your skin and often leave scares and keep you itching for weeks on end. Follow the instructions on the label and you'll be fine.

6) Never place a body part, such as your hand, into a space you cannot see fully. There are four different species of poisonous snakes in North America. Only Florida has them all. As well as pythons, which have arrived in the last decade and are breeding way out of control. Pythons live mostly in trees. They are not poisonous but they can crush a small human and swallow babies and dogs and cats...

7)  Never place a body part, such as your hand, into a space you cannot see fully. Five species of venomous spiders occur in Florida: the southern black widow, northern black widow, red widow, brown widow and brown recluse.   Need I saw more?

8) Never sit on a toilet in the dark. The black house spider as well as any snake in need of water can, have and will find your bathroom a comfy space. I wouldn't overly panic over this fact, but just check before you sit.

9) Whenever leaving the house for more than a day be sure to set your thermostat at 80 degrees F. Mold and mildew are an issue throughout Florida - especially in southern Florida - and once the fungus begins to grow, you'll be in for illness and even as much as a rebuilding of your entire home.

10) This year, 2011, New Yorkers got a "hint" of what a hurricane can do. Trust me, you ain't seen nothing yet! Florida is not like Central America where you can observe busses flying over your head in a storm, but even a Cat One hurricane in Southern Florida can level your entire neighborhood. Click here to see what we went through all the way up in Kissimme.
    The very first thing you ought to do is study this website - www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare The second thing is to find a handyman and build covers for your windows that will install quickly and come down after a storm just as quickly. Store them away. You will employ them. Maybe not soon, but you will sooner or later and probably often over the years.
    The next thing to do is to be attentive to weather forecasts. When a hurricane is approaching study the paths it is expected to take. For the most part hurricanes come off the Atlantic aimed at the lower part of the state. Or they come in from the Gulf side then usually trend north. Once you see the expected paths, install your window covers, fill your bath tub so there is water if the city is shut off, turn up your refrig for a few hours, then turn off all your electric, leave the house and run for your lives! Run (drive) into the area of the State the hurricane is expected to be far away from. For example: if it comes off the Atlantic down Miami way, go spend a couple of days at Disney. If it is coming in off the Gulf, hang out at South Beach for awhile - and photograph the cloud bands as they whirl through the sky.

11) Know for a fact that every body of water in Florida has alligators and snakes in it. You'll see the posted signs, but just know it in your heart. Beware. Also know that after a hurricane every one of those critters - along with insects, small varmints, cougars, dogs and lost cats - will be disoriented and hungry and looking to the dominant specie (Humans) for aid and especially to eat us.

12) Never leave your car windows open. For 2 very good reasons: firstly, it rains pretty much everyday between June and October and while you're trying to enjoy a nice bath the interior of your car will be bathing also. And, for you northerners: you think you've seen heavy rain before? Just you wait. Because I had privacy I oft times grabbed a bar of soap and showered in the rain. Yep, it's that heavy and that warm! Secondly, bugs and especially lizards adore the heat that builds up in your car.

13) Never ever walk on grass without shoes or high boot slippers. Remember the fire ants? Besides those critters Florida is well known for having the highest ratio of foot and toe fungus. Be wise, be a human that is living on a tropical island that is very much inhuman.

14) Do not sun bathe. Always wear sun screen. Always wear sun screen, even at night. Hey, it smells nice and will moisturize the skin.

15) Everyone in Florida has diabetes. You are or will be no exception.

16) Some local TV stations have what's called a Mosquito Index. Often mentioned before or after the weather. It is a number such as 1 to 2. That means for every one minute you will be bitten twice by the local blood suckers. If you choose to ignore that index, have lots of alcohol and anti-itch spray on hand. In fact, always have anti-itch spray around. Our home in Central Florida always had at least 2 bottles of spray close at hand. Maybe in So. Florida you ought to have four bottles.

17) Visit Google Earth or get yourself a map of Southern Florida because the TV news  - especially the traffic reports - are very localized. Beyond that you are living near some of America's most interesting parks, beaches and resorts. And I'm not speaking of St. Joe's Harbor, Disney World or Universal Studios, though you are just hours away from them too. Marco Island, the Everglades, Ft. Meyers, Sanabel Island and so many spots I miss daily are right in your backyard. Enjoy them often. Most definately visit the Everglades. You may find visiting the "Glades" more fun during the winter months when the crowds, fees and temps are lower. Also listen to the local folklore about Allagator Alley. They are all true and try never to drive it at night - always gas up before getting on it.

18) You'll learn soon enough to avoid Ft. Meyers during snow-bird season. Like the Hamptons, there is only one road in and one road out. Albeit, on Long Island going east you end up at a big lighthouse; Ft. Meyers is a stop along Rt. 41. And remember item number one: at least for me, it seems all the crooks settled in at Ft. Meyers and Marco Island. Be very careful. I've been screwed by 2 motels, a grill and at a gift store in Ft. Meyers and got really screwed by a dentist on Marco Island who charged me $2,400 for a consultation over a broken cap. Gotta watch your step in that part of the world.

19) For those of you who enjoy freely expressing your opinions please keep in mind that America is moving toward becoming an adversarial kind of nation. This is very evident in the South. Folks are carrying guns and you will find weapons in bars as well. Florida is not South Carolina or Mississippi, Florida is a melting pot and everyone is aware of the fact that many cultures and attitudes mix here. But, this is not New York where you can call someone a moron because they're a republican/democrat/ liberal, etc. or go around saying that Jesus was really an Ancient Alien.  Always be sensitive to the minds around you. And always be certain that the gentleman or lady you are speaking too will be polite enough not to say out loud that you are a big- mouth- socialistic- Satan- worshipping- Yankee- who-should- be- shot.

20) If taking a stroll at night (gosh! I miss those 90 degree, sweet-air strolls through Naples, Marco Island, Orlando and St. Augustine!) But beware: Stay on lighted, light colored sidewalks. Many reptiles that had sunned on the asphalt surfaces are likely to still be nearby. And always remember the fire ants!

21) Know that you are living in America's resort state. That people are laid back, happy for the most part, and often have red necks. There may be better locals to live at, nicer scenery, lower taxes and/or cooler weather, but if I had my ruthers I'd be living in Florida.

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