Unforced Errors

I played pickleball yesterday morning for the first time in the new year. I’m starting to get the hang of the game, and understand what I should be doing to be a better player. I know what I want to do, but just can’t execute the moves all the time. Practice, practice, practice! We keep score each game, but once a game is over, I don’t think about the score anymore. I couldn’t tell you whether I won more games than I lost, or even how many games I played. But even in the games I won (actually, our team won), I wasted several points by making unforced errors. Hopefully I’ll make fewer of them as time goes on. If not, it will be one more athletic endeavor that I’m just mediocre at. The story of my life!!

Two months of our five month stint at Highlands Ridge is over. December was the coldest one on record in Avon Park. For years I’ve been known as the weather pox for our triathlons. It seemed like every time I did a major race, it would rain, be remarkably hot, or be remarkably cold. Now, it seems, it has spilled over to our time at Highlands Ridge. If the people down here find out about my weather pox history, we may be the first couple that was ever denied a return visit to Highlands Ridge. So, Kevin, Stacy and Bob, how about if we spend next year in Phoenix?

Of course, I ate way too much over the holidays, and I’m back to counting calories. Among other things, Mom made fudge, including wintergreen fudge, one of my favorites. At Christmas, she said she left the chocolate covered peanut clusters in Hudson, and would bring them the following week. She said Brother Bob, aka Bobbie Butane, wanted to be sure I got my share. She figured he was just being a thoughtful brother, but I know the real reason. Bob said he’d quit smoking if I got down to 175 pounds. We made that agreement about four years ago and I haven’t even come close, YET! I think, when Mom wasn’t looking, Bob snuck some of his candies into my bag. What are brothers for?

We all know that you can’t just watch the calories…you need to combine that with exercise. I’d like to say that I’ve made a New Years resolution to lift weights three times a week, but it’s just not my thing. Jean loves it. I will force myself to go down there, but I’d rather be playing pickleball, riding bike, swimming (although the pool has been open on a spotty basis…only when the air temp is 70 degrees or more), and walking around Highlands Ridge. The weather isn’t perfect, but it’s warmer than it is in Michigan, and you can get out and get the exercise you need.

I don’t know if I have written about “The Highlands Ridge Ten”, but if I have, I’ll repeat myself. Karen, one of our friends from Hastings who lives down here, says that, when you move into Highlands Ridge, you automatically put on ten pounds. It’s not the water…it’s the partying! There are a lot of people around our age here and, it appears, they’ll party at the drop of a hat. It’s just like the “freshman ten” when kids go off to college. The restrictions are off, and it’s Barney bar the door!

Most Wednesdays we go down to the South Course Clubhouse (the are two golf courses here) for dinner with friends. It starts off with cocktails, and everyone gets “two for one”. If you order a glass of wine, you get two. If you order a pitcher of beer, you get two. They have a somewhat limited menu, but they do have a baked/broiled fish that most of the women get, and so will I from now on. We always seem to be the last group to leave and, more times than not, the gathering adjourns to someone’s house, where the drinks are free. We’ve begged off the “afterparties” most of the time. Apparently we haven’t mastered the art of “overdoing” yet.

Two weeks ago today, the first day of winter, a couple from England and our friends from Hastings asked us if we wanted to meet at the North Course clubhouse for a drink at five. We said OK, and got there on time. Neither of the other couples got there until about 5:15. In that 15 minutes, we saw several couples coming in with trays of cheese and summer sausage, bowls of chocolate chip cookies, and bowls of chips and dips. We wondered what was going on, so we asked. They were having a party “because the full moon was coming up”. It was chilly, but many of them sat outside for quite a while so they could smoke. Everyone came in when it started to get dark and cool off some more. They had several drinks, and pizzas were delivered from town. After a while, the moon started rising. Someone yelled out, “It’s coming up over Judy’s house”. Everyone cheered and ran outside (actually shuffled….it is a retirement community). They clapped, spent about 10 minutes watching the moon, then came back in and partied some more. Luckily Jean and I had a pork loin in the oven, so we left while everyone continued to party.

I may have mentioned that we’re on the 17th tee of the North Course. I enjoy watching the groups come through, and Jean and I often sit on the lanai and watch them together. It’s not an “exclusive” course, but proper attire is required, and the greens fees are high enough ($75 for a couple with a cart) to keep out the riff-raff (me). I’m somewhat surprised that many of the men feel the need to relieve themselves when they get to the tee. Many have started for the bushes, looked back to see me watching, and turned around to go back to the cart. Most see me watching, and continue anyway.The white tees, which most of the men use, are around 75 yards away, so it’s not like you can see anything…it’s just the idea. Besides, most of the gentlemen are sixty or older and there’s not much to see.

Just (Figuring Out What To Do Today Here In Paradise) Jack

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