Thursday, October 28, 2010

No basements in Florida/The Seasonal Changeover

It was there, sitting among a sea of shoes and being rained upon by hundreds of mismatching gloves that I figured out why there are not basements in Florida.
Of course I realize that the fact that the water table sits so close to the surface and the giant sinkholes have something to do with it, but really there must have been an underlying factor when that part of the world was cosmically being designed.
Water table or not, they just don’t need basements down there because they don’t have to endure the endless and daunting task of The Seasonal Changeover.
The Seasonal Changeover happens every spring and every fall and unless you’ve got a shoe closet that rivals the size of New Jersey and a clothes closet that could swallow Canada, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Out go the attire of the day, in goes the one for tomorrow. In this case, I spent hours packing up sandals and rain boots and hauled out the leather and snow boots which were still caked with last spring’s mud because I was too lazy to clean the melt off of them. I sorted through a massive bin of gloves and mittens, some with matches, some without, and daydreamed about how the average Floridian couldn’t handle anything so taxing because they just have no idea of how much work it is to separate the hand coverings for five people.
Just think – for every sun visor you’ve packed away, they’ve been able to sit for an extra minute soaking up the sunshine. And while they’re out there plucking an orange from their backyard tree, you’re plucking a sweater out of a box and wondering how something that was once clean and neatly packed away can come out looking like the sweater gnomes got a hold of it. You know, when it’s all wadded up and smashed flat, full of wrinkles and lint and smells slightly of a wet dog? I’m convinced those are the sweater gnomes. Must be.
Not only that, but I’m pretty sure the shorts gnomes attack the summer clothes during the winter months when I’m not looking. I know this because the very shorts that fit just fine at the end of a long summer suddenly have shrunk a size when I pull them out in the spring. Surely it must be gnomes, for I certainly can’t possibly think of another explanation.
And so time and time again, we suffer through the Seasonal Changeover like good little people, reminding ourselves that we are anxious to snuggle up in a thick woolen sweater in the dead of winter and that we enjoy the feel of fleece socks when the mercury drops and the first smell of the heater kicks in. We pack up the shorts and t-shirts, baseball caps and flip flops in oversized boxes and haul them down the basement, where we find the boxes of turtlenecks, wool garments, hats and boots have been residing (and keeping the gnomes happy) while the weather was warm.
Oh, the boxes, and for some of us with multiple children, even more boxes, all gently stacked on shelves and in rows below the surface where it belongs because realistically, there’s no other place in the house that could handle this substantial seasonal storage. And that is why it makes total and complete sense that people in Florida don’t have basements.
They just don’t need the space.
So this year as I organize sandals and fold the shorts that will be oh so disappointing come June and I wash and freshen the mangled sweaters just reeking of snow boots and gnome, I will think of my friends in Florida who might have their share of orange trees and one set of footwear and remember just how lucky I am.

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