It was a dark and stormy night…
Oh, who am I kidding? Better to leave the fiction writing for those best suited to it. Nevertheless it was dark, rainy, and overcast earlier today. This made for a good opportunity to put on our rain coats for a walk and see some wildlife. Since moving to Florida we have only seen two alligators, and with the dreary skies this morning we thought it might be a nice chance to perhaps see another. Alligators enjoy early morning sunshine and early evening dusk, but apparently also rainy and gray days too. In this way they’re not too much different from me, except I’m not salivating over the baby blue heron swimming innocently nearby. As posted earlier, it can a bit of a killing field around these parts.
Next to our condo community is an adjacent one connected by a walking bridge. We’ve been repeatedly told by our neighbors that alligators can often be seen under that bridge down in the water. Sadly, nary a one has graced us with a hello during previous visits to it. There is a second viewing place nearby that is apparently so well populated with gators that signs are displayed warning residents about the dangers of getting too close, and also to not to feed them. I cannot even begin to wrap my head around the fact that someone would actually want to feed an alligator. I find them fascinating to watch, but I’m happy being at least 50 feet away or more from the water’s edge.
We stood this morning for about a half hour staring at the water waiting for something to surface. Quite a few times we saw what appeared to be a nose come up to the surface only to plunge back down in a millisecond. I want to believe it was an alligator, but for all I know it could have been large turtle. What I enjoyed from the experience was the anticipation of waiting for something to happen. We weren’t sure if we would be rewarded and that made the experience all more enjoyable.
The above would be an example good anticipation. Lately though I’ve had a tiny bit of the negative variety too. With my retirement annuity now finalized, the only remaining detail is the portion that my ex-wife will receive directly from my former employer, as ordered by the divorce decree. I am anxious for her to start receiving it because it means that I will be allowed to pay less in alimony (discussed earlier in this posting). By now she should have started receiving her payments, but for varying reasons the central personnel office of my former employer is backlogged to such a degree that her paperwork is in a long queue. Both of us has made separate inquiries asking about its status, but sadly our efforts have gone unrewarded with any meaningful information. We must wait. Every two weeks I continue to pay her the usual amount of alimony, and my bank balance continues on a downward slide.
Last year’s tax information was duly harnessed and sent off to our accountant two weeks ago. We eagerly await what we hope and expect will be a nice refund coming our way from Uncle Sam. This should partially refill my slowly depleted coffer and allow me to keep a cushion in place once my ex’s annuity payments do in fact begin to be paid. Our accountant, whom I refer to as “Reagan” because she is so conservative, fervently mandates high withholdings from my paycheck and even higher estimated quarterly tax payments for Gorgeous so that we’re not socked with a big tax bill in April. I suppose in later years when we have a more consistent annual income, she’ll probably ease up a bit with this practice of our lending so much money to the Federal Treasury. But at the moment it’s better to be safe than sorry. The Gipper was personally not one of my favorite presidents, but in this instance we’ll follow his mantra of “Stay the Course.” Our tax refund is yet another anticipation at the moment.
Upcoming trips are currently being studied, discussed, and debated in our household. Gorgeous is planning a trip to visit her daughter in a couple of months (Hi, A.); we both would like to visit Michigan to see family in perhaps July or August; and before the South Florida weather gets too hot and humid, we want to visit two very good friends in Miami later this spring (Hi, M&P). With another month of spring training still to go, I am trying to wrap my head around driving to Lakeland to see my beloved Detroit Tigers — this has been a winter dream of mine since childhood. We had hoped to maybe get a visit in to Key West, but our budget is not allowing that to happen. Maybe next year.
Finally, this coming Sunday is the season finale of Downton Abbey. The number of episodes they film are way too few, and we’re sad to see this wonderful season come to an end. This is probably a good time to admit that my earlier prediction of Mrs. Hughes being the one who killed the vile rapist valet, Mr. Green, was ill-founded, ill-conceived, and illogical. However, the Royal We in us confidently proclaims that Anna will be declared innocent due to a lack of evidence. It is thus, so declared. Will Tom stay or go to Boston? Will Isis be replaced with another dog? Will the Dowager’s romance with Prince Kuragin blossom? We await these answers with yet more anticipation.
Alas, we never saw alligators today. When I was younger, I was terrible about being patient and waiting for events to happen. Age has a way of not necessarily dampening anticipation but perhaps just tempering the enthusiasm for it a bit. I know full well than to run full trot at the first glimpse of my desires. And around these parts, that’s not the smartest thing to do anyway — you might lose a limb!