This is Daisy, who is, as you can see, blessed with great physical beauty. She’s even got matching beauty moles. She is somewhat vain in consequence. I tell both my dogs that they’re smart girls, good girls, beautiful girls. But with Daisy, it is definitely the latter that resonates. She takes in the sun like a glamorous 50s-era movie star in San Tropez, even though she is only a dog in Florida.
The sun is one thing we’ve still got going for us in Florida. Otherwise, things are pretty shitty. We’ve got double-digit unemployment. Nearly half of our houses are underwater in the mortgage sense and will be among the first literally underwater if nothing is done about climate change. And nothing will be done because Republicans and Fox News have successfully demagogued that issue to their mouth-breathing audience, some of whom will eventually require snorkels to continue their mouth-breathing.
Medicare fraudster Rick Scott still occupies the governor’s mansion he shelled out $70 million-plus to acquire in 2010, and he apparently stood out as a fool even among the many nitwits and frauds at CPAC. Grandstanding faux-exile Marco Rubio, whose political prospects are receding along with his hairline, lied agreeably to the gathered fools at CPAC and remains our most prominent politician down here, which provides some perspective on the state of disrepair hereabouts.
The US economy is showing some green shoots, and I fervently hope a recovery is for real, because people are suffering. And also because I’m not sure the country could withstand another round of Republican governance. Oh sure, that’s what THEY say about President Obama; everyone who spoke at the convention of morons in DC this week cleared his or her throat with a variation on that very theme.
But the empirical evidence shows they are lying, whereas the insane policies they’re promising to implement should the American people be dumb enough to give them control of the government again really could advance the project of destruction moved forward so aggressively by the last blithering ninny the GOP stood as president.
There’s a lot we can and should do as individuals and groups to make sure that doesn’t happen, and I will do my part. But there’s only so much any of us can do, not only to make an impact within this country but also in a world-historical sense. My Rumproast co-blogger StrangeAppar8us once said:
In truth, nations have been obsolete as sovereign organizational units for some time. There are sovereign corporations and sovereign piles of capital, but nations are basically accounting entries associated with a particular profile of a) indigenous resources, b) comparative labor costs, c) relative social stability, d) relative currency strength and e) relative weakness of business taxation and regulatory controls. Local military power still matters, and some nations still command a certain reflexive residual deference to their post-WWII/Cold War primacy. However, in an age of cheap intercontinental shipping and wire transfers, nations are basically cultural theme parks competing for ticket sales.
I think he was exactly right. We know something about theme parks in Florida. That and sunshine are about all we’ve got left. As far back as my parents and I can remember, one steady source of revenue here was retirees, and what a goldmine they were for a few generations. People still joke about the state being “God’s waiting room,” and until a few years ago, they joked that the state bird was the “construction crane.”
The construction jobs are pretty much gone now, and they probably aren’t ever coming back, at least not to pre-crash levels. I don’t think we’ll return to the days when you could pass a rural cow pasture and then drive by a month later to find it had been walled off and converted into an age-55+ golf course community.
I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I dislike those walled-off “communities.” I can understand why seniors would want to escape obnoxious teens and wailing toddlers — god, who doesn’t? But they’re part of real life, as are the elderly curmudgeons and watchful nanas who have sealed off their wisdom and capacity for creative interference behind a gated guard shack. To paraphrase another doddering old fart, it’s time to tear down that wall.
And come down it will, I think. But as usual, it won’t be good sense that makes it happen but rather money. My parents are among the first wave of baby boomers who are now reaching retirement age, and luckily for them, they don’t have to move to Florida since they grew up here. But I think they and their age-cohorts may be among the last who have that option anyway. Their children don’t have comfortable pensions but rather crappy 401(k) plans that the Wall Street titans blew at the roulette wheel — and that’s only if they’re lucky.
A lot of us don’t have jack shit, and we’re going to have to work until we drop — if we can find work at all — or reinvent retirement as some sort of hobo adventure, maybe? In that case, perhaps Florida will remain a retirement mecca. Even people who have to sleep outside are unlikely to freeze here. Although the chances of being swallowed whole by a giant snake are increasing.[X-POSTED at Rumproast]
My take is that it will also end due to demographic changes. Black/Asian/Latino seniors like staying near their kids and relatives and don’t have the money for a second home in the Villages for the most part.
Some people may want the warm weather, but unless it’s Vegas, I don’t think so either.
Your hope is the Cubans coming in mass after Fidel to occupy those empty houses.
If there is a warm-weather elder retreat for Jonesers and later, it will probably be Los Vegas, where you can gamble and enjoy shows the rest of your life away.
Villago Delenda Est
From the delightful Betty Cracker’s link:
Wow, those snakes are going for big game, aren’t they?
The whole concept of old people moving away from their families to live out their days in a geriatric version of summer camp always seemed like one of the odder aspects of American life to me. When my grandparents moved to Florida they were no longer an integral part of my life, they were just old people I’d visit once and a while if money permitted.
My mother-in-law lives in Florida now. If she ever becomes seriously ill and in need of assistance I don’t know what will happen because we will not be physically or financially able to fly down and care for her as families should.
When I’m old I plan to live near my kids. Having family nearby in old age is important to me. Wearing shorts in January is not.
Given world supply issues with bananas and chocolate and other tropical plants, could the land be reclaimed for growing those things? Florida coffee, spices, chocolate and other sub-tropical crops might be more profitable for the state than another retirement village that’s half empty.
Business idea for anyone in Florida: certified invasive snakeskin (and nutria pelts, and probably stuff from other critters).
I love the Florida is “God’s Waiting Room”. I have a great aunt who moved to Florida in her old age. She used to live in New Jersey and she couldn’t take the cold bad weather any more.
Villago Delenda Est
Oh, please. That would take actual work, not flipping the property and collecting a commission.
I think we are headed back to the practice of two or more generations living under one roof or really close by. It saves money, gives the kids some diverse input and adds stability to life in an increasingly difficult time. It is so hard for young people to strike out on their own, even with a college degree, because of the economy and lack of full time, good paying jobs.
Around my neck of the woods, there are several houses up for sale. The only ones that are selling are single story homes with flat driveways that are below $250,000. The only people who can afford to buy a home are older people who earned their living and pensions when times were good.
@Villago Delenda Est: How to Grow Your Own Coffee Beans in Florida
Sure, it takes work, but if no money is coming in-nobody’s buying except at distressed prices-then I believe folks will get creative enough to figure out it beats no money at all.
I also thinks that legal weed will be another cash crop. Think of all the solar-fueled grow houses. Think of all those communities based around a solar dispensary-getting high in the sunshine.
@Josie: Multi-generation households can save huge amounts of money on childcare and eldercare. The American suburban middle-class lifestyle of the 2nd half of the 20th century was very weird in many ways. Not having ever lived it, I can’t say I’ll miss it.
So your friend StrangeAppar8us is saying that the State is withering away? My, my. :-)
@beltane: If you look at those big old Victorian/early 20th century houses, that’s why they were so big. Grandma lived with the family, along with older singles and any kid that was down on their luck.
If I was advising those “senior community” folks, I would advise them to start renting a few units to younger folks as low-income housing.
I am a senior living in northern CA with a small house in a normal neighborhood with kids, dogs etc, etc. I love being part of the normal community in great weather.
Sigh Okay, wait a minute while I find my bindle.
Villago Delenda Est
(Carol, I was being snarky. It’s not a bad idea, really)
@CarolDuhart2: The attitude of most of these “senior communities” is that young people are undesirable. To me, that type of segregation by age seems weird and incomprehensible. When I’m old the last thing I’d want would be to be surrounded only by other old and decrepit people.
@Villago Delenda Est: Rick Scott proposes a solution by selling live welfare recipients at local Petcos in 3…2…1…
@Linda Featheringill: It’s just that the water is cold.
I’m a fan of futurist writer James H.Kunstler. One of his recurring themes is that we are most assuredly not going back to where we’ve been. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Sadly, however, any politician who might dare to utter this truth will immediately have his/her career ended, up to and including the POTUS.
The old paradigm is simply not sustainable. It was given the appearance of sustainability through a 30+ year credit binge. We are currently witnessing the unraveling of that farce.
It’s human nature to deny, deny, deny… and then adapt. I guess/hope that’s what we’ll do this time.
@Villago Delenda Est: I knew it was snark. But seriously, it’s time to get creative down there. The waves of retirees aren’t coming. Once that last of the Silents and GI Generation empty those houses, the only way they get inhabited again will be through inheritance, as the younger folks will be glad to move in a place that’s already paid for (are the Villages ready for something like that?)
Black people were never welcome in those places, so there’s no browner/blacker wave of retirees coming.
Chocolate and sugar cane and spices would at least bring in some younger workers and some entrepreneurial types. It would preserve some endangered places around the world, save money on transport, and create some local jobs.
You bring up something rarely mentioned. As the Republicans continue to dismantle the middle class, the younger people will be less affluent. And the things that function on that affluence will go away. I’m always surprised that this is discussed so infrequently.
@CarolDuhart2: A sensible national immigration law/policy would help.
I keep coming back to the fact that there’s a growing constituency of people who never was a part of things like this, being blocked by both legal and later economic segregation. How are places that kept blacks, browns, gays and other groups out, and treated the local population of such (if they were around at all) like intruders, going to fill those places?
Another point-as governments continue to privatize services, it will take healthy amounts of tax money to pay for all of it. What will be the tipping point between privatization and the no new tax/constant tax cuts policies?
I think that one day we will flip on Fox News and find out that high taxes are the new low taxes.
@CarolDuhart2: Well, despite it all, the US is turning more brown. I welcome it, frankly.
(Is this demographic trend not true in Florida? Too lazy to google.)
All apologies, Betty, but I never ever understood the snowbird phenomenon. As a native Western Pennsylvanian, Florida always seemed like a hellhole to me. Disgustingly hot and humid, flat and boring scenery, and gated golf communities as far as the eye can see. Horrid place. My sister lived there for 12 years and that neccessitated me visiting the place, but I could never escape fast enough. I shoot myself in the head if I was forced to live there. And it has lived up to my impression of the place in the last few years. That sister is now back here (along with 99% of the Yinzers who moved there during the Reagan years who thought it was their economic salvation after the steel industry was ravaged here), but is scheduled to be married there (for the fourth time, no less) and is expecting me to spend over $3000 to attend. As much as I know Florida could use my tourist dollars, I have told her there is no way that I’ll be attending. First, that is way more money than we can afford for a five day vacation. And second, I refuse to spend that much on her fourth fucking wedding (when do I, who has never been married at age 53, get a huge party with expensive presents?). And third, I hope to never step over the Mason-Dixon line ever again in my life and certainly not in Florida.
Eric the Infrequent
Awwww, Daisy is beautiful. I’m also feeling deprived as I’m without my dogs at the moment, which does make typing this easier, but also makes life a lot more lonely.
You have meddled with the primal forces of nature!
I miss StrangeApper8us
Daisy is beautiful-a rich golden color that’s very appealing. (Or is it the Sun?).
I’m part of that blacker and browner wave (55) that places like the Senior Communities should be at least sending brochures (I’m lower-income, but will at least get SS and a Govt pension) to. But while I’ve started getting Government retirement information, nobody is even making an offer or sending me a brochure. Perhaps it’s too many Archie Bunker types in those communities. It wasn’t just kids they were fleeing when they went down to those communities, yanno.
But the idea of living in a community like that gives me claustrophobia to the extreme. And with the puritanical rules they often have, I would even feel more out of place. Unless I can turn up my music a bit, have my younger great-nieces and nephews over and even live with me if necessary, I’m not interested. Plus I would like to at least have the option of going to a place like Miami once in a while.
@Birthmarker: It’s definitely true here too.
wow…what a beautiful boxer. I grew up with boxers (and a cockapoo – how many of you know what type of dog that is?) and daisy is a beauty. (but she already knows this.)
@geg6: It’s a sun-blasted hellscape in the summer for sure, but I can definitely see why people come here despite the wretched seasonal humidity, yahoos, hurricanes and ginormous cockroaches.
I lived in New England for a few years, but I couldn’t stand the cold, dark, dank winters long-term. There were about 90 days of good weather. We have 90 days of shitty weather here. Plus, Florida has some really beautiful, non-boring scenery; you just have to look off the beaten track.
RE: your sister’s marriage, well, that is pretty damn cheeky to expect you to spend three large on wedding #4. Or #1 for that matter.
There’s a fundamental water-supply issue that’s eventually going to doom the boomtown version of Vegas even if the current mortgage/recession issues don’t. The problem is that Vegas id dependent on the Colorado River for its water supply, which is over-subscribed from its long-term sustainable flow rate, even with Lake Mead, and Vegas must compete with Arizona and California (including L.A.) for shares under the Interstate Compact. Ironically, one of the measures that could induce substantial improvement in the supply (decomissioning of Glen Canyon Dam) will be politically difficult to do until sedimentation eventually renders it obsolete in another 50 to 150 years. The problem is that “Lake Powell” creates an extended relatively shallow reservoir with enormous surface area relative to volume, which especially in the warm arid summer climate causes tremendous losses to evaporation, whereas allowing that water to continue to Lake Mead to deepen it another 50 to 100 feet requires relatively little additional surface area (or loss of “natural” river flow in the Grand Canyon). Glen Canyon Dam is also very destructive to the ecology and beaches of the Grand Canyon, and drowns what should have been another one of America’s canyon-based natural parks, what would-have-been a spectacular crown jewel of slickrock.
@CarolDuhart2: Claiming a large part of Florida to grow sugar cane (which is still ongoing) has resulted in catastrophic damage to the Florida Everglades, the Florida Keys, and Florida fisheries.
Admittedly things can be (but weren’t) done to mitigate this damage, but sugar cane has multiple issues: it’s extremely water intensive, requires extensive phosphates/nitrates for efficient production, and soil restoration (ditto). All of this runs into the Everglades and in turn to the Keys/Gulf of Mexico and is one reason coral reefs and thus fisheries are dying. This is turn is why the federal government wants to spend billions cleaning up the Everglades; it’s partly to save the Everglades, but it’s also to save a fairly important commercial resource – fish. It’s also not just limited to the Everglades. Lake Apopka in central Florida was mostly smothered by agricultural runoff, which in turn killed a very nice sport fishing area and millions of birds; the continuing cleanup is in the millions.
Parts of Florida, certainly, are well suited for agriculture, and citrus cultivation (despite its issues) and hydroponic vegetables are doing well. But other parts are not. The soil tends to be nutrient poor, when it exists at all, and many crops are water intensive, which is a dwindling resource in Florida — in part, admittedly, because of those golf communities, with concrete roads/driveways which divert water away from aquifers and so on.
Which is not to say that your idea doesn’t have merit, but that I’m a little cautious in saying that growing semi- tropical crops is the best response, given the negative effects of some agriculture in Florida.
@CarolDuhart2: She is a gorgeous color. I call her “Pumpkin Pie” sometimes because she is that exact color.
RE: the senior communities, you can actually get kicked out for allowing people under 55 to stay with you over a certain set time frame. I’ll never live in a gated community of any type due to stupid rules like that. It’s very Stepfordish.
I have a great aunt who moved to Florida when she retired about 20 years ago. She is thinking of moving back to Michigan, where my family mostly is and where some of her friends still are. She will miss the warm Florida weather, but the friends she made in Florida are now dead or dying and it’s more important to her now to have social support.
@Betty Cracker: I’m old school when it comes to weddings. Number One, okay, spend. After that, a backyard barbecue or coffee in the church basement should be sufficient. The sister should be grateful that people are even thinking about coming to wedding #4, let alone demanding an expensive expenditure of some kind.
To me, it’s like Glen Beck charging $500 a ticket. You want to tell these people, “haven’t you paid attention to the economy lately?”
One thing about the tolerating the heat, when you get to older age, it doesn’t feel as hot as when you’re younger. At least that’s what my aunt told me.
Wow, Santorum sure is a slimy bastard. He was making the argument that a court declaring a constitutional amendment unconstitutional is absurd, in reference to Prop. 8 in California. This is an incredibly dishonest argument, since the constitutional amendment in question is to the state constitution, and the law was overturned by a federal court. I think, at best, he’s trying to make a state’s rights argument, but really what I think he’s doing it trying to fire up his voters who are too stupid to know the difference between a state constitution and the US Constitution. It’s one of the slimiest talking points I’ve ever heard.
I’ll admit that winters are more of a challenge to me than they used to be. And that would be the main lure of moving down south.
However, there just aren’t as many bugs in NE Ohio. And there are no poisonous snakes. There are no fire ants. I haven’t heard of the brown-whatsits spider in this area.
I will admit that urban rats get pretty big here, though.
@Quarks: I’m thinking a combination of hydroponics and greenhouses. Maybe even that “vertical farm” idea. In a warm place like Florida heat costs would be less. Think of all the crops that we ship from further south being grown in greenhouses and on former cattle ranches during the winter, and then being shipped up north. Combine that with solar and wind power, and water desalinization plants, and Florida could be a less-carbon intensive source of winter fruits and vegetables.
I’m also thinking about land reclamation as developments get bulldozed away.
And in any case, hemp would help strengthen the soil and requires only a modest amount of water.
As for your concern about sugar cane, agricultural diversification and better trade with Cuba would help with the power of the sugar lobby.
Betty Cracker @33:
You are right that there are a few places in FL that are nice. I like the Keys a lot, for instance. But I’ve been there and done that. And perhaps it’s just me but I find the weather there horrible, no matter the time of year (been there in every season). Hate the heat and I prefer a temp around 50-70, which is what we have about 4-6 months around here. And I couldn’t survive without seasons, even winter, which are cozy and warm if you have a fireplace and a dog. ;-)
It’s really the flatness and brownness of the place that depresses me down there. Not a hill to be seen, unless you count the Palm City bridge or Space Mountain. Much as I am frustrated by so many of my neighbors here, it is one of the most gloriously beautiful places in America, regardless of season. People still think of this region (which is pretty much the same as our blog host’s) as an industrial hellhole, but it hasn’t been that for decades. And even then, it was more beautiful than anyone ever knew. Hell, it’s in single digits today with about six inches of snow, but my yard is a stunning snowscape with deer and squirrels and birds frolicking around our frozen koi pond. My Otis is full of joy in the snow, jumping and running in it like a puppy and not the hundred pound five-year old dog he is. Can’t, for the life of me, understand why a native of this lovely place would choose to live in Florida. Voluntarily, anyway.
It could be worse – http://www.arthaproperty.com/international/rotonda_heights/Rotonda_Heights_faqs.html. The prices looked deliciously attractive compared to Bangalore. Now only if DHS made it easy for us to go to the US or Gulf of America wouldn’t submerge Florida some day…..
Take a high-rise and convert it to a multilayered farm?
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
Daisy is beautiful.
@geg6: The Emerald Coast is great.
In the off season!
@Linda Featheringill: That’s right. So far it seems to be theoretical, but there’s been some serious study of the concept. So far it seems to be oriented toward large cities, but I think a place more rural/suburban may be a better bet. Think hi-rise greenhouses as a concept, and I think theory will become actuality.
@Villago Delenda Est: Actually it depends on what “land” you mean. The Everglades is really a very wide, shallow and slow moving river. It would be better to reclaim the land to give it back to the river environment. Some of the other land doesn’t go down very deep — it’s coral.
Not to mention the heat dial is set to “kill” half the year. Also, too, see Phoenix, AZ.
I hope she’s not your favorite aunt, because she’s lying to you. :-P
What takes quite a few hot summers to figure out is deliberately doing things at 3/4 speed. Young’ns don’t do anything at 3/4 speed (except homework).
you have such a way with words, betty. i love it.
I’m from tropical people, jamaica, to be precise. I’d have no problem being in FL. Except for the Olds and the Republicans. Perhaps half the reason these Tea Party nutjobs hold such stupid views is the self-segregation.
@Villago Delenda Est: She did say “giant snakes”.
Saw one on SyFy once. Swallowed an entire plane in one gulp.
Pretty sure it was a documentary.
@geg6: one thing about 53 and single is, we don’t have to get cornered into doing something that pointless, even for our sisters.
You made my day, I thought I was the only one.
All I know of Florida I got from the books of Carl Hiaasen and Randy Wayne White and (earlier) John D. MacDonald.
The climate’s similar to what we have in Hawai’i, however. But we have mountains.
My parents live outside Lake Wales, one of the highest places in Florida at a whopping 312 feet above sea level.
Cindy C.? Is that you?
Yeah, me too. When you’re my age (older baby boomer) it’s one thing to keep in touch with your high school classmates, at least the ones you liked — you actually know them, after all — but another thing entirely to confine all your acquaintance to people your own age. Especially when large groups of them seem to spend their time either boasting about how much money they managed to squirrel away in spite of the economy, or whining about how many diseases they’ve had, or bitching about how “young people today are [fill in blank complaint].” Ugh.
Yep. My 87 yr old mom lives with my younger brother, who started his family late in life. He’s 51, and his kids are 4, 6, and 12.. His family is hard-scrabble, do-it-yourself all the way, and he built her a bed-sit with private bathroom so she can spend her last days in peace right in his house.
I love him so much for this, I can hardly stand it. She knows she’s no burden to anyone, and she has little grandchildren to keep things lively . . . if they get too screamy, the hearing aids come out and all is well.
As an Indian (7-11 kind), I don’t see what the fuss is all about. For us, taking care of parents is mandated by law here – you see, when a country fails to provide a social safety net for its people, this is apparently the next best thing it can do. We welcome you back to the part of the world that is still in 1920s..
Snark aside, I personally like the idea of living close to parents and having other relatives like my sisters live nearby. I lived in the US for years, but as I grew older, the yearning grew so much that I transplanted myself back to the old country at a huge personal cost. For us, many parents have the other problem – their children would have moved to the big cities for work (usually more than a thousand mile away) and they do not like to leave their small town life to live with or near their children.
Also on the topic of giant snakes, just watched a documentary on NatGeo or Discovery (I forget) – that Floridian pythons are likely to evolve into 40+ foot mammoth snakes some day due to warmer weather. Of course, if you don’t believe in global warming and evolution, you don’t need to worry about it.
@CarolDuhart2: I’m too white, and all the brochures I get are for hearing aids.
My father and stepmother moved to Florida a decade ago, when Dad was offered the best and most lucrative job he would ever have. Then he quit the cushy job to invest in and run a construction-related business in 2006. You can imagine how that has worked out. Foreclosure was the least of it.
But for all that, my parents still don’t want to leave Florida, and now I’m seriously considering joining them. My husband works remotely, we could literally live anywhere. What rents us a shabby house in Metro DC could buy us into an excellent neighborhood with money left over. And since we have two small kids, the advantage if being near a set of grandparents is huge.
The only thing that gives me pause are the schools. One of the reasons my current neighborhood is so expensive is that we literally have access to one of the top ten public school systems in the country. But with every cold blast of winter, moving to Florida is more appealing. I wonder how common that is, families chasing the grandparents down there?
@ABL 2.0: Thank you!
@amy c: I’ll be honest with you, Amy: The schools down here suck pretty bad, and Governor Voldemort slashed a billion dollars from the education budget, so they’re getting worse. Still, it depends on where you are and which school your kid goes to, of course. My kid’s elementary school was wonderful. The middle school sucks, and I suspect the high school will suck too, but we’ll jump off that bridge when we come to it.
Even if we could afford private school, which we couldn’t do easily, it would be tough for us to swing it because we’re out in the boonies. The only close-by private schools are Christian schools that suck as bad as the public schools. We do the best we can to augment the kiddo’s education, and she’s a reader, which is a great thing. That’s how I managed to become semi-literate despite going to sucky FL schools K-12.
Regarding families joining their grandparents in FL, I’ve seen that happen quite a bit, actually.
Dear Ms. Betty,
A fine post, and many sweet comments. So, I hesitate to do the verbiage-Nazi thing, but, it’s kinda funny, so…
As one who has spent most of his life in the American Southwest, but with a fair chunk in NW Europe as well, I know how easy it might be to write “San Tropez.”
But, really, girl, it’s St. Tropez, as in St. Louis, i.e., rather more Frenchified. Apparently, we’ve both been living a long time around a lot of Messkins.
@guckertgannon: You’re right. But I blame Pink Floyd rather than the Messicans.
As Emmy Lou Harris wrote:
Same for Pennsyltucky.
Paul in KY
As someone who loves the Florida panhandle beaches, if I can get a nice vacation home within a mile of the beach for much cheaper than I would have 10 years ago, I personally would consider that a plus (for me).
@Linda Featheringill: Brown Recluse, and we had them in Nebraska when I was a boy, we always had to check our clothing for the critters to make sure none of us had been bit while we were out walking the fields deer, pheasant, quail, & rabbit hunting. A friend of the farmer’s land we used to hunt on just outside of Blue Hill was bit on the lower leg by one, and by the time he got to a hospital to take care of it, they had to scoop out a baseball-sized chunk of his calf muscle because it had necrotized. Not a pretty picture I know, but if we had them in the dry, frigid wasteland of the Cornhusker State, I’m pretty sure you’ve got them up there too in the Buckeye State, so don’t discount the possibility, the little bastards/bitches are very hardy arachnids.
@Paul in KY: I hear the wingnuts flock pretty thick up there in the Florida Panhandle. Would a bunch of kooky neighbors be worth it? I don’t know.