Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Refining the Routine

Incrementally as we settle into our winter digs on Daytona Beach Shores I am refining my petty routine. Though there is unquestionably a marked difference in my daily agenda here from what I do at home (mainly an absence of indispensable medical, bureaucratic, regulatory and substantive hardware concerns), there is an underlying commonality involving such matters of necessity as groceries and laundry. In harmony with what we have regularly heard reported from another Canadian interloper in Florida, Publix grocery store is hard to beat.  We too shop at Publix for the provisions we want without having to search resources elsewhere.  Specifically the fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese and fish are all top quality. I cheerfully say this because one of the staff at the store modestly dismissed the establishment as a "beach outlet" (though pointedly that was said in response to my query about a styptic pencil). The store pharmacy also attended to our seasonal flu shots. I like that products such as Kéfir and premium olives and dill pickles are available.  Publix prepares very tasty complete seafood meals with veggies for between $9 - 13 each which makes for a convenient change from dining out or take-out.  My culinary habits are all but written in stone - breakfast is always orange slices, black coffee and protein (a variety of salmon, hamburger, ham slices, bacon, cheese and eggs accompanied by green pepper shards and halved cherry tomatoes); dinner (we don't do lunch - for obvious reasons) is a bed of chopped cilantro to which I add sliced mini-cucumber, shards of green pepper, a handful of zucchini spirals, halved cherry tomatoes, chunks of cheese all drenched in lemon juice, touch of olive oil and grated salt; then I add protein of any description (salmon, crab cakes, red meat, chicken). Dessert is blackberries swimmig in Kéfir. The secret for the preparation of fresh salmon filets is ZiplocⓉ Zip 'n Steam cooking bags.  Though one can add pats of butter and herbs, the plain fish is an undeniable success - and literally ready within minutes!

The laundry routine is equally tedious except that I now hang my Polo shirts from the dryer rather than fold them for storage in a drawer. We change our bedclothes once a week, usually on Fridays. Our daily costume is normally something suitable for cycling or a workout at the fitness room.  For stepping out - that is, shopping or other public exploration - we dignify our appearance by sporting knee-length shorts and Polo shirts with Top Siders.  I add the watch feature (another recent hit from Bulova).

Interestingly I left my gold pinky ring at home this year.  Not entirely certain what compelled me to do so but I think it's a combination of old age and creeping modesty.  In any event I listened to my instincts on the subject and thus far I have been able to withstand the deprivation. By contrast I have never completely abandoned the prospect of one day getting an 20 mm18K gold Cuban link bracelet from a place I discovered on-line and which coincidentally is located near Miami.  This absurdity is an aspiration right up there with winning the lottery and has no more cogency than a recurring fantasy (though it must speak to innate defect).

Shall I part my hair behind?   Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, T. S. Eiliot

Apart from groceries and laundry we really haven't much else in the way of routine other than our daily exercise.  My preferred physical activity is bicycling.  I have already cemented my popular passage as a jaunt to Ponce Inlet which is about 5.5 miles from here.  Assuming the tide is out, when I cycle there on the beach I can discern the pier which prescribes the end of the peninsula when I am about half-way there. The beach is wide, the sand is smooth, the jade-coloured water is captivating!

The rock pier is a lovely distant view - at times shimmering in the afternoon heat - balanced by the wooden pier at the outset of my journey from the condominium.

Shamefully while cycling I succumb to the notorious habit of a typical tourist to do everything possible to absorb the sunshine. Initially in deference to the caution about the runinous effect of the sun's rays I battled within myself about wearing a Polo shirt at all times notwithstanding the assurance of a tan line. But I capitulated. My transparent ambition is now to be brown as a nut.  Soon I shall blend in with other leather-worn specimens who regularly parade unabashedly upon the beach. Really, it's all we old goats have left!  Pretending to have a sylphlike body would be even more preposterous! To my surprise today the little colour I already have elicited a cry of envy from the concierge! Whatever one might say on the subject, a so-called healthy tan goes a long way to disguise innumerable shortcomings.

Inherent in the cycling activity is its predictable exhaustion.  No matter that I don't exert myself strenuously I nonetheless "feel it" after a couple of hours. Depending on the velocity of the prevailing winds the effort of mobilizing my one-speed bike can be a challenge. When I finally make it back home I park my bike in front of my car in the garage then deposit my iPhone and other small personal items on the front seat of the car before going to the beach.  The moment I am in the salt water up to my ankles the relief is palpable. Once I get further into the sea the frothing, crashing waves begin to work their magic on my stiff joints and aching back.  I plunge in and out of the water, stretching as much as possible, twisting my torso to elongate my spine and relieve what I imagine to be an impinged sciatic nerve. Afterwards I go to the pool at the condo. There I immediately submerge myself in the hot tub for 15 minutes. Then another refreshing swim in the pool and at last I am ready to restore myself to the apartment and dry clothes.  Often I celebrate my day by playing the Yamaha grand piano in the lounge, itself a workout.

The early evening custom is sipping black coffee, watching Donald Trump's latest progressions, checking the BBC news, writing, reading (usually ancient but classic material beyond copyright so I can download it for free), answering emails and finally preparing dinner.

This summary account faithfully records the extent of my unapologetic routine here. Today there was a minor blip and momentary excitement as we learned of the delivery of an unexpected parcel at our home address.  It turns out it was just a book from the Osgoode Society in Toronto.  What animated the otherwise dreary exploit was the conflicting intelligence we received from no less than three sources concerning the details surrounding the delivery. In the end it turns out that one of the community-minded members of the condominium board collected the book and arranged to have it deposited in our apartment.  This however was not before we had engaged both our housekeeper and the Osgoode Society to address the matter.

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