Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Dunedin Dream- Done?

For many years, my spouse and I dreamed of retirement and spending part of each winter (maybe three months) in Florida, where both of us have family.

We had lived in Tampa as newlyweds in the mid 1970's, then had moved.  We didn't return for 30 years and when we did (it was for a college visit with our son) it was in August, definitely not our favorite time of year.

But now he's retired, and back in January, I had picked out a retirement date in 2020.  We hopped on the Auto Train, spent two weeks in Florida, made contact with a real estate agent in Dunedin (the same county as St. Petersburg and Clearwater) and had high hopes.  We concentrated on Dunedin after I asked my cousin in Tampa where he would recommend us to snowbird.  We also checked out Sarasota, where another cousin's in laws had snowbirded for years.

The Dunedin agent (recommended by their Visitors Bureau) interviewed us over the phone while we were still in town, and agreed to put us on his list.  We understood that his existing clients would come first but he would offer us (and other first timers) what he had left.  He explained some of the rental laws and procedures.

Then, COVID-19 came along, and all we had left were memories.

Memories of dolphin art.
Downtown Dunedin, Florida

Memories of where we left a piece of our hearts.

We thought the dream was gone in the flood of Florida coronavirus cases.  It's not a flood, actually - I need another word to describe what is happening right now.  We never heard back.  That didn't surprise us.

Incredibly, we heard from the agent last week.

And after some thought, we let go of the dream.  We asked that we be kept on the list for 2021-22 but we were not interested in this winter.

It would seem the market for purchasing is strong.  Rentals are a bit less desired, and I totally get that. Many people are prepared to go down there come whatever is to come, because none of us can see into the future.

But I am taking an educated guess.

I shouldn't say we've let go of the dream.  We hope it is delay not goodbye.  But we are seniors, both of us have preexisting conditions, and we had a family member (my spouse's developmentally disabled younger brother) go through COVID-19 back in April.  We would have the trip down and back to consider, plus spending time in a state we are no longer comfortable with being in.

It's as simple, and as complex, as that.

It's going to be a long, cold winter.  We're already trying to prepare.

Strangely, I'm not sad.  Not yet.  There has been so much change these past few months.  We let go of this dream.  Not the dream itself, though.  We will just have to live that dream in a different way.

Have you let go of any dreams in the past few months?


  1. Last year I had thought I would be going to Europe again this year. Early in the year I decided it might not be a good idea. Now I don't know when or if I will make another trip there. That's life I guess.

  2. Ah...well, first this would ordinarily have been one of the years when I went back to Hawaii for a week; I've been planning these around my 5-year high school reunions for the best chance to catch up with old friends. Actually would've been next week. :(

    That takes a little advance planning and COVID was just ramping up here in NYC right around the time I would have started looking for a place to stay. And based on what was was happening here in NYC I was thinking this didn't look likely to just go away. So I didn't even start looking at plane fares and lodging. And eventually I just let it go.

    I was hoping to replace that vacation with the annual family gathering on a lake in Michigan, same week - my oncologist didn't like that idea at all.

    Now I'm hoping for Thanksgiving in Michigan.

  3. ...let's just call Florida's inaction on controlling Covid-19 what it is, a disaster. It's not a flood it's a tsunami and the rent or real estate price couldn't be low enough.

  4. I'm glad you're playing it safe. Especially after what your bother in law went through, it's clear that this is just not the time.
    My mom had sort of the opposite experience. Her winter home is on Marco Island and when covid hit she was there, unable to get back to Boston. In May she went for it and flew home. I was a wreck not just then but for the next 14 days. Fortunately for us, it went well and she's back at her summer home.

  5. No! I'm pretty much a homebody. I'm a fortunate one. Except for physically going into stores (which my son does) my life hasn't altered. My daughter has come to stay twice (first to avoid the isolation, then after 5 weeks with a friend, back for a few more weeks with me), and that was out of routine. I keep putting off a sleep study, which reminds me I need to call them again! While they require a day before visit Covid-19 test, I still am no confident I should go. My county is hitting record numbers of positive cases this week. Young people and their summer plans are putting us back.

  6. Vacations are on hold for us in the foreseeable future. This fall would have been the Dalmatian coast. :(

  7. Nothing much has changed for us, however, there won't be an Anniversary Getaway next month for our 30th Wedding Anniversary.

  8. Nothing much has changed for us, however, there won't be an Anniversary Getaway next month for our 30th Wedding Anniversary.

  9. Just delayed. This virus won't be with us forever. It'll be safe again, sometime in the future.


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