“…you don’t have to worry about the children worrying about you. If something does happen to me my wife is secure, I don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen to her, I’m not going to leave her with a big house and furniture and all this stuff and everything…”
Warren and Susan Augenthaler Interview, May 2014
Interview starts at 2:30
J: Hello there.
W: Hello, this is the marketing department?
J: Yes, this is Jill Hofer at Watermark.
W: This is Warren Augenthaler in Florida.
J: Hi, how are you?
W: I’m doing good, how are you?
J: I’m good, thank you so much for working this phone call in, I really appreciate it.
W: Well, thank you for changing, he was going to do it at 2:30 and there was no way I could do it.
J: Well, I’m glad to juggle around, it was quite easy for me to change.
W: Well, thank you very much.
J: No problem, no problem and do we have both Mr. and Mrs. how do you say your last name Augenthaler?
W: Augenthaler, yes, that’s right.
J: And it’s Warren and Susan?
W: Yes, it is. Do you want Susan on too?
J: At some point I guess, I don’t know how easy your speakerphone is, whatever works for you guys, we can start out and if you think that I’ve asked something that she would know better you can hand her the phone later if whatever works out, that works for me.
W: Ok, very good.
J: Alright, super, well I’ve got a few simple questions and then I just want to hear your story and the whole idea here is just trying to learn from people’s different perspectives and our end goal isn’t really so much to tell the world “hey, they’ve got to move to our community” but more just like, “hey, you might want to think about a change, you know, you might just really.” People are so frozen in their tracks, you know.
W: You’re talking about me a year ago.
J: Well, perfect then I’m talking to the right guy. When did you move to the community?
W: Oh just, I guess we’re coming up on our fourth week.
J: Oh my stars, wow you guys are newbies, welcome to town. That’s terrific and before this, just directly right before where were you?
W: I was in a home about six miles away for eighteen years.
J: Oh, ok.
W: We just moved up the road.
J: Oh, that’s handy, did you say eighteen years?
J: Ok and before that?
W: Before that I was on Siesta Key for eleven years.
J: Ok and are you from Florida, both of you?
W: No, originally from New York.
J: Oh, ok so you came down to Florida to escape the winters and whatnot?
W: Right, we spent eighteen years wait, we spent twenty-three years in New York, on Long Island in Fort Washington, yeah.
J: Ok, so what made you originally move to Florida?
W: Mario Cuomo, I’m not kidding, he was the governor of New York State and all he was doing was raising the taxes, he was chasing us out.
J: It’s already expensive.
W: Yeah, and then we’re coming to a state that had no state sales tax.
J: Wow, Florida does now though doesn’t it?
W: No, we have no state sales tax.
J: No kidding, I didn’t know that, well there is 10% back in your pocket for every little thing you buy.
W: That’s right, that’s exactly right and I’m enjoying it every minute. Every ninety days I tell my wife, I remind my wife that we are not paying New York State income tax.
J: That’s wonderful and you got a lot more free sunshine down there.
W: Oh yes, a lot more.
J: Well interesting, alright so let’s see, so I know why you moved from New York to Florida and when you moved from one place in Florida to the next, what was your motivation there?
W: Well, we moved, we built the house on Siesta Key and it was very nice and actually we had overbuilt but we thought my mother-in-law was going to come down and live with us so but that never happened, this is getting into your story what she did, we built like an apartment for her in the house and she never came down and one day she called and she said “I would like to go with a couple of my girlfriends” they were going to go into retirement home in Waverly, Pennsylvania and would I come up and check out the finances and all the particulars so we went up, I checked out all the finances and I told my mother-in-law “this is a no-brainer, this is wonderful” and then when we left, I looked at my wife and when she looked at me and we both said “hey, when the time comes, this is for us.”
W: Well, the time came, see we actually had, actually to tell you the truth, when we first moved down here in 1986 we came to Lake Pointe Woods, it wasn’t The Fountains, and we actually looked at this place. It was much smaller and we liked it and my mother-in-law had stirred that up in us, then we went up to Waverly, Pennsylvania and she decided to go in there. She went in, she enjoyed it, it extended her life, it made her life much happier. My wife was very happy because she knew her mother was being cared for properly.
J: Absolutely, absolutely and so then, for you, she was kind of like forging the way.
W: That’s right.
J: By helping her you helped yourself.
W: Because of our inquiry for her up there and I knew something about it, all the places are a little different financially but basically they’re the same and we just said, “hey, when the time comes we’ve got to do this”, but we did learn something else, too, and that is that you have to do it before you need it.
W: Do you know what I mean?
J: How did that become obvious to you because that is a gold star statement right there I think?
W: It really is because well, you know a lot of these places they have restrictions on, you know you have to be mobile and ambulatory and they’ve got all sorts of different words and if you don’t meet certain criteria you have to go someplace else or you find a place that will take you.
J: Not to mention you might not enjoy all the things that are there for you.
W: Right, the other thing is why not come in while you can enjoy it? I don’t want to come in here and be in a wheelchair the rest of my life. I want to come in here and if I am, God forbid, going to be in a wheelchair at least I want to enjoy a few years before I get to that point.
J: And know the people and not have to move again and all that good stuff.
W: You got it and the other very big point of coming into a place like this my daughter-in-law right now she lives in Dallas, she has a full-time job, she’s got a child, she’s got a husband and her mother and father live in Houston, Texas which is about a five hour drive and she’s trying to hold down a job, raise a child, take care of a husband, you know, be a family, do everything that you’re supposed to do and at the same time her mother has had a stroke, she has vision problems and her father has memory problems. It’s very difficult to try to run something like that five hours away, it’s hard enough when you’re around the block.
J: She’s caught in the middle.
W: That’s right it’s hard enough when you’re around the block. Well, we didn’t want to be a burden to our children and I think I hear a lot of people say that.
W: Yeah, why be a burden? My children live in Dallas and Houston, well that’s kind of hard to take care of us if we have a problem here in Sarasota, Florida.
J: Right, right.
W: Now they don’t have to worry about it.
J: That’s fantastic and how do they feel, do they agree? What do they have to say?
W: Thank you, they basically both said thank you and my one, my youngest son who is married to the gal, you know, that’s got the problems with her parents in Houston, I mean he sees it firsthand, you know it’s right in front of his face. He sees what his wife is going through trying to take care of her parents.
W: There’s a lot of reasons to be in these places, I’ve learned some people come in for different reasons but as I say, you’ve got to do it before you need it
J: Love it; love it, now so when you did finally say “I think this is the year” what made you say I think this is the year that we’re going to do this? Because you clearly weren’t being pushed into it; you weren’t being painted into a corner.
W: No, no, no, that’s the thing we wanted to make sure we weren’t pushed into it.
J: But yet you could’ve waited another year, you know.
W: Yes, we could have, yes maybe two. maybe three but how do you know? I don’t know about you, but my crystal ball doesn’t work real well.
J: Mine is getting foggier all the time.
W: That’s right, the older you get the foggier it gets. When I was twenty-one I was immortal, now I’m very mortal. You know it’s funny my wife and I belong to a bicycle group here in our old neighborhood and I mean it’s a large group, we will have anybody from two or three riders up to almost thirty riders, twenty-five to thirty riders and we ride Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, in the morning and we do about twelve miles. We do six miles have a cup of coffee and then six miles back again but then one day my wife and I said, “Well, we’re going to start looking at retirement homes.” ” Why?” ” Why?” “What for?” ” You’re not old enough” ” You’re going to go in there and all you’re going to do is get old” ” You need a wheelchair.” ” You’re not on crutches.” “You don’t use a cane.” I mean all of these things came at you but the other side of the coin was we had four couples say, “Hey, can I go with you?” And we went as a group.
J: You came in as a pack.
W: Yeah, Joe Kessler said, here he didn’t have to put out a group for us we came as a group. And I think I’m pretty sure that one of the other couples is definitely going to do this, I don’t know whether it will be The Fountains, I think it well, I’m pretty sure will and another couple I think they’re going to do it but I’m not positive and the other two I don’t think they’re ready, it just wasn’t for them yet but as I said you’ve got to do it before you need it.
J: And it’s never too early to learn you know even if they did wait.
W: No, it isn’t. I look around here, now as I say have only been here for three or four weeks, but I look around here and I see a lot of people who need walkers, I see a lot of people who use a cane, I see people in a wheelchair but then I see a lot of people I don’t see all day, because they’ve gotten their car and they’ve gone to the beach, they’ve gone shopping, they’ve gone to other places, they’re not here. The obvious ones are the ones that hang around and have to hang around here but a lot of the people that are here all day are not here, they’re are out doing their thing.
J: Because they’ve got time to do it, because somebody else is helping with the cooking and the cleaning and all the drudgery and they can run around.
W: That’s exactly right. I’m seventy-seven, I would say and I’ve talked to Joe Kessler about this, he tells me that there’s probably about 50-50 in the 70s and the 80s, well I’m just about in the middle of that group, what do you mean I’m too old or I’m too young or I’m not the right age.
J: Right, right, you’re in the spot.
W: If you find it’s good for you it’s good. It takes a lot of stress off your life too.
J: Oh yeah?
W: Yeah because, well I mean you don’t have to worry about the children worrying about you. If something does happen to me my wife is secure, I don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen to her, I’m not going to leave her with a big house and furniture and all this stuff and everything and blah blah blah, if she ever wanted to leave The Fountains and go near the children in Texas, which I doubt but she might, she could just back up a truck and they’d fill it up and she’d go.
J: Call it a day.
W: It’s not like a huge house having to move everything.
J: Not to mention selling it.
W: That’s right. The other thing I have to say about The Fountains or at least this one here is any move is stressful, no matter what you do, but they did everything they could to make it as unstressful as they possibly could.
W: You know it was, it has to be stressful, anytime you move it has to be stressful, but they made so many things easy for us.
J: Nice, what did they do?
W: They had a wonderful crew come and pack everything up for us, they put it all on a truck and then we got here and they all unpacked it and put it all away for us.
W: I mean what more can you ask for?
J: Not much except for a chair and a cup of coffee to watch it all happen I guess.
W: I like what I was told, they said you just have the girls come in and they’ll take care of everything, you go out by the pool and have a mint julep.
W: That’s what I was told, it isn’t quite that but they did make it as easy as possible for us and they’re very cooperative while we’ve been here because you always have little problems and they’ve been very cooperative.
J: Oh sure, little snags. Well, that sounds wonderful.
W: I agree.
J: You came in and did anything surprise you, were you thinking “oh well, this isn’t what I thought” or “this was an unexpected twist” or you know anything that you thought “well, my impression of a retirement community wasn’t quite right?”
W: I’m just going to have my wife get on the phone because she may be able to answer that question, I specifically can’t think of anything but she might be able to, would you say that question again and let my wife see if she thinks of anything.
J: Hi there, thanks so much for your time, what a fun call.
S: You’re welcome.
J: When you moved into the community did anything surprise you, did you think “oh, I didn’t expect that” or “I didn’t see that coming?”
J: Your expectations were kind of on par.
S: Actually Warren I came over here a couple times, more than a couple and we looked around at other places. I think we knew what we were getting into, it wasn’t a surprise, as I said we had the experience with my mother.
W: You know I think we looked at about six or seven different places including where my mother-in-law went so we were pretty well-versed because I couldn’t answer your question, I couldn’t think of anything that surprised me.
J: Well, I think you guys did your homework.
W: Yes, I think we did our homework, yes. I want to tell you something among our friends, they all stop us and they’ve all got questions.
S: Yes, they’re all very curious.
W: Yes, they’re very curious.
S: People that I could say hello to but never really had a conversation have been calling me up saying “why did you do what you did?”
S: I’ve been getting emails from people “are you happy?” And they all expect us to break out the walker and cane and they don’t realize I’m just carrying on my life the way I did in my other home, I’m just in a different location.
W: I was even stopped this morning by a couple that we’ve known for a number of years but they’re not close friends or anything and they must have asked me at least a dozen questions.
J: No kidding?
J: You guys are pioneers.
S: No everybody has a preconception of just everybody being in a wheelchair and sitting around watching television or looking at magazines.
W: I can think of something that I got in trouble about.
J: Oh, I want to hear about that.
W: Ok, I use the term institution and inmate and I was corrected and told it was resident and community.
J: That’s right.
W: My mother-in-law, I got that from my mother-in-law, because she and her girlfriends that were up in Waverley, it was institution and inmate.
J: Oh my goodness, oh that’s funny.
W: But of course.
S: She was older.
W: But it was all fun, it was all in fun.
J: I think people, you know sometimes we say in marketing we’ll say “it’s not your grandma’s retirement home.” It’s things are so different and people, you know, like your friends probably, they may have no clue how things have really changed.
W: Probably when I was a child I think you really thought more of something like this, it was an institution.
J: And very much a nursing home.
W: Yes, it’s not that anymore. Susan, do you remember we had a nursing home in town, just driving past it always scared me. I wanted nothing to do with it, of course I was thirty years old.
S: We have a sun porch, we live in a villa, 2100 sf and we have a sun porch off the back which is my art studio. I had an art studio in the other house and everybody comes in and says “oh, this is where you’re going be doing your art?” I said yes, so you know life is going to go on just the way it did. I’m not having to worry about who is mowing the lawn, who is taking care of the pool.
W: Who is fixing the roof.
S: Who is fixing the roof, the sprinkler system that was always going awry.
J: Not to mention paying for all of it.
S: Right and if I don’t feel like cooking dinner I can go over to the Café Del Sol and have dinner over there.
W: Because I’ll come in, you know, after doing something in the afternoon and Susan will say “I just don’t feel like cooking dinner, can we go over to the Café and have it?” Call up, bingo, we’re over there, there it is, I mean, it’s so easy.
J: No traffic.
W: It’s so easy.
W: And Susan and I, Susan and I are both gluten intolerant and they’ve done wonders for us here, I mean they’ve found gluten free hot dogs rolls, gluten-free hamburger rolls, gluten-free bread, you know they’ve done a lot for us just that way.
J: That super, well, that’s helpful in general.
W: And I’m sure we’re the only people that are gluten-free in here.
J: Not to mention not the only ones who would benefit from reducing it, you know even if they weren’t quite intolerant.
W: Right, well we are forced into it but it’s probably a good idea period.
J: Agreed, interesting, interesting, now let’s see, let me see if I’ve got any notes here. You guys are making it easy for me to get off track, this is just turning into a fun call instead of just get your questions.
S: I don’t know whether you’re familiar with Sarasota but there are quite a few places around and they all have their own identity. There’s a place called Glen Ridge which is quite a large, large place and then there’s Plymouth Harbor, which has been here forever and is out on Coon Key, which is nice but it’s a high-rise and so each one has its own character.
W: The Fountains has a lot of competition in this town.
S: Yes it does.
W: One of the things that I was asked this morning, these people that I was talking to, they knew a lot of people at Glen Ridge and actually Susan and I know a lot of people at Glen Ridge and Louise asked me “why did you pick The Fountains over Glen Ridge?” And we’ve been asked that before so we’re sort of prepared with the answer, but the answer that Susan and I have come up with is it’s the difference between going to a large university or a small college and we would rather go to the small college.
S: I’d rather have the intimacy where I walked to the front door to the main building and everybody knew who I was rather then you know saying “Hey, I’m Susan Augenthaler and I’m here to talk about my bill” or whatever.
J: Right, right, interesting.
S: Not only that it’s more intimate and friendly I felt.
W: We felt it was more friendly here.
J: Nice, that’s important, people are the most important…
W: Glen Ridge was just that much larger, it was a very nice facility.
S: Yes it was, it was beautiful.
W: Yeah, in fact when we narrowed all our six or seven places down it was between Glen Ridge and The Fountains.
J: Ok, it must be nice there then.
W: It’s really a very nice place, but it’s much, much larger.
S: Big and if you’re in one of their outbuildings which is a high-rise you’re not going to get, especially if all of a sudden you developed a broken ankle or something, it’s going to be hard for you to get from one place to another. Yes, you could call up and have them come get you in a golf cart but that’s going to take forever and you’ll know the people maybe in your building but not nearly a lot of people in the complex.
J: Like at dinner and whatnot there will be a lot more strangers.
W: And they get to know you here very fast.
S: Very quickly.
J: Oh, really?
W: The help, the help has been very, very nice and you know my name is not Smith or Jones you have to learn Augenthaler but they’ve all learned it very fast.
J: That’s great.
W: They’ve been very friendly and very nice.
S: You know we still see the people in marketing that we dealt with when we were looking at the place and “hi” “how are you?” And all that good stuff and that’s nice, we’ve not dropped off the face of the earth and are just a number in this place.
J: Yeah, yeah, little things like that make all the big differences really.
S: Yes it does.
J: Oh, that’s neato and now your friends might be coming, that’ll be something what happy hour that’s going to be.
W: Yes, that’s right I’m waiting. They even give you an incentive here to go get your friends in.
J: Well, that’s nice.
W: There’s a $2500 reward.
J: Well, that makes a heck of a happy hour.
W: Yeah, that’s not the important thing, the thing is I’m amazed because I thought Susan and I would be the only ones doing this but so many people are inquisitive as to “what’s going on?” and “how you’re doing it?” and “do you like it?” and “what’s it like?” And they just don’t understand it.
S: I have to say in our other house the couple up the street from us he had cancer, she had cancer and they were taking turns driving each other to chemotherapy.
J: Oh my.
W: They were getting their chemo, they were rotating the chemo so that one could drive the other one, that’s hard.
S: And not only that you know the shoe is going to drop again and they’re going to be in trouble again and then across the street this other neighbor of ours he went into the hospital with pancreatitis and they discovered he’s launching into Alzheimer’s. I was putting out my garbage one evening and she came over to me, literally came over to me and she says “I’ve got to get out of here, I’ve got to do something” you know and she should’ve done it a year ago, two years ago.
J: When she didn’t have to.
S: When she didn’t have to and when she saw that he was having problems and we have other friends, he’s got a couple of stints and the handwriting is on the wall.
W: They are one of the ones that I think may make the leap but you know we’re back to it again you should do it before you need it.
J: Yeah, it does come back to that. Now they were your neighbors or they were in your bike club?
J: Ok, ok, now is that neighborhood, go ahead….
S: There’s another couple, she’s got Parkinson’s but they’ve opted to go to a place down in Fort Myers, but anyway she was talking to Warren and she said “Warren, they don’t know what we know.”
W: Yes, she was talking about our other friends. They don’t know what we know, you were very smart going to The Fountains.
J: Oh, I see.
W: She was just saying that the other people and this was in the bike group, they don’t know what we know. And see her mother was in one up north somewhere so she’s very attuned to what a retirement home is about. Oh, by the way I am not allowed to say that. It’s not a retirement home it’s a retirement community, see? And I’m not an inmate.
J: Better watch your P’s and Q’s.
W: And I’m not an inmate.
S: That’s right, that’s right.
J: Oh that’s funny, now Joe said something about your community where you live before was there a special name for that place something about Osprey?
W: South Bay Yacht and Racquet in Osprey, Florida.
S: Yeah, it had a marina and tennis courts.
J: Ok, and so Osprey is the name of the town?
W: Osprey is the name of the town, yeah, it’s a little town in between Sarasota and Venice, Florida.
J: Oh, ok, and is that where most of the bike club is?
W: Yes, yes, what we did is we actually met at our driveway and we were sort of in the center of the community and we met at our driveway Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and then we biked down Casey Key.
S: We left at 7:30 in the morning.
W: Go across the bridge go down Casey Key to the jetty and then we stopped there and we had coffee and would stay there about a half hour, forty-five minutes and then we get on the bikes and come back again.
J: Oh, fun, that’s cool.
W: And that’s been oh, I don’t know I think we’ve done it for about the last fifteen years.
J: And now those were the people who came in a pack with you when you came?
W: Some of them yes, yes.
J: That is so funny.
W: We sort of told everybody “I think we’re going to go look at The Fountains and Glen Ridge blah blah blah” and that’s when we got the “why?” “You’re not in a wheelchair” “you don’t have a cane” but they just don’t know and Judy was right she said “they don’t know what we know” and she’s had experience with her mother and we’ve had experience with Susan’s mother. Although, it was twenty years ago it remained in our minds.
J: Right, right, you’ve been there.
W: And then you made the leap, it wasn’t such a big leap. I have to say this we looked for over a year.
J: That’s great, then you feel confident.
S: We were invited for dinner there so we sampled the food and then we get the brochure and Warren came home and worked the numbers and you know so we knew what we were doing.
W: As I say there’s a lot of competition in the area.
S: Yes there is.
J: Yeah, you’re not out in the middle of cornfields with one game in town.
W: No, no that’s exactly right, I’d say there’s six or eight really nice places here that you could go to.
J: That’s a good thing.
W: And we have, we probably have friends in every one of them.
W: We have at least one friend, I think, in every one of… Isn’t that right Suse?
S: That’s right, yes, yes.
J: Well, that says a lot. That’s a great way to get inside information and get the real scoop.
S: Some of them didn’t do the homework that we did.
W: That’s true, that’s true.
J: What did you say?
S: I said some of them didn’t do the homework that we did.
J: Oh, ok, well…
W: We did a lot of investigating. How many times would you say we were at The Fountains, Susan? Let’s see one, two, three, four, four times I can think of offhand. So I mean it wasn’t that we jump to The Fountains because we were here once and we went on a tour. We did that at just about all of the places.
J: That’s good, gives you peace of mind.
W: One place actually, Susan tell me if I’m right, one place actually got zapped out because of the food.
S: Yes, and another one got zapped out because of the fact that they wanted us to go to a specific hospital if something happened to us.
W: Oh yes, absolutely.
S: And this was down in the Venice area and Venice hospital doesn’t have the best recommendation.
W: That Sarasota Memorial does and The Fountains is up you go to Sarasota Memorial from here.
J: That’s important.
S: It is important, yes.
J: That’s an important choice, it can make a big difference.
S: The Fountains is located near our doctor, near our lawyer, near the movies, shopping but yet when you’re in The Fountains on the campus you are totally unaware that you’re just about in the center of town.
W: A lot of people who have lived here for many many years asked me “The Fountains, where is that?” And they pass it constantly every day because it’s on two of the main roads in Sarasota but they don’t know it’s here.
J: What are those two roads?
W: Beneva and 41, Tamiami Trail.
W: Were like in a fork between the two and the Sarasota Mall shopping center, which is the main mall in Sarasota, is right across the street.
J: Oh, ok.
W: So their passing here constantly, to go north and south here you only have very few roads and two of them are Beneva and 41 and it is so well hidden in the woods, it looks like it’s in the woods, it looks like there is nothing there and it’s very nice because you don’t, although you are near major roads, you don’t get a lot of traffic noise.
J: Nice. I’ve heard people describe the community as Central Park .
S: Yes, I’d have to say that.
W: And we’re from the Central Park area.
J: I was going to say Central Park without the taxes.
J: Oh that’s great, now when you moved, I’m going to go back a little bit, did you move from Siesta Key to Osprey.
J: And Osprey was like a semi?
S: You could blink and go through Osprey, the biggest thing in Osprey was the post office and now it’s got a Walmart.
W: We got off the Key for three reasons: one the tourist trade, tourism is just, well, that’s the backbone of Florida but it got to be too much, the taxes zoomed on the Key and everything is more expensive on the Key, if you did your food shopping you came off the Key.
S: Living on the Key was a lot of fun in some ways because Warren and I could bicycle out for dinner, I could walk to the beach, the most beautiful beach in the whole world and we were also in a little community which is very nice, then again if you had to get off the Key you had to program yourself at least twenty to forty minutes extra time to get where you wanted to go because the bridge was up and…
W: Or the bridge got stuck, you usually have boat traffic. The bridges are a major concern when you live on a Key, you never go on a Key in Florida that has only one bridge, always have at least two bridges.
S: North and south in case anything happens, you have a hurricane or something there is going to be a mass evacuation.
J: Oh, you’re not kidding.
W: And if one bridge breaks down and get stuck up or gets stuck down and they can’t open it or they can’t allow you to go on it you want another one, especially just think of it you’re on the Key and you have to go to the hospital for some godforsaken reason and the bridge isn’t working, now what you do?
J: Even just for an appointment that was hard to get, really.
W: And we have tourist season here which is about January through right around the middle of April and when I would come home from playing golf there were so many people trying to get onto the Key I might be five minutes from my house but it took me twenty-five minutes to get home because the traffic, the beach traffic is incredible.
W: What does everybody go to Florida for? They go to the beach.
J: They head to the beach.
W: And if they’re in the water in January and February we all know that they are from Minnesota or Wisconsin.
W: And there’s no Floridian near a beach.
J: Right, you guys are in your parkas right?
W: That’s right. But see if you go to Florida in January and you’re from Minnesota “hey, I got to go to the beach, I’ve got to get tan, that’s the only way anybody can tell that I went there.”
J: That’s right and if it’s cloudy maybe they’ll find the best tanning bed on the Key and go there.
S: Right, that’s right.
W: In the tourist season if you want to go out to dinner you better go before 5 o’clock or you’re going to wait in line.
J: Yeah, whole different world?
W: It’s a whole different world, I’ll tell you a fact it’s amazing here if and this happens once in a while if Easter falls on the last day of March it will take you twelve hours to get to Atlanta instead of eight.
J: Because of spring break and whatnot?
W: What happens is that it’s the last day of March then all of the monthly rentals are leaving and that’s a lot and then you have the Easter people, they’re all leaving, that’s critical.
J: Double whammy.
W: And it happened this year.
J: Oh really, I was going to say I think it was real early this year.
W: That’s critical and if you go on I-75 now even today you’ll see probably double the amount of traffic going north then you will south.
W: And you’ll see a lot of RVs, they are going north, you’ll see a lot of these trailers with all the cars on it because they have their cars transported back up north.
J: Oh, interesting, a lot of station wagons and little kids.
W: My wife used to transport horses back and forth.
S: We used to live on the east end of Long Island and I’d ship my horse down here when we came down for the winter time and went back north in the summer and there’s a whole line of people outside of racehorses that do the show circuit down here.
W: A lot of racehorses going up and down the coast too.
S: Yes, so my horse just hopped on with a couple of other horses and they came down over twenty-four hours and they were here in Venice, Florida.
J: Wow, that’s a lot of traffic from horses to kids to spring breakers to you name it.
W: You better believe it, but tourism is Florida’s backbone.
S: But see that’s the beauty of being in Florida, you’re outside all year round whether you’re wearing a jacket or not. I first came down here in the winter time with my horse, it’s 50° and they start putting blankets on their horses, my horse thought he died and went to heaven.
J: Yeah, we’re in Arizona, our Watermark is in Tucson and it’s just you get more out of life, you know?
S: Yes you do.
W: Yes you do.
J: You get more life out of life.
W: Is Old Tucson still there?
J: It is.
W: We love that place.
S: We had such a good time there.
J: It is fun.
W: We took our kids there years ago.
S: We went out to a place called Apache Junction.
S: We were the only people there that day and there were like five stuntmen falling off the roofs and shooting it up in the streets.
W: They arrested our kids, they put them in jail.
J: That’s great.
S: We had the best time.
J: That’s great, your stunt man.
W: We were almost going to go to Arizona, I wanted to go to Arizona, I didn’t want to go to Florida.
J: There’s a lot going on in Florida, in Arizona I like to say “we’ve got the beach, we just don’t have the ocean.”
W: Yeah, right
J: It’s all beach out here.
S: How hot is it there?
J: Very, very.
W: We don’t get as hot as you but we get more humidity but we have a breeze just about all day.
J: That’s lovely.
W: That comes off the gulf.
J: That so lovely.
W: Yeah, that is nice. See I lived in Florida when I was in the service and they didn’t have air conditioning in those days so there was no way I was going to Florida.
J: That was like looking back on your grandma’s nursing home, things have changed.
W: That’s right. Well, air-conditioning changed Arizona and Florida.
J: True, it populated it for sure, that’s absolutely true.
W: When we first went to Phoenix, what was it Suse, you drove from Phoenix to what was that?
S: They were two separate towns.
J: Not anymore.
W: Now, you don’t even know it, you’re driving along and you go from one to the other, they’ve grown together.
J: It’s one big blob.
J: Scottsdale, Tempe, Gilbert all of them.
W: When we were out there in what was that the 70s, Suse?
S: Early 70s.
W: Early 70s, Phoenix was one place and Scottsdale was another. But not anymore.
J: No more.
W: Well, Florida has changed a lot too.
J: I imagine you, your population growth has just boomed. I’m from Ohio and you know when you’re in the Midwest and on the Atlantic side you think Florida. You don’t really think California or Arizona you know, we all took our vacations there you know and that’s where Mickey Mouse was as far as we were concerned and so many people move there, it just exploded but I can see why you know the draw is strong.
W: Mickey Mouse Land changed a lot of Florida too.
J: Yep, yep. I think one mouse made a big difference.
W: Orlando is a major city today where it wasn’t in those days, it was just a small town. You know another thing about Florida you said how Ohio, if you come from the East coast, if you come from New England, New York, New Jersey, Delaware you come down I-95 and you stay on the East coast of Florida and now in West coast where we are although we came from New York, most people are from Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, you know they’re more from the Midwest.
S: Because they come down I-75.
W: They come down I-75.
J: How interesting.
W: So you see a big difference.
J: Isn’t it funny?
W: Yeah you see a big difference between East Coast and West Coast of Florida.
J: it’s just like a migration pattern, isn’t it? It really is.
W: That’s exactly what it is, it’s snowbirds.
J: Yeah, right, we’ve got them in Arizona too, when they come in, when the students come everything changes and when they go away you’re kind of like “where is everybody?” But you kind of enjoy it while it’s low.
S: That’s right.
W: The other thing I’ve found in Florida is spring break is about the middle of January to about the middle of May.
S: The schools let off at different times.
W: Different times, there are always college kids around.
J: And the year round school, that changed things a lot.
J: That’s been a big change in the last ten years, for sure. When you left Siesta Key did you miss your friends there?
S: We kept in contact with them.
W: We’re only went twelve miles away.
J: Oh, ok.
S: And also we joined a club down closer to Osprey so a lot of our friends were there.
W: And some of them were from Siesta Key.
S: And at that time I also had a horse and I had horse friends, so we were back and forth but our community up there on Siesta Key we were very close with them and we used to go out for dinner with them and we had a collage of friends.
J: That’s great, that’s great, it sounds like it if you’ve got one in every retirement community.
S: See everybody from Florida is from someplace else and is eager to make friends.
J: That’s true, it’s the same in Tucson you can always start a conversation by saying “where are you from?”
W: Yes, that’s exactly right.
J: If someone says Tucson well that’s the most interesting conversation of all because that’s the rare one.
W: Yes, the two conversations that are very popular in Florida is “what’s the weather like where you came from?” And “what time do you take your nap?”
W: It’s true though, I mean it’s funny but it is true.
J: Now that makes me think of a question that I should ask you, speaking of things that we do during the day, have you found any programs or activities at the community that you’re into yet or are you still settling in, doing any classes or exercise?
W: We’ve only been here between three and four weeks.
S: And a lot of that time has been you know undoing boxes and that kind of stuff.
W: We did go to our first town meeting yesterday, that was kind of interesting.
J: Oh good.
W: And we did go to a barbecue, that was very interesting, we’ve been over to dinner and when you’re a newbie and you walk in there everybody “oh, are you new?” “Are you new here?”
W: And before you know it you’re talking to everybody in the dining room.
J: That’s wonderful, so no classes or exercise classes or anything?
S: Well, I see a personal trainer outside the community, I have for about fifteen years so I still see him, we still go to our bike group, are we ready for the 2 o’clock sing-along at the main place? No, not yet, I don’t play bridge but I will get involved with the computer classes.
W: We’re just sort of feeling all that stuff out right now.
J: I should talk to you guys again in six months.
W: We haven’t had time to go to the opera or go to a play or anything like that just yet. In fact, we found out most of the information on it yesterday.
J: Oh, ok.
W: At the town hall.
J: Well, look at this laid out before you, just for your choosing.
W: That’s right, you pick what you want to do.
J: Nobody’s going to force you.
W: You know, I wanted to do that and I don’t want to do that, yeah, see you do what you want to do and everybody does their own thing.
J: That’s so nice.
W: Which is what it should be.
J: Right, right, I mean this is the time.
W: That’s right.
J: It should be your oyster.
W: Exactly, that’s why we worked all those years.
J: That’s right, that’s right it’s payback time right?
W: That’s right.
J: Well, if you were to, this is something I ask everybody on these calls, if you were standing in front of a group of people say maybe we had a class called “Retirement Communities 101” you know and all these people came in and they said “what’s your advice?” And that goes for couples and singles because I find that it’s a little different advice sometimes you know people tend to not move even more so sometimes when they’re a couple. Any advice that you would give, broadband advice, like the research.
W: What I think of again is do it before you need it.
S: Do your homework. Yes, do it before you need it and do your homework. And don’t be afraid to just do your own thing once you’re there.
J: Oh, nice, nice, ok, well I like all that. I mean you can’t go wrong with any of that for sure and I already asked you how your kids felt right?
S: There championing the whole idea, they think it’s wonderful.
J: Oh, that’s great. I love that.
W: They sort of worry about mom and dad, you know.
S: They also had the benefit of seeing my mother and they would go visit her from college because they both went to Pennsylvania schools and so maybe Thanksgiving or whatever they didn’t come down to see us they went over to see and stayed with grandma and had Thanksgiving with her so they were very well aware of what was going on with my mother.
J: And they knew that she was happy?
J: And that she had made the right move?
W: And they knew that she was not in a good situation after my father-in-law passed away.
S: By herself.
W: Yeah, by herself in the house. There was a big change in her.
S: She had more fun at Waverley Heights than she had in years in her own home.
S: Because she had the company of these women, they used to call my mother and her friends the Three Musketeers. There was always laughter at their table.
W: And they were always going around doing all of these things together.
S: Going to the movies together and going out, on excursions together with the group.
J: That’s wonderful and now think about the impression that your kids will have about retirement communities versus when you were driving by at thirty-five and it made you scared to just drive by? The whole country is going to feel differently in thirty-five years.
W: That’s exactly right, it’s going to get easier and easier. See up until my mother-in-law went to a place when you said nursing home.
S: Well, that’s different than a retirement community.
W: Yeah, but see all I knew was nursing home and nursing home that’s when the next stop is a pine box. When I saw all of my mother-in-law was going to and how beautiful it was and everything that she’d be able to do as I said before it was a no-brainer.
J: It opened your eyes.
W: Oh yeah.
J: That’s wonderful.
W: That’s what opened our eyes and that’s why I think it’s much easier for us because a lot of our friends haven’t had that experience but they’re trying to get that experience through us.
J: Right. You guys are Lewis and Clark of retirement communities.
S: What we’re doing is having them come over and have lunch with us and go to the Sol Cafe and see that you know we are having a good time, we’re not pushing a walker around. The freedom of being here is really kind of wonderful without the lawn and the sprinkler system in the pool and I want to go swimming there is a real big pool right here.
J: Nice, nice, minus the bill.
S: That’s right, that’s right.
J: Well, beautiful, well I cannot tell you how glad I am that they recommended you to speak with me. I’ve had more fun and got more information.
W: You made it easy for us too, I was a little concerned about what this call was going to be all about.
J: Oh good, oh good.
S: My only complaint is with Comcast.
S: Changing over from Verizon it hasn’t been easy, the television is great, the computer well…
W: But that doesn’t have anything to do with The Fountains except see we had to change, we didn’t have a choice here but in our community we were spoiled really because in our community where we lived before Verizon had the FiOS.
S: They dug in their wires or whatever and everything was bingo, wonderful.
W: Do you have Verizon where you people live?
J: I do, I have a Verizon phone.
W: Ok, because Verizon FiOS is wonderful, it’s just outstanding.
J: That’s the way to go?
W: Yes, but they have to put all the fiber-optic wires through your community, that’s hell because they’ll chop all your irrigation tubes and your electric wires and everything else but once it’s done and everything is put back together it’s wonderful.
J: Then it’s forward speed ahead.
W: That’s right, you have to be in a pretty big community in order for them to do that.
J: To make that commitment.
W: It’s a big monetary commitment on the part of Verizon.
J: Well, it’s important, it is the information age after all.
W: Sure is, it sure is but you guys made it very easy for us too so…
J: Oh good.
W: Thank you.
J: Thank you, speaking of information age thanks for all the info, it was a pleasure.
S: You’re welcome.
W: You’re welcome.
J: All right, well I’m probably going to make them let me call you back in six months and ask you some more questions, you’ll know even more.
J: Great, good, well I’ll talk to you then, thank you.
W: Ok. Thank you guys.
W: Bye now.