Tomorrow ushers in a new fiscal year for state employees in Florida. Can’t you feel the excitement? It is a time when we can reflect on the job that was done and look forward to the job that is to come. It is the time when we can wipe the statistical slate clean and start fresh. It is a time when we can look forward to a whole new set of disappointments for the coming year.
Human life without air does not exist. Human life in Florida without air-conditioning should not exist either. We are paying for an info-mercial bed purchased on credit. We have recently been reacquainted with the phenomenon known as car payments. Among this financial turmoil the air conditioning starts ominously blowing warm air. If people lived in Florida without air conditioning, shouldn’t I be able to survive a twenty minute car ride back and forth to work?
Someone suggested to me the other day that they needed to move further south. When I asked why, they replied that they needed to move away from the cold. Cold!?! Here is an example of our weather: lows in the upper 40’s, highs in the lower 60’s, and clear blue skies. I’ve just described my version of heaven, and they want to move. As far as I’m concerned, there is only one reason anyone would want to live in Florida – winter. Mind you, I would like it a little colder, just to shake things up a little – to remind us that there is a season that comes between fall and spring (other than summer). I guess we won’t be moving to Nome anytime soon.
It has been a relatively wet year for Florida, and this week has been no exception. It rained all day Monday, a cold rainy day. I loved it. My father thinks I’m a little strange in that regard.
I’ve just heard that Florida’s wonderful education system pays it’s new top education post more than any other state, and 33% more than the top Federal education post. Many state employees I know fantasize about being a federal employee, and the higher pay and better benefits that come with it. I guess our Education chief does not share those fantasies. Further, I’ve heard that after incentives, the top Florida post will increase more than 33% next year to approximately $400,000.00 per year. This is a state government job? I didn’t think our pay grades went that high. (Maybe they don’t, maybe the normal rules don’t apply.) Now consider that starting teachers average somewhere between $20,000 and $25,000 per year. Consider that one of the reasons our current governor gives for not supporting a maximum class size initiative is that state government will not be able to afford all of the extra teachers we would need to hire. Now we turn around and spend an absurd amount of money on an education “CEO.”
I love this state.
Seven senior citizens, three middling adults and one child. We’re like a microcosm of our community. Is it any wonder Florida spends less per capita on education than almost any other state? Is it just me, or does everyone stop caring about the needs of the overall community once their children are grown? Is it just a Florida thing? Since we don’t have an income tax, are we just attracting everyone in the country who doesn’t like to pay for things? There are days when I feel like I’ll stay here forever. There are other days I’d like to be just about anywhere else. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it matters what I think. It seems like I believe in one set of things, and everyone else around me believes in something else. Am I right? Is everyone else is wrong? Am I as open to contrarian ideas as I would like to be? Will I ever feel more like I belong here?
April. Florida. Hot already.
We are about to embark on my least favorite time of year in Florida: summer. In many places summer does not start until July. According to the calendar, summer officially does not start until the end of June. Here in the (brighter than average) sunshine state, summer starts around April fools day – as in: “summer doesn’t start until June 22…APRIL FOOLS!”.
I pull up the Weather Channel and what do I see? Highs in the upper 80’s with 90 degrees just around the corner, enough moisture in the air to to choke a marine mammal, and nary a rain cloud in sight to provide even the slightest repreve. What’s not to like? It’s the time of year when I go indoors, lock the door and throw away the key unitl November – late November. Making matters worse, January thru June is where good holidays go to die. What self respecting, day off producing holiday falls between New years and the Forth of July? Sure, in Florida we have MLK day and Memorial Day, but they just don’t have the tradition nor the celebration quotient that the majors have. Ask a golfer what he’d rather win: the Buick Invitational or the Masters at Augusta. That’s what I’m talking about.
So, to sum up: It’s hot and getting hotter, out door activity is not impossible but not pleasant, and there is nothing terribly exciting going on. Yes, the summer doldrums are here.