Thursday, August 29, 2013


When most people think of Paradise, they envision a tropical island with lush forest and white sand beaches. A place too far for them to ever reach.

In reality, Paradise is not a place, just a state of mind. Many years ago, someone told me that you can be happy anywhere. You choose to be happy, or sad and depressed. If you don't like something in your life... you have the power to change it. Don't be afraid, you only have one shot at life, make the most of it. Find your passion, and have fun.

The longer I live here in Key West, the more I love it. This is a peaceful place... the water, the tropical foliage, it's beautiful. When you stand at the water's edge, and look toward the horizon, all you see is water. But there is a whole other world just beneath the surface, and I have had the pleasure of entering that world. I have so much to learn, and I want to learn it all.

Last friday, when I checked my email, I experienced another first. In the past, I have always quit a job, but this time, the job quit me... the doors of Swirlicious will be closed and locked for the last time on August 30, 2013. I pulled out the calendar, and saw I was given a one week notice. The job hunt is not my favorite activity, and this is the worst time of year in Key West to be looking for employment, as we are coming up on the slow month. Tourist are few, so some businesses close up shop and take a vacation during September.

Last March, in my search for employment, I also interviewed at Strunk Ace Hardware, the locally owned hardware store. I was told that several people had been hired the previous day, but he thanked me for coming in, and would keep me in mind if they needed someone else. After I accepted the job at Swirlicious, I was contacted by Andy Strunk and invited to join their team. Since I had already started my job at Swirlicious, I decided to stick with them.

Yesterday, I stopped by Strunk Hardware, and check to see if they are hiring. The cheerful lady behind the counter said, "I don't know, but I'll call someone that does." Two minutes later, Andy Strunk came around the corner with a big smile on his face and said, "I already had my business card in my pocket, and I was coming to see you today and offer you a job." It seems that he had been in Swirlicious the day before and learned of the stores closure. WOW, this is great, the spending freeze that was imposed, can be lifted now. I was dreading the financial strain I saw in my future, but truthfully, I was not worried about it. Once again, God is watching out for me. A hardware store is more suited for me than wiping up melted yogurt all day, although, my daily diet of frozen yogurt will be greatly missed.


"If your spare bedroom has a waiting list, 
you're in Conch Country."

Thursday, August 22, 2013


A couple days ago, while riding Scoot-Scoot home, it stalled on me four times. I was praying, while sitting on the side of the road in the rain, "Lord, just help me get home." I have come to the conclusion that the fuel line might be clogged, or the carburetor may need cleaning. This is something I can learn to do. The oil leak may be a little more difficult to fix, but I'm sure I can fix that too.

I was wanting to get another bike at some point, but it was suddenly moved to the top of my "things I want to buy" list, when Scoot-Scoot got sick. The first place I looked, was the store where I found my other bike. Unfortunately, there were no used bikes, and a new Kona, would put me back almost $400. So, this is my new set of wheels. I'm sure it will be fine for a few years, or until I'm feeling rich and get a Kona.

Orange is not my favorite color, but Chuck said, "I like the orange one. You would be seen." This is true, and it would also be quick to spot at the bike rack full of black bikes. I hate to admit that there were times when it took me a little bit to figure out which black bike was mine, in a sea of black bikes.

My new bike is not the only new addition, I have a new grandchild, Presley Jameson Vile Junod, 6 lbs. 4 oz. of precious. She is beautiful, just like her mother.

Dad and Rocket watching Presley. Rocket just starred at her, not sure what to think yet.
When I arrived at the hospital, I was wandering the hallway, when a nurse asked if she could help. I told her my daughter just had her baby. She flipped through the papers she was holding, and asked if her name was Amy. Okay, it's a real small hospital, and I didn't see any other patients on that floor, so Amy's baby was the only excitement this morning. I was told, "Bill and Presley are in there", pointing for me to go into this room where Presley was laying under the heater. A little later, Bill's mother and Rocket entered also. We could go anywhere, that was cool. But I digress.... :-)

The other day, as I was riding Scoot-Scoot, it dawned on me... a moped is the gateway drug to motorcycles. I have caught myself pretending I am on a motorcycle as I lean into a curve. I notice every motorcycle that crosses my path, looking to see what kind it is. I have entertained the thought of owning a motorcycle. Will I give into this weakness? We'll see.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


The bait boat, with Jeannie II in the background.

When I sold TARDIS, I told myself I would never build another boat, I was done. Seven months have past, and I have not started another build. However, I have started to grieve the loss of TARDIS. Oh, I know it's best she is with another, but when I read about other Paradox builds, I feel a little sad and feel the need to create something. I was asked, "If you had it to do over again, what would you do different?" I suppose, it would be, build TARDIS faster, so I could have at least sailed her once before I sold her. But I lost my focus, and my heart wasn't in it anymore.

My friend Chuck, started building a small bait boat with a holding tank. He has bait traps he puts out, but the more these little fish are handled, the greater the possibility of their demise. Chuck envisioned a boat that could be pulled up to the bait holding pen, open a valve and the fish would drain from the holding tank, through PVC pipe to the bait pen behind his house. This way, the only time the fish would be handled, is when they are moved from the trap to the tank on the boat.

This unfinished bait boat sits on a trailer in front of Chuck's house. Every time I walk past this boat, it screams out to me, "FINISH ME." In due time. Right now, m/v Jeannie II is receiving all the attention. Jeannie II is Chuck's 29' Mirage fishing boat. A tuna tower, A/C unit, inverter, a new cabin door and several repairs have been made, and she is almost ready to be put back into the water for hours and hours of fun. A future post with details will soon follow. When she is in the water, the bait boat is next on the list.

But I still have that desire to sail a small vessel created by my own hands. In my weak moments, I flip through the plans on Duckworks. If I did build something, it would have to be a stable, open boat design, no more than 14 feet, shallow draft, easy to board from the water. She would have to be an easy build, and not too expensive. If my boat building friends have any suggestions, please send them my way. I feel certain that there is the smell of lumber and sawdust in my future.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Scoot-Scoot at the Pump

A few days ago, I pulled into the gas station on Scoot-Scoot. The needle on the gauge was at about 1/4 tank, so I thought it best I go ahead and fill up. Not knowing exactly how big the tank is, I fill slowly. Thinking I had put quite a bit in, I looked at the pump, it said .28 gallons. Finally, it was full, and I had only pumped .75 gallons for $3.10. It costs quite a bit less to fill Scoot-Scoot than it did my Jeep Charokee, and lasts about as many days. I'm liking this.

When I first got Scoot-Scoot, I had never ridden a moped. She has a few quirks, but I learned them quickly and she is fun to ride. The most trouble I had, was getting her on the center stand. I knew there had to be trick to it, so like everything else, I asked Google. I found a couple of videos on YouTube and read a little on a couple of forums. I was not the only one that had this issue. After practicing a few times armed with this new knowledge, I can get her parked on the first try.

I rarely see anyone here in Key West wearing a helmet, whether they are straddling a scooter or a Harley. I, on the other hand, wear my new purchase; a white open faced helmet. No, it's not as comfortable as it would be without one, but if someone runs over me, hopefully, my head won't get crushed. And, I won't have to listen to my friend and family lecture me about the need to wear one.

There are literally thousands of mopeds in Key West. I didn't pay much attention to them before, but now I find myself eyeing the shiny new ones. I'm like that person going to the car dealership and imagining himself behind the wheel of the Mercedes or Porsche. I can dream, can't I?

Monday, August 5, 2013


Is it sad that I could, without even thinking, name, in descending order, my three most valuable possessions? One night last week, my third most prized possession was stolen while I worked. I clocked out, left the store at midnight, took the short stroll less than half a block to the bike rack where I always parked my bike. When I got to the rack, there were three bikes there, and none of them were mine. I stood there like a cow looking at a new gate. The spot I left my bike 7 hours earlier, was empty. My heart sank, that bike was my only mode of transportation, my freedom... now what? Oh, how do I get home tonight? It's late, I can't bother anyone this late. I walked, thinking, "I will just walk home. How long will it take me? But, there are some dark place on the trail home, I can't walk, it wouldn't be safe. Everyone would yell at me when they found out." By this time I had walked eight blocks. With a big sigh and tears of defeat welling up, I pulled out my phone and called a cab. It cost me $15 for a 15 minute ride home. That is a rip off, but I felt I had no other choice, I paid it.

My bike was not of great monetary value, but it was MINE. It was my sorce of freedom, I didn't have to rely on anyone to drive me around. That was taken away from me, and this made me very sad. I have fond memories of that bike.

Like nearly everything that goes on in my life, my Facebook friends read about the theft, so my daughter contacted me. When I was at their home a few days earlier, they showed me the moped they bought from a friend. They didn't tell me they planned to fix it up and give it to me. Amy and Bill thought they better tell me of their intensions, in case I get a wild hair and go out and buy me a moped, because I have been wanting one.

My bike did not have a name, but this moped does; Scoot-Scoot. Amy sanded and painted it, a couple broken parts will be replaced, and she runs good. I just needed to learn how to ride her.

I went to Amy's house, and between Amy, Google and I, we figured out how to start the thing. I took it around the block to get used to it, and it is fun! Chuck has already lectured me on the proper riding attire (most importantly....helmet), so my mother and brother won't have to.

A moped does not have to be insured, and you do not need a motorcycle license. They get good gas mileage, and you don't have to pay for parking, there is usually designated parking space in front of every business, or within a short walk of where you want to be. No longer will I have to wipe the sweat off when I arrive at work... this is going to be great. God truly does watch out for me, and I have a wonderful daughter and son-in-law, and I love them very much. Thank you guys!

From now on, every bike I see with a collapsible basket mounted on the side, I will make sure it is not mine. If I ever see my bike again, which I probably won't, but if I do, I am going to beat the crap out of who claims it to be theirs.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Who doesn't like birthday cake! It not only tastes good, but when your name is scrawled across the top, it makes you feel very special. They symbolize a celebration of YOU.

A few weeks ago, my roommate bought a birthday cake for her friend. The cake never made it to him due to misfortune, so we ate it. I made a comment to Chuck about this, and he jokingly reminded me that he never got his birthday cake. I felt horrible, how could I let this happen? The next day I was at the bakery and ordered a cake. The following day, I picked up the cake before I was to see Chuck. When I arrived at the store, I was not sure how I would get this 1/4 sheet cake home on my bike, but I knew I would figure it out. I was determined to get him a birthday cake, even though it would be three weeks late. What's that saying, "Better late than never."

Thinking of this later, I can't remember getting a store bought birthday cake since I was about 6 years old. And I don't really remember that one, I just remember seeing the picture of me sitting at the kitchen table with the cake in front of me. The picture to the left is not real clear... the cake is the dress for the doll.

When my brother and I were young, on our birthday, my mother would ask what dessert we wanted, and she would bake it for us. My brother always requested a cherry cheesecake, while my favorite dessert was chocolate cake or apple pie.

My birthday falls right after Christmas, everyone is 'partyed-out' by the time my big day rolls around. I don't harbor ill feelings toward anyone, I totally understand. If you know anyone born around Christmas, do something extra special for that person on their birthday, it will mean a lot to them.

Oh, and Chuck's cake... he was very grateful, really appreciated the gesture and I got to eat birthday cake!