Sunday, November 12, 2017

WHO'S WHO IN KEY WEST


Today, I hopped on my bike and took off for an afternoon of cruising Key West. After the beach, a stop at Flying Monkey for my favorite beverage, I headed toward home and found myself at the cemetery. You can tell a lot about the local families by the cemetery.


For instance, it was quite clear that the Spottswood family have a big presence in Key West. And they are the only plot that has landscaping.

And now I know where several streets get there name. Albury, Williams, White, Ashby, Peacon...and the list goes on and on. The headstone design has changed drastically since the turn of the century. I guess tree trunks were a popular design back then. I live on Fogarty Ave, there is bar and restaurant with the same name. I'm guessing there must be money there.



This one got away!
There is a cemetery within a cemetery. I guess the fence is to keep the protestants out.
The path is bricked to the Toppino Family Mausoleum. I walked around to the front and was in awe!

Toppino Family Mausoleum. There are a pair of iron gates in the front.
Inside the Toppino mausoleum is nicer than my apartment!

"Ahhh, we can make a path here, just pave around it!"
I found the Jewish cemetery too. Had to come home and
 google about all the rocks laying everywhere.
My favorite.
There are many thoughts about death... where you go after death and how people grieve. A funeral service is for the ones left behind, not for the dead. Many people need this for closure. Personally, I don't care what happens after I'm gone... because I will be gone, and not really a part of it. I do think a Viking funeral would be pretty awesome though.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

IDRIS HERE...

When I got my cover, it did not match the spare tire cover I already had. Last weekend, Lezlie made a tire cover to match my cover. Now my carpet matches my drapes.

I'm itching to get back out on the water. Lezlie's Explorer, Dora, was missing her mechanics. So, she refuses to start now. Her friends at Shifting Gears can't see her until later this week. The next day Lezlie is off work and Dora running, we are hitting the water.



Tuesday, October 24, 2017

ABOVE THE WATERLINE, BARELY

Some of the stuff Irma left behind, just amazes me. This boat survived Irma without sinking. I don't know how, but she stayed afloat.

Her owner didn't want the problem, so he gave it to his brother. 


She is a plywood boat. I do not know her history, but I will find out.


I didn't look real close, but it looks like it has no fiberglass on the hull.


I will post updates as I see progress.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

MOVIES

I love movies. It can take you to another world, another time, live someone else's life, make you happy, make you think, all at the touch of a button. Tonight, I watched "Up In The Air". The one line that stopped me in my tracks, "Think about the happy moments in your life. Were you alone?" We all know the answer to that one.

Lately, I have been battling loneliness. In a perfect world, I would be someone's "other half". But this is not a perfect world. I am okay with not having a plus one, but it is not my preferred existence. 

In order to change my relationship status, I have to put myself out there, and I don't want to do that. Two out of the last three relationships, I was dumped. I want to believe the first dumping was because he was confused, depressed, and generally couldn't get his head straight. But I could be wrong. The last time I was "let go", was because I was too old. That hurt, we were the same age. Until that day, I didn't really feel old, but now when I look in the mirror, I see an old woman. Of course, the extra pounds, grey hair and wrinkles contribute to that. I'm coming up on the dreaded 60. 

Ever since I moved back to Florida, I have not even entertained the thought of dating. I felt safe being single. I wasn't sure why I felt that way, until last week when I had an epiphany. When you are single and dating, and meet someone for the first time... you judge them. You size them up. I don't want to be judged. I don't want to be rejected. I don't want to feel I'm not good enough. 

So, here I am, like every other night. Sitting in my little cave I call an apartment. Alone.
I'll find me an old western movie. I love horses. Let's see, how about Randolph Scott. Oh,  or Sam Elliot... he's nice to look at! And that voice! 

Shhh... the movie is starting... 


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Today I pulled the kayak out and went paddling. This is the first time I've been on the water since hurricane Irma. The channel I usually go down, has a few obstacles... tree tops. I went out to see what I could find in the mangroves. Turns out, not a lot. I was a little surprised. 

The big white fender was way too far up in the dense mangrove, so I didn't even try for that. I was able to retrieve the 40 feet of blue rope.
A little farther down, I come upon a boat. It was a very sad looking boat, that I'm sure has a captivating story to tell of her Irma experience. It has been tagged with caution tape, so I'm sure the numbers have been taken and put on THE LIST.
It will take a long time to recover from Irma. She trimmed all the trees, but new leaves are showing up everyday. One positive thing Irma did, was give the plants a good watering. Yesterday, on my bike ride to the beach, I came across these beautiful bogavia.



Sunday, October 8, 2017

OUR POOL


Amazing what those chemicals can do!
Twenty-nine days post IRMAGEDDON, our pool is finally a pretty blue again... after turning swamp green, brown and then black. Our pool guys have been here everyday for the past week. They earned their money with our pool.

You don't realize how much you use something, until you can't. Our tans have faded. But today, Amy and I had a nice soak and caught some rays.

The iguanas have spent more time on the ground these days, since their trees in the back have had the tops cut off. I have chased them away from the pool more than once. Unfortunately, they like to take a dip in the pool too.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

POST IRMA


Leading up to the weekend of hurricane Irma, I was inundated with text and comments begging me to  evacuate. I know everyone was just acting out of love, but it was a little annoying. I am that person that, once I've made up my mind to do something... that's that!

It's been three weeks since my last post, because it wasn't until yesterday that I got internet back at the house. My stay at the La Concha Hotel during the storm, was good. There was no flooding in that area. Irma was mostly wind, not that much water. The hardest hit was up The Keys starting at MM10. That's not to say we didn't have a lot of damage, just not as much as they did. Key West had a lot of limbs and trees blown down. Boats are scattered everywhere. Very few that were anchored out, stayed there. Many are piled under bridges, on the bottom, floated out to sea, or just plain missing.



The week following the storm was HOT. No power means no A/C. It's hard to sleep when you are laying in a puddle of sweat. My work (Strunk Ace Hardware) was closed for a day, then reopened using a generator to power the registers. When the doors opened, it was like BLACK FRIDAY! A crowd rushed in and ran to get what they needed. Shelves were stripped within minutes, and there was a line to check out for three hours. I'm telling you, I worked a register at a department store last Black Friday.... and this was the same thing.

How did I manage without power, water, phone and internet? It's easy if you prepare. I had plenty of water, flashlights, candles, canned food, propane and bullets. Most of my neighbors left, and I kept the gates locked on the property. If someone came on my property, they would be met with a pissed of woman with a .38. "Shoot first and ask questions later" was the advice a police officer gave. 

Due to cell phones not working, it was days before my family heard from me. After learning of an available landline, I was able to call my brother and let him know I was not laying dead in a gutter somewhere.

A couple days after the storm, we had rationed water. Four days I had power. Two weeks I had cell phone and three weeks I had internet. It was inconvenient, but managable.

Food 

I was fortunate to work for a company that is very caring and takes care of their employees. Work provided lunch for the few employees that stayed. We were running with about 50% staff, working our tails off, and the company and customers appreciated our efforts.



At home, I cooked with a cast iron skillet on the grill. There was bacon, biscuits and eggs that needed to be cooked, so I made a feast the first day. With the leftover bacon grease, I fried potatoes with a secret seasoning a friend gave me. I ate well.



Dark and Stormy


This was our cocktail of choice. It just seemed appropriate. Even after I left the hotel and came home. I found a bottle of Ginger Beer in the refrigerator. Since it was still cool, I felt obligated to have a Dark and Stormy, so as to not waste the coolness of the beverage.









Damage

I live on the ground floor of a stilt home. The upper story weathered the storm just fine.  Before the storm, I took everything I could off my floor. It was piled on the bed, couch or table. My place took about 3" of water. Clean up was not that bad. I lost nothing. Pulled everything out, cleaned the floor, let it completely dry, put everything back. 

The backyard and pool are a different story. The back of the property was lined with fishtail palm trees. We loved those trees because they were a 25 foot WALL. It gave you a sense of privacy. The wind blew that wall over, and it became a canopy over the pool. Not good. There was about a 2 inch layer of fishtail palm leaves at the bottom of the pool... and it was turning green.... then brown. 

Our landlord had someone come to cut the trees down. It has taken him four days of chopping on the trees, and he is still not finished. And now it is ugly! I don't know if the trees will come back, or we will just have leaning, uneven, dead stumps lining our fence. I will let you know how this turns out.

I have been asked if I would stay or evacuate next time. I would stay. One thing I will get though... a battery operated fan. The key to making it after the storm, prepare for the worse, hope for the best.

This video is not my best work, but it gives you a little insight to my IRMA experience.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

IRMA - SATURDAY MORNING

Bert and I got to moving early this morning. We ran over to Bert's home, grabbed her cats and brought them to the hotel. It is breezy but not raining yet.

When we arrived at the hotel, Bert enlisted a store customer and well-known local, to help haul the cats and their paraphernalia to the room. Upon leaving, he said he was bringing food and will see if they could use the kitchen. If not.... he has duct tape! He is quite a force to deal with. I'm sure he can make it happen.

Looking in Bert's refrigerator one more time before our exit, we see ginger beer. She looks at me and says, "you brought the rum...". We can make our own Dark and Stormy drinks tonight! Yes Amy, I grabbed your rum. It will be put to good use!

I don't know how long we will have power. There is a generator out back, but not hooked up yet. We will see how that all plays out! I am feeling confident that we chose the right hotel, and we will be okay during the storm. The aftermath is the real bummer, and we have to do the cleanup if we stay or if we go. If we stay, at least we can get that started sooner.

Friday, September 8, 2017

DARK AND STORMY


I had never heard of this drink... but it seemed fitting to have one ... or three, on the eve of hurricane IRMA.



While sitting having our cocktail, a customer of the store stopped at our table and thanked us for staying open today. It feels good to be appreciated for what you do at work. As they left, he put money on the table and said the next round it on me. THIS IS WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO. We helped out a lot of our neighbors this week, getting them the products they need.

And we had another round!!!!!

IRMA - FRIDAY 9/8/17


We kept the hardware store open until noon today. There were nine of us that stayed until the end, helping our neighbors get things they needed to secure their homes and get them through the electrical outage that will follow. Our customers were very thankful that we were there for them. It was a good feeling to know we made a difference to a lot of people.

What flew off the shelves? Generators, gas cans, sandbags, wing nuts, wing nut drivers, batteries, flash lights, peel & seal, plywood.... and the list goes on. 

After we left the store, Bert (co-worker) and I had our ice cream topped with Bailey's to start our hurricane party. It was very good!

We got settled into our room at the hotel, and finally sat and rested after several days of working and then going home and stowing belongings. We both are getting lots of texts and well wishes... okay, it's more like "why the hell didn't you leave" texts. I want to just turn off my phone and not turn on the TV until tomorrow. I know you guys mean well.

Okay, I am off to explore the hotel. I have never been here before, and I'm going to the top for the view. Later!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

IRMA - THURSDAY MORNING



In years past, I have sat in the safety of my living, and watched the news reports of rescues after a hurricane. My thoughts were always, "Idiots, why didn't they leave!" I get it now. But,I am surrounded by people that have lived here for years and been through hurricane after hurricane here. I am prepared for the storm, and know how to get by after it passes. It's not that I want to "protect my stuff", I don't really have anything that I can't live without.

I feel I, and many of my friends, are being harassed for staying. They are begging us to leave. STOP IT!  We know you care for our safety, we have made the decision to stay. So, just sit back and enjoy/or gasp at the reports that we will get to you after the storm has passed. Who know, it might turn north sooner than expected and there won't be much to report.

I will climb down off my soapbox now, and get back to work. Yes, I will work as long as our doors are open. We are a hardware store, and provide much needed supplies to our neighbors. We are open after THE OTHER big box hardware store has locked their doors.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

IRMA - WEDNESDAY


This morning, I pulled onto the street, looked up and saw a rainbow. It was beautiful. I made the turn to pull into work, looked up and saw a double rainbow. For some reason, I felt it was put there just for me, maybe as a sign. Strange all the things that go through your head when you are in this type of situation.

I get to my desk and turn on Pandora. The first song to play... Praise You in This Storm.
 So many of you have sent messages to leave. It feels good that so many people care about my well being, but I will be okay. The kids are leaving today, so I don't have to worry about them.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

IRMA- The Countdown Begins


I've given it a lot of thought, lost sleep over thinking about it. I decided to stay. A coworker and I don't want to stay in our homes, because they will probably be flooded. And I'm not sure if my home will hold up through this storm. So, we made reservations at the La Concha Hotel in downtown Key West. I believe it to be a strong building, and it is about the highest spot on the island. I made this decision for many reasons. And yes, it could be a while before our utilities are working again. I look at it like this... how would I prepare for a week long trip in my boat on the Texas coast? Okay, that puts into perspective. Now I know how to prepare for the aftermath. That my sound silly and confusing to a lot of you, but my Texas 200 friends know what I'm talking about.

Now that I have a plan, maybe I can get some sleep tonight.

Monday, September 4, 2017

IRMA


It's Monday, the experts are still not sure where hurricane Irma will land. But it's looking like the Keys will get hit. If not the full force, a really bad storm.

I work in a hardware store in Key West, FL. We were out of generators by 11 am. By the late afternoon, we were out of 5 gallon gas cans, sandbags, wing nut drivers, and many more items. It was almost 9 years to the day when hurricane Ike hit the Houston area. I lived in Northwest Houston at the time. Ike was 1 mph shy of a Cat 3. This is the only reference I have for hurricanes. Irma will probably be worse.

Okay, the question is... do I go, or do I stay? I will continue to watch the path she is taking. Until then, I am gathering things I don't want to sit in standing water, moving them to my high shelf. My boat is going under the house. Furniture is going upstairs and outside stuff is going in my downstairs room. At least my boat is on a trailer and not in the water. I'm tired just thinking about it. I think I will put a movie on to get my mind off of all this for a while. After all, tomorrow is another day!


Sunday, September 3, 2017

NOTHING LASTS FOREVER

Milk, electronics and relationships all have an expiration date. A few days ago, I picked up my iPod Nano and the screen has a brown "burn" area now. Yesterday, the touch screen on my monogram sewing machine quit working. Okay, yes, they are both a little long in the tooth. Financially, this has not been a good month for repairs. 

Yoshi, my outboard, went to the shop a couple weeks ago. When I was told what was wrong and what it would take to fix it, I just saw dollar sign after dollar sign. I have to fix it, otherwise, it would just be an expensive doorstop. I heard that little voice in my head say, "What did you expect. It has "marine" written on the parts, and labor."

My eight year old grandson has come to realize that everything costs money. I came back with, "Except air, that's free." That reminded me of the day my teenage son and I stopped at a gas station to air up my low tire. The free air had been replaced with a coin operated air hose. It had obviously been a stressful day. I threw a fit and shouted that I would NOT pay for AIR. My son thought it was funny. So, I guess not all air is free!


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

BLESSED


Basking in the moonlight, warm water caressing my skin, and relaxing music from across the way... I think how blessed I am. Just two months ago, I lived in what is now a crisis area. Was it good timing, or was there Devine intervention? Either way, I'm glad I am not knee deep in dirty flood water. God has always seemed to have a protective hand on me. Sometimes protecting me from myself.

To all my Houston area friends, my prayers are with you.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

HOW MANY IS TOO MANY?

I know... I said I would never build another boat. Unfortunately, one boat will not fill all your boating needs. A kayak is great for navigating small water with physical effort. The 16 foot sailboat is good for bigger open water. But what about the in-between?

I want a boat that is quick to get on the water, and small enough to go down the small canal with bridges. But I want the option of a small sail for when I reach a small bay. Here is a list of requirements:
  • Must be small and light enough to pull on dolly behind bicycle.
  • Must have mast that will fold down.
  • Sail must furl for quick adjustments and neat storage when folded down
I don't even pretend to be a boat designer. Everything I have made, I bought the plans. Here are some questions I have:
  1. How narrow can you go and still be fairly stable with a sail, and without out-riggers?
  2. Could I use a little balast with a more narrow boat to make more stable?
  3. Is there a formula for length, width, sail area?
Duckworks was the first place I went to look at plans. What about the Rodent? Or the OZracer? 

If anyone has experience with these specs, or can point me in a direction for research, I welcome all suggestions. Like my friend always told me... you can never have too many boats.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Positive or Negative?

We never know how we are going to touch people’s lives, and what memories we will leave them with. Every one of my possessions has a memory attached to it that includes a person. I have a small shell that puts a smile on my face, remembering my first open water dive. My driftwood shelves remind me of scouring the Texas beach with my pirate friend. 

I once knew someone that taught me about triggers. A trigger is something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma. For 10 years, I was condemned to a life of regret and sadness. I felt like I was walking on eggshells, trying to avoid triggering memories of an unfortunate event that haunted this other person.

Lately, I have been toying with the idea of getting a tattoo. I shared this with a friend, and it was suggested that I get a tattoo of a jellyfish or octopus, with hearts on the tentacles… the kind with cracks. Was not sure how to take that, but it did get me thinking. With all my failed relationships, I concluded that “I” am the common denominator, so I must be the problem, hurting them. I’m tired. Tired of hurting others and tired of being hurt. My heart can’t take it anymore. So I’ve gently packed it away in my set of luggage located in back of my closet.




Now I live a life of singledom and I’m okay with that. I do what I want, when I want. I can turn on the TV and watch what ever I want. I can wear sandals in cold weather and nobody will hassle me about it. This life does have draw backs, but it’s a peaceful life. And peace is what I need now. 

How are you impacting the lives of others? Are you a positive influence, or a negative influence? Are you leaving others with a good memory or heartache? 



Sunday, July 16, 2017

AN AFTERNOON OF EXPLORING

Today, there was not enough wind to take the sailboat out. Instead, I borrowed my daughter's kayak to go exploring. I live only two blocks from a canal that runs through the middle of Key West. I wanted to see what I could see, so off I went. 


I headed north and in the distance I saw this wooden boat anchored. I've not seen this boat before, so I paddled over to get a closer look. 




I circled the boat and headed over by the mangroves where the water was like glass. Little fish darting in and out of the sea grass entertained me while I ate my packed lunch. I then headed back to the canal. Not ready to pull out and go home, I passed my street and kept heading south. I wasn't sure exactly where it would take me, but I did know that there were at least two bridges I would come to. The first one is a foot bridge that was not a problem. The second, was a four lane road. In fact, when you are driving over this bridge, there is no incline, and you can't see the water from the road, so it's not obvious that it is a bridge. And that means there is not a big clearance on the water. I stopped and thought it through before continuing on. It was so low, I could not use my kayak paddle, so I pulled myself through.

The canal got smaller and smaller, and seemingly secluded. A few minutes later, the thunder and lightning started, so I thought it was a good time to head back. As I reached my street, the rain started. It's a tough life, but somebody has to live it!