There is a couple two sites down from me who arrived a couple of weeks ago. They are petite, slim and in constant motion. Their trash leads me to believe they are replacing electronics and other household items. Their park model has been power washed and polished, the outdoor area tidied, and there was a housekeeper there yesterday doing windows. Last night, as I returned from sunset, the man was polishing his truck. I told him I admired how well they took care of their things. The truck looks brand new but it is 10 years old. The man said he has 11 vehicles and they all look like the truck. He needs to get laid.
I have put myself on a schedule to address over 60 postcards each day this week so that the mailing for January 23rd and 30th will be finished. I can't wait until Group B goes in the mail on the 30th so I can become depressed about the lack of response. I've assigned myself the task of coming up with the next campaign by the end of next week. I'll eliminate some of my contacts because I've lost enthusiasm for working for them – food purveyors, vitamin suppliers, boutique manufacturers which aren't large enough to need me (although I like their stuff). I'll target some private equity people in the next round.
Shortly after I arrived, a family of Québécois arrived to occupy the park model across from me. They left at New Year's. I assumed they were related to the owner until a cleaning crew showed up and a "preppy" old guy from Connecticut moved into it. Sherri invited him to sunset one night then she feared he might have thought it was a personal invitation. She learned that he has a brother here. I've never spoken to him, but I know he's a fake "preppy" because no real one would come here. I'm dying to talk to him because I hope he has a telltale accent – like from Queens. He also exercises too much to be a real preppy of seventy-something, golf and tennis notwithstanding.
At sunset last night I had the opportunity to speak with a woman who helped me learn a line dance routine two weeks ago. She and her husband have led interesting lives which included living on a sailboat in the Caribbean with their three young children. She told me she lost her 30-something daughter to cancer a couple of years ago. Even as someone who has never been a mother, I cannot imagine anything worse than burying a child.
Tonight was line-dancing. I had trouble mustering the enthusiasm to go, but I feel that way about all evening commitments, especially theater and concerts because they start during dinner time. If I eat before, I sleep during the show; if I don't eat before, I'm a low-blood-sugar complete fucking bitch who squirms in her seat. I went because I told Sherri, the woman who lost her daughter, and the Dutch couple that I would be there. I didn't dance very much tonight mostly because I couldn't see the instructor's feet. Sitting on the sidelines made me laugh because most of the technically correct steppers have no rhythm. The woman who was goofy last time was goofy again tonight, and she made me laugh out loud when she said, "I hate country music." Right. I like some country music, but I don't like most of the music to which we dance. I also don't get doing the rumba and cha-cha-cha to country music. I really like the Dutch couple and respect them for trying to teach us how to dance, but I'm finished with line-dancing.
Last night I ordered 18 12-packs of crack from jet.com. This morning they told me that they could only send 17 of them. No worries: that's still a 51 day supply. What the hell was I thinking? I'll have to store them in the cockpit. I'm almost out of wine: if jet.com sold wine, I’d have to buy another RV just to store it.
I had a non-work day today. I went to stretching, did P90X "Core Synergistics," picked up my mail, and went swimming for 20 minutes because my new goggles and nose clip arrived (go ahead, mock me). I came home, showered, dried my hair, colored it, got back in the shower, ate lunch, and went to the salon to have my eyebrows (now darker) waxed and get a mani-pedi.
Stretching class was held poolside this morning because the River Club is being used as a photo studio this week. The resort is producing a "face book" of the owners and long-term renters. I asked the photographers what they would charge me for a shoot with digital images only. They said $250. I said thank you and walked away. I don't see the value. Jean said I should just do a selfie. Maybe I'll ask Sherri to take my picture with my phone.
It was nicer doing the stretch class outside than doing it inside. The turnout was quite high which surprised me considering it constituted a change. A man wearing a Keuka Lake (New York State Finger Lake) tee-shirt took the chair next to me. We both grew up in Steuben County some 30 years apart – he was a native whereas I was a transplant. I told him that I had gone to college on Cayuga Lake, I learned to windsurf on Seneca Lake, and I learned to sail on Keuka Lake. To his delight, I reported that the last is my favorite because it is much smaller and nearly potable. The woman to his left had a place on Canandaigua Lake (another Finger Lake), and the woman in front of her was also from the Rochester area. The latter woman’s daughter-in-law had taught at my high school long after I graduated. What a small world!
As I expected, Sherri was sad to see her Airstream get towed away this morning. Her husband died in it two years ago. She said he had a lot of fun times in that trailer (it was their fourth Airstream), and I said that I bet she did as well. I'm not sure if her son appreciates how difficult this transition is for her, but his intentions are good. I watched the guy deliver the park model to her site just because I like the physics of moving large objects. Backing up a hitched object is very different from backing up a long vehicle. I've never driven anything hitched – let alone backed up a hitched object – but I'd like to do it just for the experience.
I've realized that this park is just like every high school in America. In high school, it's all about your clique: nerd, jock, Barbie, stoner, loser, etc. Each clique has a rank, and each person in each clique has a rank. Cliques connote constituencies, constituencies connote politics, and political entities rival each other for power. Power at the condo association level is manifested through title and exclusion. Title is created by election to the board and appointment to committees. Exclusion is the raison d’être of cliques, inviting those they see fit while shunning others. Wealth, however, is the ultimate trump card because it is its own source of power and exclusivity. Show up at any condominium park in your new $2M Prevost, and you’ll see what I mean.
Last night, when I came in from walking the dogs, I inadvertently switched off the cabin stairs instead of the light. I fiddled with both before I went to bed. This morning, when I looked at the stair's rocker switch, I thought it was in the wrong position so I flipped it. The stairs did not move because the door was closed. The outside table was dirty and wet with dew so I put my full cup of hot coffee on the stairs. When I closed the cabin door, the stairs retracted and my coffee went all over the mat. Fuck. My new percolator makes two full mugs of coffee, so I poured the remainder into a clean mug and set off with the dogs for our half hour morning walk.
After I walked and fed the dogs, I gave BOB a bath. "Weekend Edition Sunday" played in my pocket as I washed the coffee off the mat and mulch dust off the chairs, table and BOB. When I finished, I did some interior cleaning, showered, then I rode my bike to Publix.
It was a beautiful day here today and I spent most of it inside after grocery shopping. I did some banking, job-stuff, spoke to a friend, ate lunch, and I emerged after three to walk the dogs feeling as though I had squandered it. At four-thirty, I road my bike to the beach just to look at the ocean for a few minutes because one should always look at the ocean as often as possible. Living in "paradise" creates a psychological burden to spend time outside, but I avoid sun exposure, I have no shade in my site, and there is no shade at the pools or the ocean. So, where does a mole go? Inside.
Sherri and I went to sunset tonight. Her son was already there. We joined him, he left, he came back, and he left again, so we joined Happy Easta and her friend who were drinking chocolate martinis. The Dutch woman, Lena, joined us and I got points for remembering her surname. She told a very funny story about how a diminutive of her real Dutch given name (Fokkeliena) sounds like a swear word in English, and how the GIs who liberated Holland got a big kick out of asking her name when she was a child. The story was charming as she told it, but I was more surprised to discover that she must be in her early eighties to have been a school-age child at the end of the war. I would have guessed her to be in her early seventies. She said her husband is "much" older, so I'm guessing that he is in his mid-eighties. Good for them: they are spry and fit and inspiring and interesting.
President Obama was on "60 Minutes" tonight. I like him per se: he has good intentions, he's a gentleman, he's articulate, he's well-educated, he's thoughtful, etc. My only criticism of him is that he's too much of an idealist to have been as effective of a president as he might have been, which I why I didn't vote for him twice. Donald J. Trump is the antithesis of Barack H. Obama which makes me wonder how a populist, anti-ideologue will spend his political capital.
During the commercials, I learned the names of all the medications I'll need to take when I'm old enough to live here full-time.
The singing impersonator is very good: he sings equally well as a tenor and a baritone, easily moving through each note within the octave required. He covered Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Buck Owens, Tom Jones, and Elvis Presley among others. My favorite was his impersonation of the Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias duet "To All the Girls I Loved before:" it was dutifully campy. He also fake danced – quickly moving either his arms or his legs in dance-like steps but not really dancing which was humorous in a quirky way. The crowd enjoyed the show except for the expressionless people sitting beside me. Maybe they were deaf and blind.
I stopped this morning to pick up my mail. I knew via text that my Tommy Bahama package arrived yesterday. The woman handed me a package from Amazon. I told her that I knew another package had been delivered yesterday. She took my number and said she'd call the front office where all the mail is delivered. As I was giving her my number a young man delivered more mail. My package was there. Thirty minutes later she called to say I had another piece of mail. I went back to get it. The dissemination of mail here is a bad system. Apparently, there was theft of goods in the past so now the facility manager receives the mail when it's delivered and we get it the next day.
This morning, as I was getting into the shower, I heard a woman's voice at my door. I assumed it was Sherri since hers is the only female voice I've heard at my door, but it wasn't. It was the woman who lived behind me and she was talking to my dogs through the screen door. I went to the door in a towel. She said she came to introduce herself. In reality, she was cutting through my property to get to hers (which is against park rules), assumed I wasn't home, and I caught her. Ten-to-one, she's the crone who left the nasty-gram regarding the dogs barking and complained to the office about it. I'll ask her about it the next time I see her cutting through my property, assuming I'm not wearing a towel.
I chatted too long with a friend this afternoon and missed the three o'clock pick-up of mail at the local post office: I got there at 3:07. I hate that Monday is a holiday which will delay the delivery of my cards.
I had picked up some frozen pumpkin ravioli at the Melbourne Beach Market last Saturday after Sherri and I had lunch at the sister restaurant. I ate six of the 12 huge raviolis last night with my Gorgonzola sauce. What a fabulous combination! I picked up two more boxes en route home from the post office.
Sherri picked up her son this afternoon at the Melbourne airport. At five, I walked over to her trailer to see if she wanted to go to sunset. She and her son had a discussion regarding their dinner schedule then Sherri and I walked to the pool. We sat beneath the umbrella to shelter our eyes from the sun. Soon we were joined by a father and son from the Pittsburgh area. The father was a WWII veteran who served on the USS Gainard from 1944 to 1945. He's 90. His son is only 60 and narrowly missed serving in Vietnam. I pulled up some pictures of the Gainard and they were both grateful. The father is sharp, seemingly healthy, a gentleman, and a pleasant conversationalist. I really dig these hale old folks.
I had Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones ear worms today. The singer didn't sing my favorites of any of the chanteurs he covered, nevertheless they played in my head. "She's a Lady, whoa, whoa, whoa..."
Sherri and I were the only sunset attendees last night. It started to drizzle shortly after five, so we moved to a table with an umbrella. It was quite pleasant having the river and the resident Great Blue Heron to ourselves. The sun dropped into the horizon in a fireball which was quite spectacular; unfortunately, my iPhone couldn't capture the intensity of the colors.
Yesterday, Sherri sent me an email telling me that her friend "Happy Easta" had found a site for me to rent on February 15th. I stopped to see her when I was on my dog walk. She gave me the number of the man who owns the site – he’s a friend of her son's. She also told me that if her husband was going to like me, my dogs must never pee or poop (even if it's picked up) on either their grass or their son's lot across the street. OK. I called the lot owner, told him I couldn't make any commitments. I said that if he has a March renter but no one for the last two weeks of February to give me a call. I suspect I'll spend those weeks in St. Augustine and Amelia Island. I want to start moving in case I DO get a job soon!
Sherri can't go to sunset tonight because she is doing some final packing of her trailer. Her son arrives tomorrow, and on Monday her trailer will go to storage and her new (used) park model will be delivered. I may have to be a sidewalk supervisor. Tonight, we are going to the clubhouse at seven to listen to a guy do singing impersonations. She was at his performance last year and said it was terrific. She got in line at five in the morning to get the tickets which didn't go on sale until eight. Last year the event sold out by nine! I can't imagine what event would get me out of bed at four-something to stand in line for three hours. I hate lines and I dislike getting out of bed in the dark. Part of me is dreading going tonight – the part of me which would rather be alone with the dogs, listening to "The PBS Newshour," writing, and cooking dinner at eight.
I spoke to the HR woman this afternoon about the opportunity at the company with which I have nexus. Late yesterday afternoon, she sent me a job description which was written four years and two CEOs ago. She answered a lot of my questions, gave me some background information, and said that she and my nexus would be redefining the job over the next two weeks for a more formal search process to begin. Interesting. I wonder if I'll be a candidate. I know I can do the job, but if they (or other executives) want someone who has a purer pedigree I could get shut out. This is why I don't go on Zillow and look for housing: I don't want to begin an emotional commitment to a job for which I may never be a real contender.
And, it's why I keep hand-addressing postcards. Wednesday and yesterday I addressed the Group B round for the third postcard, and today I addressed half of the Group A round for the fourth postcard. There are two groups because after I didn't an initial mailing of the first postcard I accumulated more contacts. Oddly, I am more psychologically attracted to Group B as a whole because it contains more private companies and legacy brands. I have to admit that there are some addressees in Group A for whom I'd rather not work, but I would. By the time I'm finished with the fifth postcard I will have hand-addressed over 1,100 cards. It's so fucking tedious that part of me can't wait until I'm finished – that's not the part of me that will be saying, "Now, what?" if the cards don't bear fruit.
I received a call last night from someone in HR who works for a company which might like to hire me. Interesting. Exciting. And, I have a nexus to the company. But, it's a shit show: executive management has turned over repeatedly in the last few years, sales have declined, stores have closed, the growth strategy is non-existent, the founder is the major shareholder, his son is an executive, and only one sell-side analyst covers the stock which is depressed. Fantastic! A real fixer-upper. I'm in, if the details like "what's the fucking job?" work out. I spent three hours today doing homework on the company and became more and more horrified – and more and more interested. I'm having a follow-up conversation with the woman tomorrow afternoon.
My father thinks I should work for Trump. Interesting. Exciting. I have no nexus to the presidency. But, it's a shit show!
Jean opened present number two last night and she loved it. It's a t-shirt with Snoopy reclining under whom words say, "Nope. Not today." I ordered three more of the same t-shirt (it's not available in other colors) so she'll have a lifetime supply. That was fun. What she thought was present number three was something actually that her work shipped her. That means present number three is yet to come!
Today is Jean's birthday. Jean's birthday is a really big deal to Jean, so by extension, it is to the rest of us. If she were President of the United States, her birthday would become a national holiday by executive decree. When she used to work at a facility with others, Jean would remind her colleagues on the 11th of every months how many months remained until her next birthday.
Three years ago, when Jean turned 50, her boyfriend, cousin and I collaborated on throwing a big surprise party for her. It was what she wanted more than anything. I asked her for a list of people to invite. She said no. "What? What do you mean, no?" She wanted everything about the party to be a surprise, including the guests. I didn't know any of Jean's work, college or graduate school friends, and I had only met a few of her neighbors, so I posted the party on FaceBook to inform our high school classmates, and Jean's cousin and boyfriend took care of inviting everyone else they could.
Her cousin, sister, sister-in-law and I took Jean to dinner on her birthday. I drove through a couple of fast food takeout windows announcing each as our destination before taking her to the real restaurant. I wanted Jean to wear a blindfold for the post-dinner ride so that the party’s destination would be a surprise, but she said that the blindfold would make her carsick. Alas, there was no surprise regarding the date of the surprise party or its venue, but Jean was thrilled nevertheless. During the evening, Jean's boyfriend, cousin and I told her we would never again throw another surprise party for her. She grinned. We weren't kidding.
I sent three small presents to Jean for her birthday today. This morning, I sent her a "Happy Birthday" text with a picture of Sammy Hagar. She asked when she could open her presents. I said she could open one then, but the rest would have to wait until I returned from stretching class and working out. I called her at eleven and eleven thirty, but she didn't answer. Jean called me at one and I asked her to call me when she got home. It's now six and she hasn't opened her other two presents. Hmm. Is she torturing herself or me?
I took the dogs for a spin around the block at lunchtime. A woman passing me on a bicycle asked if they are Rottweilers. I wish I had said yes. "Yes, they are albino Pygmy Rottweilers." Clearly the woman was having a brain fart of sorts, but I can't figure out what breed she really meant to say. And, if one only knew one breed of dog I would bet it wouldn't be Rottweilers: it would be Poodle or Dalmatian or Labrador. Addison is a Rottweiler at heart: an affectionate, potential killer.
My friend Mike posted on FaceBook a picture of his Airedale puppy Ollie in the snow. He wrote, "Ollie Hardy." I replied, "Don't let him rest on his Laurel." Mike countered with, "He doesn't underStan what it means to rest." My turn: "That doesn't Olliviate the need." We are very silly.
I woke later than I should have, but that's because I stayed up too late (again) watching "Band of Brothers." After I walked the dogs and showered, I couldn't go to sleep (again). My tardy rise yielded another short walk for the dogs. I skipped the warm-up and cool-down of "Kempo X" in order to accommodate doing the dogs' laundry, picking up my mail, and unhooking BOB, so I could to go to Melbourne for the dogs' grooming appointment at PetSmart and my eye exam at LensCrafters.
I have had a much stronger relationship with Petco than I have with PetSmart, but I can't explain why. It may only have be a matter of convenience since Petco is in the same plaza as Whole Foods in Providence. The dogs were groomed privately while we lived there; I only started using the chains for grooming since I've been on the road with BOB. The Petcos in Missoula and Rehoboth Beach each did an excellent job with the dogs, and they were pleasant stores.
The PetSmart in Melbourne is dark and feels more like a warehouse. The grooming salon looks like an assembly line with six stations open to the owners (at Petco, the drop-off/pick-up desk is separated from the grooming stations), and the airborne dog hair and dander gave my Flonase a challenge. When I walked in, a man stopped grooming a small dog, removed it from his station to a room in the back, and checked me in. He was very nice but I found the whole experience to be much less professional than that of Petco because both the dogs and the humans had to interact with each other unnecessarily.
When I returned to pick up my dogs, a groomer who was still shaving the dog of an owner who had showed up, told him that the dog was difficult, he should only ask for her, and she will never groom the dog on the weekend because it's too crowded. PetSmart must have the local market tied up because the grooming salon was pretty “tied up” on a Tuesday.
At the check-out, I was hit up for a tip for the groomer and two donations –one for a can of cat or dog food, and one for a cash donation for a homeless pet. I gave a tip and made both donations, of course. No Petco has ever solicited tips for its groomers, nor have the private salons I’ve used.
After I dropped the dogs at PetSmart I went LensCrafters for an eye appointment. I arrived a few minutes early but I wasn't seen for another 30 minutes. For the last several years, I have seen an ophthalmologist for my eye car because I had insurance to cover the visit. My Obamacare insurance doesn’t cover eye care, and I was due last month for a check-up. The eye exam experience today was much more high-tech than I have ever had, and I opted to have my eyeballs photographed rather than having my pupils dilated because I was concerned about driving a six-ton vehicle with impaired vision. The optometrist showed me a freckle on my pupil which he said might be or could become cancer, and he said that I should have it rechecked in three months because eye cancer grows quickly. "So, I may have had that freckle for 30 years if it isn't cancer, right?" Right.
He gave me a new prescription. I attempted to have my two year old Warby Parker lenses replaced with it, but I kept moving the frames down my nose to keep my eyelashes from hitting the glass. The technician bent the frames to try to move the top away from my eyelashes to center the prescription, but it was to no avail. So, I walked over to the Ray-Ban display and picked out a pair of wire frame oval glasses with nose pads. Two hours after I arrived and $700 later, I left to pick up the dogs, get propane, eat lunch, return phone calls, and open my mail before returning to pick up my new progressive, photo-grey-transition eyeglasses. Tomorrow, if it's sunny, I'll know whether I like them. I have 30 days to replace the lenses at no charge if I don't.
Once again I fell asleep watching a movie which I can't remember. I watched "The Fall of Olympus," and whatever came on after it. A few weeks ago, I set my alarm for six-thirty in order to instill some discipline in my life, i.e. to recreate my work-life schedule. I abandoned it shortly thereafter. I am not going to forget how to lead a normal life as a working stiff, so why practice? Why not enjoy and embrace the disruption and have it not matter? Right. So, I shouldn't try to start watching a movie at ten when I'm working, but what difference does it make if I do that now? None. If I sleep in the dinette for two to three hours, wake at one, do the dishes, walk the dogs, shower, go to bed, do Sudoku, read Apple News and go to sleep at three-thirty, what difference does it make? None. This morning I woke up at seven-forty. I took the dogs for a short walk so I could have half of my coffee, drink my protein shake, change, do dishes, and get to stretching class ten minutes early. The dogs didn't care: they got the same amount of food for one quarter of the walk. I finished my coffee later. It didn't matter. It's a different existence: I don't have to force it to be the old one.
Our abbreviated walk was on the loop in which we reside. As we approached the restroom and laundry building, I spotted a dead snake beside the road. It was a baby snake which I suspect died from hypothermia yesterday given the temperatures. I didn't recognize its red and tan colors or pattern, so it gave me some pause as to what else might be in the grass that Addison so assiduously avoids.
There were two men in stretching class which was a first for my attendance. During the class I heard one talking to Sherri about me – how stretchy I am. I'm 20 to 30 years younger than most of the other attendees, so my comparative “stretchiness” is largely explained by the difference in our ages – I grew up in a time when exercise and stretching were proved beneficial to the body. It is further explained by my genetics – my mother’s sister is Gumby. I am not as stretchy as I used to be, but I seem to still have most of it – pulled hamstring notwithstanding. When class ended a woman complimented my abilities. I cited my genetics. Another woman – a former PE teacher and OSU graduate – invited me to learn how to play pickle ball at noon.
I did "Ab Ripper X" after class. When I finished, I went to the recycling area where I saw the woman who is living to my left. I asked her, “By any chance, was there a note complaining about your dog barking attached to your trailer the other day?” She said there was, and she asked me if I put it there. I laughed and said no. We both agreed that it had been written by an older woman, given the creakiness of the penmanship. She said that her dog inadvertently had been trapped in her screen room by her step-daughter, hence the barking. I speculated that it may have been written by a new arrival since it’s likely that my dogs barked long before the day my note was posted. The woman then became committed to uncovering the note-writer. While we discussed our various neighbors, she disclosed that the dog-shit-accuser had walked her and her dog around the loop the other day while lamenting the loss of his dog. We both agreed that he’s a super-creep.
I returned to BOB, grabbed my postcards and wallet, and headed out on my bike to the post office. The postal employee looked at the front and back of my postcards when I handed them to her. She said she couldn't help herself.
I didn't go to pickle ball as much as I wanted to. I knew there was no way I wouldn't make my pulled hamstring worse since I have no speed or effort in between full-throttle and off. Assuming I don't die soon, I'll have other opportunities to learn how to play pickle ball. And, if I do die soon, not learning to play pickle ball isn't something I'm going to regret.
This afternoon, I defrosted my refrigerator and freezer. Kim and Kate had suggested I do so a month ago. They told me to use a hair dryer to melt the ice. It took forty minutes. Then, as a cleaning bonus, I washed my air conditioning filter.
A maintenance guy with whom I have spoken previously stopped by BOB today to see if I was alright. He said he hadn't seen me in a while. I thanked him for his concern, and I asked him if he wanted to see the dead snake. I had already determined that it is a red corn snake, a.k.a. a red rat snake. He said they are all over the park. Oh, good. At least they are not one of the four poisonous snakes found in Florida. He told me that there is a bobcat which cruises the park, too. I asked him about alligators in the Indian River. He said that they are in the tributaries, so they must be in the river. That confirms it: no SUP-ing for me!
Sherri and I walked the dogs around the park this afternoon. Shortly after I returned I received a call from Hingham, MA. I knew it was someone from Talbots. The caller was a recruiter who had been given my information by a postcard recipient. I told her I was looking for a COO job at a smaller company or a strategy/new business development job at a larger company like Talbots. She said she'd keep my resume on file. Points to Talbots for its acknowledgment of my effort, although I know that I'll never hear from her again. So far, only three of 110 companies have been polite enough to acknowledge my efforts.
It was 43 degrees and blowing 20mph this morning when I walked the dogs. Needless to say, I didn't walk them a mile. Sherri stopped by in the latter part of the morning. She was dressed for winter. I teased her about it. We agreed to go for a walk at two, but it took me longer to do my laundry than I thought it would because there was competition for the machines. Typically, I leave the laundry room while my things are washing and drying, but I had to stay today or risk having my wet clothes removed the minute the wash cycle was finished. If four machines had been available when I walked in, I would have been finished in 90 minutes.
The thing about hanging out in a laundry room is that conversations happen. They start with questions like where are you from, how long are you here, have you been here before, etc.? A woman today tried to brain-storm job opportunities for me. It was sweet.
I stopped by Sherri's RV while walking the dogs between laundry cycles and asked if she minded waiting until four to walk. She didn't. I finished the laundry, ate lunch, ironed, and watched "The Bourne Supremacy" for the umpteenth time. She knocked on my door at three-fifty and off we went.
"Sully" is playing tonight in the River Club at seven. I'm not going. One, it's too early; two, I can't sit still for two hours; and, three, it's a 10-minute story. I told Sherri this afternoon that I'd never go to a park dinner because they are always at five. I don't eat dinner at five. No one should. I'm not sure whether I'll go to line dancing this week. I'll be running errands all day in BOB on Tuesday so I may not feel like doing something else. Also, in all practicality, I'm never going to line dance outside of these classes: I can't imagine having to attend another wedding, and sadly no one dances at funerals.
Once again, I have eaten 12 ounces of roasted, salted, shelled pistachios in three days – an extra 600 calories/day that I don't need. Just say no. Just say no. Just say no. Yeah, that never worked, did it Nancy?
I spend five to six days a week looking for work. I do major domestic duties mostly on the weekends, but I am always doing a little cleaning here and there during the week. The dogs shed hair, bring in sand, etc. (Fortunately, I never lose any hair, so I don't add to the detritus.) The shower has soap scum one day after I clean it, but I only notice it if I open the shower door while wearing my glasses. That only happens when I'm sitting on the toilet: I can clean the whole the bathroom while sitting on the toilet – except the toilet, that is. I clean the toilet every day because it's a plate, not a bowl, and it is the definition of "low flush."
Because I don't "work," because I am "home," because I am "OCD-ish," I am constantly busy from eight to five: there are no boundaries which define my life, so that also means I don't really "play" or have a sense of "leisure" because there is always something to do. I had to stop myself from addressing postcards today. Ironically, this current period of unemployment and feeling of constant work contributes to a feeling of having no play time. I thought going out to lunch yesterday would cure it, but it didn't. I guess going to lunch doesn't equal play. Play is play. Play is also bacon and Prosecco. Last Sunday felt more like play.
There will not be a sunset gathering tonight it's cloudy, 56 degrees, and the wind is blowing 21mph from the NNW. It rained most of the night, and it continued off and on all day. Sherri and I went to lunch in town. I planned to have a salad but it was cold both outside and in the restaurant so I had a burger. I doubt I'll eat dinner: the burger was so big that I couldn't finish it. Sherri and I shared some French fries cooked in duck fat. They were pretty good, and filling, too. It was nice to get out of the park to do something others than run errands. It was nice to eat food someone else had prepared. It was nice to talk to Sherri while seated since most of our conversations happen while we walk.
This is the first evening in a long time since I've had a day-time temperature low enough to close up BOB. I like it. I'm wearing a cashmere sweater, Addison is curled up in my legs, and the humidity is relatively low. This is what I want for evening temperatures in the winter.
I hand-addressed 80+ "Uphill Battle" postcards today. I still have another 40 to go to finish the "Group A" series. I have two groups because I mailed the "Patagonia" card in mid-December then I accumulated more contacts after that. It makes the 220+ contacts staggered in their receipts of the cards.
I just had my first response to a ZipRecruiter application. The email was from a man’s personal account, and he wanted to know my availability, whether I'd relocate, and what my salary requirement is. I answered the first two questions specifically, and told him that I expected to be compensated on par with my peers. I don't bid for salary. I don't know what the company is or what it sells online. The emailer said the company is small and complex. He makes it sound more like an interesting woman than a company. (Small men are complex in uninteresting ways.)
I also had an email this morning from a friend who is one member of two couples from Minneapolis that my father and I met on our "Baltics Capitals" cycling trip in the summer of 2013. I visited the couples in April before I went to Delaware. The email, which was addressed to my father and me, said that the other man is dying, and he has only weeks to live. The man was hale in the summer of 2013, then was diagnosed with Stage Four metastatic (to bone) testicular cancer approximately six months later. He was treated, and it went into remission. Last spring, a colonoscopy revealed Stage Four metastatic colon cancer (unrelated to the testicular cancer), and he had a colectomy. The colon cancer is killing him. He is a lovely man whose wife is even lovelier. I am grateful for having known him, and I feel immeasurably sad for him and those who love him.
Jean called me this afternoon and asked me if she needs new living room furniture. I said I hadn't been to her house for 18 months, so I countered with, "Do you have duct tape on your furniture?" She said, "Yes." I replied, "Well, then you need new furniture." One of dogs had chewed the couch. I said that it was her fault for getting bacon-flavored furniture. We went on to discuss what she would buy and why. She emailed me this afternoon to tell me she had completed the purchase. That was easy.
Most of the permanent park sites are decorated with statuary. Dogs, dolphins, pelicans, herons and turtles are the most popular. There is the occasional gnome, too. They are set in grass, rock, and concrete, hung from walls and trees, all attempting to convey some message of home, love, respect, support or kitch. Mostly, it's kitch like the Christmas decorations – the vast majority of which have been removed, thankfully.
I had hoped to walk the beach again today since it will rain all day tomorrow, and be cold and blustery on Sunday, but I spent too much time addressing postcards, and I decided that I wanted bourbon and lottery tickets more than a walk on the beach. The other day, I bought a pack of Crest White Strips at Publix – my father had to co-sign because they are so expensive – and I have been using them daily. I put the strips on before I rode to Publix, but I forgot to remove them until I started cycling home. I peeled each strip and rode with the detritus stuck to my left forefingers the entire ride home. It took dish soap to get the sticky stuff off my fingers. My fingers were whiter, however. In a recent group photo I noticed that my teeth are much whiter than the others' and I want them to stay that way. A few small repairs can make all the difference.
I went to the "post office" this morning and happily discovered a package from J. Crew. When I ordered it last week, J. Crew said I'd have it before I died. Someone should introduce J. Crew to Amazon.
The River Club was filled with Zumba people this morning at nine, so I walked up to the gym at the Spa to do P90X "Cardio X." When I returned to BOB, there was a note duct-taped to him saying that the dogs "bark continuously at everything which passes by, [signed] Your Neighbors." I bet they barked like bastards when they taped the passive-aggressive note to the cabin door. I think the park model next door received the same note yesterday. This afternoon the park office called to inform me of the barking complaint which had been filed. I mentioned the note. I mentioned that the two times I have heard them bark when I wasn't inside I left the River Club Pool to stop their barking. I told the woman at the office (who was empathetic) that I would either bark-collar the dogs or close the RV and turn on the AC from now on when I leave. When I walked them this afternoon, I took special note of all the dogs inside their park models or RVs that barked when we passed. I stopped at the office to make amends with the woman who called me. She almost apologized to me, and the dogs some treats. Clearly, one of the recent arrivals is the complainant. No doubt it will turn out to be whoever is friendliest to me: that’s how passive-aggressive mother-fuckers operate.
I also learned today that dogs aren't allowed on the beach in Brevard County except on one section north of here. I may still take them because it's the only place they can play: I’ll do it early on weekend mornings when fewer people are there.
I hand-addressed 110 postcards today for the second half of the mailing list for the "Alligator" card. Tomorrow, I'll do the same for the first half of the list for the "Uphill Battle" card – even if I win the lottery – although, hiring me will be difficult.
Stretching class was much more highly attended today as Sherri promised it would be in the New Year. So far, I'm OK with the repetition because I don't do the routine exactly as it's presented. I look for new ways to make the stretches harder or I substitute moves which better suit my needs. The more I put into it the more I get out of it – like everything else. I've interacted with Beverly a few more times. She really is a doll. Yesterday, I encountered her at "Pour at Four," and I met her friends. Beverly was dressed to go out to dinner with her husband. She had on a little make-up and she has a terrific figure. She is a very handsome woman and anyone would be proud to look like her at 65 let alone 81.
I created two more postcards this afternoon. I struggled with the first one for two days, and once it came together the second followed easily. I'll have it next week which is perfect timing. I'm waiting for Kim and Kate to comment on the fifth card because their blessings mean a lot to me. I'll spend the next two days addressing 220+ postcards for next Tuesday's mailing. Oy.
Last night I asked Sherri if she'd like to go to lunch on Saturday and she said yes. We'll go to the place up the street where Kate and I ate when we first came to Melbourne Beach. The food was great and the market adjacent to it has the cheapest wine in the area. I'm looking forward to having a conversation with Sherri without walking at the same time. I'm also looking forward to a break from food prep and eating something different like a salad. I know that sounds un-aspirational, but when you live alone a box of greens can become a burden. Besides, a little lunch out feels like a celebration whether or not there is a reason.
The wind seems to come from either the northwest or southwest, so it doesn't flow well through BOB, the rear of which is due west and without a window which opens. I ran the air conditioning all day, so I was surprised by the lovely breeze and cool temperature when I took the dogs for a walk this afternoon. Sunset was quite well attended tonight, but I bailed early – during the "pink skies at night, sailors' delight" phase – because the breeze was making me too cold. I wish that I were parked at a different angle so I could benefit from it during the heat of the day.
I did P90X "Kempo X" this morning, then I rode my bicycle four miles round-trip to deliver 220+ postcards to the post office in Melbourne Beach. On the way home, I stopped at the address of the massage place I found online and it wasn't listed on the building's marquee, I called the number and left a message. When I got home, I emailed the addressed listed on the website, and I received a "permanent failure" response. Clearly, the place is out of business.
As I approached the RV park, there were County Sheriff vehicles flanking the entrance to the park. A helicopter was circling over the river. I stopped in the office to inquire about extending my stay until April 1st. One of the employees told me that "the man with Alzheimer's" had gone missing. Through Sherri, I know who he is. He and his wife walk a lot because he likes to get up and go. This wasn't his first escape: the last time he was found two miles south near Publix. Apparently, his wife has trouble sleeping because she fears he will leave their park model in the middle of the night. At this point, he needs to be institutionalized He needs a team of people and a huge security system because he is a danger to himself and those who might have to rescue him from the ocean or river. Keeping him in the park is a source of stress for his wife as well as the other tenants (who drive their carts around looking for him).
I went to line dancing tonight. Sherri talked me into it. I never, would have gone without her suggestion, and I told her that on the way home. I had a great time. There were probably 25 to 30 of us. Some were new like me, whereas others were seasoned veterans. The Dutch couple (the wife of whom I offended) taught the class. He is the lead instructor, and he first taught us how to do the Electric Slide. We learned two other line dances, then he taught us how to rumba. THAT, completely messed me up. The woman in front of me couldn't get it either and started dancing like a crazy person. I laughed out loud and it disrupted the class. My problem was this: the two-step is a box dance whereby your feet move left, right, left, right, right, left, right, left in a square of sorts (if you are fancy it can be just a parallelogram), but the rumba moves left, right, left, hold, right, left, right, hold, creating an H-pattern which fucked with my two-step muscle memory. I learned this after class when I explained my two-step problem to a seasoned dancer. It was interesting to me how steps like cross-overs and three-step turns are natural to me as a non-dancer, but some very simple small steps like rocking are difficult. Perhaps it's because moves like cross-overs are used for training athletes. The other thing I noticed is that as an athlete the length of my stride was always an advantage, but in dancing just because you can step three feet doesn't mean you should.
The Dutch man has a lazy eye, so when he speaks with someone he turns his head to align both eyes to the person’s face. When I speak to him (and other with lazy eyes), I am always trying to vector into which eye I should speak. Tonight, eye contact with him was not a factor because I was looking at his feet. I quickly realized that he was wearing two different shoes. They were both black, so he had not made the “I-have them-in-two-colors-and-grabbed-one-of-each” mistake. It turned out that he was intentionally wearing a dancing shoe and athletic shoe because he has a pulled groin muscle. All I could think of was Eugene Levy’s character in "Best in Show" who had two left feet! If he taught the rumba it would be, left, left, left, hold, left, left, left, hold! And, which left foot would lead?
I assumed the other night that the Dutch woman was offended because I guessed that she is German. Tonight, during the break, she came over to me, pointing her finger, and said, "You, you said that word!" I replied, "Yes, I said I thought you were German (the “word”) and I apologize if I offended you." "No! she countered, "You said that bad word in Dutch!" "Well, you asked!" I replied in my own defense. I was struck that she was more offended by me taking the "Lord's" name in vain than me mistaking her for a German of a certain age, and therefore a Hitler Youth. It was yet another unnecessary conflict (albeit minor) over religion. I suppose if we were all atheists, we’d fight about something more important – like water.
When I left, I asked the Dutch woman if she and her husband know how to disco. She said no. "You know, "Saturday Night Fever? I bet everyone here has seen the movie?" She said, "Sure, I love that movie." I told her that the Hustle is basically a line dance and that she should YouTube it. I think we'll be hustling before I leave the park in March.
The oldest person with whom I have ever had a personal relationship would be 124 years old if he were alive today. His name was Elmer A. Ramazetter. He lived across the street from the nursing home where my mother my mother was an administrator – a place where his wife died and where he continued to volunteer after her death, although he was older than most of the patients. When I was a freshman in college, Elmer watched "Body Heat" at my parents’ house with me and a few of my girlfriends from college: he didn't bat an eye while we watched agape. On occasions, he and my mother would drive the 80 miles to Wells College so Elmer could have a couple of beers with me and the girls. Midway through my junior year Elmer was diagnosed with colon cancer and given only a few weeks to live (he was 92). At their urging, Elmer moved into my parents' house. My mother had a different job by then – one which required her to travel five days a week. While she was gone, Elmer, my father, and Linus, our toy poodle, lived on a diet of gin, beer, beef, pizza, ice cream, and chocolate. They were happy. Elmer said he wanted to live long enough to see me graduate from college, and he did. He died 10 days after I matriculated, having lived 18 months post-cancer diagnosis. The will to live is an incredible thing. Elmer was terrific, and he was the best friend my mother ever had.
Speaking of college, I had "the college dream" last night. I fell asleep in the dinette watching some unremarkable movie. I woke after midnight, did the dishes, walked the dogs, took a shower, did my ablutions, and went to bed. By then it was one and I was wide awake, so I read news articles for two hours. From three to six-something I tossed and turned, throwing the bedding off and pulling it back on, moving from fetal-to-“L”-to-starfish positions trying to sleep for more than what felt like 20 seconds at a time. Clearly, I accomplished that because I had the fucking college dream – 30 years after I graduated from college! (The theme is always the same: it’s my last semester, I have four classes, but for some inexplicable reason I am not attending one or more of them, the consequence of which would prevent me from graduating.) In last night's fucking nightmare, I hadn't attended three of the four classes, and I didn't even know when they were held. I had registered for them, started attending them, and then had some sort of collegiate Alzheimer's which made me forget everything about them until the last fucking week. I hadn't read the material, taken the quizzes and tests, hadn't written the papers: I hadn't done ANYTHING! So, this was a SUPER anxiety dream which must have everything to do with finding a new job. The anxiety is probably the fear that my postcard mailing campaign won't produce any results (three postcards equals three classes, but three doesn’t get the “job” done – four does). And, if I don’t get a job, I won't have matriculated to the next phase of my career. I can't look for work every hour of the day because I have to sleep, and not having a job is interfering with my sleep which is interfering with my job search. Oh, good: I should be psychotic in 72 hours.
This morning, I dreamed about eating peanut butter and strawberry jam on French country bread toast. I will have it tomorrow morning with a bottle of Prosecco: what better way to bring in the New Year? Oh, bacon. Maybe I'll have that, too. Um, bacon. I just took it out of the freezer.
When I got up, I flushed the black tank, did laundry, ironed, made appointments for the dogs to get groomed, made an eye exam appointment for me, picked out new frames online, registered with Suburban Propane so I can get a fill-up when I need one, found a masseuse, and I road my bike to Publix to get a few groceries. By doing all of my chores today, I can enjoy my dream meal as a complete indulgence. I may even watch a movie midday!
It was much warmer today but still considerably less humid. The wind shifted from the north at 18+ mph back to the south at 10-15mph. The ride home from Publix was a downwind sail. At four-thirty I walked down to Sherri’s site and asked her if she wanted to walk the park with me and the dogs. She did. People stopped us to talk to her and to talk to me about the dogs. People who have had Westies always tell me their dogs’ ages at and causes of death. And, they always get another Westie – like I did.
Sherri is going to the New Year's Eve party tonight at eight or eight-thirty. It's a BYOB affair that her friend (whose age I nailed) organized. I can't imagine, but if I went, I'd either have something to write about or I’d need therapy. Sherri said that I should do one of the poolside line-dancing affairs, but I said that I'd be uncomfortable as a “single” because I don't want to appear “available.” What if someone's husband asked me to dance? Ugh, I don't need that. I'm quite happy on my own, eating the food I've cooked, drinking box wine, and watching whichever "Lord of the Rings" trilogy episode is airing, in spite of the fact that Golum creeps me out.
Speaking of creeps, as I returned from Publix I followed creepy-dick-neighbor-guy in his car back into the park. If I had cranked it out I could have kept up with him assuming he didn't violate the 10mph speed limit, but he's a dick so he sped. When Sherri and I were walking the park we encountered dickhead and his wife leaving in their car. She smiled and he waved. I glared. He leaves his trash on my site every morning. I took his water jug to recycling when he left it beside his trash the other day. I hope he pulls out tomorrow. If I notice, I'll go outside and clap.
The visiting children and their parents have been leaving the park since yesterday. I have gotten a kick out of the 14-year-olds driving around the park in the grandparents' golf carts. I will miss that because I remember wanting to mow the lawn at 14 just so I could drive the John Deere riding mower. When I was a kid, I’d drive anything with a motor. I still will.
I started doing Sudoku and reading news articles at four forty-five this morning. Sometime after six, I fell asleep again. Often, when I dream at this time of the morning, my dreams center on me being groggy or falling asleep when I should be awake and doing things. Perhaps it's unconscious guilt for not getting out of bed. Who knows? This morning's dream was quite elaborate and it went something like this:
Kim and Kate are with me in BOB. They have a rental car which needs to be returned, and their own car needs to be picked up from a repair shop. They depart for home and ask me to take care of the cars. I had planned to decamp and drive south in BOB that day. The car rental place is northeast of me and the repair shop is northwest of me. If I drive the rental car back to the agency, how will I get back to BOB? How I am going to retrieve their car? (Clearly, in my dream there is no Enterprise-Rent-a-Car or Uber. Why didn't Kim and Kate take the rental car back when they left? What I am supposed to with their car once I retrieve it? I can't tow it.) Meanwhile, I have masses amounts laundry and dishes to do, and I can't seem to finish either. BOB then transforms into a park home of sorts. A former friend stops to say good-bye because I'm leaving town. (Where the hell am I?) We have coffee and I fall asleep at table while he's there. I wake and he leaves unceremoniously; as he's departing, he uncharacteristically fawns over neighbor's cat. I'm groggy can't seem to wake completely. Once again, I attend to the laundry and dishes which must be self-replicating because I can't make any headway. I still can't figure out what to do about the cars. It's getting late, so I decide to defer my departure until the next day. The next thing I know, I'm playing tennis with a guy I know from the jewelry industry. (We were only acquaintances and we never played tennis together.) I excuse myself and run from the court because remember the car problems. I go inside "BOB" and a woman I barely knew from business school is doing yoga. I'm nonplussed by her presence and she leaves shortly after I arrive. Somehow, Jean is there. Then my mother's sisters show up and rearrange the furniture as I knew they would. When they are finished I tell them I don't like what they have done and I ask them to put everything back. I get on a scooter and ride toward car rental place. I call while driving and the guy who answers says he'll pick up the car at seven that night.
I wake up and I'm really groggy like in the dream. Christ! Kim and Kate left their car in storage in Miami when they left BOB and me in Naples. They had offered the car to me, but I couldn't tow it, and I didn't want to commit to staying in one place until they returned to Florida at the end of January. I always have a lot of laundry to do when guests leave, but there are never any dirty dishes. Enterprise and Uber are both here: I always look for them when choosing destinations longer than a week. Sherri is trading out her Airstream for a park home next week, so perhaps that explains BOB's transmogrification. The former friend who came to say good-bye was someone I knew from the jewelry industry and we talked weekly. This summer, I realized I had made the last three calls to him so I stopped calling. He still hasn't called me (not even for my birthday), but he responded to a text I sent him in November. I can't explain the tennis game at all: my “tennis partner” left the jewelry industry and opened an optical shop; and, I want new glasses (from Ben Silver, not from him). I can't make any connections to the woman from business school other than her name is Jill as is Kim's sister. I am going to start doing P90X yoga next week. My aunts invited me to visit them in Ottawa when I return north. I thought of inviting them to Florida, but I want to maintain my solitude to focus on getting a job. Yesterday, I moved some "furniture" inside of BOB; also, I always have to move things when I have guests.
If I wake up at four forty-five tomorrow morning, I'm not going to go back to sleep: instead, I’m going to water board myself and confess to anything…everything.
Yesterday, when Sherri and I were walking on the beach, an ambulance –sirens blaring – went south on A1A. Sherri said that she hoped it wasn't going to our park. Right. When an ambulance comes here, it's not because someone's grandson has broken his arm skateboarding around the park. She said some of the residents chase the ambulances in their golf carts, following them to their destination sites. At first hearing, the thought of it was comical, but that dissipated immediately. She said that it happened when her husband went into cardiac arrest: people she hardly knew were gawking outside her trailer. An EMT had to tell a man to move away from the rear of the ambulance because he was violating the patient's HIPPA rights. What a rude, insensitive thing to do! Clearly, some people either have no decency or they are frighteningly ignorant. Wow.
I spent 20 minutes after stretching class talking to Beverly. She had been talking to some others before class started, and I learned that she had lived in Burlington, MA and worked for a semi-conductor factory. I had heard previously that she had grown up in Maine. We talked about the demise of the shoe, textile, jewelry, and semi-conductor factories in New England, and especially in the greater Boston area. We agreed that those jobs are never coming back, like those lost in the Rust Belt: the cost of the infrastructure re-investment and the lack of working-aged, skilled employees render the prospect impossible. She lamented that kids don't learn trades. I explained that the Europeans do it very well. I enjoyed our talk and think that she is a lovely person.
Beverly also told me that alcohol isn't a big problem here inasmuch as people don't create noise, wreak havoc, or otherwise terrorize the park. I said that I have noticed when I walk the dogs that a lot of people start cocktail hour at four. She said yes, "It's called Pour at Four,” and everyone goes home by five-thirty for dinner. If I eat dinner at seven tonight, that will be early for me.
I did P90X "Ab Ripper X" this morning and it was tough. The pulled hamstring was the least of my problems: I'm weak from not exercising, and the paraspinal muscles on my right side are very tight. “Western medicine Jean” suggested acupuncture or massage. I Googled providers and I'd have to unhook BOB to do that. There is a massage therapist within cycling distance, so I may try her. Jean also suggested the hot tub – which doesn't do anything for me – or a heating pad, which seems unbearable given that it's typically 70 degrees inside BOB at night.
Yesterday, I changed my work-out from intervals of free-weights and jumping rope to intervals of push-ups and other cardio exercises like jumping jacks and cross-overs. I didn't last very long. This morning, I was sore from the push-ups. When I'm fit I can do one-arm push-ups, so starting over is a kick in the balls. This morning I did the "Core Synergistics" P90X workout – well, what I could do of it. I did the entire 90-day P90X workout in the spring of 2011. It is grueling and time-consuming. From time-to-time since then, I have done several of the workouts as part of a more comprehensive exercise program. I don't have the equipment to do the 90-day program here now, but I have decided to use select routines as the mainstay of my workouts while I'm here. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I'll do either "Ab X" or some of the 90-minute "Yoga X" after the stretching class, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays I'll cherry pick among the other routines to avoid injury and boredom. Maybe I'll stay here until March just to get fit. Unless I get a job.
I must have addressed over 80 postcards today for the second "Alligator" campaign. I paced myself and only ruined two cards. I ruined a little over 10% of the "Patagonia" cards probably by doing them under duress. I forced myself to stop: I ate half of my lunch and took the dogs for a spin around the block. Sherri saw me and asked if I wanted to go for a walk on the beach. Yes! I told her that I needed 15 minutes to finish walking the dogs and eating my lunch. We walked for about two hours. The beach is really quite nice and the water temperature is still above 70 degrees. Sherri told me more about her late husband (everyone must have loved him – I do, and I never met him), her son and daughter, their children, the place where she has a cottage, its local bears and famous guests, and a little bit about this park where she has been coming for 35 years. She has a wonderful life, her loss notwithstanding, but she and her husband made many lifetimes of memories together which most of us never get to experience. I rarely speak of my first husband, perhaps because the relationship was short-lived, but I have many fond memories of my second husband – things he said, things we did, etc. – and I still recount those happy stories to both mutual friends and those who never knew him. I am not a revisionist, and I am grateful for any pleasure I can take forward. Death ensures that no relationship survives, and divorce can preempt death. I will always relish a fun, shared experience with someone whether we parted through death, divorce, or another end of our time together.
The dogs get up in the morning when I open the Listerine bottle. It signals that my ablutions are finished, the coffee is made, I'm ready to give them "Puppy Love," then take them for their walk. Once they started feeling better, I began walking them using their check cords. The 20 feet-long cords give them a sense of freedom from me. I reel them in like fish when other dogs, bicycles, golf carts, or cars approach us. We can walk at a pretty good clip, save passers-by who want to talk to me or pet them (these are two different types of people). It is a far more pleasant experience to walk happy, healthy dogs a mile, than to walk unhappy, unhealthy dogs around the block. Addison even peed in grass today.
I went to "sunset" tonight with Sherri. Kids were stand-up paddle boarding in the Indian River. Someone said that there are no alligators in the river. Hmm, they’re in its tributaries. It bothered me how far offshore the kids paddled, that they weren’t wearing life-jackets, that the sun was setting, and that there was no means of rescuing them if they got into trouble. The river is easily two miles wide here, and it is part of the Intracoastal Waterway. Even if there aren't alligators, there are speeding boats and non-lethal wildlife which could hit or up-end them.
I have a healthy respect for water, a distrust of people operating motorized boats, and I recognize that I am not a great swimmer. I had a windsurfer when I was in college. Cayuga Lake is warm enough in the fall to swim, so I would windsurf in the afternoons during my senior year. I never went far from shore because there was no means of rescuing me if the weather either made the lake dangerous or if I exceeded my skills to tack back to the dock. Cayuga Lake is about three miles wide at Aurora, NY, and it is hundreds of feet deep. I learned to windsurf on its sister Finger Lake, Seneca, which, like Cayuga, is more than 40 miles long, but Seneca is 600 feet deep in places. I learned to windsurf on Seneca Lake on a board with a hollow aluminum mast which would fill with water every time I dropped it. I learned the limits of my strength and skills, I learned the power of the wind, and I learned these lessons in the company of adults who both windsurfed with me and had a motorboat with which to rescue me. I wonder what the relatives of these girls would have done to rescue them from the Indian River tonight if the need arose. I bet the thought never occurred to them.
Others joined us for sunset. One, a woman from New Jersey, I had met previously. It was our third of fourth meeting and this time she asked me questions: where did I live, where was I born, what did I do, and finally, how old am I? "Well, how old do you think I am?" I countered. She and Sherri guessed that I am between 38 and 42. Thank you. Then the woman from New Jersey asked me how old I think she is. I said 73. Bingo. Hmm. Embarrassing? Maybe. I told her that I had been consistently underestimating peoples' ages so now I add five to 10 years. (The truth is that she looks 73 – the sun will do that.) I don't think she was very happy that I guessed her age, regardless of my explanation.
My second, third, and fourth awkward moments of the evening occurred with a Dutch couple from Michigan who joined us. Because the husband has a German name, I guessed that they were German. Wrong! Austrian? Wrong! Swiss? Wrong! Dutch. Right, the accent is less guttural: awkward moment number two. We went on to have a discussion about regional US accents. I told her my father still sounds like he's from Philly although he left at 18. She mentioned a couple from Attleboro, MA – the town adjacent to the one in which I worked for the last year – who have accents that other Americans in the park can't understand. I explained that accent to her: if a word ends in a vowel, add an "r" and pronounce it; it the word ends in an "r", drop it. Then, I made an apropos joke about Frisians (as the Dutch and Germans do), and she said her husband is from Frisia: awkward moment number three. However, she said that the first time she met her husband's family, she asked him to ask them either to speak English or proper Dutch because she couldn't understand a word they said. My fourth awkward moment occurred when I said that I only know how to say one thing in Dutch. I told her that it is swearing, but she pressed me to say it: “God verdomme het.” It means “God damn it.” She glared at me.
I'll probably be stoned at sunset tomorrow. Or, fed to the non-existent alligators. As an encore, I’ll ask a fat woman when the baby is due.
I've amassed 220 names in 110 companies for my postcard mailing. All of the first round of cards are either mailed or addressed and stamped waiting for the holidays to be over to be posted. The two ensuing cards arrived yesterday. Tomorrow, I'll begin addressing the second round to those who have already received the first. There's a limit to how many cards I can do at a time because my hand starts to cramp. I also have a spastic reaction to writing the number five, so that fucks me up, too. It's especially bad when I have to write two fives in a row. I have the same problem with the number 16 when I'm counting workout exercises: I seem to skip from 15 to 17 habitually and inexplicably. I like the number 16: it's not prime, it's the square of four, one can drive at 16, so what's not to like? I could understand if I skipped 17 because I don't like prime numbers, but that never happens. It drives me crazy: 14, 15, 17, 17, 18, 19, 20, stop.
The dogs are back on full-metal-jacket dog food and their poops are OK. Phew! Tonight I walked them on their 20 feet check cords and we actually did a mile without a complaint from either of them. On our return, a woman stopped me to ask about the dogs. She then told me that she is the recreation director, mentioned the five o’clock chili dinner next week, and that the tickets for it will be sold on Friday morning. Uh, no thanks. The woman is perhaps the most tanned, most wrinkled woman I have ever seen. Prunes would be jealous of her sun-damaged folds. What is wrong with these people? OK, they didn't have sunblock when they were kids, but it's been around for 40+ years. These are the same people who gave up smoking: not in the late Sixties when it was first proclaimed to be carcinogenic, but just yesterday post cancer diagnosis. They've had at least that amount of time to give up the sun. Don’t they think they'll ever get skin cancer? Do they think their wrinkles and spots are attractive? I wish I were a dermatologist: I could mint a fortune here just scraping, clipping, and biopsying. Oy.
I saw one of the maintenance guys this morning when I rode my bike up to the office to mail some postcards. Yesterday, his crew cut my yard and that of my dickhead neighbor. I asked him is his guys complained about dog shit in either yard. He said no, but they have in the past, confirming my thesis that passers-by use these side-by-side rental properties as dog wastelands. I told the man about the creepy-dickhead experience I had with my neighbor the other night. He told me to be vigilant.
Last night when I took the dogs out for their pre-bedtime pee, my neighbor was standing by the left from tire of his Class A. He then accused me of letting my dogs shit all over my yard and his. He watched me pick Addison by her neck with her leash in order to try to get her to pee on the grass. She hates wet grass in particular, and she has grown to hate Florida grass because she gets burrs in her feet. She jumped off the grass. Jasper peed on it from the sidewalk. Not only is my neighbor a dick for the baseless accusation, he's also a creep for stalking me to have a confrontation: he must have been sitting in his dinette watching for me to emerge so he could verbally accost me. If he does it again, I call the police.
This morning, I decamped to run errands in Melbourne: USPS, Quest Diagnostics, PetSmart, SuperCuts, and Publix. I drive right and pass left. If I'm in the left lane and not passing, I'm going to make a left turn. This morning, I was in the right lane of US 192 eastbound when the right lane became a turning-only lane. If there was a warning, I didn't see it. I moved into the left lane at an angle because there was no room for me to pull through and straighten. The first car which passed me on the right had a mangled left from fender, and the driver shouted explicatives at me while giving me the finger aggressively. I think he over-reacted.
I hope I never have to go to Quest Diagnostics again. I was there for an hour and a half to get blood work. I checked in via their tablet, waited, waited, waited, was called to do the paperwork, then I waited, waited, waited. I have never spent so much time waiting to get blood work in my life. Quest must be extraordinarily inefficient or understaffed. I think the former. However, the initial waiting period was serendipitously delightful because I sat next to a Korean Police Conflict veteran. He (a white boy) grew up on a Mohawk reservation in Upstate New York and became an ironmonger. (Read about the Native Americans who built the Verrazano Bridge.) He told me all about his army experience – his respect for his fellow infantry men up and down the chain of command but his dislike of the army in general. His ironwork took him all over the US, and he built everything from bridges to buildings to a 2,000 feet tower without ever wearing a harness. I was sorry when his name was called (it's the same as a famous football coach!) because I could have listened to him all day. He is a lovely, happy man and I'm sure his five children adore him.
I parked BOB in the Home Depot plaza which also housed SuperCuts. I ate lunch and walked into the shop. I had to wait about 20 minutes, but that was fine – especially after my longer wait at Quest. I took with me pictures of Meg Ryan with a pixie and Diane Keaton with a layered bob. I told the stylist that I might like to get to Diane Keaton's look at some point, but perhaps Meg Ryan's pixie would be a means of getting there. The hair wash took too long and was not that pleasant. The haircut was mostly frightening: the girl cut fearlessly and with ferocity. The only way I would have lost more hair is if she buzz-cut me. Instead of Meg Ryan's long-layered, highly texturized pixie, I have Jamie Lee Curtis's cut without the grey, without the face, and without the body (not that I have Meg Ryan's or Diane Keaton's face, either). While I love the quality of my hair when it's longer, a pixie really suits my lifestyle, as well as my lack of girlie talents.
On my way home, I stopped at a local grocery store in Melbourne Beach because Publix sells Bota Box for $6 more than it. I bought every box of Malbec and Pinot Noir that the shop had. It's only a little over three miles from where BOB is parked, so I can get two boxes in my backpack if I run out of wine before my next BOB run.
The dogs didn't want to walk this morning, so I aborted our mile. Yesterday, and this morning, I encountered a "walker," a woman of 80-ish who walks three-and-a-half miles in the park every day. She walks at a pretty good pace, too. This morning she stopped me to introduce herself. When I told her my name she asked me to spell it. I should have said no. I should always say no, unless the asker either has familiarity with Gaelic or knows someone with my name. (The latter likes to show off by proving (or not) that she or he can spell it.) Once I spelled my name, the walker couldn't say it. Right. Common problem. Brain disconnect with Gaelic. I saw her again as I neared home, and she couldn't get my name right. Right.
I had planned to unhitch BOB to run errands on Wednesday, but I decided to go tomorrow instead. The stretching class and my workout afterwards take twice as much time as my solo workout, so tomorrow will give me an earlier start. I have to have blood work, get a haircut (I can take it any longer!), get dog food, buy groceries and wine, and go to the Post Office. My decision to go tomorrow probably has more to do with getting a haircut than anything else. Once I decide I need a haircut, I hate waiting for an appointment. Tomorrow will be my first SuperCuts experience.
I did some research yesterday morning on RV parks north of here on both coasts. I didn’t find anything I liked, and I don’t want to go to the Panhandle where it will be in the thirties at night. So, I re-upped for another month here. Now, I'm booked until February 15th. Sherri tried to get me a private rental which would be much less expensive, but the site was already booked. I haven't heard from the Naples park regarding my status on the waitlist, but as much as I liked the people there, the park isn't worth the extra expense. I miss the white ibises, but I have the ocean, river, herons, and pelicans here.
I spent five hours today researching contacts and addresses for another 40+ companies I like. I migrated my list from Apple's Numbers program to Microsoft's Excel because the list has become so large that I needed to manage it with the more sophisticated program. So many of the brands I like have been swallowed by larger entities, which is disheartening. So many sources of information are dated, like Bloomberg, and I have to do multiple searches to find what I hope is reliable information. What a pain in the ass.
Neither dog pooped this morning. Perhaps the ground beef and rice diet is completely assimilated.
I gave Jasper a normal portion of dry dog food with a little ground beef, and Addison got a little dry dog food with her ground beef and rice. We did the mile tonight and it took 50 minutes. Jasper had a soft poop 15 minutes into our walk, and Addison had one at 35 minutes into it. I repeated this morning's food servings again tonight. Tomorrow morning will prove or disprove my science.
Yesterday I ate a six inch piece of pepperoni over the course of three hours. I never ate dinner because I wasn't hungry. I told Jean that I'm not taking the other two sticks out of the freezer because if I do they'll be gone by the weekend. I'm having a real dinner tonight. Starting now.
I did laundry this morning because I figured I'd have no competition: I was right. As it was finishing, Sherri knocked on my door and asked if I'd like to walk on the beach again. We agreed to do so 30 to 60 minutes later. So, I folded the laundry, retrieved the towels from the dryer, and stuffed my pie hole with lunch. Like yesterday, we walked for nearly two hours. The beach is beautiful, and if I were a kid, I would have been swimming and sunbathing. As an adult, the water is too cold, and I have a no-tan policy. Many of the residents here have major sun-related skin damage which they make worse every year. And, today, I saw a twenty-something woman who has sun damage that I have only seen on people 50 years her senior.
Before Sherri knocked, I had planned on coloring my hair and drinking Prosecco. I deferred it until my return. I have to say that it's an excellent combination. Eating homemade pepperoni, cheese, snow peas, and carrots supports both, as does watching the second half of "A Christmas Story.” When you live in 180 square feet, you can color your hair, eat, drink, and watch TV at the same time without moving your head. Last night, the people with whom I formally worked initiated a group text about Christmas and the movie. Two of them are die-hard fans who can recite the lines because they identify with Ralphie's childhood, yet they are 18 years apart. I watched it last year for the first time because of them, but it didn't resonate with me. It still doesn't, but I understand its appeal. I think if I watched it with a devotee, I'd appreciate it more.
This morning while listening to Kurt Andersen's "Studio 360," I heard writer Oliver Butcher confess his love for the movie "Love Actually." OK, that is my Christmas movie! Other than "Band of Brothers" and The Civil War," it is the only DVD I own. I cry every time I watch it. Butcher explained his guilty pleasure and its beauty, including the Laura-Linney-character-hot-Karl-the-IT-guy failed hook up where she leaves him in an unconsummated bed to attend to her mentally ill, orphaned adult brother. Butcher said that she had to do it. I disagree! She's not his fucking mother! She's not responsible for his mental illness! It's not her fault that her parents left them orphaned. She should attempt to enjoy her own life unfettered by her sibling. She should have turned off her phone and fucked Karl and lived happily ever after. But if she had, we wouldn't have known her tragedy. And, Christmas, isn't Christmas without tragedy. Nothing merry about that.
We've all crossed bridges and driven on roads which are in memoriam for someone. I have always found that to be odd and discomforting. When I cross a bridge, drive a road, walk past a park bench, or, more recently, encounter a tree named for someone, I ask myself who was this person, and why is it important to recognize him or her? Why is it important that we recognize a minor state or local politician or someone whose heirs had enough money to commemorate something for the deceased? If I believed in the afterlife, I would be mortified that road or bridge had been built or a tree had been planted and a plaque placed beside either to tell strangers I had lived. It's a gravestone outside a cemetery, and I think cemeteries are one of the largest wastes of land of which mankind has conceived. Short of architectural wonders like the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, burying our contemporary dead seems wasteful. Commemorating the unremarkable seems silly. Have you ever Googled the name of an unfamiliar person whose bridge or road you crossed? No, you haven't. Because you don't care. No one does. So, why do we do it? Fuck, if I'm ever famous I hope someone names a garbage dump or waste water reclamation plant after me: at least people will get that I, like the place, stink, and that's a pertinent connection.
FaceBook told me that today is my mother's birthday. That's because my mother lies about her date of birth. She has done it for decades – since her twenties. It drives me crazy. She was born on December 23, 1938, but she tells people and agencies (like the DMV) that she was born December 24, 1939, a year and a day later. Shifting her date of birth to Christmas Eve has no explanation other than a desire for attention. It is obviously more "special" to be born on Christmas Eve, a holiday, than the 23rd of December, a date on which only frantic shopping and holiday meal preparation occurs. But, who I am to judge? My birthday is on the winter solstice (usually) – the longest night of the year – so I guess that really does make me “special.”
This morning, Sherri stopped by to ask me if I wanted to go to Publix with her. I was in the middle of something, so I asked her if she'd buy me a pound of lean ground beef for my sick dog. She said she would, and I gave her ten dollars. I then asked her if she wanted to go for a walk on the beach later today. We went a little after one. Sherri lost her husband nearly two years ago; adding to her grief, she also lost her mother, sister, and sister's husband within the same 24 month period. Sherri met her husband, Jack, when they were 17, they married at 24, and they were married for 47 years. She said that he always took care of everything, and that he always made her laugh. She said she couldn't stay mad at him about anything because of that. Sherri is sad and lonely, and there is nothing anyone can do to replace that man for her. Her grief is understandable and potentially irreversible. But, she is a lovely, otherwise happy person, and she will persevere because she is lovely and otherwise happy, because she has wonderful children, and because she has many friends who care about her.
Last night I turned off the "PBS Newshour" (which I listen to on WGBH radio via TuneIn) in order to watch "Raiders of the Lost Ark" on TV. The Friday night show is my favorite because David Brooks and Mark Shields review the week. As much as I value their insights, I haven't seen "Raiders" for years (it's not available to stream for free), so I cheated on them. Tonight, I’ll watch "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." I love Indy: I want to be Indy.
Siobhan M. Knox
In May 2016, I bought a five ton, 25’ long Class C motorhome because I like to drive, I like to travel, and it’s more fun and less expensive than living in a hotel. No prior RV experience was required, and I had none: perfect. I’m writing a book about my adventures which will come to an end when I get a job. The dogs will be sad.