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.
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.