I’m sure some of you are wondering, “Where is she?” “Has she stopped walking?” “Did she fail on her mission to walk 365 days?” But then again, it’s just as likely no one is paying attention.
I am here. I am walking. What I am struggling with is writing. I am wasting too much time listening to the negative vibes. I can’t seem to shut them out despite the encouragement and praise I have received from wonderful people I have never met. So today I am determined to shut the naysayers and old biddies out. I am writing.
Saturday. Lots of errands, including house hunting. We are determined to find a house. Rich is not adjusting well to apartment life. This week the chain-smoking insomniac upstairs reached an all time high on the annoying neighbor meter. He/she has been grating on Rich’s nerves for weeks now. Let’s call he/she, Coffin Nail, for the sake of brevity. Coffin Nail lives upstairs. We are guessing the roommates don’t like smoking in the apartment because Coffin Nail retreats to the deck like lemmings to the sea, anytime, day or night.
(Note to self: Google lemming. What are lemmings and why do they head to the sea?)
The problem we are dealing with is this: Coffin Nail doesn’t stay out there on the deck smoking. Coffin Nail takes a drag on the cigarette, inhales, rolls the very loud sliding glass door open, exhales out towards the deck then very noisily slides the door shut with a bang. Over and over again until the craving for nicotine has been satisfied.
Funny thing about Floridians, they spend a lot of time inside with the air conditioning on. Open windows are a rare sight. Those fluttering sheer curtains I keep pinning on my Pinterest boards? I don’t see them much around here. Instead I hear the sound of those big air conditioning systems humming day and night. There is one right outside the window where I am writing, but I am blasting Dire Straits to tune out the constant hum.
We moved to Florida for the weather. Tired of nor’easters, snow, and rain, we escaped New Hampshire for sunnier skies. No one ever moved to New England for the weather, but I must admit summer is hot as hell down here.
I digress, let’s get back to the neighbor. This past week Coffin Nail was up all night. The door slid open and shut numerous times as we struggled to fall asleep. Awakened at two a.m. and four a.m., six o’clock finally rolled around and we were exhausted. Rich was extremely grumpy.
“We’re getting the hell out of here,” he shouted.
I understand his anger. He had been working on new construction that day. A shell of a house with no air conditioning in the brutal heat of a summer day in Florida. I was working in an air conditioned office in an empty building. I could possibly squeeze a nap in at my desk if I needed to. And I did.
So, we planned to spend our Saturday house hunting, exploring some new neighborhoods with an opportunity to squeeze a walk in while doing it.
(Aaah, yes. You were wondering when I was going to take a walk.)
Lantana and Lake Worth were the day’s destination. We were told there are some affordable old Florida cottages around Lake and Lucerne Drives. We received this information at a happy hour at the Old Key Lime House in Lantana one Friday night. I cannot vouch for the validity of information received at a bar where numerous margaritas are being consumed, but the real estate experts were locals and seemed to know the area.
We drove through the neighborhoods we’d heard about, loved the colorful little cottages we saw, parked the car on Lucerne and walked the downtown area, which resembled a smaller version of the very trendy Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach. Lots of shops, restaurants offering international food and alfresco dining, which no one was taking advantage of on this hot, muggy day. We agreed we could live here. The public golf course nearby and the beach a walk or bike ride away were bonus.
We were dripping sweat as we passed an appealing looking restaurant that resembled a tiki hut. The air conditioning blasted from the open door, inviting us in for some lunch and a beer. Happy Hour started earlier that morning. Beers for $2. We ordered Yuenglings and salmon dip with homemade chips then struck up a conversation with the guy sitting next to us. It was his fortieth birthday. He had a date later in the evening but he was getting a jump on the festivities.
As always, we had numerous things in common. He grew up in West Palm but lived in Dennis, MA on Cape Cod for many years after college. Rich’s mother also lived in Dennis for many years. My husband and he had fished many of the same waters off Chatham and Monomoy Island which led to a long conversation about the Japanese and the overfishing of our shores.
He also turned out to be another bar stool real estate expert with a wealth of information about Delray, the neighborhoods to stay away from and the ones that would be a good investment. He lived in Lake Worth, a few blocks from the bar, in a house he said he “stole for a ridiculously small sum”.
Driving around one day, he saw a friend from high school working on the roof of the house. He stopped to chat and discovered the house was soon to be on the market. He grabbed it before the For Sale sign was ever planted on the front lawn. Serendipity. We are beginning to realize in the tight, crazy, volatile real estate market that is South Florida, we are going to need some serendipity.
Two beers later, we wished him a happy birthday and headed to the beach where I took another walk. I believe I have three in the bank now. I will need them as the summer continues to heat up.
I walked until I reached the mansion that annoys me. As far as I can tell, this is someone’s beach house. It appeared to be closed up for the season. They must be at their other house. When you’re thinking about income inequality in America (that is, if you ever do ponder this growing problem) think about Teddy Roosevelt, the roaring ’20’s, the Great Depression, anti-trust laws, etc. And ask yourself, how is it that this is happening all over again?