It’s the weekend and we are off on another excursion. One of the fun things about living somewhere new is even mundane errands turn into an adventure. My husband is buying a paint sprayer today. He has three large paint jobs coming up and this will make the work faster and more profitable. He spends the morning on Craigslist, finally locating a guy who has numerous sprayers for around two hundred dollars. They usually sell for eight hundred. There it is again, that 75% price point. How does he do it?
The guy rents a storage space in Fort Lauderhill, just west of Fort Lauderdale. Except for the airport when we flew to Denver, hubby has never been to Fort Lauderdale. I visited thirty years ago when I was working in Boston. My boss, Lester, was a real wheeler dealer and a huge fan of the barter system. We did some accounting work for a travel agent in exchange for vacation deals. At the end of tax season, I was rewarded with a trip to the World of Palm-Aire, along with a co-worker. It was in the early days of spa vacations. The resort offered massages, exercise classes and a spa diet. We were in our twenties and were looking for booze and beach, so we slept at the spa but spent our days and nights in Fort Lauderdale.
Heading west on Sunrise Boulevard, we past The Swap Shop, proclaimed to be Florida’s second largest tourist attraction. It is a huge flea market with amusement park rides and an enclosed food court, along with various food trucks. Flea markets were not on our agenda but we plan to come back someday. It was another smoldering summer afternoon and after our rendezvous with the paint sprayer guy, we planned to grab some lunch and hit the beach. We located the storage unit on a long road full of storage units, at least a dozen. I waited in the car, parked in the shade with the windows rolled down and read a book, while Rich negotiated the cash deal. Some guys working on cars in a nearby storage unit provided reggae music.
The deal took awhile, as it always does. Time passed, I got a little worried. Hubby had read on Craigslist earlier that morning that a guy had recently met up with a Craigslist seller in Lake Worth, was robbed of two thousand dollars, then shot and killed. There were plenty of people over at the makeshift auto body shop, so I told myself that couldn’t happen. I could tell you some stories about Craigslist bookkeeping clients I met over the years when I ran my own business but that’s a blog for another day. Nothing dangerous, just some very strange characters.
Twenty minutes later, it was ninety degrees in the shade and I was about to start the car and turn the air conditioning on when Rich returned with the sprayer and a free power roller thrown in for good measure. It only cost him $180 and he had stories to tell.
The seller acquired the sprayers when he rented the storage space. The former tenant just left them there. The young entrepreneur was selling them off to make room for the music studio he was building and the artwork he also made and sold, which my husband told me was some pretty ugly stuff. Silver spray painted metal wall hangings of lions, pelicans, dogs, swordfish.
Somehow the Sopranos came up. I guess it was the cash deal in the storage unit on a back road full of warehouses. The paint sprayer salesman said, “Too bad about James Gandolfini, huh?” What about James Gandolfini? Tony Soprano died? This happened two days ago? How did we not know this? We love the Sopranos. Rich has watched some of his favorite episodes numerous times. The Pine Barrens episode was an all time favorite. Our friend Russ might be right, we are falling behind on current events
We tried to absorb the information as we drove along Route A1A. We still don’t know how we missed this news. I watch Morning Joe every day and read the NY Times religiously. Hubby listens to the radio all day at work.
Fifty-one years old. Life is short. I know I keep saying it, but it’s true. My cousin and dearest friend Kathy died at fifty-one. We had many plans for our future. After visiting Spain with our husbands and my daughters and having such a great time together, we planned many more trips. Because most women out live their husbands, we always jokingly said we would end up roommates in some nursing home, smuggling in bottles of wine and retelling our backpacking through Europe stories ad nauseum. “Do you remember when we got tear gassed in San Sebastian?” “Or the time you got pickpocketed on the subway in Paris?” Sadly, it never came to be. I miss Kathy.
I found a place on the beach in Lauderdale by the Sea where we could eat lunch. How did I ever live without my IPhone? I am always plugged in. So, how did I miss the James Gandolfini news? It was still bothering me.
We lucked out and found a guy just leaving the public parking lot across the street from the Aruba Beach Cafe, our dining destination. Three hours for $4.25 and within minutes we have a table with a beach view and a margarita.
After a tasty lunch, we set our towels on the beach, under the shade of some palm trees. Rich wanted to nap so I took a walk. I love the sound of a beach on a hot summer day. The crashing surf, the low hum of laughter and shouts as swimmers dodge the waves, seagulls squawking. I watched a few young guys skimboarding.
A lot of people were snorkeling, but when I waded into the water, I wasn’t really sure what they were looking for. I didn’t see any colorful fish. I returned to our blanket and this time I shared my stories. Rich said they were snorkeling for shipwrecks, like he knew what he was talking about. “No way, there are no shipwrecks this close to shore,” I replied. He rolled over and went back to sleep.
I’ll leave you with this song from Rickie Lee Jones. This one’s for you Russ.