Yesterday I had not one but two Florida experiences.  I spent the morning out at our Everglades City office, a tiny town in the middle of the Everglades.  The town feels like it has been a time capsule for the last 50 years.  There are no strip malls, no high rises, no national chains in sight.  It’s just a small, simple, and slow paced place that charms me every time I visit.

Last night after work Cindy and I did something we have never done on a weekday evening, went to the beach.  Since it was Cinco de Mayo we thought it would be cool to grab some food outdoors at Tijuana Flats on the way.  We both expected the place to be packed on this hispanic holiday but it wasn’t bad at all.  We both enjoyed our taco meals.  Cindy even grabbed herself a margarita that tasted like paint thinner on my first sip but became less repulsive on subsequent tastes.

We then parked in the Vanderbilt Beach parking garage which is only maybe 100 yards from the beach. I brought a chair for myself, Cindy opted for one of her yoga mats for herself.  We had somewhere around 45 minutes to go before sunset.  I packed some magazines to read but I didn’t pick one up.

Instead I spent the time just chilling, enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the beach.  It was truly enjoyable.  Cindy, when she lived closer to the shore used to visit the beach all the time.  She was very appreciative that we were sitting in the sand enjoying the beauty of the ocean, on a Wednesday night.

Logistically it wasn’t that difficult to make this happen and I really would like to make an effort to make beach visits a more regular part of our lives.  Sitting in the sand watching the sun drop out of the sky might not help me cross items off the list but the less tangible benefits are real.

 

Yesterday at work I got a new beach parking sticker for the truck.  The reason being is I would like to make an effort to visit what many people would describe as the best benefit of living in SWFL, the beach.  A bizarre thing has happened since moving here, going to the beach, which prior to relocating south was imagined to be a core part of the Florida living experience has been anything but that.

The first year or so of living here we went to the beach pretty routinely and when I was playing beach volleyball I found myself there because that is where the tournaments were.  However once I stopped playing VB, my visits to the ocean became more and more sparse. The last time I went to the beach just to hang out was when my sister and her family were here visiting very early in 2020 before the shit hit the fan.

When I try to analyze why visiting the beach, something I absolutely cherished as a child when we would take our summer trips to the Jersey and Delaware shore, has become erased from my life, when I only live 17 miles from the coast is tough to explain.  There has been no deliberate intent to not go although my dozen or so skin cancer surgeries have definitely had some impact.  Going to the beach used to mean alternating between surf and sand with no regards to sun impact, part of the reason I am in the boat I am today.

I suspect the largest culprit in my beach absence is just how my life has for a long time diverted towards the road of fulfilling responsibilities and performing tasks, the process of which quite often makes the idea of taking a few hours off to sit on some sand seem like wasting valuable time.  I also have always been a very routine driven individual.  Beach visitation just never got a firm spot in my routine down here, despite how much I used to love it.

Hey I realize that interests come and go over time.  There are a ton of things I used to really enjoy/have interest in that have simply faded away, that is the way life goes.  However when it comes to beach visitation I would like to try to make an effort to work it back in.  Getting the parking sticker was the first step.  I discussed with Cindy possibly heading down to the beach after work some evening just to do something different. It’s cooler, the sun exposure is low, and it’s less crowded. Cindy is down with the idea as she loves the beach and has expressed remorse about not getting there as well.

So of course just talking about doing things means nothing.  Until the words are followed by meaningful action, intent doesn’t get the job done.

My weekend started off once again with a trip to another branch for our final conversion of the project which I was happy about.  The small size of the branch and the fact that we had done this 7 or 8 times before meant we were wrapped up in 90 minutes.  Instead of heading home afterward I instead went to AutoZone to grab a new battery for the Tacoma.  I was going to take the truck to the office but got clicks when I went to turn it over.  The truck is right around 5 years old at this point which is on par with the average lifespan of a battery in the brutal Florida climate.  When I got back I wasted no time installing it in the truck.

After I was done I went out and helped Cindy who was working in the chicken yard.  She was pulling all of the egg rocks out of the small landscaped areas in front of the coop/run, pulling out the weeds that had grown in between them, laid down weed block, reset the castle stone border and then put the stones back.  The areas looked 100% better by the end of the work which I helped with as well.

After lunch we went to Rural King.  I was looking at some supplies to use when redoing the garden area, the next project on our list.  I already bought a new galvanized raised bed for the spot.  That bed consumed a ton of my time over the weekend as I put it together utilizing countless nuts and bolts.  It also consumed all of my patience as it only went together a certain way, which required me to undo/redo a couple sections, multiple times. At Rural King they had water holders for cattle that were the same shape and roughly the same dimensions for less than I paid, with no assembly required.  I think we will buying one of those to fill out the space.

After a very busy day Cindy and I met Deb for dinner at Brooks once again.  Cindy absolutely loves the burgers there and would probably go every week if she could.  Because snowbird season has expired we were able to sit down outside immediately which was nice.  We had the same waitress we had previously who is very friendly, making the meal experience more enjoyable.

Sunday morning after doing chicken chores, paying my bills, and doing a coffee run with the dogs Katie and DJ came over for a visit.  The pool water is now in the low 80’s so it is comfortable to swim in.  DJ loves the water.  I discovered something he also loves, watching me splash Sadie with pool water.  Every time I would do it he would belly laugh, it was very funny.  They hung out for a few hours, DJ loved seeing Sadie there although she does not share the sentiment, for some reason DJ spooks her.  DJ now calls most dogs “Sadie”.

Mid-afternoon I decided to go ride at a spot I had thought about for a long time, a public golf course that was bought by the county last year.  It has been more or less abandoned since then but I thought the cart path would be a fun thing to ride, it turns out I was right.  I had a blast zipping around the course on the curving path which included lots of little rises and falls.  I definitely will be returning there with some of my other wheels in the future.

By the time I got done doing the editing that evening the weekend had basically expired.  I need to start chipping away at my vacation balance to start giving myself some long weekends for sanity restoration.

 

 

 

 

So our country  is basking in an abundance of vaccine availability, so much so that I heard they were handing out vaccines to fans attending a NBA basketball game.  If you want a vaccine in America you can get it without much difficulty at all at this point.  However as is sadly most often the case, Americans are blind or just don’t give two shits about the reality in the rest of the world.  Latin America is getting obliterated by Covid, it is running rampant, overwhelming the resources available.

India is even worse, where only 1% of it’s population has been vaccinated and the country has a horrible shortage of oxygen to help keep covid patients alive and hospital space to treat them.  It is an unmitigated disaster.  What is even more scary was that in February India proclaimed that they had covid under control and relaxed restrictions, much the same script as in Latin America. Hell even Canada just did a one week hard lockdown in certain areas because Covid started to spike wildly. It has been a classic example of what happens when you trust people to use their better judgement, most of them will fail that test.  It’s no different here in the USA, the only difference is we have a tidal wave of vaccination going on to help blunt the edge of human beings ignorance.  The hospitalization numbers all across the country have steadily risen since restrictions have been relaxed.

I have seen the end result in my immediate circle of existence where more people have gotten sick in the last month than at any other time during the pandemic.  You see mass indifference to pandemic protocol everywhere in the US.  Lemming mentality is strong, you see a group of people doing or not doing something in this case, a large portion of people will just go with the flow of least resistance.  I guess my point is to all of those that have said that the potential impact of covid has been overblown, all you need to do is turn your TV off of local news and take a look at what is going on around the world to see what reality can be in other circumstances, it’s dark.

This weekend is our last branch conversion.  I am looking forward to knocking it out.  This branch is only about 5 miles from my house so at least it is more geographically convenient.  I have several smaller tasks already written down on the weekend list.  Cindy and I started talking about doing a small long weekend road trip to the Kennedy Space Center.  We originally were going to incorporate that into my birthday celebration a couple years ago but wound up skipping it.  It’s far enough away to make it feel like a road trip but close enough to not require a lot of planning to make it happen.

 

I did not get a chance to see Biden’s address to Congress, a socially distanced and attendance restricted Congress.  I read there were only about 200 people in there instead of the normal 1600.  I only skimmed the highlights which included the strong Covid vaccination progress and talk of additional programs to bolster the country from the middle up instead of top down, which we have proven does not work since it started in the 80’s.  Clearly when given a choice, the ultra-wealthy will always opt to fattening their bursting at the seams pockets as opposed to allowing much of that wealth to flow down to the millions that do the everyday work to make it happen.

From a greater good viewpoint, I agree with this scenario.  Raising taxes on the wealthy to levels still significantly inferior to what they were during the Reagan era is a complete no brainer.  The rich have been using lobbyist dollars to further their tax advantages for the last forty years.  However I also am a person that supports work ethic and being responsible for your own outcome in life.  I have no interest in a society where the majority of it’s population suckles off the teet of others because they simply can, and are too lazy or unmotivated to do anything else.  Walking this line is tricky without question.  We should never de-incentivize hard work yet we also can not allow the ultra-rich to control legislation that depresses the results of middle class hard work,  giving 1 percenters infinite tools to further their advantage.

Last night I shot a very quick reaction video to a weird situation that popped up in one of the EUC forums. It’s easier if you just watch the video instead of me trying to explain it.

I had a bad start to my morning.  I prepare myself eggs every morning.  Part of that prep is putting a little freshly ground himalyan pink salt on the eggs.  The bottle we had was empty so I pulled out a new one.  I removed the protective wrap on the top of the salt and then popped off the lid to the grinder.  I turned the salt upside down, grabbed the grinder portion and started to turn.  As soon as I did the grinder pulled off and 5/6th of the salt crystals dumped out on top of the eggs with a good portion of it spilling onto the counter and floor as well, I was pissed.

The eggs were not salvageable so I just dumped the pan into the sink and then scooped up the mound of salt with a wet paper towel to throw away, along with the eggs.  I then had to enlist the Dyson to sweep up the salt on the floor, counter and stove top, it was a glorious mess.  With no time to make another set of eggs my breakfast instead consisted of two cherry Pop Tarts, a slice of toast, a small glass of OJ, and a glass of almond milk.  Happy Thursday.

Last night Cindy and I had another virtual mini-golf game on the toughest course so far.  I  enjoy playing and it really does simulate the real thing to a surprisingly good degree.  The physics are spot on and the 3D golf course environments are very bright and unique.  Cindy only played one game with me, afterward I dove off into VR Chat and BigScreen to observe the randomly random interactions and conversations that hit you like a machine gun.

We completed our second to last branch conversion today leaving only this Saturday to go until the weekend work concludes.  I look forward to having weekends free and clear once more.

I had another short Saturday since I had to go to yet another branch for a migration.  Once again the process went smoothly so we were wrapped up a little after 10AM.  Thankfully next weekend will be the last conversion.  Once these are behind me I think I would like to get some time off on the calendar.

When I got home it wasn’t bad as I had already done the weeding on Friday evening.  After lunch we loaded up Sadie and Elsa into the truck and ran a couple errands.  I shot a quick video showing changing the Model Y from hubcaps to alloys.  There was a twist though this time, I 3D printed some white lug not covers to match the car color somewhat and give it a unique look.

Saturday night we watched the new Mortal Kombat movie on HBO Max.  During my younger video game days Mortal Kombat was a staple of my fighting game experience.  I was never particularly good at the game but the gore and violence that was part of it was pretty extreme for it’s time.  Over the years the backstory for some of the characters has been built upon in prior MK movies.  This version seemed to go in a different direction.  I drank a few alcoholic beverages going into the movie, just in case it was terrible, it wasn’t IMO.  I found it fun, keeping my attention throughout.  Even Cindy, who was more skeptical about watching it seemed to like the movie overall, I’d give it a B.

Sunday morning after paying my bills I asked Cindy if she was interested in going out on the mountain bikes for a ride. Despite the temps escalating quickly she said was down with going.  We first rode to the new park which is rapidly approaching completion.  It is going to be so awesome to have something like this a little more than a mile from our house.  Most of the athletic fields look completely done.  They have begun construction or the water park as well.  It actually looks like this will be BETTER than North Collier Regional Park which was my high bar as far as local county parks.  This park is supposed to be finished up sometime in July, Cindy and I can’t wait.

We made an on the fly decision to then ride to Dunkin Donuts for lunch, much like the park, a recent addition to our area.  We ordered on my phone so I could just walk in and grab it.  We enjoyed our food under the umbrella outside.  By the time we got back we both felt like we put some work in.  I was glad that I decided to wear my old padded triathlon bottoms under my shorts to reduce the ass pain penalty this time around.

Early in the afternoon I recorded another video.  This was again just a talking commentary video where I am sitting at my desk and talking about a situation in the EUC community.  For whatever reason these style videos seem to do well on my channel.

After I got done with all of the editing it was approaching 3:30.  I told Cindy that I was feeling lazy, my accomplishments for the day felt very low.  I decided to go out and grab the weed whacker and knock down the property, it was looking ragged around the edges.  By the time I finished up it was almost 5:30 PM, the task took longer than I expected.  The rest of the evening I reengaged lazy mode and was ok with it.  If I don’t accomplish some work each and every day it fcks with my sense of well being.

I’m happy to report I am almost 24 hours post Moderna shot number one and doing ok.  I definitely feel some overall tiredness, I believe the scientific word for it is a general sense of “blah”.  I also had the stitches removed from my face yesterday afternoon.  That too went well and so far, knock on wood, I don’t have any Bells Palsy symptoms popping up.  I am hoping by this time tomorrow I feel 100% normal, until I get the second dose a month from now which I expect to be more impactful. I got home a little early yesterday which was nice, I didn’t have much energy so the night consisted mostly of watching some recorded shows and WoWing it up.

 

The administration of my first Moderna shot went smoothly.  There were a lot of people waiting as this was the last day for first shots for county employees.  Once my form was filled out and handed in I was pricked and sitting in the 15 minute cool down chair in no time.   For most people, the first shot is pretty uneventful with a sore arm being the most common complaint.  Dose two is often a different story.  My buddy at work got his second shot yesterday and confirmed feeling like shit last night although he made it into work today.  I have heard similar tales from others with that shitty feeling last for a couple of days max.

Today the stitches get yanked out of my face.  I am crossing my fingers no Bells Palsy develops this time around like it did in 2019.  The best part of the double medical procedure schedule is I get to call an early end to my work day.

I was relieved to see the guilty verdict in the George Floyd murder trial.  If there was any other outcome the protests would have been massive and deservedly so IMO.  Hopefully this and other recent incidents are pushing the needle of change in the right direction, despite the Trump era doing all it could to pull it back as hard and as fast as it could.