Back From Adventure, Pt 2

14 09 2016

I was not super excited to go on this cruise, stress of impending hurricane, lots of work stuff to do, tenants that had not paid, the usual life BS. BUT, I let go for a couple of days (yes I did do some work during the last day at sea to redesign the website at www.CMEworks.com) When you are “out of touch” with the real world by force, since my phone did not work most of the time, it forces you to unplug, get into the moment, and actually enjoy yourself. The all-you-can-eat softserve machine is one of my favorites and I will not cruise without one. My personal best this trip “7” in one 12 hour period. Now I will clarify that by saying the cones the little chinese guy was making were 1/2 the size that I would normally make, AND they were frozen yogurt, so not as bad as it sounds.

In Key West, I was still wound a little tight. It took until the full day at sea on the way to Cozumel before I fully felt relaxed enough for me to finally unplug. I took a nap that day of about 3 hours. From that point on, I enjoyed myself and just let things happen. I will say that there are lots of little things these days that are just seem to push my buttons., but I digress.

cozumelmargaritavillebillCozumel, Mexico.. not a fan for the most part. Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville has this banana mudslide that is pretty awesome, all 32 oz of it, but when you get the bill after getting one of those drinks, there is a bit of “sticker shock” and believe me, ONE 32 oz drink is PLENTY to make you feel happy again!

HOWEVER, once you have that drink, then you get the bill, the BIG number said $768.00, I said, out loud, HOLY CRAP! I had forgotten that they have a different money Mexico, and that number was in Mexican Pesos… The real number is below and in “Dolares” which I guess is spanish for “Dollars” so not too bed for 2 drinks, and lunch… The other thing that threw me off was the time change. They told us they were turning the ships’ clocks back by one hour, but the time did not change on my phone. I got some “spotty” reception but my time was still EST. We had to be back to the ship no later than 4:30pm and we just sat down to eat, I look at my phone to check the time, it said 4:00pm. Looked at the wife, looked at the waiter as he finished taking my order and said, “we would like all of this “to go”…”. Wife looked at me with a strange look, checked her phone and said, “it is only 3:00pm no need to rush”. That wave of panic twisted me back tight again, and I could not relax until the alcohol hit me about 30 minutes later, Then I was peachy.

First thing that morning, we set of on a “jeep adventure” to see a small mayan ruin and one of the 2 lighthouses on the island. We got partnered up with another couple, who we just were not compatible with. The jeep tour was pretty lame, driving myself in a jeep behind several other jeeps, in traffic, to see some old block structure, some crocodiles, and drive on a dirt road to the lighthouse, which really was the highlight of the trip…

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Cozumel, Mexico 9.06.16

keywestlighthouse2016I tried something new with the panorama feature on my phone. I only got a partial shot, but it was pretty cool none the less. If I could have gotten all the way around without people being there, that would have made for one hell of a shot. Next one that we go to, I am going to try that. But the view was spectacular, the ocean and the swamp, together in the same pic was stunning. So although most of the day trip was a disappointment, the lighthouse, was really cool. In addition, the inside steps were all concrete, instead of welded or bolted metal metal stairs that make you feel like you are going to fall at any moment. I also got this really cool shot looking up to the top of the Key West lighthouse from the entrance. I did it in color and in black & white and the black & white just hit it!

cozumeljeeptour9-6-16Of course the Jeep Tour people have you stop and take your picture so they have one more thing to sell you in the end, and I of course bought mine. The “younger” crowd will notice my action in this photo, the older folks will have no clue. So I am going to leave it that way. It is no wonder that the older people don’t understand since this was a thing that went around a high school yearbook several years ago, and when the administration found out, they removed all the pictures. Even Michelle did not see it when they were trying to sell the photos to us. I had to have it though just for the “shocker” value!

Once home, back to the life of stress…

Later

S-





Returned From Great Adventures

12 09 2016

One of my goals this year was to both travel and blog about the traveling. Turns out, the wife & I have traveled this year, but I have not done too much blogging about it. PLUS, it usually takes me days and days to process in my head what I want to write about, balance that with “privacy” and finally sit down and get it done. So here goes…

Michelle booked a trip somewhat last minute for us to Key West, FL (she had never been and I have not been there in 20 years) then on to Cozumel, MX. We were in Mexico late last year when we swam with the sea turtles. Key West was fun, took the trolley tour, and did some walking to the usual touristy places, and got to a couple places that I have always wanted to go. Bearing down on us the week we were to leave was Hurricane Hermine so there was just a little bit of stress if we were even going to make the trip. Fortunately, everything here was fine and off we went.

Key West, FL today…

keywestselfielizard9-4-16

Call me weird if you like, being almost 50, I like my gadgets.. got a selfie stick, and it turned out perfect in Key West. This is a close up with my Samsung phone on the stick of an iguana, on a tree branch. He did not seem to mind the camera or the stick, up there just a few inches from his face. As you can see, it tickled me to get several of these shots, meanwhile, michelle, thinks that I am nuts…

The selfie stick also worked out well for us in the lighthouse in Key West. Not sure when it keywestlighthouseselfie9-4-16started, my fascination with old houses (that I know when it happened) but with lighthouses, maybe it was the draw of the old watchkeeper houses on the property of the lighthouses that I was drawn to, but we now have a “lighthouse passport” to keep track of when we visit each lighthouse that we go to, and get a stamp. Did you know that there are over 850 lighthouses in the U.S.? The book that we got with the location of each one, took the authors more than 12 years to visit, and compile a photo library of those lighthouses. Interesting stuff so we are now on a quest to visit many different locations that have lighthouses and document our visit, and go back to the ones that we have already been to, to get our stamp!

keywestsouthernpoint9-4-16

Just another use of the selfie-stick…

Everyone that comes to Key West stops here to take the picture. We had to do it, so cliche’ but we got there early so the line was not too long. About a 5 min wait. Later, I heard that the line was over 45 minutes to get the same picture. Tourists apparently are not “early birds”.

Posting about Cozumel, MX tomorrow…

Safe travels,

Steve





9/11/01: “We Shall NEVER Forget”

11 09 2016

Today is a day, like others in my life, that no matter how much I want to forget about it, it is cemented in my psyche, like it or not. The birth of my children, the divorce of my first wife (that one was REALLY ugly) 9/11/01, and the marriage to the calibre of woman that I thought I could NEVER have… For the most part, new life has been good.

However, of the good and bad days, the worst day of my life was 9/11/01. I remember EXACTLY where I was, who was there, and the event coverage. Since I had gotten off duty from my 24/hr shift with the FD that I was with at the time, I was home watching Stephen Jr. who had just turned 6. Alex was still young at just under 2 years old. They had not interest in watching these amazing images that were unfolding live on the TV, they were 9-11ajust upset that I would not put on JJ the Jet plane, or bob the builder.

I lost 343 of my fellow firefighters. Brothers who I have never met. But my heart was heavy that t
hey were doing their job, and they were killed in that tragic event. One of my life goals is to get to the 9/11 memorial to see the enormity of the events unfolding.9-11b

I will keep it short & sweet. Many lives were lost that day, civilians, govt. employees, EMS, Fire, Police, even rescue dogs. So every year, I lower my flag, and resolve to NEVER FORGET!

My moment of silence in reflection, may god have shown mercy on your souls. And NO mercy on the souls of the savages behind this atrocious act of war.

We will never forget 9/11/16

Steve





Off to an undisclosed destination…

5 09 2016

When you have obtained “rock star” status like I have, (you should know that I am TOTALLY not kidding here, do you know WHO I AM?) you have to plan destinations on the DL. (and for the unhip of my friends who have read this far, DL=Down Low or “undercover”.)

Michelle, my FANTASTIC wife who took a severe downgrade when she married me works her butt off for the company, and I too have been working really hard keeping the rentals going (3 vacancies in just over 6 weeks) with 2 that needed almost COMPLETE rehabs in order to get them back to rental condition. The upside of a vacancy is that you have the opportunity to go in, and make the place better than it was when the previous tenants were renting, and when you are done, it is nicer=ability to charge more rent. I have been playing “contractor” for the last few months, and I don’t like it, it is too much like work. The heat, and the sun have my back looking like an old piece of shoe leather!

In any event, my beautiful wife was ready for a break. So we booked a cheap getaway to Key West and Cozumel Mexico (Mexican food, ugggg) with Royal Caribbean out of Miami. (check groupon for last minute discounts). Although being away for several days, I will still be required to provide training sessions while on the ship. Thank goodness for Google Voice! In any event, I will post some pictures, and I am planning on playing a little with the “Facebook Live” feature.

My point here, if you have stuck with my ramblings this far, is that you work hard, you MUST take time to unwind and relax. Although I will be doing some reading, it will be reading about stuff for work, which I enjoy and find totally fascinating. But unwind and enjoy the day. The wife will be at the pool, I am going to get her liquored up and I will be chilling in the shade by the soft serve ice cream machine (yes, all you can eat soft serve on Royal Caribbean cruises) and relaxing.

I was a little whermine2016orried since we had just been watching the movement of TS/Hurricane Hermine which luckily missed us. (Our thoughts for those that got hit, I know people in Tallahassee, North Bay, Ocala, Savannah, GA and other places that got hammered. Jokingly I created and posted this photo on Friday 9/2/26. When you live in a house that is 100+ years old, you worry about hurricanes, fire, and other things, but NEVER termites. The other thing that I take into consideration is that the house has been there for more than 100 years, so if it has not crumbled yet, it might be pretty solid.

We have been lucky, hopefully we will remain so…

Stay chill “adiós”

S-





I have been playing…

3 09 2016

Good EARLY morning, peeps!

I have been playing with some SEO to see if I can figure out how to land on the first page of Google under keywords for work that I don’t even do any longer. Some of that work includes “backlinks” and this would be one of them. Seems that Facebook gets a lot of traction when it comes to Google Ranking, since most of the “views” that I have started getting are coming from Facebook. I posted and asked people to repost and like as an experiment. Seems, it worked.

So, I am going to try an additional approach, posting here just to see how much “juice” this little blog of mine that has been around FOREVER… Although I do not get to write here every day, which was originally my goal, I now strive to write at least once per week. As most of you know, I am currently behind in that goal by about 35 or 40 weeks…. Which is to say that I am a slacker.

PestControlFlaglerPageDo me a “solid” and click on the link to the left and check out Pest Control Flagler.com since it will help with my Google Rankings, which will also help with my Bing and Yahoo rankings as well.

As many of you know, I have been working with websites and creating content for more than 15 years. As this old stallion starts to slow down to a trot, I am trying new concepts that will help push my “digital properties” up to the top rankings of the search engines. Historically, I have not had very good rankings, since I have known who my customers are, we have relied on more traditional advertising over the years to promote and publish our goods and services. I have an appointment with a new friend from the Tampa Bay area who is going to be giving me lessons on SEO and how to rank better on the web. He makes light of it, that it is no big deal, but I am pretty sure that when one of my pages finally ranks in the #1 slot on Google, I am going to be like a little giddy school girl, which is to say, VERY happy.

Here is to the next chapter of my “digital” life. I recommend that you do NOT do “pickle back” shots. If you don’t know what that is, then you will just have to research it like I did. Apparently, I have been out of the bar scene for more than a few years. It is an odd feeling that your oldest kid and now legally go to a bar and drink with you… never thought that would ever happen!

adiós” for now…

S-





It’s 3 a.m., it MUST be raining….

16 08 2016

It is actually 4 a.m., good morning Brian. (A close friend that have known more than 1/2 if my life who works ungodly hours). The title of this post inspired by the song by Matchbox Twenty, and yes, I know that the title of the song is “It’s 3AM I must be lonely” but I am NOT lonely, and yes, it is not raining… PONDER THAT!

In any event, my Monday SUCKED! Mower had a flat tire, mower had a dead battery, power at “Ocho estates” was turned off because my tenants did not pay the bill. Blade on the mower flew out from under the mower deck, and stuck into the ground (that could have turned out WAY worse! Cut down a bitter orange that was choking out a cool looking maple tree and when the orange went down, it took the maple with it (that I wanted to save… ON TOP OF THAT, the cooler that I had the cold water & ice in was totally water by 11am, iced by 7am. THAT COOLER SUCKS!!! Time for an upgrade. Had to “jury-rig” the mower so that it would continue to run while I got off of it and attached a strap to the limbs so I could haul them to the burn pile. OH YEAH, the Fire department showed up AGAIN because my neighbor called and reported a “brush fire”. Now, I admit that I had a fire on Friday mid-morning to get rid of a giant pile of brush & trash that had been accumulating over the last 3 or 4 weeks. Today is Monday, and the fire was “dead out” Saturday morning. Certainly out Sunday after the amount of rain that we got out there.

I guess it just “tweaks” me the wrong way when your neighbors are more concerned with what you are doing on your property than what is going happening on their property. Interestingly, that burn pile is out in the field with 30 yards of open space, AND I mowed the grass short around the pile so as to not set off a grass fire. 10 years of working for the FD, you could say, been there, done that.

I ordered a bunch of parts over the last week or two for the new mower, the old mower, and the boat. Parts have been arriving, but apparently I am not great at finding and ordering the RIGHT parts, since several of the parts today did not fit… So I just ordered the correct parts, so we shall see when they arrive later this week.

Oh yes, the boat has gotten her new name, “Holy SHIP, it floats!” and it too will get the traditional mustache sticker… Special thanks to Michelle Woodin, for coming up with the name, Holy Sh*t it floats (which we have not tested that theory quite yet) and Caden Marks for changing the Sh*t to Ship so it does not offend… Lettering should arrive any day now.

That is all the rambling that I have for now, go back to sleep, I am…

Have a GREAT day!

Steve

 





Sit back y’all, this one is deep and its going to take a moment…

14 08 2016
I was looking at a house yesterday, and in it were some zip lock bags with a roll of toilet paper, and a toothbrush. It was apparent that some “homeless person” had stayed there a time or two (from the sheer amount of the beer cans, (s)he had been there a couple of times).
 
It got me thinking that if they had enough money to buy beer, and someone was supplying him/her with ass paper does that not seem to be “enabling” the person to remain in a bad situation? or to continue with bad habits?
 
I am NOT judging anyone here, there, or anywhere else, I was just thinking about how giving a “little help” allows that person to have enough money to buy beer and get a buzz… are they trying to escape reality of the situation they are in? Maybe they have an addiction, or maybe they choose to live that way..
 
I have been on my own, taking care of myself since I was almost 17. I have fallen down a number of times, but I have ALWAYS pulled myself up and come back (sometimes better and stronger) a smarter person from that unfortunate “education”. Some of those falls have been the hardest you can fall in life, some at the same time: eviction, foreclosure, judgment, repossession (x 2) divorce… All have been very expensive, painful lessons that have made me stronger, and more determined to take care of myself & my family to the point where we do not have to worry about “our government taking care of us” later in life… 
 
Now, I am not above needing some help, in my lifetime, I have needed and received “benefits” of SNAP or food assistance, but I have prided myself on only using this help for a VERY short period of time, then I stopped. Maybe it was my pride, maybe it was that I worked harder to make my situation better and not needed it, but it was something in ME that said, “you are better than that, go out and earn your own way in life!”
 
Same thing with welfare, food stamps, subsidized housing. I get that some people “need a little help” but for how long? Don’t get me wrong, I am all about helping people out when they need a helping hand, but at what point does a “helping hand” become a permanent subsidized living situation? How long should someone get “benefits”? 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, 20  years?? I have done mediations where people are being evicted from section 8 housing for 9 months of past due rent at $18 per month… $18 per month is all they have to pay and they are 9 months behind!!!
 
They always have the newest phone, with all the tatoos and jewlery, certainly much more than I could afford.. I only imagine they have a “newish” car and a GIANT tv at home.
 
Isn’t there something wrong here? Am I missing something? Can someone explain?
 
(stepping down from my soap box now)
You now may resume your “normal” lives!
Have a GREAT week!
Steve







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