Florida or Bust

I went from trailer-park to technically homeless — is that an improvement? Hmm. I’m currently in the sixth hotel I’ve stayed-in since leaving my former house for the last time about a week ago. But make no mistake, they’re nice hotels — my friend is very skilled in travel-planning. We even did some sight-seeing along the way.

My mission was to try and enjoy myself. My mantra for the trip was: Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, all thy soul, and all thy mind — and love thy neighbor as thyself. Why that? I dunno, it just seemed to comfort me whenever I began to worry. To love the Lord thy God I have to appreciate the buffet of life placed before me — it’s not my place to care or complain — I’m just along for the ride, literally and figuratively.

Of course it wasn’t all peaches (well maybe in Georgia it was), but I have some fond memories. We saw a bunch of stuff in DC for instance. We parked in a deep underground parking garage from which we emerged and walked by many famous sites including the Washington Monument, the White House, the WWII memorial, the reflecting pool, and in the distance I saw the Lincoln memorial. It was hot so we took a bus back from there. From the car while heading out I also saw the Pentagon and the Jefferson memorial.

We went to Colonial Williamsburg after that. We liked it so much last year that we went again this year — but this time our hotel was within walking distance which was nice. And after that we went to Charleston and stayed at a hotel overlooking the waterfront. The view and incoming breeze was by far my favorite. Lying on the lounger on the large balcony just felt right — I like deluxe with view.

So now we’re here but haven’t dropped anchor. It’s good to be back. I’m so familiar with this place it might as well be my home. For the seven years I lived in my previous residence I barely left the house. Here, I’ve been walking out on my own the last few days as if it’s my personal playground. There’s no place in the world that feels as much like home to me. But, the magic must happen for us to find and maintain a physical home here. Luckily this is the place where dreams come true.

P.S. Hi Mickey, I missed you.

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Overcoming Inertia

While we were leaving Florida after living there for five years, we considered buying a camping-trailer and a tow-vehicle. We even went to some RV dealers and browsed around. In the end, we decided against it and just stayed in some Home-Away houses when we got to the Northeast. But funny enough, when we started to look for a more permanent place to stay, we found a nice little mobile-home situated in a nice little trailer-park not far from the beach. It seemed the most affordable option too.

The funny part is that it’s just like we’ve been camping these past seven years. So not only did I get my wish of living in a trailer, but life knew me too well, so well in fact that it put me in a deluxe-super-upgraded version of a trailer. This place is easily at least three-times the size of a conventional travel-trailer, has 2 bathrooms, 2 bedrooms, a full-kitchen, living room, ample closet space, and a decently-sized yard. Not to mention that it’s located near attractions and amenities.

Hm, why am I moving again? I suppose in one sense we’ve been a bit stagnant. Although, being still is a way of life for me. But my friend came up with the idea to move — she doesn’t like stillness for too long. I think that’s fine, I mean how long can you reasonably camp in the same site — it’s been 7 years, time to move on. How moving back to the location we left in Florida is “moving on”, I don’t know — seems more like back-tracking to me.

I watch those International House Hunter shows on HGTV and I’m usually intrigued by the possibility of living in a completely different place. But I don’t have a job with international ties, I’m not a student, I’m not married to a European, I’m not independently wealthy, and my budget is a bit too small to get the locations I’d want. There I go with my lack-minded thinking again! I’m in the middle of sorting through stuff for the upcoming move by the way, which is why I’m rambling. What’s better than procrastination, I wouldn’t know.

Perhaps this is one of those situations where you’ve been home all along and only recognize it when you’re about to leave? Sniffle…. It’s like when you flip a coin — you only realize what you truly want when the coin is in the air and your fate is about to be decided. Really though, we’ve put down zero roots here, so it’s hard to imagine this as home. This place is familiar yes, but there’s nothing keeping us here but inertia. Well, back to sorting….

For Sale

Last year at this exact time, I was in Walt Disney World. My friend had the absolute need to go there and so we went. She actually wanted to up-and-move to the Disney area but I convinced her that perhaps a several-week vacation would suffice. We stayed with my mother (who lives nearby) for a couple weeks while there. We were probably gone for over three weeks because of the drawn-out travel-time (by car). I thought that would be the end of it.

This year she wanted to return for a vacation. We had used our savings to fund last-year’s travel, and since it hasn’t been replenished, I told her it’s not feasible. Well, now she wants to move there again. We actually used to live there about ten years ago, so that’s not as crazy as it sounds. Personally, I didn’t prefer the unrelenting heat and I kinda like being back in snow-country. But at the start of this year, due to my poor stewardship, I relinquished control over the family, allowing my friend to make the major decisions.

Partly because of wanting to support my friend’s wishes, and partly because I must be more willing to accept life’s narrative, and partly because I don’t prefer living in this particular house, I’m okay with moving. Therefore, we’ll be putting the mobile-home up for sale soon. The most uncomfortable aspect to me is having to empty the house, just the logistical aspect mainly — there’s not much worth bringing and we only have a small car for the stuff we do want.

So in my mind, there’s a 100% chance that we’ll be outta here by the end of the summer or earlier (that’s about 7 years we’ve been here). My wish though, is to travel in a larger, more comfortable vehicle (I was a bit dissatisfied with the car-portion of the trip last year). Plus, I would prefer to have plenty of money to spend along the way and when we arrive. Yes it’s true that selling this small house will provide some savings, but I would prefer significantly more.

At our wedding reception, my wife said, “I used to pray to God that I wanted to marry rich, and when I met my husband he told me he was Rich — and I said, ‘Thank you God!'” Well if “nominative determinism” is real, I think I’m due for a windfall. Funny enough, my actual last name is a synonym for “abrasive” — which does kinda fit me. So after twenty years of being together, I think my friend is due her windfall as well — she’s been the greatest aspect of my life and she’s put up with my abrasiveness all these years.

Hometown Goodbyes

It’s been 10 years now, that I left my hometown of nearly 30 years. In pictures it’s a lovely little place, a coastal suburb outside of Boston. I lived in a not-so-picturesque part of town, with a major roadway abutting my backyard. I slept in the same room for almost three decades, then abruptly moved when my parents retired to Florida.

To remember my hometown is to summon an uneasy feeling. There was no specific incident, it was just a confusing experience filled with incompatible people. It left me thinking, “what the hell was that all about?!” I did not enjoy my time there, or form any significant bonds. I spent most of the time sitting quietly, either in class or in front of a television.

In a way it felt like a prison sentence, I was wary of other inmates while waiting out my time. It’s a bleak remembrance, but that’s how I felt so much of the time, either anxious or bored. But after twenty years in solitude, as loneliness started to set in, the Internet came into existence — I could reach out and communicate with others outside of my surroundings — suddenly life seemed interesting.

On the Internet, I explored the world beyond my room, I experimented socially with ease, eventually meeting my best friend in a chat-room. In a way it feels like I spent two decades just waiting for the Internet to be invented. After my best friend arrived, the last few years weren’t so bad, and I was able to experience the locale through someone else’s eyes.

Youth at Hillside

I spent almost three decades at Hillside, my childhood home. My father, an under-educated immigrant from the rural north, ran a small esoteric business in the construction industry. My mother, a secretary from the suburbs, worked part-time in various offices, answering phones, filing, that sort of thing. My mother’s mother was a proud proper lady from the city, she pronounced “paw” and “pore” identically, and “bathroom” like “bahthroom” — but life wasn’t so kind to her and she ended up raising her children without their father, and moved in with us early on. Her sons and their children didn’t fair so well either, some with tragic ends.

My parents were disinterested in being parents, which was fine because they were horrible at it. I spent most of my time at Hillside in front of the television, so the fondest memories come from when I wasn’t there. We had a motorhome with which we’d go on trips to campgrounds, I’d be free to run around and do whatever I wanted, no more yelling, no more ceaseless cigarette smoke, just out and living life. I never wanted to go back home when it was time to leave.

For some reason, I had always imagined I’d join the family business when I was older. I suppose I got that impression from TV shows and businesses with “Father & Son” in the name. It was always my fall-back plan when I thought about education and careers and such. I even worked there for a bit, first in the back-room: loading and unloading trucks, forklift driving, prepping products for delivery and installation — then in the office doing computer / IT Administrator tasks: ordering, installing, configuring, networking, troubleshooting. But when my father retired, the business was gone.

Even though I disliked Hillside, it was bearable by the end, and I had no motivation to leave. But with my parents retiring and moving to another state, Hillside was leaving me. I had no ties to the area, not friends nor career — in three decades roots never took hold. So without reason to stay, I simply followed my parents to their new home, to the land of enduring heat and humidity.

Retreat at Westchester

The retreat to Westchester was a frustrating one. A child again, dependent on parental figures, a house full of people. Plus it was a mess, so I spent the early months just tidying and fixing things up, even to the point of renovating one of the bathrooms — new toilet, sink, floor, everything. But I suppose it kept me busy and feeling accomplished.

This particular region seemed odd though, disjointed and in decline. Certain stores were in the next state over, and many groups of people occupied the same space without intermingling, all very distinct. There were fancy little towns with nannies strolling children to the ice cream parlor, ghettos, dilapidated suburban neighborhoods, cities with corridors of giant buildings.

As far as what I liked, that ice cream parlor in the fancy little town was within walking distance. I also went to a lovely old cemetery filled with lots of prominent names — and walking around large scenic cemeteries is an underrated activity, it’s very serene. I also went row-boating on a small lake, something I always wanted to do. And of course it was nice not to worry about money, all food and supplies were paid for by the relatives.

But money could not buy happiness. No matter how much I tried to adjust to the surroundings, this wasn’t home. I wanted to go back to the previous place, the one that felt more like home than my actual home ever did. So after 12 months, I had an irresistible urge to leave immediately, but how could I afford it — so I did what any spoiled child would do, I called up my mom and was able to secure the funding for a gently-used single-wide mobile-home in a pleasant little trailer park near the beach. She had some spare change after my father passed.