Friday, May 30, 2014

Out With The Old, In With The New

Our home is empty, we have flown the nest, that housed us for the past decade. Good bye little tree house.
The interior one bears only the anonymous improvements my wife oversaw, new sheet rock on the walls properly painted, bamboo flooring properly scratched by Cheyenne.
A kitchen we never got round to modernizing and that towards the end showed signs of a lot of wear.
The exterior too needs attention, but we were loathe to spend money on a project the bank was unwilling to renegotiate with us.
It was a long hard slog, taking down the pictures, moving the detritus of twenty years of marriage and ten of occupancy.
We were lucky that the heavy lifting coincided with a two week period of cool breezes and low humidity.
Cheyenne throughout hung on to her habits, staying in her favorite spots while mournfully watching us dismantle our lives.
I suspect she was dumped at the SPCA as her military family packed for their move out of Key West and the prospect of jail loomed large in her mind, as the furniture and fittings disappeared...
She is adapting to her new home and as the days go by and she resumes her routine in a new place and she seems to be calming down. Mind you we humans are also learning to adapt to the monumental changes wrought upon us.
They say boats take maintenance but let me tell you fiberglass is indestructible in salt air. Wooden houses are not...termites, spalling, warping, you name it.
The realtor had a reputation which preceded her, so in proper local tradition she won a nickname in my head as I tried to vote with her. Cruella was as brusque as she was tart and not in a good way, so I suppose it's little wonder she works for the banks as buying a house from her would require a buyer with a hide as thick as an elephant's. We got the house empty and clean well before the eviction deadline.
My wife said the hardest part was saying good bye to the bits she had overseen herself. I remember the old Cuban tile layer was seriously puzzled when we asked him to put random fish tiles we had found into the new bath tub design...but he got into when we handed them to him and you'd him to stick them in at random. He got a laugh out of that.
750 square feet isn't a lot to empty but it was full of our life.
The new place is bigger and has a fantastic loft where we can store crap we aren't immediately using, winter clothes and motorcycle parts and the like. I live in hope that our drawers and shelves will be less crammed with stuff.
Indies Zroad had a lovely view across the salt ponds to the west on a Ramrod Key. That we shall miss.
My wife thought the realtor brought us here in 2004 at sunset to admire the view, and maybe she's right.
In the debris I found a picture of me with no gray hair and my cruising mentor Bob Unanski, who died not long after he stopped sailing. We met in Mexico in 1998 and sailed together on and off through Central Anerica to Panama from California. He helped us through the canal and we sailed together through the mosquito coast of the Western Caribbean. His widow has remarried and we last saw Barb happy in a new inland relationship in Arkansas. This picture taken before a sunset cruise in Key West brought back a flood of memories. We were so different in our backgrounds, and politics, and so similar in our sense of humor and curiosity.
Out with the old! Away with the barbecue from this deck...
To its new home on another deck:
Cheyenne is not a huge fan of stilt house living:
And unfortunately the new place us a bit higher off the ground with more steps. But she is still game, good girl:
The canal at our place was an absolute highway filled with yahoos playing loud music and kicking up wakes as they roared by all day in clouds of exhaust smoke.
Even on Memorial Day weekend our new canal is hardly rippled by the passage of any boats which means a quick swim before work is much more possible. The house on the corner is not occupied.
I will miss the wide open area under the house, our new place has less room but adequate. Indies Road was extravagant:
We were lucky to get the new place, a combination of factors were at play including my wife monitoring Craig's List all the time. She sent in our application 12 minutes after the ad appeared. Then we agreed to see the place that evening. A cop lives two doors down and he gave our landlord a recommendation. And we had five grand ready to move in. The rental market is brutally tight, even in the Lower Keys and we are very lucky as our landlord who lives in Miami is very pleasant and decent and Cheyenne is welcome.
The boxes are moved but the process of organizing will take several more days.
Slowly does it, as things find a home, then my wife ponders the choice, makes a change and tries again. My Asperger's is screaming but I keep reminding myself this state of confusion isn't permanent and we are working toward a goal.
Finally Cruella was satisfied and we got a check to vacate which my wife says can go in part toward the annual tune up of the Bonneville, on which subject of motorcycle riding, the new home means a shorter commute, by four miles and close to ten minutes for me.
It has taken time and energy but in the end we count ourselves lucky inasmuch as our new place will be comfortable and offers a serene and enjoyable place to live. You may remember I was musing about living in Key West itself months ago when it became apparent this change was in the offing, but I actually enjoy my commute with views over the water and a daily chance to take my motorcycle or my scooter out for a ride. Rents are cheaper out here, not by much but you get full sized homes on full sized lots with full modern conveniences.
Add to that the ambient silence, the access to saltwater, the ease of parking, the low crime rate and to me this is what Keys living is about. A beer on my deck is cheaper than a beer at Sloppy Joe's, and the view is better.
Well, it will be once we get organized!