28 August 2009

Lord of the Kittens

The island is full of kittens (and chickens - that’s a story for another time), and there are some well known serious cat people here - it is a small island after all. The woman everyone unfortunately refers to as the “cat lady” is making a calendar of the island cats, along with each cat’s life story. Since the cats are feral, I wonder how she’s going to figure out each story? The kitten pied piper feeds a group of cats down by the harbor. Each week the group of cats is larger and larger, and the eerie meowling could be straight out of a Hitchcock movie. To feed the island fascination with cats, there is a cat cam devoted to the famous six-toed Hemingway cats. I imagine the cat lady wants cat cams set up all over the island, to give all conch cats a chance at stardom.

We have been contributing to island cat delinquency by feeding the cats that live around our place. You know, to keep the rats away. At least, this is why our neighbor claims she feeds them. I don’t know what our excuse is.

It started with the cat we call Sicky - we’ve named them all sad little names that are more descriptions than anything else: Inky, Fuzzy (who the neighbor calls Charlie), Crockey, and Jazzy. Sicky was hit by a car and is fed by the entire neighborhood. He’s perfected the most pathetic meow; it would be cruelty to let him continue to wreck his little voice box. He’s fine and well fed.

Our cats had kittens. Like the extra toes of the Hemingway cats, these kittens are bread with pleading eyes that no one can resist. I have somehow become the voice of reason on why we cannot adopt all of them, and I am resentful about that (but very happy to know that I won’t have to clean the litter of 4 cats).

24 August 2009

Costs of Flexibility

There are more and more location independent and lifestyle design blogs popping up. I read them sometimes for tips (travel, work and encouragement), and other times just to know that it does work for others.

What no one tells you about are some of the wearing costs associated with such a flexible lifestyle. The constant search for reliable internet. Feeling like you’re sleeping at the bottom of a rock quarry instead of a bed. The lack of a sustained routine (more of a problem for me than B). After a year of almost constant travel, this can all get old. One of the hardest things is meeting great new friends and leaving. But, as we’ve already experienced, we’ll see those friends in the future, maybe in another country.

Harder still is leaving paradise before you’re ready to. Opportunities arise, and we have the flexibility to take any and all good opportunities that come our way. Literally, we can pack up the Jeep and leave tomorrow. When you are not ready to go, though, flexibility starts turning into an albatross.

There is just something about Key West. Yes, this is a cryptic post. Yes, we’re trying to decide if and when to leave the island. More later….

09 August 2009

Reasons for Lazy Days

It’s hot. Hot enough that, unless I am out on the ocean kayaking, I have little desire to go outside for any reason at all. I never did make it to the battle of the bars. Spending hours in the heat with a bunch of sweaty people watching bartenders tackle an obstacle course seemed more like a good way to come home sunburned and grumpy, than a fun way to spend an afternoon. I went to a movie instead.

This weekend was LobsterFest. Yet another reason to have a street fair here in the Conch Republic. This time we went. It was hot and crowded, and by the time we walked to the end of Duval, we wanted to eat our lobster in air conditioning rather than standing on the street in the sun. So, we joined several other heat whimps inside to enjoy grilled lobster dinners. Then headed back to our favorite bar for another beer before coming home to wait for the sun to go down before heading out again.

The heat this time of year in KW is not bad if you are sitting in the shade, drinking a cold drink, by the ocean, with a breeze blowing through. Take away one of those conditions and perspiration beads start forming. As much as I complain about the heat (which I do regardless of where I am), we still go outside in the middle of the day here, and often walk the mile or so to get somewhere. After some grumbling, and trying to find all the shady parts along the way, it’s actually fine. Of course, I would always rather be out kayaking on the ocean. Then there is no heat at all. It’s just salt water on my forehead, not sweat.

05 August 2009

Like Camping

We have been traveling. Living in short term furnished rentals. Sleeping in someone else’s bed.

The bed in Vermont creaked every time one of us took a deep breath. The floors sloped eight different directions in the 100+ year old Victorian, so did the bed. We knew when snow fell because the plows scoured the streets at 4 every morning. Beep, beep, beeping as they backed up for another round. Before moving to old town in Key West, we slept in a full for two months. We might be close, but that is too close.

There were only two beds in the past year that have given me good sleep. One is on a farm in Maryland. I suspect it’s not so much the bed itself (which is very comfortable), but the quiet nights on the farm that provide restful sleep. The other was in Munich. I would have stayed longer than two months just to keep sleeping in that bed, but with a different pillow.

We are renting a place in old town now. The location is great; the bed is like camping every night. I miss my bed (above).
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