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It’s funny how life works.  It’s funny how society thinks our life should work.  I read a column by Lisa Kogan, where she decided to jump back into childhood by dropping by a Daisy meeting.  (For those without kids or Girl Scout knowledge outside of Thin Mints and Samoas, a Daisy is the first step in Girl Scout-hood.)  It got me thinking, why are we constantly trying to one up – a Daisy isn’t enough?  You have to aim for making it to a Brownie, then a Junior, a Cadette, a Senior … then an Ambassador!?  (No, I did not know all that off the top of my head.)

When I was in elementary school, I went to a Girl Scout meeting (Daisy?  Brownie?  I don’t know!).  It was held at our neighborhood park’s rec center (maybe?) and there were a handful of girls (at least?).  I don’t remember details, but I can’t say I walked away excited and full of camaraderie (or badges, for that matter).  I did make it to a second (or third?) meeting, and that’s when the Troop Leader asked me what size I needed for my uniform.  I replied something along the lines of, “My parents can’t afford to get me a uniform, so I can’t join.”  This, of course, was a total lie, but at that wee single-digit age, I already knew I didn’t want to be uniformed and forced into a group making wire hanger art and selling cookies.

Little did I know that joining groups and climbing the proverbial ladder is what life is all about.  There’s the corporate ladder; the social ladder; the economic ladder; the relationship ladder.  I’m not saying these are all bad, but it sure must make for being a little tiresome.  You make $10/hour, but you want to make $10k.  When you make $10k, you want the job that pays $20k.  You’ve hit that, but now you’re pissed because they just opened a $30k opportunity.  Or, you’re single and you want to be engaged.  Once you’re engaged, it’s a rush to be married.  The ladders are everywhere; we’re a bunch of rats chasing an endless supply of mice.  Not that the hunt isn’t always fun, but … it makes me wonder, are we ever content with our life?

When you haven’t gone anywhere in awhile, you forget how awesome it is to go away.  To travel.  To see someplace new.  To see someplace old.  To taste new things.  To do something different.

And so it was, we got to escape the humdrum of homeownership last weekend.  We headed south to Key West to celebrate JP turning 30.  (We’ve almost known each other for half our lives.  Strange, and wonderful.)  So Key West was a very good time for us.  Good food.  Good margaritas.  Good wine.  Maybe too much good.  Nah, no such thing as too much good!  Liquid goods aside, we managed to sneak in some touristy things.  Rented scooters.  Snorkeled.  Walked up and down Duval.  Took pictures of roosters.

Some things you probably already knew about Key West:

The Southernmost point.  The crazy cat guy.  The sunsets at Mallory Square.

Some things you might not have known about Key West:

The true southernmost point.  An African cemetery.  The original Sloppy Joe’s.

I know, they call them DIY projects – but, honestly, all by yourself?  Cue Celine Dion: All by myself, don’t wanna be, all by myyyyselllff … I’m sure there are a ton of DIY projects – painting a room, making popcorn, hanging a curtain rod, feeding the cat ….

JP and I decided to tile two bedrooms and a closet.  Now this, I’ve learned, is NOT a DIY.  Rather, a DIT project: Do-It-Together.  There’s no way one person could do this.  Thankfully, JP is rather handy and knowledgeable and has magic powers that get me to agree to taking on projects like this – so this was a do-able task.  With any construction-related project in the Pace casa, however, I have to take the role of peon given my degree in English and his in Building Construction Management 😉  In any event, after a slow start, some YouTube searching (me, on how to grout – this guy’s tip on leaving the ‘chunks’ … it really worked!), getting our hands on an awesome tile cutter (thank you so much, V!), a lot of coffee and one minor ‘tude meltdown (me, it was Day 2 and 40 degrees outside!), we’re pretty much done.

And in this process, I’ve learned some valuable and miscellaneous things:

1) My knees are far more valuable (and feeble) than I thought.

2) It (and in the Pace casa, “it” is everything) always takes longer than planned.

3) My wee arms cannot even hold a chalk line down.

4) Realized, however, I actually knew what a chalk line is and is used for.

5) Cleaning buckets of tile set and grout and tools in 40-degree weather is not cool … it’s freezing.

6) Gloves are amazing.

7) Construction is not a science, but an art.  Well, maybe a little of both 😉


The house as we bought it with ugly purple room with rug:

… painted Mint Ice Cream (an earlier project) and rug removed, showing lovely old school chalkboard-colored vinyl tiles:

… tile almost done! (And new wooden blinds!  Really, is there anything JP can’t do?!  He is quite amazing.)

Last night, I came home to new music.  Yesss! The band: Zeep.  The album: People & Things.  They’re a duo with roots in Brasil and Germany, and their sound is a little Brazilian, a bit tropical and a tad sweet.  Listening to the album, I want to drink sangria or smoke out of a hookah.  The upside of being with someone for 12 years: They can buy you an album after hearing one song and know you’ll like it – and you do.  Happy, happy; joy, joy.

Moving on to more important things, I dislike automatic flushing toilets.  I’m all for not spreading germs, particularly those from public bathrooms, but they just make me feel lazy.  I’m all for tv remote controls and microwaves, but come on! I can flush a toilet.  And, they’ll flush at the hint of a breeze.  I don’t like to sit on a flushing toilet, do you? 

In other news, I’m still keen on exploring our new hood.  We went downtown LW earlier this week and stopped by The Taco Lady.  Ah, nothing like a freakin’ good wet burrito.  And we got to sample their homemade hardshell tacos…yum to the o.  I don’t dislike chain restaurants, but let me tell you it definitely beat Moe’s.  Sure, we were served on a paper plate and had plastic cutlery and there were only 3 tables in the place, but we got to chat with locals and eat good, cheap food!  Speaking of food, desserts specifically, I got my Monkey on and picked up some gloroious rasberry and pistachio French macarons.  Yes, I shared.  If you’ve never had a French-style mac, I highly recommend doing it.

Happy Friday the 13th!

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