Saturday, May 31, 2014

I'm baaaaccckkk....again.

     Okay…umm, yeah. Okay. Now what? 
     I guess I need to play a little catch up, huh?
Must have coffee for a road trip!

     Whew, where to begin. To start with, I moved. I left Atlanta on January 8, 2014, for the second time. Atlanta had been my home twice, and this last time was…confusing, I guess is the word for it. I guess I should explain that last comment.

     When I first moved to Atlanta, February 13, 1982, Friday the 13th I might add, it was a much different city. It was the gay mecca of the South! It was vibrant, exciting, energizing and a true Southern city. It had grace, an elegance steeped in Southern charm and traditions. I loved that city. However, when I returned many years later it had changed, and not for the better. 
     It was the little things that I noticed first. Traffic was a nightmare. The roads were poorly maintained, the population had almost tripled and the people were very different. No one smiled or acknowledged you when passing anymore. Something else I noticed, rather quickly, was customer service had gone completely out the window. Atlanta used to have the reputation of having some of the best. What happened? 
     I used to brag that just about any restaurant you went to, you could almost be guarantee great service. Gone. It now has some of the worst I've ever experienced. This to me was a serious problem. I was in the food industry, so this was quite upsetting to me. 
     Another thing that really bothered me was the lack of cohesiveness within the gay community. Atlanta used to have a very tight-knit, self-supporting gay community. That also was gone. Atlanta now has the reputation of being an aloof, self-centered, twinkie centric city with a lot of attitude; thus the nickname, Atlantatude. Now before I get ripped a new one, there are a lot of gay men there who do not fall into that category, but you’re not seeing them out in the bars or participating in major gay events either!

     So, with a heavy heart and a great sigh of relief I left. Oh, and fuck was it cold. The high that day was like six degrees Fahrenheit. As I mentioned, and for those who don’t know, I was in the food industry for over thirty years. The end result is that my poor feet suffered to the point where I had to retire early and there are times where I can hardly walk. Add the cold to that, and I had a lot of pain and become rather grumpy. Not good.
I left the week before a major snow storm hit Atlanta. Brrrrr.

     I arrived at my new home in Florida only to find it in shambles. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, it having been a rental property for many years, but I had no idea that I would be faced with such a disaster. It was a mess. It literally took two weeks and three people going at it full time to get it clean. Just clean! Then I painted and then… the bottom fell out. 
     Electrical. Need I say more? Of course I do. The power started surging, light bulbs popping and then the real fun began. The electrician finally said, “We need to just rewire the whole house. I’d spend as much time trying to trace and find where everything goes as it would take to just rewire the damn thing.” 
     How or why the house hadn't burned to the ground before then was a miracle unto itself. So much for my new kitchen. It took most everything I had to get that done and it still isn't finished, but at least it is to the point to where it is safe. 
     There were several times where I was ready to throw in the towel and walk away. It was that rough for a while. Of course, none of that was visible, and the problems didn't really show themselves until AFTER I moved in of course. But, I persevered. It is coming along and I've become very fond of the old place. It will still be awhile before I get that dream kitchen, but it will happen.
     One of the best things about this move is that my feet have improved tremendously. I really don’t have the pain that I did before. I’m positive that the soft sandy soil here has something to do with it. I spend a lot of time outside now and am able to once again garden, a strong passion of mine. 
     I don’t think I truly realized how depressed I was after I retired. I’d lost the ability to do the things that I was most passionate about. Cooking and gardening. One of the things that saved me was writing. It gave me focus, a goal and an outlet. I’m truly happy for the first time in several years. (Oh and Theo, I used it anyway. Neener neener neener!)      
     Now for my next adventure. I’m going to Europe for the first time. One of my dreams was to go to France, Paris in particular, and sample…okay, eat my way through it. I don’t know of a true foodie who hasn't had this dream. I will be there for an entire week. I sure hope I have clothes to fit my big butt when I leave!

     Of course the big event will be the UK Meet in Bristol, UK. It will be awesome to meet all the people I've met on Facebook, and those I've not. Being able to spend time with my bestie, K.C. Wells is a major plus. After Bristol I will get to visit her and her husband for several days before we all head off to Paris. Can’t wait to visit the Isle of Wight. 
     Another big event is that I will be in London for gay pride there.

      Now, I've seen, participated and experienced many gay prides, in some major cities, but this will be a first. Can’t wait. My to-do list while there is so long I know that I’ll never get to do it all, so I’d better start prioritizing, shouldn't I?
Wonder if he'll be flying my plane? Mile High Club?

     What does this mean to you, as readers? Quite a bit actually. I write what I know and experience. With each new adventure comes new material to draw on. How’s that?      I will try and do a better job at keeping up with posting on here. Quite frankly, I was kind of surprised that so many people read my mad ramblings. Thank you for all your support. 
     Once again, I will remind you that we are not in this world alone. Do something, no matter how small, for someone else. A simple random act of kindness can make someone’s day.