Monday, April 27, 2009

My Wife

Well I decided to write a blog on how I met my wife, how we started dating, etc...

I'm sure everyone knows why I moved to Florida and what happened when I got here so I don't even want to get into all that mess. But a couple weeks after the poo poo hit the fan I was bored and had no friends here. I wasn't sleeping very good, I would go to bed around midnight, wake up around 2am, and then maybe get back to bed around 5 or 6 and have to wake up at 7. I had this problem for a good month. So anyways, I was only working 8 hour days, had no friends, and nothing to fill my time. So what to do? Well in an attempt to find a few friends in the area I looked on myspace.

First I did a search for people from church in the area, yeah you can do a religion filter in your search. That got me nowhere. So then I was just searching random people in the area and came across Natalie's profile, where I left comments on the following two pictures.

A couple days later she wrote me back. Why? Who knows, I mean my profile was pretty angry at the time. I was surprised to find out she is Dominican though since I think she looks like an Italian/Rican, and yes she does have both Italian and Puerto Rican in her so I'm wondering if she is adopted. JK. I wasn't looking for anything really when I met her. South Florida is full of trash and I'm really surprised that I found my wife and she is different. I was planning on just packing up and going back to Cali that summer before I met her. The pickens here are small and it's pretty amazing that I found her, and so quickly. Miami has the highest concentration of stuck up hos, materialistic women that just want money, plastic women, and did I mention hos? I have a saying that South Florida is full of fake boobs and real A-holes. So to find one of the few that are different here with such ease was pretty amazing. When I first met Natalie my friend/bishop Tim was even concerned letting me know that Miami is full of deceitful women and warning me to be careful, this of course was before he met her. Then he kept following up with me making sure I wasn't falling into a trap. He's lived here for life and knows how people are in the Banana Republic Of Dade.

Anyways we started messaging on myspace for a while and then texting on our cellphones. My cousin Mark invited me up to his place for Easter and he called me a "texting whore" because I was texting Natalie and this other girl, who I had no dating interest in at all, all day.

So eventually Natalie started calling me and we decided to hang out one Saturday. I believe it was April 14th, I think. It was going to be Natalie, the other girl I was texting, and her friend, all biking at Shark Valley. Natalie calls me up the night before and tells me she doesn't have a car so she wanted me to pick her up. So of course I do. Then we are driving down 41/Tamiami Trail and she ask me about my guns. She opens the glove box and pulls out my Glock .45 and holds it up looking at it. I told her to put that thing away before I get arrested. I was wondering why she even got in the car with me knowing I'm packing heat. Crazy girl.

So eventually we get out to Shark Valley and we are waiting for the other two girls to get there. They were lost and a good two and a half hours late. Eventually they show up and we all ride the loop but I think we scared these girls off from hanging out with us. One of them was one of the Mormon girls that acts like a goody goody, but then a month later she got pregnant from a boyfriend no one even knew she had and then they had the oops I'm pregnant wedding. I only find that funny because back then Natalie had a little bit of a cussing habit and I think it scared this girl off from hanging out with us. Go figure. After we were done biking we decided we wanted to go to the beach. The other girls decided they didn't want to go so that left just me and Natalie. So we stopped at Subway in the Everglades then headed to my place to drop off the bikes. Then we headed out to Hollywood Beach and got there around 7ish.

I had never been in the water at a South Florida beach yet. I went snorkeling in Key Largo in February that year, but I don't consider the Keys South Florida/Banana Republic. So at 7 in the evening in Mid April I decided to hit the water. Now I'm a Cali boy, and everyone knows this would be like suicide in Cali in April. But to my surprise the water was a nice 80 degrees. So I took my swim and was laughing at the fact that Natalie wouldn't get in, insisting the water is cold. So Cal water tops out in the low 70's in summer, so I couldn't help but laugh at the fact that she thought it was too cold. So after my nice swim we decided we were hungry again and we looked for a place to eat where I can sit in my wet shorts. We found this place that was absolutely horrible Italian food. For some reason my friends think this place is good, we thought it was absolutely horrible. The only good thing about it was that we could sit on the Hollywood boardwalk and eat.

So after that we started hanging out every couple days. We went to the movies with her sister and saw Blades Of Glory the next week. I think that is the last good movie I have seen in theatres to this day. Then her friend came into town so she decided to meet up with him and show me her other side.   Natalie was going to meet up with her friend at this place called Monty's. It's over rated. I wasn't impressed. So we show up there and her friend doesn't like me, because he knows about my guns. Natalie had a couple cranberry/vodkas and was being a little honest about the "trash" her friend brought with him. She wasn't drunk and dancing on the tables or anything, just being really honest with people. So after we were done there her friend and his friends wanted to go dancing. Not my thing. We went down to Lincoln road and walked out after ten minutes leaving her friends behind.

So I didn't feel like going home yet, I think I was still having some sleeping issues at that time. So what to do? It was only ten or eleven and I was bored. So we headed out to Hollywood. We just sat there on the chairs at the beach until 3:30 in the morning talking. No we weren't making out. But a funny story. Around 12ish she decided she was cold. Um, yeah it's The Banana Republic and I would hardly call 75 cold. But I went to the truck to get her my sweater. Not a good idea to leave her alone. I came back and there is this huge black man standing 20 feet away staring at her while she's sleeping on the lounge chair. I come over and he takes off. He takes his car to the other side of us, a couple blocks down and comes back with a video camera. What a weirdo... And that is why you keep a gun with you at all times!!!!

A couple days later we decided to go up to West Palm Beach to surf, after all, that is where crackers surf. We had some awesome pizza on the way there, somewhere in Delray I think. Then we hit the beach.We were both out in the water and all of a sudden Natalie jumps on me and wraps her legs around me. I thought this was odd, we were still just friends and we had never kissed and then she jumps on me. Well she was claiming that a Portuguese Man O War (Jellyfish, pic below) stung her and she was screaming. I still think it was a ploy to jump on me. We got out of the water and yeah she had little red marks, but nothing big. I don't remember if it was that night, or the next, but soon after is when Natalie decided she couldn't take it anymore and kissed me. Yeah, she made the first move.

Around that time the weirdest thing happened. I think Natalie planned it but just won't admit it. We both had our work schedules changed. I was to start working 11am-8pm and she was working the same. Too weird to be a coincidence, I think she planned it somehow and didn't tell me.

A couple days later we decided to go to Key West for a weekend with her sister. So we loaded up the truck Saturday morning, April 28th, my dad's b-day, two years ago today, and made the drive. We stopped at 7 mile bridge and had lunch and tried to knock down coconuts with rocks. We learned it's not so easy to knock down a coconut. So we get down there to our tiny motel, El Rancho. We paid 300 for the night for a small 10X10 room, all because it was in the city. After we got the bikes in the room there wasn't very much room in there. Natalie and her sister got to share a small twin sized bed while I slept on what space was left on the hard floor. But besides El Rancho, it was a good weekend, one of the best weekends of my life. After we checked in to our room we went to the lighthouse then decided to bike the town then eat at a crappy Mexican restaurant. And of course Natalie and her sister had to take pictures with the drag pirates on the street. Yeah, men dressed like women pirates. The next day we did this thing for 120 bucks that lasted all day. First they picked us up on a boat. They gave us breakfast and took us out to reef to snorkel for 2 hours. Then we got lunch. After that they took us to a spot in the middle of the ocean where there was a trampoline on the water, jet skis, a raft, and para sailing. So first we para sailed. Then the trick was that they had free beer, but if you drink they cut your wrist band. No wrist band = no jet skiing for you. Needless to say I pretty much had the jet ski to myself the whole day. There were 3 jet skis, about 40 people, and probably only five of us that didn't drink.

Some of my Key West pictures.

After a day of fun in the sun we hit the shops then drove home. I had a horrible sun burn despite putting on sun block. My feet we scorched so bad that I learned something you would never realize without burned feet. I was driving home and my feet had cooled down. I pulled over to take a pee on the side of the highway and when I got out of my truck the heat from under my truck set my feet on fire, well not literally, but you know what I mean. I never realized how much heat comes out from under my truck, until my feet were fried. The rest of the drive home was miserable. After that I had to wear sandals to work for three days. What a fashion statement. Business casual, slacks, socks, and sandals(at least they weren't thong sandals). I just couldn't get shoes on.

A couple weeks later I decided to surf South Beach before work, as an early Tropical Storm, Andrea, passed by, three weeks before the start of hurricane season. I was trying to parallel park and this idiot tried to sneak in behind me. Well Natalie gets out of the truck, looks at him, and slams the door. He took off in an instant. It was quite funny. I thought I was gonna have a fight on my hands and, well, it didn't take much but an angry Latina to scare him off. So I surfed South Beach, cracked my board, got told to go back to West Palm (Natalie says that's their way of calling me a cracker), then had to go to work later that morning.

So after that we kept hanging out, biking, going to the beach, etc.... Natalie had pretty much stopped hanging out with her other friends since they liked to go out and drink and that life is no longer appealing to her.

So shortly after all this Natalie wanted me to meet her mom. We had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory in Aventura. We sat outside. It was a warm summer night and even though it wasn't raining we could see lightning strikes constantly in all directions. Well I had the feeling that her mom was going to try to intimidate me so I immediately had to take control. After introducing myself I said "so I heard you hate Mormons". Natalie couldn't believe I said it and she was laughing inside.

That's all I have for today.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mission Accomplished

So everyone probably knows I have issues with the management at my apartment. Before I talk about the recent event where I finally got my point through, let me give you all a background on what has been going on there in the last 2+ years.

One of the girls there is really nice, only because she likes me, but the others are complete block heads that don't understand that I don't want people in my apartment when I'm not there. She asked me once why I don't want anyone in my apartment. Really it's none of her damn business except that I pay rent and I don't like people I don't know in my apartment. But I told her I have assault rifles and I work for the government and that is all she needs to know. Really I don't care who knows what I have, I have an 850 pound safe so no one is getting my guns anyways. Who does she think she is asking me a question like that? Would she like to have strangers in her apartment every time she needs something fixed, unsupervised? I'm not a very trusting person and I don't want people in there, and that's all she needs to know.

I have had several problems with these idiots from management.. Close to two years ago, they send illegals over one morning telling me to open the door. This was two days after they cut my screen without telling me so I filled a police report thinking someone was trying to break in. If it wasn't for the fact that Natalie was over, I would have pulled out my recently purchased AK-74 because they didn't speak a word of English and kept insisting I open the door. After all the drama I had a few months before, I thought people were coming after me. On top of it, they didn't let me know that these people were coming, no note or anything, which is setup for disaster. Once Natalie translated and found out there were re screening my patio, I let them in, but put on my boarder patrol hat to be funny.

Every other place I have lived they let you know a couple weeks in advance when something is going on. Yet here they don't do that. Florida law says you have to give tenants a 24 hour notice. So 24 hour notice is legal, but still it's BS. If they know a month in advance they are going to be working inside the apartments, they need to not wait until last minute to let people know. What if I set all my alarms and head out to Cali and they give me 24 hour notice? How am I suppose to get that notice if I am not there and they leave a note on the door? Then I would get non stop phone calls on my cell phone from my auto dialer and my good friend Phil would be rushing over looking for someone to shoot. These people need to wise up.

Then I asked for an air filter last April and the guy wanted to make an appointment for the maintenance guys to install it. I was going to Key West with my parents and Natalie and didn't want people in so he wouldn't order it. Finally a couple weeks later I had to talk to the girl there to order me one. I don't need someone to go in to pull an air filter out of the wall, and push a new one in. A monkey could do that. They are looking for reasons to enter my apartment and it's pissing me off. I don't know why the first DB didn't understand this and refused to just order the filter. I should have called corporate on him for being a DB.

Then there are the several times I have needed a simple thing fixed and they send a person from corporate and three weeks later my stuff isn't fixed and they throw off the blame. I've had to put in 5 work orders once because they send some idiot from corporate and they keep closing the work orders without fixing the issue. I was really pissed last summer when my AC went out on Thursday and they send this guy from corporate on Friday that says he'll order the part and have it Monday. Monday came and no part. Then I talk to the maintenance manager and he said that guy told everyone the same thing all day, he'll have it fixed Monday, then he didn't put in the orders and went left went back to corporate and left everyone hanging. So I didn't have my AC fixed until a week after I put in the work order.

Then let's not forget last summer when the painters stole my pineapple the day I was going to pick it. 18 months to grow that thing. I don't care if it's a 5 dollar pineapple (that takes 18 months to grow), or an car. Stealing is stealing and these idiots proved they can't be trusted.

These people want to keep trying to do the minimum. They don't understand that I pay to occupy that place and I deserve privacy. They need to do their best to provide enough time where if I want to be there when someone is working I can make those arrangements.

So anyways the most recent event. I come home Monday night and find a note on my door. I didn't read it, it was late and I was tired. The next morning my auto dialer is calling my phone at 09:30. So I call the apartment office to see if someone is working in my apartment. So the girl that is about as smart as soap tells me they are and then starts telling me that they have a right because they gave 24 hour notice. Ok, when I get home at 18:00 and receive a note, and the next morning they are in at 09:30, that is not a 24 hour notice. Leaving a note on someones door on a work day when you know they aren't home is not 24 hour notice. On top of that I doubt they had the note up by 09:30 on Monday. So anyways I had to go home pissed off and use my lunch break to disable my auto dialer.

On top of the fact that they were already in my apartment, they were using my power to power their power tools for use outside of my apartment. So I was a little pissed off Monday. And to make it even worse the idiots destroyed my walls. They needed to install a fire alarm siren and they made 8-10 holes in my kitchen, living room, and hallway doing so, all for one alarm. They patched them, but haven't painted them. And they were so smart that they didn't move anything before drilling, made a mess, and didn't clean it up. I had saw dust and dry wall all of my counters, aquarium, and silverware.

So what to do. Well I decided that since talking to them and letting them know they aren't welcome in my apartment unsupervised isn't working, I'll show them. So you can see what I left on my kitchen table Wednesday morning. On top of that, they already saw my safe. I figure half of these guys are illegals anyways. Wednesday they were in working again and on Thursday I noticed they were all looking at me when I walked to my truck. I didn't think much of it, even though they were even watching as I drove away. Natalie didn't work Thursday, she had the day off, and she said when they came in to do work, they seemed scared and insured her that they will be done quickly.

Then when I get home, I talked to the maintenance manager in the parking lot. He's a nice guy, I don't have a problem with him and he said he heard that they tripped my alarm. I let him know that I think it's unacceptable that they leave a note the day before and what if I was gone. He agreed that they are disorganized.

So for now, I think I seem to have gotten my point through. When I go to pay rent this month I'm going to sit down and have a talk with them about this situation and about them being more prepared and reaching out to keep tenants happy instead of doing the minimum to meet the laws, which I doubt they even did that. After seeing them scared to enter my place yesterday, maybe management will actually listen to me this time. I'm sick of having to justify myself for not wanting complete strangers in my apartment.

I also just bought fake cameras to make them think they are being watched when they work. Hopefully these people aren't smart enough to know any better. Usually these things are hard wired which would be impossible for me to setup in my apartment but maybe they'll be dumb enough to think they are wireless. They even have blinking red motion detector lights to make people think they are real. Only five bucks each, put one in each room.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Miami Is Full Of Strange People

So being that I am a So-Cal native, I had no clue how strange people are here. I'm learning more and more as each day goes on, ever since the arrival of the District Office Chicken, our new mascot here.

The chicken first arrived about 3 weeks ago. I was walking out to grab a soda down the street and while walking out the front door I noticed a chicken standing with his back to the window, chest puffed out, looking towards the street. There are people all around outside, sitting and waiting, and this chicken was not phased by all the action around him. He was standing still and looked like a statue. So I got a little laugh about it. I mean this is a common scene in Key West where you see chickens all over the streets and even on top of the buildings, don't ask me how they get there. But that raises the question of how did this chicken get here, and why did he cross the road.

So a lot of people like the chicken. Customers like to pet it and someone has even been bringing it food and water. The majority of workers here do not want it removed, we want it left alone, it's our mascot and it's kinda funny have a chicken at the front door everyday.

But there are some people here that are superstitious and afraid of the chicken. I had no idea that people in this country are so weird and superstitious. There has been a lot of Santeria talk, a lot of "don't go near that chicken".

Due to all the Santeria talk I have got an even further education of how superstitious people are here. The lady that took the pictures of the chicken started telling me about a goat that was slaughtered at her husbands work, ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement), and how no islanders would go near the thing because they thought it's spirit would get them. Then she proceeded to tell me about the brown bags in the freezer. I guess there was a lady in the office that no one liked so everyone wrote her name on a paper and put it in a brown bag. So this lady telling the story says that she goes to open the freezer and there are 20 brown bags. She tells everyone to take their food home or it's going in the trash. They all freak out and told her those bags have to remain in there forever because it keeps the annoying person away from them and since they have done it she has left them alone. Some kind of Santeria curse. And other people took it even further and took the brown bags to train tracks, not the ones next to the office though because they have to be so far away from the person you want to curse. Then 9 train cars have to run it over and then you can freeze it.

This kind of stuff just baffles me. I mean we are in a day where we drive cars to work. We have technology. We have education, well some of us. And yet so many people in this country believe in the strangest voodoo stuff. I was watching a show about the Machiguenga in the Amazon and they believe that deer spirits can enter a person's body and make them sleep with their own daughters, yet they eat monkeys, which are as close to human as you get. I can understand when people that are living in the rainforest out of society and not educated can believe in something so far fetched, but in the modern world, well it's mind boggling. But ever notice in America there are no 13th floors? Or how many people do you know that are afraid of the number 666. I used to work in a meat department and people would make me put more meat on or take some off if it weighed or cost 666. So stupid. How many times in their life you think they come across that number without even realizing it. I like to mess with people and if I see a chicken at the store that cost $6.66 I buy it and then I get a big smile and say it's my lucky number when they ring it up. I don't believe in superstition at all, it's ridiculous.

Here are some pictures of our famous Immigration Chicken. I think he crossed the road/boarder, to get a visa. We'll see if he gets denied. One of the higher ups isn't so happy about the chicken being here. Everyone else seems to be on my side and want to give this chicken political asylum. Don't deport our chicken, leave him alone.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

South Florida Update

So what's going on in South Florida? Well we had one hell of a winter. Yeah I know it wasn't that bad, but for South Florida it was. We had more overnight lows in the 50's than I could ever imagine and the single driest winter on record. Only 18% of our normal rain. It's been dry, brown, ugly, and depressing here. Still 70's everyday, but not as many 80+ days.

Well that all changed last week. We got a low front that brought in rain, it's green again, and the heat is back. Suppose to be near 90 today! I woke up today and it was still 75 at sunrise. A lot of people asked me why I want to move to Florida, it's so hot. Well first off it's not hot, just warm and humid. Second I love it. I love walking out in the morning and feeling the warmth and humidity, I'm like a lizard that likes to bask in the sun. And the humidity really brings out the smell of my jasmines. The first year here was hard to get used to. I moved here from San Diego and the winter here is warmer than San Diego's summer. The water only gets down to 73 in the winter, that is like a warm El Nino year in San Diego. But after adapting let me say I'm loving the weather here and I'm excited about the change this week and the return of the heat and humidity. I'm hoping for a rainy summer, last summer sucked except for the tropical storms and the one day we got 8 inches of rain. The year before we got 18 inches of rain in June and it was nice. I love t-storms, especially when it's a daily thing.

Now what would my blog be without a complaint? I don't understand the people here. I had a friend from EDS. He's the one that told me about Southcom. Well EDS went under about 6 months after I left and he was out of a job because he wouldn't move to Tulsa with them, so I got him over to Southcom and shortly after he got something like a 6K raise. Without my help he could very well be unemployed right now or working in a completely different field. I mean face it, the economy is crap. Instead he's doing even better than he was before and on top of that he has a secret clearance now which is extremely valuable and is major job security in this rough market. Because of my help, he's got a job that is recession proof. Well he's Cuban, or half or something. I have lots of Cuban friends and they all seem to understand my frustration with people not speaking English here. They understand it's nothing personal against them and it's nothing racist. But this guy will defend any Cuban no matter what. A Cuban can murder someone and just because they are Cuban he will defend them like family. I don't understand that mentality. There are plenty of white people I don't like. But no matter what with this guy, Cuban's are his people and no matter what they do he defends them.

Below are some pictures comparing the flooded Everglades a couple months after Fay last year and the same spots this April during the drought.

Pictures from two months after Fay.

Pictures from this April.

For some reason the alligators were extra shy today and didn't want their pictures taken. I think due to the lack of water they felt out of their comfort zone and were more afraid of humans than normal.

Dried Canal

Borrow Pit Dried Up