Written by Captain Mary on Sunday, November 20, 2011

A person would think that having 5 kids in a house that is reserved for the elderly would be a massive cloud of mayhem, but you would be wrong. It seems that grandparents have the great opportunity to see the children as perfect little people, even teenagers act like humans. I worked last night late and came home ready to take care of some kids, but I didn't have to do a thing. Pure exhaustion led them to a peaceful sleep.

The next morning I woke late, almost 10am, the kids quietly entertaining themselves, I started the day with only two boys, Sam and Max. Without saying a word I went to the kitchen and made Nana's famous Sunday morning pancakes, I always do something special to keep them surprised. Today's pancakes was a brown sugar, cinnamon batter, topped with chocolate drizzle, mini chocolate chips and powdered sugar. They started eating them before I even got the syrup out. Sitting at their TV tables I didn't hear a word. They watched a morning movie, afterward it was time to make holiday pies. I placed the ingredients in two bowls for my peanut butter pie, and handed Sam and Max the bowl to begin blending, the peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar. In the meantime I was busy making the Key Lime Pies. Time management is essential, by the time I was done with my portion and whipped cream, the boys were ready for me to add to their bowl, whipped creme and mini chocolate chips. Putting the Key Lime pies in the oven, I proceeded to whip more cream for the tops of the pie. The boys poured their ingredients into the pie shells, licking the spoons was the best part for them. I put the whip creme topping on the pies and put them away for the holiday, promising the boys one of the pies for a treat.

After playing outside and giving the menagerie of cats some needed attention, we were ready to start a holiday project for their parents. Newspaper spread out on the living room floor, paints and glue ready for us, we began our projects. In the meantime I was trying to figure out something for my soon to be arriving 2 additional grandchildren, Jazzy and J.T.. As soon as they walked in, their eyes lit up with curiosity, I then prepared their projects. Giving them a piece of pie first and they were off doing their projects. I can't say what the projects are, but it will take a couple more visits to Nana's house to complete. I always have some good homemade gifts that become heirlooms. Just before we completed our work for the day the last of the grandchildren arrived. Without a moment to waste she headed to the frig for her snack and she spotted the pie, promptly sliced off a piece. You would think that the kids would be on a sugar high, but the pie is so rich they sat quietly and I enjoyed the peace.

Grandparents have it made, and if they act up, I simply make a phone call.


Written by Captain Mary on Monday, October 31, 2011

I belong to this fantastic social group, The Upper Keys Sons & Daughters of Italy. Most everybody is Italian or of Italian descent. We allow a ten percent social membership, just for fun. And they are all fun. We have young members and old. This is our third Annual Dinner Dance and it is my second time attending. The group was only established a mere 4 years ago and our membership is over 200 strong. I danced the night away, the music was old and new, Italian and everything in between.

 I spent most of the evening dancing and enjoying the company of my friend Tony, my Dad and his friend Marlene, my sister and brother-in-law. Dad was my guest, but if you didn't know, he was just like a part of the chapter. We had the dinner at the Big Chill, a Jimmy Johnson restaurant. They do a fantastic job, the wine flowed like water, courtesy of the chapter. Our servers had to be the best, all you would have to do is think of what you wanted and it magically appeared. I danced so much that I lost the soles of my new shoes, they just flew off. By the end of the night, it turned into the old people version of Dirty Dancing. The best we could do with our decrepit bodies. Romance in the air, love and slow dancing. A night out for the chapter membership is without a doubt some of the best fun ever.

 The music was so familiar that one could not help to sing a-long, as you can see my Dad was doing. Everybody danced and sung, the best song had to be "We are family" by Sly and the Family Stone. Every person was on the dance floor, even the ones who didn't dance the whole night. This was the song to bring it on down!
I find it so easy to play the Italian way, it is an opportunity to be back where your heritage began, but in Key Largo. I remember when I was growing up and visiting Boston, where most of my extended family lives, there was always this closeness and family was always number one. Being in a community of Italians, is like going home. I will fondly remember the fruit carts and the accents along the city streets where all the Italians lived in East Boston. The Sons & Daughter of Italy is like that, are monthly meetings, full of food, special events, and bocce balls.That's not what happens when it gets cold, it's a game. I am still smiling from all the fun, I could use more days like this.


Written by Captain Mary on Thursday, October 27, 2011

I got this in an email and thought that it would be a pleasant reminder to all of us, I wish I knew who wrote it, I can't think of anything more perfect. Does the future really hold promise for our children?


 THE 30'S, 40'S, 50'S, 60'S, & 70'S


First, we survived
being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank
while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin,
ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then, after that  trauma, we were
put to sleep on our tummies
in baby cribs covered with bright colored
lead-based paints.

We had no
childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets,or toilet seats.

Imagine using a two holer.
and, when we rode our bikes,
we had baseball caps, not helmets, on
our heads.

As infants and
children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes..

Riding in the
back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water
from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one
soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes,
white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar.

And we weren't overweight.


Because we were
always outside playing...that's why!

We would leave
home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was
able to reach us all day.

--And, we were


We would spend hours building
our go-carts out of scraps
and then ride them down the hill,
only to find
out we forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem..

We did not
have Play Stations, Nintendos and X-boxes. There were
no video games,
no 150 channels on cable,
no video movies
or DVDs, no surround-sound or CDs,
no cell phones, no personal computers,
no Internet and no chat rooms.

and we went
outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut,
broke bones and teeth,
and there were no lawsuits
from those accidents.

We would get
spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand,
and no one would call child services to report abuse.

We ate worms, and mud pies
made from dirt, and
the worms did not live in us forever.

We made rubber guns and shot one another with
red rubber from car inter-tubes. We were given
BB guns for our 10th birthdays, 22 rifles for our 12th, rode horses,made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and
-although we were
told it would happen- we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes
or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts
and not everyone made the team.
Those who didn't had to learn
to deal with disappointment.

Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing
us out if we broke the law was unheard of.
They actually sided with the law!

These generations have
produced some of the best risk-takers,
problem solvers, and inventors ever.

The past 50
to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas..

We had freedom,
failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are
one of those born
between 1925-1970, CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want
to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids before the lawyers
and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

While you are
at it, forward it to your kids, so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

Kind of makes
you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?



Written by Captain Mary on Sunday, October 23, 2011

With all the talk about the end of the war, I couldn't help thinking about what would happen to all the men and women who returned from the war. I am a product of the 60's and 70's where we always protested war. I have always seen war as a useless way to resolve conflict. Not to mention the drain on the countries resources. If we ran our homes the same as the country, there would be families and communities killed because we didn't like the way they raised their kids.

 Granted people who do wrong should indeed be found and punished. How do we justify the killing of people who had nothing to do with the initial problem. Then we turn around and tell them how their country should be run. All people should start by taking care of themselves, those who can not should be helped, not with arrogance and war. Our country should not think that they are the shinning example to the world, because it is not. Freedom is not having someone else tell you what to do!

I can't help thinking about what we call the "Civilized World". As I wander back in time to the Neanderthals, are earliest man. Have we really progressed more than them? Besides standing on two feet and wearing clothing we still haven't moved forward enough to just be at peace with each other. Technology has advanced to amazing heights, the human intelligence is vast and always expanding. So why is that compassion and understanding have not reached this amazing level? This should be our goal, not murder. On a small scale we do it, the family unit for example, small communities manage to live a peaceful existence. Why can't we expand this to the world. When a catastrophe occurs, we all step up as a group from all over the world, we put together volunteers and money and take care of the needs of the victims. How about the tsunami in Asia, the worst in history, the world was there to lend a hand along with the earthquake in Haiti. Millions were donated and people were there to help. We did these things as people not governments, united by the need  to help and to just do the right thing.

I continue to think about the rise of unemployment and homelessness as our troops return. Thinking about where they would be had there been no conflict, and had all the trillions of dollars spent on this war remained home. I began doing research into this very thing and have found what you will read next:

Brown University Watson Institute for International Studies
© 2011 Watson Institute
Has this military spending created more jobs than other kinds of spending? Usually not. In fact, public funds would have created more jobs in the past decade if they had been invested in such industries or sectors as home weatherization, construction, healthcare, or education.

A million dollars of spending would create 15.5 jobs in public education, 14.3 jobs in healthcare, 12 jobs in home weatherization, or about the same number of jobs in various renewable energy technologies. A million dollars spent on construction (residential and non-residential structures) creates 11.1 direct and indirect jobs.

Investments in renewable energy such as solar, wind, or biomass, would create just as many jobs as military spending. Efficiency programs such as weatherization of homes and public buildings would create about 1.5 times as many jobs, and federal support for healthcare and education would create twice as many as the same level of military spending.

Alternatively, the federal government could have increased its support for energy efficiency programs such as weatherization of homes and public buildings, or increasing the infrastructure and operations for mass transit. $130 billion per year in these efficiency programs would have created a net increase of about 500,000 jobs each year. Spending in renewable energy programs would have created approximately the same number of jobs as the military, but would have contributed to combating climate change and building a more sustainable energy infrastructure.

Well, I think that says it all, doesn't it? These results are just this country, other countries would benefit the same and perhaps we wouldn't be in debt with a Communist country. I see that when we need something other political and social groups are willing to help, without conflict.

I have rambled enough for now, I really get worked up when I think about what is happening around me, even if I don't see it with my own eyes, how the world is effected. So many ways to resolve problems without war, lets see if our goal one day can indeed be "World Peace".


Written by Captain Mary on Sunday, October 23, 2011

 A day at the shooting range. I haven't really shot a gun for 25 years or so. This was a learning experience. Off to a private range to shoot some skeet. It was my first time with a 12 gauge shot gun and we were going to shoot moving targets. What! I did better than I expected, yes I did hit some. Learning to hold this monster shot gun was the hardest part, my arms are just not long enough. The guys were teaching the girls using step by step instructions. It was much easier in theory than to follow through with their instructions. The weight was more than I expected. I understand that the guys wanted us to learn the safety procedures and loading the gun all by ourselves. For us it was like trying to put a square peg in a round hole, a bit impossible. The competitive nature of my family supersedes the impossible. After a couple of clay targets went flying into the trees we began knocking the sh..t out of them.

What motivated this family outing was the fact that the guys just bought some new weapons and wanted to try them out.

My granddaughter, Shy-Anne, amazed us all. Here she had just cut down a bush with the shot gun after we ran out of moving targets. The smile on her face signifies great pride in a job well done. The adrenaline rush from the power of these weapons, makes me understand why people own them. So much to think about when operating weapons, safety, sighting, stances, and a bunch of other s's. I know Jason has been shooting on a regular basis and his skill at hitting the moving targets was very natural. It is a great way to sharpen your skills. I have confidence now that if someone enters my home unannounced, they will have no chance to change their mind. That means they should have never walked through the door in the first place.

After shooting a several hundred rounds at the skeet range we wanted to try out the hand guns, Glocks! Seems to be a popular weapon, just like shoes, they are in style right now.
I know one thing, this hobby is a bit expensive, its a shame too, because if more people knew more about operating weapons, there wouldn't be so many accidents. We were out for about six hours, in a real environment doing something as a family with respect for each other. Anytime a family is together learning new things, even if it is just about each other, it makes the day worthy of an event to remember.

Here Jeff stands watching over Shy, because after the weapon is loaded a teenager still forgets it is a gun and tends to sling it around. Shy kept us amused with some of her comments. As Jason was showing her how to load the shot gun she says "I can't it will ruin my nails", we laughed, girls will be girls. As the day progress Shy stood empty handed and shouted back, "Hey, someone give me a gun". She finally stopped making excuses and focused more on just having fun. A must admit she is a pretty good shot! (By the way this picture appears to be shooting over water, it is an illusion, it is a cross road)

Looks like I have been doing this forever, doesn't it? I am loading the 22 which is a really easy to handle rifle, without all that kick that bruised my shoulder earlier in the day with the 12 gauge. We were shooting heavy rounds with the shot gun, they were given to us for free, a bit too much kick for me.
After the day was over we headed back to Jason's house and enjoyed conversation about our day together. I think I have the greatest family ever, we do so many things together and I feel like the luckiest person on earth, I find myself so content most of the time.


Written by Captain Mary on Friday, October 21, 2011

I have been writing letters lately to two people that I love very much. Unfortunately they are incarcerated. I have been sending them encouragement and hopes. The both of them are there in the “Big House” for hurting no one, but themselves. I can’t help thinking about how the punishment should fit the crime. I look at the news and see how people are walking the streets after rape, attempted murder, assault, child molestation & murder.

I just don’t get it, my two loves are on government vacation for growing some herbs and the other for who knows what, none of it makes sense to me. All I know is that we the taxpayer are spending money for their food, housing and education. What they were convicted of didn’t hurt anyone. Does this government really have the brains to do the right thing?

I am sick of watching people who don’t belong on the planet walking the streets right next to me and the people who have a non-violent crime locked up behind bars. What is wrong with this picture? I say if you know someone who is like these two, drop them a line and give them some words of encouragement. For certain tell them that it is a great opportunity to read those books, get their GED, or start their college or vocational education. Tell them if they are stuck there, then by all means use the government to get what you need to be a success when you leave the confines of that God forsaken place.

These people could be your family or friends, let them know what is going on and keep them part of your life as if they were there. Before you know it, they will be home and I imagine more violent than when they were put there. For these people incarceration does them more harm than good. A letter from you could mean a few minutes with a smile on their face and perhaps a feeling that they have something to look forward to.


Written by Captain Mary on Friday, October 21, 2011

...to get their Black Belts.  Monica and Jason with Senior Master, and our instructors Isaacs, at their Black Belt ceremony in June. Went to yet another graduation ceremony at Integrity Martial Arts on Tuesday. The testing was unnerving, yet a proud moment. I saw my 3 grandchildren work the hardest they could to surge toward their Black Belts. Jonathan, finally out of Tiny Tigers and now a Green Belt. Jasmine, with awesome kicks over her head, is now a Blue Decided Belt. So close to their goals after a little more than a year.

This is Sam getting his Black Belt tied on by his brother and me, what an honor! That has been 4 months already. Sam gave a fantastic speech, along with my daughter and son,(who made the instructor cry).

Just this week Max received his Black Belt and what he told his instructors was that he was going to get his 4th Degree Black Belt and take his job. Even though Max knows he has to wait until he is 18 years old. Max will be nine next month, 9 more years to go.  He is now working toward his 2nd Degree Black Belt as we speak. I guess I better get on the band wagon and work on getting my 2nd Degree, it has been far too long, waiting for my not so perfect joints to perform. I will just have to do what I can, I have my family to cheer me on, of course, along with my Integrity Martial Arts family.
I don't know if my body can keep up with the gruelling work-outs, but I know just being at the IMA school lifts my spirits so high, it feels like I can do anything.

My TaeKwondo Family

Written by Captain Mary on Monday, October 17, 2011

My TaeKwondo family. I can’t help being proud of my family and their accomplishments. The little ones are learning things that they don’t even know. They are learning respect, confidence, and a whole plethora of wonderful and admirable traits. When I look around and see that these traits in today’s children don’t really exist. I am proud to say that, “My grandchildren and children are the best!” I am always proud to introduce them to the world.

It was great to see Grandpa show up to see the kids testing. The gang was so happy to see him and show off for him. The boys and Jasmine doing their splits for Grandpa. I know Grandpa was amazed at the grand kids and their abilities.

Max tested for his Black Belt, he has been in TaeKwonDo since he was 4 years old. Most of his life, and I think it makes a real difference. Jonathan, will be another that starts really early. If you could only see the 4 of my grandchildren do their stuff.

Each time I go to a rank testing or their graduation ceremony, I am brought to tears. I have watched my grandchildren grow in a direction that will take them to another level when they become adults.

The school is a place that a person wants to go to. When I walk in the door, I am greeted with smiles and looking around all I see is people of all ages, talking and smiling at each other, like a family. I wish that all sports had the support that TaeKwondo has. There are rules of course, the first and most important is to support each and every student, and the second is never to coach on the side lines. Unlike soccer and other sports, coaching from the side can disqualify the competitor immediately. I have seen lots of sports and competitions. I never remember seeing how proud the people are just to compete. The kids are taught that to be a winner is just to participate and give it all you got. Who could ask for more!


Written by Captain Mary on Sunday, October 16, 2011

Working hard or hardly working? I love my personal assistant job. I started out as a driver. Taking my client from place to place. We then adjusted our relationship as we went along. Today, I am sitting at the Hilton in Boca Raton, after a fantastic meal at the City Fish Market. Wow! What a place, the service was beyond excellent. I felt as if I was the only person in the restaurant.

I started the day by picking up my client to take her to Boca for an event. Arriving on time as always, we checked into the Hilton with her dog, Nikita. Then shortly after check-in we venture to her event. Dog in tow, of course. Dropping off my client for her evening, I was now the personal assistant of the dog. After a cup of coffee, we ventured down to the lake with fountains and swans. A paradise if I do admit myself. A relaxing walk along the paths that surround the lake, a doggie paradise. So many places to explore on the property and yet there was a sense of peace and serenity. I don’t know how these places stay in business sometimes; it seemed to me that the place was deserted. Not that I really minded, but it was just an FYI. After I received a phone call from my client, she had adjusted my duties and I had the rest of the evening off. She doesn’t get up very early, so I can sleep in.
Motivating her is the hardest part of the job, which I somehow wiggled into. Between remembering what she should bring and what not to forget, I am exhausted. Try working with someone who has a serious case of OCD. I mean serious, but charming at the same time. I love our time together, it is never boring and  I get paid for it.

The next morning arrives after quite a restful sleep. I find myself wandering about, looking for something to do. Thinking about what I need to get done at home. I have the yard work and house work to do, that has been so ignored, since my increased work load. I know that I have walked the grounds here at the Hilton for what seems like hours. Already, had numerous cups of coffee and still waiting for the princess to get up. I sat in front of the elevators, watching people exit the hotel. It is when I realized that this place is indeed pretty full. The one person I am hoping will come out of the elevator is probably tucked in her king size bed. She probably won’t be coming out of the elevator until I send someone up to get her stuff, this could take hours. Still waiting for her reply from my text message, so far it has been an hour.

I am anticipating our drive home, which is only about an hour. I can’t help giggle, when I recall our ride up to Boca Raton. With my client and her dog in the back seat, and her bellowing instructions, such as “watch your speed, that car is coming in our lane, take the turns easier,” and it goes on and on. I now know why drivers have glass between them and their passengers. Tinted glass, so that the passengers can’t see the sneers the driver makes every time a passenger makes yet another ridiculous statement or request. I can find the humor in these interruptions to a mostly normal weekend.

At this point in my life, it would be utterly stupid to not take any and all work that comes my way. I think about others who have it much more difficult than I do, and it seems to me that I have it pretty good. I work hard at hardly working.


Written by Captain Mary on Wednesday, October 05, 2011

....you never know what you are going to get. One thing is, that it is always sweet. I have been a little down in the dumps. I guess like the rest of the country with reference to work. It only lasted about three days though. Not really enough time for much of a break. Now, I am back up to a good schedule.

I have heard from some long lost friends and that always cheers me up. It seems that when things are at there lowest I find myself at that happy place soon after. I never forget what a wonderful family and friends I have. For some reason the timing is always just perfect. I love my life and the people in it, I go through each day like I am special, it doesn't hurt that I think I am special too.

I went to the grand opening of my TaeKwonDo school, they moved to a new location and the festivities were fantastic. So impressed by the ceremony I began to practice at the school once again. I thought I would be in pain after the work out, but instead I felt fantastic. I will go to class twice a week to start with, perhaps I can firm up a bit, and get my heart back to a healthy state. Cardio, cardio. I have spent the last two years without much exercise, except working in the yard at my sons and my house. It just wasn't enough to get my energy level back up. I have accepted the fact that my knees are not going to get better without surgery, so all I can do is move through the pain and discomfort and push ahead. The positive energy in the TaeKwonDo school is enough to make anyone feel good, even the people who are standing by watching.

Life is just like a box of chocolates...sweet and mixed up at the same time.


Written by Captain Mary on Wednesday, October 05, 2011

I wrote a brief story of my life and relationships. I noticed that I had a comment awaiting moderation. I was flattered to see that an X of mine's wife had replied. It seems that she still finds me as some kind of threat, why else would she go through so much trouble to find me and monitor my blog. Anyway, I thought I would let everyone get a glimpse of her comment:

Linda said...

c'mon if ur gonna tell the story at least get it right mary!andy left you after thanksgiving and we married 2 months later and he was in the delivery room the day our son was born i have pics to prove that ! i got everything you ever wanted from andy in a matter of months his baby and a wedding ring ! my x took you skydiving and you ran out of the dive shop crying !yeah he cheated but i understood he had to grow up with me and you know what 20 yrs later he has worked his ass off for our family he's my best catch!as for changing the sheets we never did it in your bed,just your couch ,livingroom floor and best of all your boat several times!why did'nt you add how he helped you get off crack !i told him about your blog he thinks ur pathedic! if you're gonna tell the story get it right ! lmao !!!!

Well let me address her comment, just as a matter of clarification. First of all let me say that my blog is my version of my life, not anyone else, just read my Disclaimer. Lets start with what I wanted from Andy, well it was no more than fun. I would never consider him as spouse material. My kids hated him and it doesn't take more than that for me to decide on a person. I am glad that he has grown up and finally took responsibility for himself. I can't help to wonder why my words are so important to  Ms. Linda. Andy, was not the only person in my life, granted he was around for awhile. Linda had to read quite a bit of content to get to the places where he was mentioned, and she calls me pathetic! As for skydiving, her X was not there at all. Where did you get that from? I can understand why she dumped her X, talk about boring. My daughter and I spent the day together, I have film to prove that. The dive shop incident, I didn't run anywhere, those people are still my friends and they don't remember the alternate version of the event at all. I continued working at that dive shop and Ms. Linda was no where to be found after that day. As for Andy getting me off drugs, that is the biggest joke of all, he only dated me because I had drugs. When I no longer shared them is when the relationship went to the shitter.  Seriously his drug problem is what lead him to loose his captains license, not mine, we took the same drug test, only I passed. After he departed from my life, things became so much simpler and I have done all the things that I have wanted to do. I have traveled the world and have friends around the globe. What more could a person want. I have everything that I need.

Life has it's ups and downs, My life has no exception. I can honestly say that my relationship with Andy was a learning experience which I prefer not to relive each time his wife has a comment or moment of insecurity. I hope Ms. Linda gets over me, because I have gotten over her. Water under the bridge!!!! I hope that everybody takes this opportunity to send a comment to this post. I am certain that Ms. Linda will be monitoring my site until I have died.

Just think, do you know anyone who stalks their husbands X girl friends? Cyber stalking is a crime, only because they don't have a life.


Written by Captain Mary on Tuesday, October 04, 2011

This story was inspired by two very special rats and two very special children who had them as pets. The rats passed away of old age, Mama, but she had a life of adventure. Taylor was loved and will be missed also. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.


©copyright 2008

It all started in a little pet shop, where two baby rats named Sloan and Jack were living. People would come to the pet shop looking to adopt animals, some people would look through the glass and see Sloan, Jack and the other baby rats and they would always say, "Rats are yucky". Sloan didn't like that kind of talk, because she knew she was special. Jack didn't really care, he was too busy playing and having fun with the others.

One day a lady named Miss Jane peeked through the glass and pointed at Sloan and Jack, after a couple of minutes the store caretaker came back and took Sloan and Jack out of the cage and put them in a dark little box. They sat in the box very quiet, it was a bumpy ride, but then the box opened and a gentle hand picked them up and put them in a brand new home.

Sloan and Jack were so excited, there were toys and treats of all kinds. Jack said, "Sloan it's the lady from the pet shop". Miss Jane thought that they were cute and her children would just love them.

When the children got home from school they ran to see what their Mom had brought home for them. The children looked down into the cage to see Sloan and Jack. Sloan didn't know what to think about these small people, but they didn't call us yucky, and that was good. Rats have feelings too.

Days went by and the children would play with Sloan and Jack everyday. Sloan was always cleaning herself, because she wanted to look pretty like a princess. Sloan and Jack were allowed to run around the whole house, they would follow the children because they always seemed to drop crumbs of food to eat. There was also a dog at their new home, the dog was named Scruffy and he would play with the little rats too.

Scruffy would pick up Sloan and they played together on the couch. Sloan would run across Scruffy and tickle him, they played hide and seek. Jack was more adventurous, he was always climbing up somewhere and always falling off of things. Jack was a clumsy rat, not like Sloan who was always busy making herself pretty.

The little rats were so happy, they lived in a home that didn't call them yucky, but once in awhile a visitor would come over and call them names. Calling anything a bad name is not nice, even if they are rats.

Sloan and Jack were very smart little rats, when they got tired they would go back to their cage and rest and other times they would follow Miss Jane out to the garden where they could play in the yard.

One day Scruffy took Jack outside and he got lost, Jack didn't know how to find his way back into the house. Jack climbed up on things and into little holes he found, but still couldn't find his way back into the house. Then night time came and Jack was all alone, he was very brave and knew Miss Jane would look for him soon. Jack found a nice little hole and curled up to go to sleep.

The next day Jack still didn't find his way, so he looked for help, he found a cat. Jack didn't know that cats eat rats. So he went right up to the cat and stood up asking, "Can you help me find my way, I am lost." The cat was so surprised to see a rat like this, it just looked down at Jack. At that very moment Miss Jane was outside looking for Jack and noticed the cat was looking at something. Miss Jane ran as quickly as she could to see and there was Jack, she picked Jack up and gave him a kiss. Miss Jane was so happy to see Jack, she brought him back in the house and to the cage where Sloan was. Sloan was so happy to see Jack, they played for hours.

Miss Jane and the children made sure that Sloan and Jack were always cared for and that visitors understood they were part of the family. Even though they were different, they were always loved.



Written by Captain Mary on Friday, September 09, 2011

How did all begin, well it was over 9 years ago now. I had been living the life, a wonderful husband, children close by, boating and fishing almost weekly. Then there was a day that we were out on the boat, my husband, my daughter and myself. Coming out of the Bimini channel after a day of boating and having fun. When suddenly my husband throttles down on the boat in the middle of the channel, he then says "This is where I want my ashes scattered", I replied with a yeah, yeah, lets get going before it gets too late. I really didn't think anything of it, hell he was only 47 years old at the time. Not noticing other things either, or perhaps just not putting them together. He had lost his sobriety, but to the extreme, then he would take pain pills until he passed out. I didn't really do anything but get angry with him. I also noticed that we would argue, usually over really stupid things, but I was convinced that the marriage was just falling apart. I began packing my boxes in plans of moving on, somewhere else. Calm as could be he says to me, "don't move out I will be dead soon". Again, I let this information just pass.
It wasn't three days after the trip to Bimini when my life began changing, my husband was put in the hospital and was told he would only live 30 days. Hard for me to believe, I began getting him to treatment centers and daily doctor visits. To no avail, he passed away in the estimated time.
Before he passed he asked me if I would be alright, and ,of course, I said I would. I thought that I could do it. Time passed and I really didn't worry about money, he left me some money, which allowed me to travel and still maintain the household. My daughter helped out a bit and we were doing just fine.
To move up in time to about 3 years ago, things went down quickly, I became dependant on credit cards to make ends meet, work was slow, from two or three clients a day and the horrible crash of the US economy, things got tight. I was still able to afford my credit cards, paying over the minimum every month. Then suddenly without warning I noticed the credit card company raised my 4 percent to almost 30 percent in a single statement, then the next credit card followed suit. I don't understand why exactly, but then I tried to work with them. Their terms were ridiculous, I felt like I was involved with loan sharks. What to do now? I talked to a friend who had knowledge of someone going through the same predicament. He said to just file bankruptcy. How humiliating I thought, now I must admit that I am a complete failure to myself. As I did more research and ended all my attempts at working out a solution with the creditors, this sounded like my only solution. So, I hired an attorney, and that was a special day. The first things they told me to do was to stop paying all my credit cards, and maintain the bills that I wanted to keep, like my home. I was told that if they call just give them my attorneys phone number and if they continue tell them they will be sued. All that sounded like a great relief to me. Work became slower and I starting to suffer with knee problems. I could no longer exercise or even enjoy my life, I became so depressed.
I looked at myself in the mirror and said to self, get your ass up and smile, there are so many people who care about you. I continued in a happier place and put the aches and pains down as old age, its just part of what happens. I would have been a lot better if I could afford doctors, again I just moved on with a smile and I am convinced that everything happens for a reason.
Now, finally present day, I have my court date to disburse my debt and begin my new life. I found Vocational Rehabilitation (thanks to sister) and they are going to help me find doctors to fix what ails me and to help pay for further education. This way I can do something more than odd jobs to make ends meet. Don't get me wrong, physical labor I find very rewarding. The fact that I can still do physical labor is probably the most rewarding. I now look forward to the future with excitement. I am again starting a new life, with some goals and perhaps without daily pain. I have found that my humiliation was simply in my head, there is no one who treats me like a failure or even thinks that way. Life is always evolving and changing and if I stay in one place then I guess life will just pass by. I have a new life about to begin, who wants to join in on the party?
I guess I spoke prematurely, I am back from my hearing, even more confused than before. My attorney said that I did fine. I am not certain that I did. But, what is the worst that could happen! Jail time! I answered the questions to the best of my knowledge, that is with my nerves at their ends. Now, the wait is on for their deliberation, it will be a matter of two weeks or so.
Patiently waiting, the time came and the humiliation is nearing its end, it took over a month, but now I still have to wait until all matters have completely dissolved, until that time, I await yet another new beginning. I can't complain, according to my attorney, there is no humiliation, because there is countless people doing the same thing. It a way to start over without the pain and stress of bills.
I recommend this to anyone who has been screwed by the credit card companies. It is well worth the money and effort.

MY STORY 2000 to 2010

Written by Captain Mary on Saturday, August 27, 2011

 Hardly touched on all the details of my life, but I don't want to bore the hell out of my readers. Perhaps I will recall stories now that I am caught up. Life passes by so quickly, it feels like each blink of my eye, time passed. In reality it has, making each blink of my eye count is the hard part.
The new millennium starts with a very happy life and at 45 years old I still feel 25. I am in fantastic shape, tanned and tight. A great husband and a great family. I am surrounded by love and it makes waking up every morning a new adventure. Still out on the boat every chance we get and heading to Bimini as often as possible, which is a lot.
My customers understood that if the day was good, I would not be working, but fishing instead. The routine for my life was far from routine, but exciting and always happy. This was the year that I became grandma for the second time. I so enjoyed my granddaughter, the excitement of another would be twice as grand.
My husband and I had this 3 bedroom house, so it didn't bother us to take in a couple of room-mates. My son and my nephew. It was good for the guys to have each other, they watched sports together and it all seemed to be harmony for the most part. Now there was even more people to go out on the boat and have fun with.
Another year passed when I came home to find my husband standing in the middle of the house looking around as if a tornado had hit. Our wonderful happy home had been violated, someone had broken in and taken anything they could carry, destroying and throwing things everywhere. The things they took, really didn't matter except for the watch my now sick mother had just given me. We did recover about two thirds of our belongings, but none of that seemed to matter. It was the sick feeling I had that someone had violated my home. Someone came in and destroyed the comfort and warm feeling a home has.  The thieves were caught and convicted, but it was too late to change anything. The only way to protect ourselves from this happening again would be to get a big dog. That is what we did, a 110 pound bull mastiff, named Scooby, and his partner Baby, who is still around.
In the meantime I was battling with the thought of loosing my mother. Her diagnosis was bleak, and my last visit with her I knew would be the absolute last. Remembering the drive home from visiting mom, my brother and I talking about not ever seeing her again. The horrible truth was what had happened. A few days later I had lost my wonderful mother and confidant. I was so lucky to have Steve and my brother close by. I don't know how I could possibly pick myself back up alone. Every time I picked up the telephone I had to remember that my mother was no longer there to answer my daily phone calls. She was not there to answer my crazy questions and give me those famous recipes. It was as if I lost a leg or an arm or both. My brother gave me a couple weeks to morn, when he grabbed me by the arm and said he would take me to work himself if I didn't get moving. This is when I began to start my life again. There isn't a day that goes by where I don't miss her and sometimes I look at her beautiful face on my wall and tears fall down my cheeks. I miss her so much. I do know that she watches over me. I would hear mom call me in the weeks and months after she died, she has a very strong spirit. She was watching over the whole family and the spooky things that happened only prove it. She told me before she died that she would always watch over all of us.
Life moves on as always, even though there are hiccups along the way.
Things were becoming different in my marriage, we were fighting, over things that did not make sense, Steve also began drinking after 6 years of sobriety. I didn't really understand what was happening.
Now, my nephew is moving on to his own place and not so long afterward my daughter moves in, after a drama in her life, then again that is her story to tell. I had both my kids with me, now not as parent and child, but as best friends, unconditionally. A couple of little children running around was adorable too. Steve and the kids had a very special relationship, he was so good with them. Like a warm cuddly Santa would be.
It was a full house on weekends, when his children would visit. Yet things were tense, Steve would have more and more out bursts of anger, that I simply could not understand. The drinking getting worse and worse, he drank until he passed out.
My children moving out and getting their very own home, just a couple of blocks away. My son finding a woman to love and my daughter dating and having a good time. We got together for another fishing trip, all went well, until we arrived home and Steve and I had a argument over who was going to clean the fish. Which is always me, I walked to the kitchen and he followed me, still angry he pushes me through a glass door. My son grabbed Steve and stopped him, that was when I began packing my bags and boxes, moving myself to the spare bedroom. My kids kept a real close eye on me after that and would come by often. My boxes packed and piled up in the living room I was ready to leave. Steve looked at me and said not to bother he wasn't going to live much longer anyway. I thought he was tying to get me to forgive him, I was not willing to go through another relationship with violence. Things got calmer and once again back on the boat, this time to Bimini with my daughter as a passenger.
We had a great time, fishing and visiting friends, but it was time to go home. Suddenly Steve pulls back on the throttle of the boat in the middle of the Bimini channel. He says to us, "this is where I want my ashes sprinkled", I replied with, "yeah, yeah, lets go, its late". I didn't have another thought about it. Was I just not paying attention to the signs, or how would I know or think about what would happen next.
Three days later, Steve was having problems breathing, so I took him to the hospital. Numerous tests and one doctor after another, they finally have a diagnosis for Steve. What I thought was horrible heart burn was so much more. The doctors stood in the room explaining all the medical terms, which didn't mean anything, the words that stuck in my head was "30 days to live". Oh my, are you kidding, he is only 47 years old. In all this horror the only thing he worried about was if I would be alright. Steve tried all the treatments and without fail he passed in the same time, with or without chemo. I know that the chemo ruined his chance for quality last days. How could anyone think it would be good to take those last days and squander them with doctors and treatments. I waited with him, holding his hand, hours passed and I would never let go, until he did. I could feel the minute that he moved on, I reached over and took his ring with me holding it close to my heart.
I don't know how I got home, I was so dazed. I had lost my mother and husband in less than a year. By the time I arrived at home my sister was there to help with all the arrangements, she knew exactly what to do. My brother was there with my children also. Everything happened so quickly, I just wanted time to morn. Steve had wished for a party and cremation, and that is what he got. You don't know how many friends you have until someone passes away. Steve born on the 4th of July, dies on St. Patrick's Day, a man celebrated. The party was fantastic, all his friends telling stories and making me feel loved. They made me think about all the fantastic adventures we had on the motorcycle and the boat, and they told me stories of how much he loved me. What could be a better tribute to my soul mate.
My sadness abruptly interrupted by his x-wife, who kept calling for child support checks and wanting half of everything in the name of his children. I had to fight and claw my way through the children and family examinations and the financial turmoil. I never got to morn the passing of my husband, a year had past when I finally got a chance to honor him properly. I started remembering the things he talked about, one of which was where he wanted his ashes spread. I got the whole family together, which was by now my son and his pregnant wife, my pregnant daughter and the two grandchildren. We spent a week in Bimini and spread his ashes in a special private moment, first flower petals to mark the spot, and each of us spreading a piece of him where he wanted to be.
It wasn't all of him that went to Bimini that day, he always wanted to be close to me, so he also requested that I put his ashes into the boat compass, to always act as my guide. After that the boat would always steer directly to Bimini, as strange as that sounds, I have witnesses.
 He also talked about going to Australia, so I saved some of his ashes for just that thing. I plastered pictures of him all over the walls of the house, so I could always be reminded of his smile.
My son moved away with his wife and my daughter and her two children now living with me, things were easy. I wasn't alone, the kids made life so happy, because that is all they knew.
The year had not ended when I was gifted with two more grandchildren. Exactly nine months after the passing of my husband, we all have different ways to morn. Another year had passed when I decided it was time to fulfill my dream, and take my husband with me. Even though he was inside a baggy tucked into my bra. I was headed to Australia. The trip of a life time.  My outback adventure, Strapped on my backpack and jumped on a plane.
My first stop was New Zealand in September 2003. I jumped off the Sky Tower in Auckland and traveled the countryside, taking in all its beauty. Then it was off to Australia--Sydney, Tasmania, Ayers Rock and the Olga's, Alice Springs and the Mac Donnell Ranges. I also traveled to Darwin in the Northern Territory, where I rented a car and drove for days seeing the wonders of the Outback.
In Queensland, my final destination, I drove the coastline and went diving on the Great Barrier Reef, which became the final resting place for my husband's ashes. It was the adventure of a lifetime--and beyond. I never felt alone or scared as long as Steve was with me. A month of wonders and unforgettable visions.
I wanted to share some adventure with my father after my adventure and we traveled to Bimini for a week or so and he now knew what I found fascinating on the islands. Except for the boat ride back, Dad had a great time.
2005, June was my trip to East Africa, 20 days with my sister-in-lawn. Boy I thought Australia was fantastic. Here is a collection of some of my stories. Sky Tower Jump ,Serengeti, Monkey BusinessPee Pee Dance
2006 came and it was time for another trip. I told my Dad I was considering a trip to Costa Rica, on the plane we went, sight seeing and fishing up tons of sailfish. Another fantastic adventure.
Now it was time for me to do a little something different, something to improve my health and give my grandsons something to do with me. I had put on a bit of weight and my vanity got the best of me, I had to do something to break up the hum drum days that were passing me by.
I took up Tae Kwon Do, I shopped around looking at various schools, peeking through windows while the students worked out. I finally found a school that looked good to me. I went in and talked to the people inside, at the same time asking about my grandsons. They told me to come back the next day and just give it a try. That is what I did, and am now and forever in love with my new family. I starting loosing those extra pounds and in no time at all I was competing in tournaments. Met some fantastic people making life long friends. I accomplished State Champion two years in a row, but on my last tournament I got hurt, bad. I shredded my hamstring and destroyed my knees. I continued to take classes, my abilities were diminished, I was in pain, knees wrapped in bandages. I love karate so much I just couldn't leave. My whole family was participating at this point. My son and daughter, my two grandsons, granddaughter and myself. We were all obsessed with this activity.
Then the big  set back, the economy, I could no longer afford to continue to pay for the tuition to continue. My friends at the school just couldn't stand to see me stop before getting my black belt. I disappointed my family, because we all had to quit now. My karate family was relentless, I made arrangements to clean the school to pay for my tuition, which was what happened and I got my Black Belt, with pride. I could no longer endure the pain in my knees and had to drop out. All the things I did to stay in shape I couldn't do, no more karate or spinning classes. I could hardly walk anymore.
My finances were depleted and I had to cut the budget to make ends meet, I had to accept help from friends and family, it was a time that I was at my lowest. I gained 40 or 50 pounds, now still struggling with. Thank goodness I still had work, things were very much at their lowest level and the stress of my daughter and her family living with me was too much to bear. I know it was because I was unhappy, it had nothing to do with her. I love my children so much and now I felt like I let them down again.
Time as always passes and I had to make decisions that would help me get back on my feet. Like always I had to start all over again. I should be an expert by now, wouldn't you think? I snapped out of my depression and began to do things I could physically handle, which wasn't much. I had to get over how I felt about myself. I was determined to get back in touch with friends, join a social group and learn how to be a middle aged woman. I actually had to slow down. Things happen and I just have to enjoy the special love I have for the people in my life, for without them I would simply be alone.
I have so much more to talk about, but for now I would call this the highlights and I will be better about telling my story. For each life is special in it's own way, I can say that I could disappear from this life and have no regrets. My life has been fantastic and I look forward to more.
After seeing my story in print, I realize that life travels in cycles, with ups and downs, just like the earth we live on. Mountains are made only to crash into the sea, it makes a person realize that change is part of everything around us.

MY STORY 90's to 2000's

Written by Captain Mary on Saturday, August 27, 2011

Still living in Key Largo, on the sailboat alone. I found a friend who was kind enough to hide my boat behind his house on a little canal. I was tiring of the live aboard life and moved into a little apartment. I was not alone for long, the man I kicked off the boat, continued to look for me and with the help of his girlfriend's car he located my boat, by driving down every single street. He waited and waited until I showed up there to check on the boat. He begged to be forgiven and said that "Things would be different". Can you believe I actually bought that story. So, I let him move back on the boat. He though we would be together again, I didn't mention to him that I was no longer living on the boat, that I had my own apartment. He stayed on the boat, just waiting for me to come home. He finally found me again at my job. He seemed to want forgiveness, but the relationship was damaged to say the least. We worked together as a couple and moved into another place on the water after getting kicked out of my apartment because of his dog, who trashed the place. The dog was suppose to be a replacement for "Charm" my beautiful springer spaniel, but it was nothing but a nightmare. This dog broke everything, and escaped from the apartment to find me, crossing the highway to do it. I had to give the little guy credit, he was determined.
Now living in a little efficiency on the bay, it was a great view, with no one to bother me. Except that dog, he broke everything in the new apartment. I can't say what happened to him after that, I just don't remember. Things were going great, my boyfriend was working and the money made life so much easier. Things were good, so we moved again, to a place on the water where I bought a little power boat, called the "Little C". Everyday after work we would go out with friends and the kids, who were there a lot now, we would water ski, swim, fish and just have a great time. I thought things were great, I was happy, my daughter had moved back to live with me and I enjoyed her there. My boyfriend didn't exactly care for my daughter and was constantly giving her a hard time. As far as priorities go, the daughter and the son are #1, not the cheating boyfriend.
Life was great, worked on the water, played on the water, everything was again perfect. Too bad it never lasts. Out of a job again, the boyfriend and I begin fighting constantly, I was tired of carrying the load. It just didn't seem worth it. Our arguments got more violent, I thought that he might give me a punch or two. Well, now I already learned this lesson, no one, I mean no one was going to lay a finger on me again. He was sharpening the fishing knives when he went into a rage and punched the wall, I just figured I was next. As he began to approach me I grabbed one of the knives and began swinging it. If your wondering what happened after that, I got a nice slice in. It just seems funny that when men get hurt, they turn into big babies, and he called me crazy and left the house for awhile. Never did he try that again, and things calmed down a bit. I had to get a second job to pick up the slack and pay his way, once again.
I came home one day and saw him cleaning sheets, I was too tired for confrontations at that point, so I let it go, what guy cleans sheets, come on!
My sister called me and said she had stopped by and saw a girl and my boyfriend going out on my boat. Now that is crossing the line! Still not in the mood for confrontation I let it go, but finally he pushed one of my buttons while I was driving down the road. I got so angry that I pulled the car over and told him to get out. I don't know what came over me, but when he walked in front of the car, I put it in drive and hit him. I felt good, I didn't kill him or anything like that. I do think that I got my message across. Shortly after that I found out that the girl was one of my married friends, so I threw him out. I don't know why, but I was devastated. I cried and cried, I just thought that my fun lifestyle was over and I was just tired of all the failed relationships. Seven years together and now time to start over again. The first thing I had to do was move again, so he couldn't find me. On my road to recovery I thought I would have to do something radical, so I went sky-diving. It somehow gave me a new prospective, my daughter floated down from the sky right after me.
My daughter and I got a great little place together, further down the keys. I began dating and not worrying about relationships, just having fun and living the Keys life. Now working at Chica Lodge in Islamorada as a scuba instructor making the big bucks. Lots of money to do what I wanted. Which, of course, that meant I was going to Bimini, Bahamas every few weeks. Living in the Keys and going to the Bahamas, almost where I want to be. My son was working summers at the lodge and having a great time too. It was nice to have my kids with me and enjoying the fun in the sun along side me.
The whole dive staff took off once to go with us to Bimini, we went diving and swimming with wild dolphins. Drinking and getting stupid, no problems!
Work was great and I decided that I would like to become a boat Captain. I went to Sea School and studied, day and night, while collecting documentation for my license. The boat captain at the dive shop where I worked would let me practice driving the boat when we had dive trips, so that I could get the experience. I thought it would be great to stop messing with customers, pulling up anchors and just enjoy the prestige of being "The Captain". I went down to the Coast Guard station and took my test, failing the first test by 2 questions. I took my re-test and passed, February 16th 1993, the same day I operated my first charter as a real captain. I was so pleased at my accomplishment. I was free and now had a way to earn more money. But things weren't so perfect at work. I had always got along with the boss, he was a great man, he could invent just about anything. He spent most of his time working with the parasail boat, but almost everyday he would invite the staff for an after work drink. His wife began to treat me with disdain, I didn't understand it and tried to talk with her. It didn't get me anywhere, she thought that I wanted her husband, he was a great guy, but he was and would always be just a good friend. Words were passed back and forth and I no longer worked there.
I didn't worry, I started working as an independent, scuba instructor slash captain. When the season was good I was making tons of money. I had another job working at a restaurant for the off season. It gave me plenty of time to play on my boat. I was out with my daughter and friends constantly, probably a little everyday. Things were once again good.
Then the stalking began. The X that I thought I was finally finished with, begins to start calling. He was still living in the Keys with his new girlfriend, who was waiting for her divorce to be final. I didn't know what to think about his calls. I continued my life and went out on several dates, once while sitting at a restaurant with my date I saw my X looking through the window of the restaurant. I excused myself for a minute, not letting my date know what was going on, and went to talk to the X. I could tell that he wasn't exactly happy about his decision, but I sent him away and continued my evening. It didn't end though, he would show up at my home, when he knew I was there alone. How he found me I don't know, he should have been a detective.
I couldn't help thinking that this would be a great opportunity to get my revenge. I began an affair with him, we would get together at odd times, while his girlfriend was at work. I think she suspected something, which was my plan after all. The both of them moved to Miami, perhaps his girlfriend, who was now his wife thought that would help keep him away from me. I didn't care one way or another, I only had the affair to exact my revenge and execute what I call "Squatters Rights". I considered this arrangement to be perfect, I dated who I wanted and had the best of the man that I no longer had to support. It was all going so well, until his wife began calling my house every time he was over my place. It got annoying and yet satisfying. I would just hand the phone over to him. He was so busted and I didn't care.
Working as a freelance captain, I got a pretty steady position driving a boat in N. Key Largo at a dive center. I worked mostly from the dock, but every other week was pay day. I got a call from the dive shop, from one of the other captains, he told me that my X's wife had been working at the same place as me, just waiting for a confrontation. I didn't see any reason to disappoint her, and I went to the dive shop for that confrontation. Words were exchanged and the crew disappeared to the back room to ease drop. All I know is that she never showed up again in the Keys. The affair didn't end there, like she had hoped. Now she was very hormonal, since she was pregnant, and my ultimate revenge was when she was having their son and he was in my bed when she called. The affair continued and he would even bring his new baby to meet with me.
I had some short term relationships, but nothing lasted because they would always run into my stalker. I decided that I was going to look for another place to live. My daughter had moved to Orlando and she said that it was great fun. So, I left my apartment with some friends while I took a look at the Orlando scene. I decided that I would move. Returning home to pack up and sign the lease over to the guys staying at my house, ending my now miserable existence in the Keys. The quality of men in great decline.
I got a great apartment, I had money in the bank, but it wouldn't last forever. I looked for work, which was almost impossible. Had to switch occupations at that point and enter the fascinating restaurant industry. I missed the Keys so much, I would go there almost every weekend. Still having some contact with my stalker. I think our last meeting was in a town near Orlando where my stalker was now living, is that just a coincidence, who knows.
I enjoyed the night life of Orlando, and met this great guy. He was 6'5" and 12 years younger. We seemed to really hit it off. He was a great guy and had a job. My daughter liked him and told me that I had to change my ways. I knew exactly what she meant, no more cheating. So, I took her advice and could focus more on the relationship at hand. We dated for a about 6 months, and I was ready to make a move. I was an expert at moving by now. He wanted to be closer to his family, so we moved now to Bonita Beach on the West Coast of Florida. It was in the middle between my kids and beloved Keys.
There it was moving day, the truck pulled out front of our cute little apartment near the water, boyfriend off at work that he secured before we moved. I was walking boxes to the apartment when a frantic little old lady stops me. She told me that her boyfriend, which is my next door neighbor, was not answering any of her calls. She wanted me to go inside her boyfriends apartment to see if he was home. I couldn't help feeling bad for her, she was in such a panic. She handed me her key, I opened the door and she stayed behind me. I looked around the apartment and didn't see him, so I went toward the bedroom and saw him laying in the bed. He appeared to be sleeping, I just stood there, not knowing exactly what to do. The little old lady, pushed me toward him and told me to shake him, since he wasn't answering our shouts. I approached him and shook him, he was stiff and his arms rose into the air as I moved him. Behind me the little old lady screamed and became hysterical. I don't know this lady but I didn't want another death on my hands. I had to make the phone calls to the fire department and police and even had to call her family members. With all the commotion the land lady appeared and said that someone else had already died in that apartment, but told me not to worry because no one had died in my apartment. Oh what a relief, ugh! Is this one of those signs that I should not ignore?
My funds beyond depleted, even though I was lucky enough to get a transfer from the Orlando restaurant to the Ft. Myers one. The hours were not enough, so I got another restaurant job, different shifts. Still had time for recreation some how. I was never afraid of work, always did what I had to.
Life was fun, the beach close by, it was different, but something was missing. I had somehow lost myself. I felt isolated and only had friends while at work. It was time to find myself, such a corney concept, but it is true. It was time to do something with adventure.  
The plans now set in motion to hike the Appalachian Trail. I have lived in flat Florida almost all my life and now going to test my stamina in the mountains. We did practice runs, and hiked with full backpacks. Began planning and doing research. Boxing up food drops and making the final plans, stuff in storage, contact information and itinerary. It was time to leave, we made our way after finalizing plans with my parents, to get to friends in Georgia, where they would drive us to the trail head in Amicalola Falls, Georgia. Pictures of Appalachian Adventure. Here among the mountains is where I celebrated my 40th birthday.
The whole story of the adventure is far too long to begin here, all I can say is that I found myself indeed. I gained much more than confidence and self respect. I found my limitations, which was my knees, and this is what ended my adventure on the trail, only after about 600 miles of hiking. Not ready to return to Florida I worked on a farm in Long Island, which was hard work and cold. When I looked out the window one morning and saw snow, I knew it was time to return home, which was where? The only thing I will miss is fishing for Blue Fish on the shore line and eating fresh vegatables off the vine.
Returning to Florida, awaiting the birth of my new grandchild, we stayed at my parents house while looking for a place to live. My mother let me know that this man that I had spent so much time with was not her favorite, she told me that he was a user. I had not really noticed at that time, but what she said stuck in my head and made me more observant. There was a lot of bad feelings at my parents home and he went to Naples to be with his family while we were looking for a place to live.
Finally found an apartment within our budget, I was re-hired at my old restarant job. I was really focused and worked hard to get some small promotions. I really went back to work to get insurance to fix my knee. Another surgery under my belt. I continued work and had become a trainer for francise operators. I trained brothers who were opening their own store in Naples. They were so impressed with me that they recruited me and a couple of my friends to troubleshoot and get the new store running smooth. I was finally in managemnt, thinking I would have to work less on the line, but what a mistake that was. I was working and on call all the time, but the money was great. I was doing so well that I was ready to buy another boat. My boyfriend was working at a marina at the time and I found a boat that I loved. I named her the "IN 2 DEEP". That was the beginning of trouble in paradise once again. My boyfriend at the time thought it would be just fine to lend it out, when I wasn't around. Mistake! That wasn't the only problem we had. I think once I turned 40 that things between us had began to fall apart. I didn't know about it, but later found out that he could no longer endure our age differences. This was the last time that I wanted to hear, "I would never marry you anyway". Like, I was good enough for all the other benifts. It was mutual and ended after 4 years and many miles. No regrets, I got something out of the realtionship and learned more lessons. I never wanted to get in his way of finding what he always said was a majical moment between two people. It sounded like a fairy tale to me. We remained friends and I am happy to say that this year he will be married to his soul mate.
The first order of business was to get the boat to Miami, where my brother became my partner in the boat. It was a very interesting trip across the west coast of Florida. Then my brother brought his trailer and we packed up my apartment and moved to his house. Not without leaving my mattress in the middle of the road outside of the apartment complex. We laughed so hard when it flew off the trailer, we didn't go back for it.
My brother and I were both single and really enjoyed our life together, my most recent X would visit and then it was when I realized that what my mother had told me about him being a user was very true. I don't think he even knew it, but now he has made a living out of it. Hey, why not! Whatever works!
I got back in touch with my best friend for life, he was so happy to see me, but now a different man. He was married, but we had more than sex together. I asked if I could hang out and meet some friends. He said that he had a great guy that could use a companion too. I wasn't looking for anything serious, since I just broke up with the other guy a matter of a month earlier.
This new guy, was different, he was my age, imagine that, but the younger guy thing wasn't working so the only thing to do was to try something different. We began a casual relationship, coffee dates, stock car races, after all he was seeing someone else anyway. A really fun guy, we would take motorcycle trips all over the place, believe me it was hard to get back on one, since my accident. But Steve drove different, he believed that if you drive like your invisible you will survivie. I began to trust him like no other, with my life. I still felt like I was cursed though, when it came to relationships.
In the meantime, my brother and I went out on the boat, with friends, every week until we finally killed the engine on the boat. But, we had plenty of fish in the box all the time. I was becoming more distracted with Steve. My parents came for a visit and I introduced my parents to Steve. Steve was around all the time, even though we had only dating about a month or two. The guys went outside to do guy things, which left me and my mother to talking. She told me that she liked Steve, which was one of the biggest surprises of my life. My mother never liked anyone I was dating. I told her that I didn't have much hope and that I had raised my standards far too high to comprimise any longer. I enjoyed being roommates with my brother far too much to be concerned. My mother looked down at my finger and noticed that I was wearing my grandmothers old wedding ring. She pointed at the ring and told me the reason I couldn't find love was because of the ring, "It is cursed", she told me. She went on to tell me the story of the marriage between her mother and father and how it was arranged. I was so moved by the story that I took off the ring. I had been wearing the ring since my last divorce, maybe there was something to what she had to say.
I put the ring away and didn't give it a thought, until Steve asked me to marry him a few days later. I accepted his proposal, since it was made for no other reason than love. This fairy tale that I thought was ridiculous had happened to me. I was so excited that I called my X to tell him, thought he should know, since I gave him such a hard time about finding soul mates. He was really hurt, because we had just broken up and now I would be married less than 3 months later.
First order of business was to find a place to live, and I was determined that we start new and fresh. I wasn't moving in his trailer, did that already. House shopping was next, we found a home only after seeing tons of houses, this one seem to fit, didn't need any work to move in. The only problem was that we couldn't move in until 8 months after closing. We waited it out at my brothers house, which put a clink in our relationsip, but it would never be ruined by an outsider.
Moved in our new house just before Thanksgiving 1998, and the whole family was there for the celebration. I just couldn't bear to get a job working for someone else, so I took over my sister-in-laws cleaning business. Which is still paying the bills to this day. We lived a comfortable life. Two peas in a pod.
One day while in the back yard I was looking at my boat, with tears in my eyes, because I didn't have a working engine. It was something that gave me that great feeling and Steve had always wanted to go boating. It was one of those dreams that he wanted to fulfill. He grabbed me by the arm and put me in the car, without a word he took me to the marine store and purchased an engine for the boat. From that day on we were out on the boat every single week. We loaded up the boat with friends and fish. Steve told me that he never had so much fun as when we were out on the boat. We began making trips to Bimini, even would kidnap our guests and just drive there to have a beer. Sometimes we would spend the night, it was a dream, everybody in Bimini knew us by name. All of the time thinking I have finally found the man of my dreams. He loved everything I did, our only problem was his X, but she lived far enough away not to bother us too much. The begining of a new millenium upon us. Life was just perfect once again. I can't think of a time that I was happier in a relationship. Not a care in the world, I had everything I wanted, supplied by my wonderful husband.