It has been almost a week now since I made the move to Key West so I thought this would be a good spot to post some first impressions. The past few weeks have been one major event after another. The jeep sale, changing banks, moving, and it is all starting to catch up with me. Running in and out of 70 degree air conditioning and 90 degree heat has caused me to catch a nasty cold. I spent the entire day Thursday lying around with a runny nose, fever,and no energy. Still got the cold but feeling better.
So how is it in Key West so far? To be honest I haven’t had time to really settle in and look around yet. I did the bike lap on Friday just for the fresh air but everything else has been moving, changing addresses, and dealing with closing up the old place. There has been good and bad so let me start with the bad because there ain’t much of it.
Never change banks and then move two days later. I knew I would find the right place as soon as I tied up my money changing banks. Luckily I was able to make everything work but I still don’t have my new bank card yet and it could be another week for that. A minor inconvenience but I have to watch my spending until it all clears up. Money I had planned to use for the move also got tied up when a stock I had invested in dropped unexpectedly leaving me with the choice of going without or taking a loss. I took a partial loss to keep going but it hurt.
As for the new apartment itself, it is a minimalist wet dream. About 300 square feet. Tile floor with a small counter. Sink, closet, small fridge, microwave, and toaster over. The tile is nice in that all I need to clean up is a broom. A big deal when you have two shedding cats. There is a table, two chairs, and a small desk. I added a mattress for a bed and that is all I will put into the place for now. The building sits up higher than ground level meaning less likely to flood. It is the first time in 6 years where I have lived in something that didn’t have wheels or a rudder. The roof doesn’t leak and the floor doesn’t move with every wind gust. In fact the only way I know if it is raining is if I see the lightning outside. The window faces east so it gets the morning sun and that is when it is the hottest. There is a single window style ac unit that has a working thermostat so I can control the temperature without breaking the bank on electric. Sometimes the little things make a big difference.
I share a bathroom with the other residents. This is good and bad. It is close enough but still a pain for those early morning trips. The big up is I don’t have to clean it! One less maintenance item to worry about. There is a laundry room right next door and the cost is half of what I had been paying to do laundry at my last two places.
Among the other amenities is a dog park, but no cat park. I call discrimination. And a gym. Apparently there are people who actually work out on purpose. Go figure that one out!
As for the surrounding area it is interesting. The marina is a working marina with several businesses located here. There are liveaboards, fishing trawlers, a scooter rental, an art gallery, and a big catamaran builder next door.
Despite all this activity it is not as noisy as you would expect. The worst is from overhead. In Marathon I lived under the approach to the airport so we would get private jets, helicopters, and small planes landing and taking off all day. Here I am between two airports. Key West International which has bigger jets and of course the Key West Navel Air Station which has constant flights by the resident fighter squadron including Eagles, Hornets, and Blackhawks. These critters make so much noise on landing you literally cannot carry on a conversation when they fly overhead. Not a huge deal but they are there.
The surrounding neighborhood is interesting to say the least. Stock Island is a zoning nightmare. On the same block you will have small businesses, ramshackle trailers, and gated condo communities. It isn’t far to get to the main highway but I suspect some of these streets are not safe to walk down at night. Something to consider.
Within a couple blocks though there is a bank, a local grocer who is a bit pricey but carries a nice variety. Handy for short milk runs. A bike shop, marine supply, pet supply, vet, several restaurants, and bars. On the north side of the island across US1 is a hospital, community college, and the local dump. A lot of stuff packed into a small Island.
The urban outdoorsman are way thicker than I had thought. Call them homeless, bums, hobos, or tramps, they are all over the place and are a nuisance. Call me callous but I have no use for them. I firmly believe that you are where you are in life due to the combined effect of all the decisions you have made. You cannot blame anyone else for your life. And to let yourself get into the position that some of these people are in is inexcusable. They have nothing, yet always seem to have a cigarette handy. They beg, steal, trespass, and contribute nothing to the local economy. Drugs and alcohol play a big factor. I have had some hard times in my life but at least I was able to keep a roof over my head and maintain some sort of dignity. But I digress a bit. This is a rant for another time. They are here and it is just one more thing to watch out for. It’s not like it was unexpected.
As for everything else I am still getting settled. I am going to ride around and explore a bit this weekend and get ready for some more changes. I need to get some income and I have an interview next week to that end. While I dread the thought of going back into the workforce and especially at the retail level, this particular opening is in something I have a large interest in and could pay off in other ways along with a steady pay check. If I don’t get the job then I will look elsewhere. I have about a month or two before things get critical again. The nice thing is, the cost of living has not gone up for me with the move to Key West. No small feat considering it is one of the most expensive places to live in the country. That means I don’t need a monster salary to make ends meet. But a steady paycheck would be nice for awhile.
So for now, I am getting settled in. The idea that I am actually living in Key West has not sunk in yet but it will soon. I’ll keep posting all the new adventures. Til then.