Sunday, March 19, 2006

Ft. Lauderdale

Well, after one month at home I started feeling some moss growing, so it was time for this rolling stone to hit the road again. I might as well keep my momentum going strong. So on March 12th Mom and Dad were dropping me off at Philadelphia Int'l Airport for my flight to Ft. Lauderdale where I would begin the next chapter of my life.

After a fully booked US Airways flight I arrived, retrieved my trusty backpack and made a call to "DJ", my propery management contact. She gave me an address to find and after a short cab ride I arrived at "Keystone House" and knocked on the door. "Who's there?", "Your new roomate." A cheeky Swede female opened the door and said "What are you selling?, We don't want any!" and the door closes. Later it was a friend of hers who was pelting me with a slip-on green oversized nerf Hulk fist which emitted a sound effect with each connected hit.

I quickly come to discover that these "crew houses" are a 50/50 blend of frat house and hostel. Maybe not the best situation for privacy or getting a lot of rest, but wonderful for networking and getting the skinny on the yachting industry which is exactly what I need. A truly international blend, I'm shacked up with Aussies, Kiwis, Brits, Frenchies and even an ?American??

In the morning I fall back into my standard modus operandi and take a walk around to get the lay of the land. Everything is conviently located: Supermarkets, fast food, shops, crew agents and the beach is two miles due east. The rest of the day I pump people for information and try to soak it all up. In the evening I got call from the property management saying that the bed I'm in is double booked and they'll need to move me out. Fortunately, I was able to ascertain that the absent roomy was currently doing a yacht delivery in the Bahamas. Secure in the fact that some guy isn't going to crawl into bed with me in the middle of the night I managed to stay put for the night.

Tuesday morning I was on my way to straighten out the living situation and about 40 ft. from the property management office when a guy stopped me and asked if I wanted work. "Can't hurt". Well that was a little short sighted. A six hour day turned into over a 10 hour day of trimming Maple and Palm trees. Scraped the hell out of myself and woke up the next morning very sore, but it did pay my rent for the week.

I never had a chance to straighten the living situation yesterday so in the morning that was first on the list. They wound up moving me into the "Neptune House" which is the first house they ever bought. It also is directly behind their office which is nice because I don't have go anywhere to pay rent and as they get calls for daywork I'm right there front and center. And as a bonus this house has two fridges, two computers and AC that works! And as a bonus bonus it is next door to "Floyds" which is a competing crew house, but draws employers every morning who are looking for day-workers. A perfect way to make a little dough and gain experience until something permanent comes along.

I had planned on just settling into the new house and recuporating from the previous day, but I wasn't there a half hour when they got a call looking for someone to do some waxing on a 65 footer. So I sucked it up and went for it. And so my yacht experience breaks out of it's embryonic shell and enters the real world. And to hasten my development I laid down a rather steep $900 intiation fee and signed up for the STCW-95 Basic Safety Traing course (5-day). An all but mandatory certification recently brought to bare on the industry by the powers that be. On the bright side, I do get to play with fire in the 2-day firefighting course and kiss a dummy(would it be politically incorrect for the dummy to have blonde hair??) in the CPR class!

After a year on the road and then working hard for two days, some rest was definately in order. I know, "what a Wus!". But after my first three days here I did meet my self imposed work quota for the week and felt I earned some time off. Which was good because it opened the door the next day to lounging on the beautiful Ft. Lauderdale Beach. So I went down with 2 stewardesses (Canada & Scotland) and watched them do their impression of rock lobsters while taking in the spring break sights and sounds as well as enjoying a nice swim. Oh, and to add a little extra flavor to the mix it was St. Patrick's Day. No, that green paint is not waterproof!! Of course we had to cap off the evening with a few pints at Waxy's Irish Pub.

So it's Sunday evening and the weekend has been mellow. I've been laying low because I gave birth to a wisdom tooth early this week which has been a real bitch. Luckily getting some rest, sucking down many aspirin, eating soft food and gargling twice an hour with Listerine has helped squelch the swelling. Hopefully the worst is over, at least until I get some dental insurance.

So tonight I have to get to bed early because tomorrow school starts......