Goodbye Florida | 02/29/08
And thus ends another chapter in my life. Although I was never fond of the city itself, I do have a lot of great memories of the people and activities here. Since I already had my old hard drive packed I was only able to get my hands on about 1/8 of all my pictures so if you don't see any/many of yourself try not to be offended. I will not have internet access for about a week so...yeah, I'll see a bunch of you in DC. In the meantime, enjoy this 12 of 12 style trip down memory lane. Some of the pictures are out of order but hey, that's how it goes. See you in a week!
Circa 2002: Me and Kathy, sitting off the coast of Brisland. Chompy's around somewhere too, probably having explosive diarrhea after drinking so much seawater. This, friends, was before iPods and we'd have to call Gulf 104 and ask them to play whatever song we wanted. Although the beach was called Marsh Sands it could have been more appropriately called "Jellyfish Bay" or "Horseshoe Crab Whorehouse".
Circa 2002: Man my old place was a dump. Maybe it's just the fact I'm Adult-Mike now but I really can't fathom ever having to go back and not have real household items. I can't believe there was a time when I'd eat those $2 steaks from Publix with a family-sized helping of instant mashed potatoes. Ah, how the times change.
There was a time when Chompy actually liked going to the park and we'd go a lot. She was particular fond of both the swimming pools and the water buckets and she'd cram herself into the bucket only getting out to chase other dogs away that thought they too might be able to squeeze in with her.
Kathy, Brian and I used to take Chompy to the beach a lot, each time convinced THIS would be the time she wouldn't go running off without a leash. Hah! At least she was a good sport about being buried in the sand. I think I used up all that goodwill about a year into having her and she decided that she was generally tired of being nice about things. I love her anyway.
To paraphrase Ricky--"yeah buddy". Just look at that mullet. Although I had originally grown it as a joke it's not funny that I still have one. On the bright side, no one will ever doubt I did finish graduate school because who else would voluntarily wear a pink sash around their neck?
Jamie and I on one of our many trips during the "carefree days". This was in St. Augustine at the fort. Look how big my hair was! We stayed a nice bed and breakfast there and I adamantly refused to go on a ghost tour. Little did I know what I was missing.
This was the only Ab-as-a-pup picture I had on the computer and it's a digital image I took of the original olde tyme photo. Jamie was do-gooding in Africa while Chris and I built puzzles all day and intermittently cleaned up Abby's running pees.
I remember when Jamie had this picture made into playing cards that she brought to poker. It's the famous "Aquaman" photo from my first time snorkeling. If I didn't enjoy Jamie agreed to play a day's worth of video games with me. Fortunately for her I had a really fun time.
Ah, the poker years. I could go on at length about it but when I turned corporate all I really had to look forward to was poker night. If nothing else it was a good excuse to everyone once a week. Thanks, by the way, for all of your money over the past five years.
I was really excited about moving into my "new" place. I hadn't yet outgrown clever college furniture like cinderblock-everything and futons (the AIDS futon specifically) but it was a nice transition. It's kind of weird to think back to that since Barb's armoire replaced the cinderblock nightmare and as of tomorrow there were will be nothing in that spot at all. Weird.
Oh fishtanks, how did I love thee. For all of the stupid things I've sunk money into the fishtanks had to be the worst because rather than just cleaning the tanks once a month I'd just buy new fish. Hopefully that tank will have a nice, happy life with Christine and Erick.
Chompy and The Ab; two best friends. Chompy still hates just about every other dog so I'm glad they'll still get to hang out in DC. Abby used to love to get under the AIDS futon and hide out there. It didn't take Chompy long to figure out how this particular game of hide-and-seek worked though.
Who is that homeless guy with Jamie, Chris and Marty? Oh no, it's me. This was apparently before Chris Green and Jamie persuaded me to wear clothes that were my size. Fortunately the enormous guns of Marty and Chris probably kept all the eyes off me. FSU won that day too. Go State!
I think as couples Jamie and I spent almost all our time with Chris and Miker. I certainly spent most of my friend time with Chris. Chris got me a job at RD and I got him to like drinking beer. I think that's a pretty even trade, no?
Poor Ricky, having to watch football games with us. I owe most of my professional development to Ricky. Whenever I think of my personal growth over the past few years, it pales in comparison to his. He's like a full-fledged adult now. Way to go, sport!
Yeah, most 26 year olds have had Fun Dip but I hadn't. This picture looks a lot better smaller. I didn't realize quite how wacky it looked until right now. This was taken at a poker party at Chris' house.
I have a lot of fond steel drum-related memories and most involve Matt. Look how young we all look! Hard to believe that around this time Matt was sneaking pictures of his genitals onto my camera and now, a mere four years later he's a real adult too. I remember the first time I went to the gym with him and him spotting me as I bench pressed the bar. Matt is a model of healthy living although he's back to eating meat. I hope I can establish those kinds of habits in a new environment.
Ok, now we're really out of order because this was a gig we played right before Jamie left for AU. I have a lot of funny gig stories and what makes them funny is how serious of problems they were at the time. I think the one I remember most vividly is playing at Doak Campbell and everyone hating everyone else for a different reason. It didn't help that the stadium itself was leaking onto the instruments. Pretty funny in retrospect though. Wait a minute--I don't think Jara was ever mad at anyone. Everyone else was though and that made it pretty funny. It was the first and last time I ever got to walk out onto Bobby Bowden field.
My parents, Steve, and my grandma all came down to visit me. There was nothing to do (welcome to Tallahassee) so we just sat in the living room (on the AIDS futon) and watched TV. Exciting stuff.
Ugh, some people photograph better than others and I am one of the "others" who do not. Jamie got us tickets for a Cubs/Braves game in Atlanta. Hmm, I guess this didn't really take place in Tallahassee but it's a good picture of Jamie. Notice her Cubs hat? Oh yeah.
Although Abby is definitely Jamie's dog I love her just a fraction less than Chompy. Seriously, she is TOO CUTE. Abby can brighten your day like nothing else on this planet.
Miker won our last big poker game right before he and Chris moved to Indiana. It was fun moving them up there and Jamie and I had a good cry on the way to Ohio to pick up stuff from her uncle's house to bring back to Tallahassee (see, there's the Tallahassee reference).
Chompy has been, is, and always will be terrified of thunder storms. She is very inventive when it comes to finding new places to hide. I spent a good half-hour looking for her on this particular night because who would think to look on a shelf in the towel closet for your fifty-pound dog? Notice my Music Theory Basketball jersey at the bottom of the stack. Sadly, #23 is now retired and was donated to RH.
I think my fondest memories of Tallahassee are generally sitting around my house with Jamie, Chris, and Mike and doing nothing. Sometimes nothing involved a game and that made it even more fun but really we'd just sit around and talk. It's weird that as you get older you don't really do that because you "don't have time" when in reality I think that's where the strongest bonds are formed. I miss those guys.
In retrospect it's weird to think how the many groups of people I knew started to hang out. Obviously Jamie was from the steel band, Ricky was from work, Tim was a friend of Chris and Elena--who were also semi-work-related but because Elena knew try, who I knew at FSU kind of not, and T-Chris was from FSU and Chris and Mike were sort of from steel band and...well, you get the idea. I wish I had taken a longer pause at the time to say "Wow. All of my friends are here and I'm really generally happy with everything". Too bad you never do that at the time.
Wild dogs in their natural state--in my bed. Sometimes I'd like to sing "Ab in my spot" to the music of the introduction to "Dus in Deh Face". I never understood why steel drum music always had such stupid titles. Then again the second movement of my thesis was "Chompy, My Dog" so maybe I don't have a lot of room to talk.
It's the Habitat House that was built to honor Jamie's dad. I had a bunch of pictures where Jamie and I were actually "working" but they're on the packed hard drive. The house, while still being framed, was vandalized and I can only hope there's a special place in hell for someone who would vandalize a Habitat house. The house they're building in his honor this year is slated to begin building in a few months--all the money was raised again. Awesome.
Jamie and I on a fishing boat in Key West. I fear that now that I'm leaving Florida I'm not going to have the opportunity to catch any more sharks. Oh well.
The current state of my living room. It will all be packed up by 3pm tomorrow. Exciting stuff.
Wish me luck and I'll see you in a week.