My first night back at work was Monday night. I had mixed feelings about going back to work at the club, unfortunately its sorta complicated. It was easy to go back to my day job Monday morning, probably because it is so scheduled, routine, and really laid back. So, it was easy to jump right back in and as I found out I didn't actually miss too much and I didn't have too much to catch up to bring it all current again. Working at the club is a bit different, I wasn't ready to get back into all the drama just yet. Ten days away was nice but another week would have made it better. Its not just all the dramatics, its also the time I put in every night. We did hire new bartenders a while back, three, and they are all trained for the most part now so they don't need much babysitting any longer. I talked with my boss and told her that I don't want to work the weekends anymore and I only want to work 6-10 during the week. She kinda gave me a grin and a nod. Why? Because I would go from working 60 hours at my part time job down to around 24 or so, it would cut my hours basically in half. She told me I would miss the money, she is right I would me the 3K a month, but I am willing to overlook it. If something doesn't change real soon I will be forced to quit altogether because my body just can't take the abuse any more.
I know, sounds like a bunch of whining, but my vacation gave me an opportunity to put some things into perspective from a great distance. I had time to do a great deal of thinking while I was driving. Driving is the perfect opportunity for me to sort thoughts and put things into perspective. So, what did I think about. Well, the big one was about not liking to have to work 2 jobs to make the ends meet and be able to save money. I work alot of hours, and for what, just the money. Money does make the world go 'round, well, at least in my world. Not everyone agrees with it, but the nuts and bolts of it is that in order to have things or do things one needs money. My part time job has provided things and opportunities that I don't think would have otherwise been available to me or my family. One major thing this job has done was allowed us to have our dream house built and a 30 year mortgage paid off in just under 3 years, which wasn't a small feat by no means. It has gave me the opportunity to pay off vehicles. It gave me the opportunity to pay cash for a brand new Goldwing. It gave me the luxury of hunting down a Hummer H1 to buy, just so I could say I had one. Hell, for the most part, it paid for the Disney vacation we just got back from. It was nice to throw down cash and be done with it. It was nice not having to say no to my wife and kids because something wasn't in the budget while on vacation. We did alot and we saw alot on this vacation and I wasn't worried one bit about over doing it and being strapped for cash when the bills came do. No, I am not bragging, just explaining what the income from this job has provided for myself and my family. I like having money to do things or buy things, it is a great feeling not piling it on one or more credit cards. However, I have socked away more than I have spent, you do the math. I want to be my wife and I to be fully retired by age 50, that is 6 years for me and 12 for my wife. I want our toys bought and paid for, I don't want any more monthly bills except for utilities. We live pretty much debt free now and after we retire I want to be able to keep it that way. I will have tuition for my middle daughter here in 2 years, and my son in another 7 years. Both are taken care of right now. My daughter wants to go to Texas A & M to become a veterinarian and my son, undecided on a school, just knows he wants to be a structural scientist (which is way too hard to explain, so you will need to Google it).
In the end, I have been able to do in 3 1/2 years what many cannot do in an entire lifetime. And yes, I am proud of myself. I am a good saver because I spent way too many years being poor living paycheck to paycheck surviving on ramen noodles every night and always having to tell my family no because we could not afford it. I really hated having to lie to bill collectors and always risking losing something because the payment was late. Perhaps I am looking at this the wrong way entirely. Maybe its my day job that I need to ditch and just press on bartending for the next 6 years, maybe that is the actual answer. Is there actually an answer? Am I wasting my time looking for something that doesn't actually exist? All I know is this whole floating through life grabbing up stuff while it is available is starting to show its wear and tear on my body.
One of the amazing things I saw while in Florida was the large amount of out of state plates on vehicles. We saw plates from 28 other states, Canada, and various places in Mexico. I started wondering what all of them were doing in Florida. Were they "ALL" there on vacation. Were some relocating? Oddly enough while we were in the parks I had a hard time not people watching, I did it alot. I also spent a fair share of time while in close quarters in the lines listened to the conversations going on around me. It seemed at times that my family was the only ones speaking English. Disney World definitely was the point of convergence for world wide vacationers. My family and I blend in real well with the Florida natives, until we talk I guess, the Texas accent would give us away every time. By the time my trip was over and I was looking at Florida thru my rear view mirror, I found myself wondering why people flock to move to Florida. In my own eyes I couldn't really find a reason for me to move there personally. Other than the humidity there wasn't much difference in the weather. Hot is hot wherever a person lives in the south. Gas prices were all but identical to where I live. The housing market and prices were similar also. The major difference, the turn off for me, especially in the greater Orlando area was all the tourists. People I talked with, travelers like myself and also residents mentioned that there is a large quantity of tourists year round, not seasonal like I thought. Don't get me wrong, Florida is beautiful. I especially liked Daytona, it was kind of a sleepy city. I don't ever see myself as being one of those people who dream of moving to Florida after retirement. Then again, anything could happen.
Daytona Beach was an excellent place to people watch. My daughter suffers from the same thing I do, she like to people watch too. Maybe we both have overactive imaginations because together we just have way too much fun doing it. We watched this one man, mid 50ish if I had to guess and this young girl, 18 or 19 at best, joking and goofing off out on the beach. No big deal, my daughter and I are doing it all the time. We had commented how much fun this girl and her dad were having on their day at the beach. We had both commented that my daughter would be dead if she wore the bikini this girl was wearing because it showed more than it covered. I had more lint in my pocket than she was wearing as a bikini. My lint could have made 4 of the bikinis she was wearing with some left over. He had the "stereotypical" 50ish year old dad body. He had the beer gut, the receding hair line, the droopy bathing suit, and so on. But, damn he was tan, like 80's porn star tan. After a few hours we became bored with them and shifted our attention the the 4 boys building a house size sand castle. Also a fun watch. But then the dad and daughter caught my daughter's attention again. She was going on.....Dad.....Dad......Dad......Dad.....look over there as she pointed with a look of shock, horror, and disgust on her face. What could be so bad I wondered. Well, lets put this as mildly as I can, they were "making out" in an extreme manner. There was enough groping and grinding to make a passer byer blush while he looked repeated to assure himself he was seeing what he was. It was pretty steamy. It was like watching an episode of "Real Sex" on HBO. We came to the conclusion they probably weren't related. But then again, what do we know anyway.
The places we visited in Florida were not restricted to any particular age group, race, religion, sexuality, or language. It was a bit bizarre but at the same time it gave me an opportunity to see what people from all over the world do for vacation. I used to think a vacation was a "state of mind", probably because I have never taken an actual vacation before, imagine, me, a vacation virgin. Well, now that I have had my first I can only think what we will do on our next vacation. My family expressed the idea that we need to have a week long vacation every year, if not two. Not a bad idea. I guess it sums alot up for me at this point, keep my bartending job so we can afford future bad ass vacations. Do retired people take vacations? Maybe it would be best to stop my bitching, the work I do is easy as a bartender. In reality the dancers make 80% of the money I get to take home. They perform for cash and I get a portion of the funds they receive, not a bad deal actually. One day this "life" as a bartender will be only a memory that I probably won't talk about, I am looking forward to it.