The Key(s) to Happiness

When I first decided to buy a house in Florida back in 2004, I really wanted to buy in the Keys, but I couldn’t afford it. So I looked in Cocoa Beach, where my dear friend Charlie lived, but I couldn’t afford it. I ended up in Satellite Beach, which Fran and I both loved, and still love – but it’s just too far away from nice water for snorkeling and scuba diving. And it gets too cold there in the winter. (You Midwesterners can laugh all you want, but when it’s in the 40’s in Florida, even for just a few days, THAT’S TOO COLD!)

When we sold the boat back in August, we had already started to look at homes in Key West, but we couldn’t afford them. Then, about two weeks ago, we found “the house” – the house that checked off 25 of the 27 things on the home shopping checklist we had made – and we couldn’t afford it. But dammit, we’re buying it anyway! I told Fran this is the last home I’ll be in before the funeral home, so what the hell!

Here are some pictures, in case you’re interested.

If we’ve talked to you since moving off the boat, you’re probably thinking that this happened a lot quicker than expected, and it did. We thought we’d just keep up the vagabond lifestyle for at least several more months, maybe a year, hoping for home prices to come back down to something resembling pre-pandemic levels. But several people we talked to – people smarter than we are about this kinda thing – believe that that’s not going to happen any time soon. Also, the more we started thinking about all the things we CAN’T do while waiting, the more we realized we wanted to start doing those things:

  • Get back to / on / in the ocean on a very regular basis, for snorkeling, freediving, scuba diving, and fishing.
  • Get back to working out in a legitimate gym on a very regular basis. (Five years on the boat was not kind to our mid-sections, our muscles, nor our endurance.)
  • Get involved in some volunteer community activities.
  • Finally – FINALLY – learn to play the musical instruments we started to learn pre-boat.
  • Convert an old Corvair truck into an electric vehicle. (Seriously.)
  • Have more days filled with nothing in particular.
  • (UPDATE: I can’t believe I forgot these items when I first published this:)
  • Get a cat, hopefully as wonderful as May the Boat Cat (although that will be a very tall order).
  • Join a team for weekly trivia night. (Erika, Laura, and Joe – you can drive down once a week, and that’ll be OK with us!)
Yes, they’re really that small!

In anticipation of questions you may have:

  • Big Pine Key is halfway between Key West and Marathon – about 30 – 35 minutes each direction. It’s the home of the only population of Key Deer in the world. (There are probably a few on the adjacent islands, but Big Pine is World Headquarters for them.) It is also home to No Name Pub, which, according to some people we know, has the best shrimp pizza on Planet Earth.
  • Yes, the boat in the pictures comes with the house. It’s a 2004 Sailfish 2660 Center Console with two 2018 Evinrude 200’s.
  • In fact, EVERYTHING in the pictures comes with the house! Furniture (indoor and out), wall art, dishes, glassware, flatware, cookware, and several other kinds of ware that I’m sure I’m forgetting.
  • We’re currently referring to the house as “Southernmost Smartini”. (If you’ve ever been to Key West, you’ll understand.) We have also considered “Key Not-Quite-West”, “Almost There”, “Smartini Key”, and “Baccashaa Bungalow”. But we’re not locked in, so if you have a suggestion, let us know.
  • “Close to a CrossFit gym” and “A sunrise or sunset view”. (Those are the two items on our 27-item checklist that the house doesn’t have. We’ll be about 30 minutes from a CrossFit in Marathon, and we’ve gone to a gym that far away before. Can’t do anything about the sunrise or sunset views, though.)

Happy New Year to all y’all!

6 thoughts on “The Key(s) to Happiness”

  1. The new place looks amazing! Easy access to all the water you want and fully furnished is great! I really like the big, open kitchen and envision many fresh caught dinners being done there! Congratulations!

    1. Thanks, Jeff. We were talking about the same thing (fixing a lot of fresh fish in that kitchen, and the outdoor one we’re planning to add) a couple of days ago.

  2. Now DAT’s a kewl house! …if one hasta live in a house…

    BP Key supposedly has the worst record for traffic police thanks to the deer population.

    1. Exactly – not bad for a “dirt home”.

      They do write a lot of speeding tickets, but cars kill a lot of Key Deer, so I think it’s justified. Fortunately, I drive like a grandma these days, so the deer, and my driving record, should be safe.

  3. Boat, house, pool, all in Big Pine?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What more could you ask for other than 2 more roommates! Me and Kelly will be down June, July, and August for our typical 3 month sabbatical in the Fabulous Florida Keys!!!! LOL

    Y’all enjoy. I’m sure you will!

    1. Mike, we’d love to have you two come down for a few days! You can teach us how to catch fish in the Keys. Maybe we can get Andy and Susan at the same time.

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