Why Sarasota?

Why am I (and Mari) in Sarasota Florida? There is a long story and a short one. I will give the short one here. It is all about money. Both Mari and I are deep in debt and can no longer afford to live in our studio in Waltham. The crashing economy has drastically affected my SmilePix business. It is also time for a change. I have lived in my studio for over 30 years and have stagnated the last five years or so. Nothing creative going on for me except playing my Xaphoon (a bamboo saxophone).

Mari’s sister Debbie offered to share her house with us over a year ago and over the past summer Mari and I started seriously considering her offer. In the fall we decided to make the move and advertised our studio as a sublet. Because of friends and strangers enthusiasm for our studio, we thought that we would have no problem subletting. Not true. It took ’til March of 2009 for the right people to show up. Goes to show that when one is ready for a change, change often happens in it’s own time. The plan was to put a trailer on Mari’s 1990 Chevy Cavalier (which had 300,000 miles on it). I took the car into my mechanic Don and told him what we were planning on doing. Don looked at me, paused and said “Let me check it over before you spend money on a hitch. No sense putting the cart before the horse.” A very logical course of action. Don fixed the car up as best he could and we made it to Sarasota without incident. Every day we patted the dashboard and said “Good Car!”.
After putting stuff away in our studio (all except for the furniture), cleaning it like it had never been cleaned before and packing up the trailer, we took off in the late afternoon of April 9th, Thursday. Our plan was to visit my daughter in Norwalk CT and see my grandson Callum for the first time (he was born on February 2). Alexis, my daughter, and I have been estranged for the last couple of years for as it turns out, no good reason. She contacted me by email a month before she was going to deliver Callum and we had a wonderful connection. Staying with her and her husband Matt served two good purposes. One to reconnect with Alexis and see my new grandson and Two to get a sense of how the Chevy would do hauling a trailer and how fast we could go with it. The connection was wonderful and the Chevy performed well.

The next day we proceeded to Maryland to visit with Mari’s brother Phil (and his wife, Cathy) and then traveled to Virginia to stay with Mari’s cousin Ellen. With no more relatives to stay with, we pushed to make it to Sarasota in two days from Virginia and arrived in the early evening of April 13th, Monday. Tuesday, I scrambled to get my office set up so I could get backlogged work done the next day. Over the next few days I received a number of positive messages that we had made the right choice in making this move to Sarasota. I signed up two old SmilePix clients to new contracts worth $1,600. The following Monday I was checking my online bank account and saw that I had more in the account than expected. The US government had made a direct deposit of my first Social Security check! This was a total surprise because I was having trouble getting through to the local Social Security office to finish up on the last piece of information they needed and thought I would have to continue the process down here.

As a result of the Social Security check I was able to buy a camera I have wanted for sometime and begin photographing again after a long hiatus. My friend Bob Ballou, after hearing of my purchase, said that I was “back in the game again”. I feel like I am starting from the beginning again with my photography, but that could be a good thing. “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” – Shunryo Suzuki-Roshi