Is it just me, or have you noticed even the simplest things wind up being a drawn-out federal case? I love my franks and baked beans—hot dogs for you Non-Bostonians—with plain canned brown bread, butter and German mustard, but here in beautiful S.W. Florida, the brown bread on the grocery shelves has raisins; I don’t like raisins. I know the national canned brand makes them with and without, but to no avail will they special order it for me here in paradise! So, my sister now sends me brown bread care packages from Boston without raisins, which I get to eat with my German mustard that’s sent to me all the way from Dusseldorf, Germany by my wife’s cousin… It’s a simple remedy I worked out for my needy needs, but complicated and expensive for the desired gastronomic effect.
I finally reopened my jewelry business on Thursday, May 7th, and to my amazement, despite my reservations about opening too soon, the shop has been surprisingly busy. And for the most part, folks coming in have been wearing masks and social distancing as well as my staff who have been cleaning and sanitizing so much, they have polished off the scratches on my 15-year-old glass showcases!
I still have had to deal with an occasional local or out of town wing nut or two; so a world-wide pandemic apparently brings them out of hiding; not that this island under “normal” non-pandemic circumstances has some unusual characters or requests!
Complications!!! After being closed for seven weeks, my Biz computer had more germs and viruses than a landfill! Remember when you could just turn on your personal computers or laptop and do what you intended to do? Only now we are constantly under attack or being ransomed by internet scammers doing their darndest to disrupt or steal personal information or our money.
They even gained access to my password on my beloved Netflix—something some scammer–jerk in Chicago managed to do a few weeks ago! Almost daily, they try to hack into my Amazon account or my personal and business bank accounts; W.T.H! I swear does anyone have a legitimate job anymore? I have work to do and I find myself spending half my day, deleting, fighting off or doing damage control against these cyber–scum attacks. I practically have to have Tyler of Marco Island Computers on a retainer; bailing me out or cleaning out viruses or spyware… he’s practically on the payroll! He’s already on speed dial!
So on top of all that, there are more complications… Being open here on “Mayberry with sand Island” has me in a quandary, It does not matter how much merchandise or stock you have when some locals or out of town folk walk in—it’s never the right thing, it’s the wrong color gold, wrong color gemstone or too many diamonds, not enough diamonds, the ring or pendant is too big or too small! And it’s always cheaper up North! Or in Miami!
Did I mention hardly any of my gold and jewelry suppliers are open, most are in the Big Apple and everyone knows what kind of chaos is going on up there! The entire diamond district and all jewelry manufactures are shut down.
I love my regular island clientele!!! One of my V.I.P.’s just left—I barely recognized him adorned with mask and gloves—and purchased a beautiful diamond tennis bracelet in less time than it took to ring it up and gift wrap it! Easy Peasy! Simple, not complicated, no ridiculous questions about the manufacturers’ origin, political party or sexual preferences; I once had to spend two days researching the exact source of a two–carat, blood–red ruby from Sir Lanka, “We are curious did it come from a mine or a river?” Or was it out of the forehead of an ancient Hindu Deity statue? A complicated nightmare, I should have made up some fantasy tale involving it coming from a dragon’s third eye or some magical flying unicorn’s gallstone! And all my time wasted for what reason? They didn’t buy the beautiful ruby anyway! “Oh? A two-carat flawless ruby is expensive?” Oh no, it’s your lucky day. This week only we have a buy one get two free!
I know people are a bit on edge, it’s been a tough experience for all of us. Just have some compassion for island business owners that have opened to an uncertain future, nothing is going to be normal or uncomplicated for a while and there will be shortages of stuff we all used to take for granted.
When’s the last time you contemplated using Bounty paper towels for toilet paper?
I have to admit I loved being sequestered for seven weeks at my country getaway in the north–central part of the state, with my wife, three dogs and an eight pack of Charmin. I packed up the truck and box trailer and hit the road for what I thought would be only a very long weekend. Only COVID-19 certainly complicated things, that’s for sure!
Being “stuck,” my wife managed to make up a “Honey do” list thicker than a volume of “War and Peace!” Plus, you see I left a jumble in my barn from my previous long weekend, there were many numerous parts strewn about from me entering the unknown world of tractor repair, I had to dismantle the rear end and wheels of my vintage 1940 Ford 9-N tractor, all to fix an annoying hydraulic leak. It looked complicated, but was surprisingly simple, despite the fact it all it needed was a $4 gasket and a $9 nut and bolt, but it required a whole day of manual labor. Things were made uncomplicated back then in 1940, and to my wife’s amazement, it all went back together like a dream and the result was, Look, Ma! No more leak! Stay well, stay safe my friends!
Richard Alan, Master Goldsmith and part–time vintage tractor mechanic!