Rumor has it I’m dead. Or flown the coop. Or fallen and can’t get up. Taken the money and run. (Been there, done that.) My friend Jan called, Paul called. There was even 15 minutes of discussion amongst the esteemed members of the Costa Rica Living Yahoo Group pondering my whereabouts. Wow. When I was 20, fame was being married to Sean Penn, dressing for the Oscars and living in Malibu. Now 15 minutes on an obscure Yahoo group dedicated to living in a developing nation floats my boat. Yahoo indeed.

But nothing exciting has happened. Which is why I haven’t blogged… I’ve been, gulp, WORKING. I know: eeeeyyyyyoooouuuuu. My sentiments exactly.

We came back to Key West so I could work with Sam and Janet, perhaps sell a little real estate, fund our extravagant lifestyle in the mountains of Costa Rica. Fill the coffers so Mom and her dogs can get their shots and eat. Sam and Janet have been cooperating nicely, we are THIS CLOSE to having a deal on a great property. Quite a good deal (because, ahem, they have quite a good realtor working for them), but it’s not over yet. The fat lady is not singing… just warming up her vocal chords. Ma-may-me-mo-moo…

On top of that, another customer is thinking of buying a property, as well. My own personal real estate bubble. The Key West market has suffered a bit of the crash alluded to in other posts and on other blogs. This past season did NOT produce the flood of buyers with wads of cash burning a hole in their pockets for whom sellers and realtors alike have prayed. "Prayed" is an understatement. Prices are beyond soft and there are some good deals to be had. IF you know where to look. And I do. Call me.

Mom and the dogs are holding down the palace in Costa Rica. We felt terrible leaving her right after she arrived, but we’d had our tickets for months… When I told her I was leaving her alone in Costa Rica for 10 days with three dogs, she was delighted. That’s my mom. Likes plants and animals better than people. We call her every day and she is doing great. She’s rearranged all the kitchen cabinets, straightened out the laundry room, and set off the alarm three times in one afternoon. Since she couldn’t answer the phone (because she didn’t know where it was… ok, maybe we left out some details), she’d wait for the cute guy from the alarm company to ride up, she’d open the door and scream "FALSA ALARMA! FALSE ALARM! GRACIAS! THANK YOU!" Because that’s all the Spanish she knows, she screams it. Then she translates it. That’s helpful, I’m sure.

Lisa, one of my Costa Rica theatre buddies, took her to lunch one day. They had big margaritas and now Lisa knows more about me than she cares to, I’m sure. Speaking of margaritas and me, I celebrated nineteen years without a drink yesterday, Cinco de Mayo. Hal says I must be thirsty. Haha. That guy is a real card. I remember meeting a woman eighteen and a half years ago who told me she hadn’t had a drink in a whole year. I thought to myself, "That woman must be lying. Nobody goes a WHOLE YEAR without a drink." Today, I am convinced you can do anything in little tiny increments.

We’ve had a great time in Key West. The lovely Mark and Dara Bortman flew down to spend two days with us. That was simply divine. Since they moved back to Philly last December, I was afraid we would not see them again, that we would drift apart. But their coming to see us placed our friendship in "real" time, instead of in "that year abroad" time. When they are ready to do another year abroad, pick a country, we are going with them.

Last Saturday, the theatre crowd came over for a barbeque pool party. What a fun group! They are SO DRAMATIC. We LOVE each other, BIG hugs and kisses, they MISS me SO MUCH. And I them, of course. Who wouldn’t?

Over the last 10 days, I’ve eaten too many meals out with assorted buddies, but I walked an hour every morning. The last time I was in Key West, I gained 10 pounds and it’s still here. This body can’t hold another 10 pounds gracefully. ("Not like that last 10, right?") In fact, I think I lost a pound. It’s easy to walk in Key West: it’s completely flat. Not so Costa Rica. My driveway goes straight down. You get shin splints walking down. Your body is at a 45 degree angle going up…

It’s flat here in Naples, too. We are here this weekend visiting Hal’s mom. Hal and the boys are going home tomorrow. I will take them to the airport in FLL, then return to Key West to finish out my broker biz. I head home next Sunday.

I’m ready to go home. I do love Key West, I love my friends, the familiarity of the town. When I first arrive, I fantasize about staying, being the hometown realtor I’d like to be. But the truth is I’m not ready to stay. I can’t put my finger on why yet. When I try to figure this one out, all I get is a jumble of emotions, just like the jumble of emotions when we ran away.

I’m a firm believer in the One Reason theory: that no matter how we justify things, try to explain away our actions with all the pretty, rational, martyred and/or philanthropical reasons – usually a bunch of them – that underneath it all, there is only One Reason we do what we do. One Reason that actually gets us up, putting one foot in front of the other. For me, under the pretty package, it’s fear that gets me up. I wish it were something like love or charity, but it’s fear. I’m hoping if I tell the truth about it, I will find out what’s under the fear. Unfortunately, whatever it is, it’s now also under 9 pounds of fat. I’ll definitely get to it. One ounce at a time. I just hope I get to it before I’m 96.

But right now, I have to go eat a piece of my mother-in-law’s apple pie. With ice cream. And a tiny drip of organic Costa Rica chocolate. I don’t need this. But I have to eat it. My mother-in-law made it. It would be imprudent not to eat it, right? And she’s not been well, you see, so this is the least I can do. I need to eat it for her. If I don’t, I’m afraid I will hurt her feelings and damage her self-esteem. See? Pretty. Can you pick out the One Reason in all that? I can’t right now because I’m off to eat apple pie. Hey, I missed you guys!

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