Been a LONG time…

I haven’t written NADA in a few months because many things have happened, some good, some bad….

I dated Winni for 2 years until (just after) Christmas 2020, and then we broke up.

Correction: she broke up with me.

I asked Winni to marry me about 1,000 times but she never felt the same about me, for lotsa reasons.

This pic kinda says it all:

I’m grateful to to have shared 2 years of love and laughter with Winni and her children, we had a lot of warm memories together, from family dinners, to trips we took, to waking up in the morning with an invading Olive jumping on the bed full of energy and ready to go.

I was teaching her oldest son Dillon how to drive, and he was doing a good job. Dill is an artistic kid who is fascinated by drones and robotics and anything high tech. He’s in the Marching Band at his high school and plays sax, guitar and piano.

We visited my daughter Grace in Pittsburgh this past summer… she was socially distancing from us!

In the last year Winni’s 2nd son Roman shot up like a weed. Once he hit his 13th birthday he started to suddenly transform from a shy little kid to a shy teenager. Over the last year Roman and I joined TreeHoppers (a ziplining park in Dade City) and we went there many times over the past year.

Roman was always such a quiet kid…. but the gears never stopped spinning in his head, I just wish he would have shared his internal dialogue with the rest of the world, or with me, or with Winni.

(Roman and Olive)

I used to joke that Roman was secretly plotting the overthrow of the world.

Winni’s late husband was a gifted engineer at Boeing, and mixing his genes with Winni’s artistic streak resulted in three brilliant and talented children.

Both boys went back to in-person learning at the end of 2020, I think the isolation of online school was rough for both of them, even though Dill and Roman are quiet by nature I’m glad they are back with friends in school.

My personality is loud and extroverted, kinda the polar opposite of Winni’s sons. I never shared congruent interests with her boys, so it was harder to connect with them, to my lasting regret.

I care about both boys… they went through some tough times, and I hope they know I’m here for them if they need anything.

I’m a child at heart, so connecting with Winni’s daughter Olive was pretty easy… we just got silly together. Being around Olive felt exactly like being around my girls when they were little.

Many times Winni’s boys would rather stay home so Winni, Olive and I had many adventures together.

The Three Musketeers :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Olive brought out the best side of me, and I’m sad that she won’t be in my life (on a daily basis) moving forward. I wanted to be there as she grew up… I met Olive when she was 2, and she’s 5 years old now… I hope she has a ton of warm memories of our time together.

Winni’s family could use a Dad, and I was more than willing to step into that role… but that decision ultimately rests with Winni herself.

People move in and out of our lives, and sometimes the reason for this is not obvious until long after the relationship has ended. All that we can do is fully love someone, and if our partner chooses to NOT accept that love what can ya do?

Nothing, just do your best and move on.

I always liked the energy in this picture… lotsa love here.

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In December my oldest daughter Claire finished her BA degree at USF. She’s still living with me and building up her savings. My house would feel empty without Claire and Ms. Lemons, so I hope Claire stays with me for as long as she wants.

Don’t tell her that!

BTW, Ms. Lemons is our little black cat. Claire calls her “my daughter”.

Claire is working full time and took a (non-paid) internship to build up her business experience.

My youngest daughter Grace is still finishing her degree at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh.

Grace on the left, Claire on the right… my girls gotta lotta pretty from their Mother, indeed.

Being the father of 2 adult women is very different from when they were little girls. My job as a parent is to successfully launch my girls into the adult world, and we’re 99% there.

I’m proud to say that both my girls will graduate college with zero college debt.

Most importantly, my daughters are very kind, they work hard, and they have great survival skills!

I don’t worry about Claire and Grace they’re going to go out in the big wide world and crush it.

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January I was riding my Harley on a beautiful Sunday afternoon when an SUV swerved in front of me.

I locked up the front brakes on the motorcycle, it started to fishtail and my Harley went over the grass median at 40mph. At some point I put my left leg down to steady the bike and totally wrecked my knee.

DID NOT crash my 670 pound Harley, but DID crash my knee, dammit.

Had knee surgery a month ago, just before my 47th birthday.

Hooray! I’m walking without crutches now, but the last 8 weeks have really sucked.

Sold the cursed Harley, got same $$ for it that I bought it for.

I still have to sell my Kawasaki ZX-14R.

Wanna buy a crotch rocket that goes 186mph?

$10,000 and you can have it.

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LAST MONTH I celebrated my FOUR year anniversary in the solar biz…. by selling a ton of solar, on crutches!

With 450+ clients I have a BIG base of happy customers who send me to friends and family. I started handing out $300 CASH to any client who gives me a name and cell # that results in a sale, and that strategy is working out REALLY well.

When trust is SKY HIGH the transaction is smooth and easy.

Part of our success has to do with the high quality and diligence of Tampa Bay Solar. We recently completed 1200 panels on the roof of Florida Aquarium… these big jobs only lead to MORE big jobs!

The Tampa area is flooded with questionable solar “marketing” companies with zero to little install experience.

Tampa Bay Solar has been around since 2010, so we’ve established a great track record… and we’re still the sole “Veteran Owned and Operated” solar company in this market.

We’re doing 627 panels on the Sarasota courthouse in the next few weeks. Yahtzee!

Tampa Bay Solar is building a new HQ in east Tampa that will TRIPLE our install capability. This means that I gotta increase my sales team to match that growth… our current team speaks over 10 different languages, and we’re just getting started.

Tampa Bay Solar’s new building will be 100% off-grid with a large solar array and battery storage.

Screw you, TECO!

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It’s been a year since Covid19 started killing people all over the world… 2 weeks ago my parents got their 2nd vaccine and I got my shot as well. I went over to see my parents and gave Mom a big hug. Thank GOD they made it through OK. I’m still wearing a mask, of course. Many of our clients are older than me, and I’m shocked by the number of people who refuse to get the vaccine…. Trump’s legacy perhaps?

I hope the un-vaccinated never get exposed to Covid19, and if they get it I hope they don’t get sick.

The sad truth is that some of the folks who “don’t believe” in the vaccine will get Covid19 and some of those folks will die 10 or 15 years before their time… robbing their children and grandchildren of those precious years.

I’m 47 now, without any major health issues, and I’m glad I got the vaccine because even a milder case of Covid19 can mess you up for weeks or months.

Not worth it, and the vaccine is free! I’ve had enough health delays in my life with this damn knee injury!

April is just around the corner… I’m going to Mom and Dad’s house for Easter dinner next Sunday…

I’m slowly but surely getting back to walking and moving around. My physical therapist is a young guy from Haiti named Woodley. He’s a very cool guy, with lotsa patience for my curmudgeonly nature.

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I’m farting around in my yard today, trimming back stuff, getting rid of weeds, trying to make my little home look nice.

If you are reading this, wherever you are, I hope your family made it through this pandemic safe. I hope you go and get the vaccine today if you have not already done so.

Happy Spring y’all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ben Alexander

March 28th 2021