I had connected with Jill through an Internet bird group and we finally met on Monday, January 6, 2003 at The Red Canary (closed) which was a bird shop and then went to Adele's (closed) which was another bird shop and after had coffee at Jack's which was the start of a good friendship and she certainly helped me with birds not to forget buying me my first cockatiel but more about that later. And I won't forget about the baby birds she hatched and gave me.
Steven Carter came back into my life briefly and took me out for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory (open) but I don't remember why or what happened after that! Gino and I went to see "The Mystery of Edward Drood" on stage and after went to a Mexican restaurant in the Riverfront which has since closed becoming three other restaurants before closing permanently. The next night Bob, Jim, other Bob and I went to see "Park Your Car in Harvard Yard" at the Caldwell Playhouse (closed) which was good and then we had dinner at the Red Lobster-- Bob's choice! The following week Gino and I went to see the film version of "Chicago" which I really enjoyed and thought Catherine Zeta-Jones did a great job. (Everything old is new again--the road tour of "Chicago" is coming here next season!)
Life was going along smoothly and I finally got my finances in hand even though those credit card companies were sending me cards constantly. Anita, who lived here at Gateway, and who was still in the closet which I couldn't understand but let it be as it was her choice. She would go out with Doyle and me to movies and plays. She moved a couple of years later and after a couple of more years I got a call from her sister telling me that she had died. I miss her just as I miss Robert Igizi.
I've mentioned Robert before--we had worked together at the Crabhouse (closed) and he had moved back to New Jersey (still open!) coming back to Fort Lauderdale 2-3 times a year staying at the Howard Johnson hotel on the beach which is now closed and has been in limbo for a few years. Robert was a big gambler and would spend a lot of his time at the Hard Rock Casino getting a lot of 'freebies' which I, and later Allen, would enjoy by going to the concerts without paying anything. He came down in February 2003 and we ate one night at The Cheesecake Factory with a 'little' ice cream afterwards at Kilwin's (open) and had lunch one afternoon at the Cheeseburger Cheeseburger (closed). He was always a delight to see and spend time with.
In March I went for an MRI and couldn't handle it. I don't know why and it even became worse after I had the aorta valve replacement not even being able to take a standing MRI with a tranquilizer! On my way home my car conked out coming completely to a stop. I had it towed to the shop and rented a car. The temptation was to charge it on the credit card I had but I didn't--that was certainly a step in the right direction.
Anita, Bob, Jim, Gino, Doyle and I went to the Pride Fest at the War Memorial and then for dinner at the Lone Star restaurant (closed) and the following Sunday Nancy was in town and she, Doyle and I went to The Cheesecake Factory followed the following Sunday by Anita, Doyle and I going to see a local production of Edward Albee's "Sea Escape" while the next Saturday Betsy, Nancy, Gino and I went to the Olive Garden (open) and then off to the movies to see "Bend It Like Beckham" and ended the month by going to Sweet Tomatoes (open) so basically life was going along smoothly with a little bump (the car) here and there. I had to get a new battery and 2 tires for the automobile and though I charged it I was able to pay the bill in full by the time I got it as I knew the bill and my Social Security would arrive at the same time. What I didn't plan on was my rent going up $49 as of June 1 as SS increased and my medical bills decreased.
Nancy and Doug were in town so, along with Gino, we went to the Cheesecake Factory while a week later Bob, Jim, Gino and I went to the Broward Performing Arts Center to see "Forbidden Broadway", which I loved and then the Cheesecak Factory, which by now Iam sure you have already figured out, I love. At the end of June Bob, Jim, Gino and I went to the Caldwell Playhouse to see "Last Day In June" and then to the Roadhouse (closed) for dinner.
For some reason I decided to stop shaving and cutting my hair! I think as men get older, and their hair starts disappearing from the front of their head, they start with the long hair, pigtails, beards and mustaches. Of course I kept on hearing that it made me look older than I was but for right now I wasn't listening!
Not knowing I would be heading for another roller coaster ride of life I just went on enjoying this even time and my birds!