Monday, August 30, 2021

Fun facts about Key West, Florida

 Some fun and interesting facts about Key West, Florida

Southernmost point buoy Key West Florida
Photo credit: Aaron S. Robertson

I visited Key West between August 16-21, 2021, and this blog post is part of my broader Key West travel series. Stay tuned for plenty more material in the series, as I look forward to sharing with you my trip to Key West through recollections, stories, histories of the island and some of its more well-known residents, reviews, travel tips, and of course, more photos!

The wealthiest city in the United States per capita during the 1830s

You read that right - Key West was the wealthiest city per capita in the country during the 1830s. TravelExperta points out that much of the wealth during this time was generated from, "...treasure retrieval from shipwrecks off the coast." notes that Key West was the wealthiest and largest city in Florida in the years leading up to the Civil War, and it still remained near the top of the list for the wealthiest cities in the country during this time.

The only Union city south of the Mason-Dixon line during the Civil War

There were definitely Confederate sympathizers in Key West, no doubt, but Union forces were able to retain a tight grip on the city, thanks in large part to their control of Fort Zachary Taylor on the island, as well as Fort Jefferson some 70 miles west. It also certainly helped, as this post from the blog entitled, "Key West - The Confederate City that Seceded from the Civil War," points out, that good portions of the residential population at the time were originally either from New England or the Bahamas, and therefore had no particular interest in fighting for the South - or for anyone, for that matter. These factors combined to award Key West the unique distinction of being the only Union city in the South.

Never above 100 degrees 

While walking the streets of downtown Key West, I overheard the tour guide/driver of a tour trolley explaining to his passengers that Key West, as hot and as muggy as the climate is, has never recorded a temperature over 100 degrees. This blog post from June 2017 entitled, "10 Cities in United States That Have Never Been Above 100 Degrees," published on the Joe Dorish Weather blog, confirms this.

Duval Street - the longest street in the world?

At just 1.25 miles long, Duval Street, the heart of the downtown Key West scene, can playfully boast that it's the longest street in the world - it runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.

That's a lot of bridges!

There are 42 bridges connecting the island to the Florida mainland. 

The Conch Republic - Key West secedes from the United States for a brief time in the 1980s!

You read that right, as well. For a very short time in 1982, Key West declared independence from the United States, and the Conch Republic was born. While the secession was largely in good fun and playful in nature, the frustration and annoyance felt by residents and business owners leading up to it was certainly real. The U.S. Border Patrol had set up a roadblock and checkpoint to inspect every car entering or leaving Key West for drugs and anyone here in the country illegally. You can read more about the formation of the Conch Republic on Wikipedia

Famous residents

Key West was home to, among others, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and Major League Baseball star John "Boog" Powell. President Harry Truman visited Key West 11 times, for a total of 175 days, during his presidency. He stayed at a house on a U.S. Navy base. That house is now a museum known as the Truman Little White House.

Tips for selling your home

Tips for higher sale price when selling your home
Photo from Pexels

What You Need to Know Before Listing Your Home

Are you faced with putting your home on the market? Consider tackling some minor improvement projects that will help you maximize the sale price of your home but not break the bank. Rearranging furniture or taking the time to declutter your kitchen countertops can go a long way in allowing someone else to envision themselves in your space. Here are a few things to consider when preparing your home for a sale, presented by Mr. Robertson’s Corner.

The Price is Right

When putting your home on the market, it’s important to consider a competitive pricing strategy. What are the average listing prices nearest your neighborhood ($380K is the average here in Muskego, Wisconsin over the past 30 days)? What is the average number of days a home is on the market? “Nothing turns a good buyer off faster than an overpriced listing,” advises HGTV. “Pricing your home right is one of the most important advantages of having a Realtor.”

Curb Appeal

How welcoming is your home? First impressions will make a big difference when potential buyers come to tour your home. If your front door is dingy, you might consider a quick paint refresh to make it more inviting, and you might even add a wreath. Installing new house numbers can add a quick curb appeal and also allow potential buyers to find your house more easily. Try matching your house numbers with the finish on your exterior lights, offers DIY Network. Strategically placed potted plants, or container gardens, can give your front yard some zest, in lieu of higher-priced trees and shrubs. Matching containers to your home’s style will serve to carry the theme of your home through to the street.

Finally, take a good look at the trees in your yard and determine if there are any that detract from your curb appeal. If you spot any that you think your yard could live without, call in a local tree service to handle the removal - this is definitely one job you shouldn’t DIY.

Kitchen and Bath Refresh

Full-on kitchen and bath remodels can break the bank. But, if your kitchen and bathrooms are outdated and in disarray, they will most likely turn buyers off. Look for inexpensive ways to transform those spaces with a little imagination and elbow grease. Cleaning clutter from countertops and removing art projects and school photos from the refrigerator is free. Put anything away that isn’t necessary or complementary to your space. Replacing outdated handles and pulls with something sleeker and more modern will instantly update your rooms.

If your cabinets are dingy and old, then a good old-fashioned scrub with soap and water won’t help. Instead, consider painting your cabinets or removing doors. Something as simple as placing a colorful rug in front of your sink, according to Good Housekeeping, can hide ugly flooring.

Declutter and Depersonalize

One major reason to declutter and depersonalize your home is to give buyers an opportunity to see themselves in your space. There are 11 key spots to focus on, according to Apartment Therapy, and you’ve tackled the kitchen and baths, so the rest is relatively easy. Organize the entry point into your house by carrying on the theme from the front porch and yard right into your foyer. Clean where needed, place a coordinating container plant inside and make sure the rug is clean and welcoming. Clear halls of clutter and too many family photos. You want new buyers to picture themselves in your home. Touch-up play areas by hiding (or donating) unused and unnecessary toys. Don’t forget to tidy up closets, as potential homebuyers will be checking to see if there’s enough room for their belongings.

The process of selling your home can make for stressful times. But by spending a little time and energy to address some smaller DIY projects and tidy up, you can maximize the potential asking price for not a lot of initial monetary investment.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Roosters in Key West, Florida

Throughout Key West, Florida, chickens can easily be spotted in abundance. They roam parking lots, graze in grassy areas, walk alongside tourists on the busy streets of downtown, and gladly accept meals put out by the locals. There seems to be many more roosters (the male chickens) than hens, as my photos below demonstrate.

According to this blog post on Key West Roosters that I came across in my research: 

Key West Roosters descend from roosters bred in Cuba and the Keys for fighting. For many years a winning fight rooster would be a source of income and, of course, bragging rights. Cockfights are no longer legal in the United States; because of this, a lot of chickens were released and left to their own on the Island. Today these roosters are prized for their gorgeous colored plumes and still have their fighting spirit of their ancestors...At one point, the rooster population grew so big that back in 2004 Key West hired a chicken catcher to reduce the population. The work of the catcher was very controversial so when the contractor quit the post was discontinued. The contractor didn’t even last a year.

I visited Key West between August 16-21, 2021, and this blog post is part of my broader Key West travel series. Stay tuned for plenty more material in the series, as I look forward to sharing with you my trip to Key West through recollections, stories, histories of the island and some of its more well-known residents, reviews, travel tips, and of course, more photos!

All photo credits here in this post: Aaron S. Robertson. All photos appearing in this post were taken between August 16-21, 2021.

Roosters in Key West, Florida

Roosters eating in Key West, Florida

A rooster walking in Key West

Chickens in Key West, Florida

Famous roosters in Key West

World-famous roosters in Key West

Chickens walking the streets of Key West

A rooster in Key West, Florida

Roosters are in abundance throughout Key West

A rooster enjoying a snack in Key West

A rooster eating in Key West, Florida


Friday, August 27, 2021

Pictures of sunsets in Key West, Florida

Following are photos of sunsets in Key West, Florida, including several pictures of the moon, which became visible within minutes of the sunsets.

I visited Key West between August 16-21, 2021, and this blog post is part of my broader Key West travel series. Stay tuned for plenty more material in the series, as I look forward to sharing with you my trip to Key West through recollections, stories, histories of the island and some of its more well-known residents, reviews, travel tips, and of course, more photos!

All photo credits here in this post: Aaron S. Robertson.

All photos appearing in this post were taken between August 16-21, 2021 at the Parrot Key Resort.

Sunset in Key West Florida

Sunset at Parrot Key Resort Key West Florida

The moon in Key West Florida

Parrot Key Resort in Key West at sunset

Parrot Key Resort Key West Florida

Key West Florida

Key West Florida travel tips

Key West Florida sky

Monday, August 23, 2021

Strategies for time and task management

Managing time and tasks | time management techniques
Image via Unsplash
Five Strategies for Time and Task Management

Organizing and managing your daily round of responsibilities can be challenging for small business owners. If you often find yourself stressed and overworked, learning new task management skills and implementing helpful tools could make a big difference in your ability to manage your time more effectively. Here are five solid strategies for task and time management for small business owners, presented below by Mr. Robertson’s Corner.

Take Advantage of Available Tools

As a small business owner, you have access to a wealth of tools designed to streamline and manage many of your regular tasks. Some of the most useful business apps focus on accounting tasks:

• Apps like QuickBooks Time can provide accurate tracking of employee timesheets, time worked by a specific employee, and time dedicated to a project. Time tracking is a must for managing payroll, timesheets, and personnel management tasks much more easily and effectively.
• TechRadar recommends the free app RescueTime, which offers insights into how you use your personal time. If you've ever wondered exactly how much time you spend browsing websites or talking on the phone, RescueTime can provide you with the actionable information necessary to adjust your behaviors and provide you with more free time at home and on the job.

Choosing apps that work with mobile phones, integrate with your existing systems, and offer real-time reporting for faster response times will help you achieve more on behalf of your company while saving some free time for yourself.

Automate Selectively

Pick and choose which tasks to automate to ensure the most effective use of your time and money. One of the best places to start is with repetitive accounting and administrative tasks. In 2017, CPA Practice Advisor found that, on average, small businesses spend 120 days each year managing bookkeeping and administrative tasks. Software packages that automate some or all of these tasks can be a good investment for your company.

Delegate Tasks Where Appropriate

Many managers and small business owners are afraid to delegate or outsource tasks. Letting go of some responsibilities by delegating them to your staff members or outside firms is essential to avoid burnout and stress. Tasks that can often be delegated to others include:

• Enlisting the help of a formation service can help you to create an LLC for your company more efficiently. These specialty firms have the experience and in-depth knowledge necessary to navigate the legalities quickly and effectively. Just make sure you look up accurate LLC Wisconsin information so you understand the guidelines.
• Jobs that have clear, easy-to-understand parameters or that are repetitive in nature can safely be delegated to staff members.
• Tasks that serve an educational purpose may include seminars, webinars, and online courses. By assigning these opportunities to key staff members, you can build a team of highly qualified individuals.

Plan for Downtime

It's easy to remember to plan for upcoming project deadlines and other work-related tasks. Setting aside time for yourself is also important to stay focused and achieve the best results. Bloomberg touts the Pomodoro Technique, which breaks up time and tasks into manageable segments with breaks in between. Planning for 50 minutes of work punctuated by 10-minute breaks can often allow you to be more productive and focused.

Prioritize Top Tasks

Not all tasks are equally important. Categorizing each activity according to its urgency and profit potential can allow you to put first things first for your small business. This can add up to increased revenues for your company in the competitive marketplace. Learning to manage your time and tasks more effectively isn't an overnight process. Working to implement these strategies can help you do more and achieve more every day.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Upcoming series on Key West, Florida

I just returned from a five-night trip to Key West, Florida last night. I traveled there with my parents in what was the first major vacation for any of us in quite a few years.

The last time I was to Florida was also with my folks and sister as a kid. We were to Florida three times as kids. We made it down to as far as Key Largo on one of those trips, but never to Key West.

Over the course of the coming days and weeks, I look forward to sharing with you my trip to Key West through recollections, photos, stories, histories of the island and some of its more well-known residents, reviews, and travel tips. There will be a number of separate blog posts coming out of these adventures, but they'll all be unified through my Key West travel series tag.

Stay tuned!