Thursday, May 14, 2009

Happy (almost) anniversary!

The end of this month marks one year since we moved here to FL, and I honestly cannot believe it's been that long already. Do I feel settled? Not completely. Moving somewhere as adults, and fitting in, takes time. It's nice to go outside and actually TALK to our neighbors now. I would say about 50% of people we encounter here are standoff-ish, and some just downright not friendly. But there are good ones that make up for it. Things take time. This major change in my life is trying to teach me patience. I've gained some, but not a lot ;)
Some days I feel like I've made my place in life- we've moved away, we've proved we can do it on our own. And some days, I feel like I'm just temporarily here, waiting on husband to drop the ball and say "we're going back". I know that that all rests on my shoulders- I get the feeling that he will never truly be content here, but he will never leave unless I say so (and I have no intentions of any such thing).
My major hurdle is still the lack of friends- it's a hard thing to do when you're not working, and not in school. I am hoping to get involved in the mom's groups this summer and meet some moms my age. There seem to be few of them. Most people are older, with kids our age- maybe that's another difference I hadn't thought of. Apparently there are other things to do in FL as a teen then get into trouble and/or have sex- thus, mostly older parents, and not younger like I encountered in WV ;)
So without further adieu, here are things I have learned and noticed in my first year as a FL resident (gotta love those Disney discounts! ;) ). This obviously doesn't cover them all, but my intention is to only SLIGHTLY bore you to tears ;)

#1- There are no native Floridians here. We have met about 2 of them. Everyone else is from some other state, which leads me to believe that people who grow up here can't wait to get the hell out of here, and the rest of the country can't wait to get here.

#2- The schools suck. For anyone who ever considered moving here, the schools suck. You basically have to look at the state of FL, pick the good county school districts (few), and then pick a place to live near one of them. There is no such thing as moving, then just going to whatever school you live near, it could spell disaster. Florida ranks 50 out of 50 states in public school funding. Hence the reason we moved out of the city a bit, because the schools were junk in our area. Now we're a bit further out, but in a fabulous school. Love it!

#3- The water here is the nastiest liquid thing I have ever encountered in my life, other than beer. ;) Seriously. Lots of sulfur water. It's a real damper for someone who hasn't lived here forever because I walk around knowing that I stink like that water- and so does everyone else, but I guess they're just used to it. So yes, we stink,but at least we're just like everyone else. I go through a TON of fabric softener- liquid and sheets- to cover this up. It's not smelly everywhere, but it is here. The worst is getting a fountain drink- you can totally taste it. ugh.

#4- The power bill is outrageous, and food is through the roof. Publix, a wonderful super market- I'm sure no one could ever beat them in customer service, but they are on average $.20- $.50 higher on EVERYTHING. It adds up when you have to do a lot of grocery shopping.

#5- However, house prices (at this point) are much lower than where we were in WV. I still can't figure out why, because there was nothing to offer in our area there, but home prices were ridiculous.

#6- It's bathing suit and flip flop season pretty much year round. I had on flip flops at Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The pool does not shut here- ever. There's no waiting until Memorial Day weekend to go to the pool. There is no time to get in shape for bathing suit season, because it's ALWAYS bathing suit season!

#7- On that same note, it is perfectly normal to see people outside in a sweater or long sleeved shirt when it's 75 outside. You wouldn't believe me if I told you, but there are days that 75 feels COLD. It's amazing how fast your body adjusts. When we first moved here and I saw people in long sleeves I thought they were crazy. Now I am also on of those crazy people.

#8- We have weird, hard, sharp, grass. It's called St Augustine grass. and it hurts!

#9- There is a serious lack of furry creatures here. I don't hear a lot of birds chirping (I think mostly because they are in the water), I have seen 2 deer since we moved here a year ago. Which is nice, because I don't have to worry about plowing them with my car ;)

#10- The lack of furry creatures have been replaced with a surplus of reptiles, much to husbands horror. There are at least 10 frogs in our yard or on our driveway each night. They are all over the roads. There are lightening fast lizards all over the sidewalk and house. They constantly run in the house and they are a pain to get out- especially if husband vacates the premises as soon as one comes in. Gators 'o plenty, and snakes here and there. I've been told there are scorpions as close as 15 minutes away,by husbands friend who got bit by one. Which I am sure means they are here too- hopefully they do not come here.

#11 Having "the bug guy" at your house is not a bad thing like it was in WV- having the bug guy there was like "Ohmygosh! What do they HAVE??". Here, the bug guy comes every other month, for everyone. You wouldn't want to live here without him. Bugs O Plenty as well- spiders, earwigs, LOTS of ants, etc etc.

#12- There are 2 seasons here- Summer, and February. It's the only time of the year that it cooled off, and we actually saw some frost and freezing. You should have seen how people act when it freezes here- quite amusing :) The leaves did change and fall off- about the 3rd week of December, and it was a very fast process that lacked the really vivid leaf changing colors. It did happen though. :) I still wouldn't call it fall, it was too warm :)

#13- It's perfectly normal for my air conditioning to run ALL day at home. When I get up at 7:30 and it's on, you know it's hot ;)

#14- People here use their garage as a second hang out- our neighbor has his TV, beer, huge fan, and nudie posters in his. He has it made I tell you! But he's not the only one. Either there are a lot of bad husbands who have been banished to the garage (or gone there voluntarily), or there is something cool about the garage that I just don't know about. All of our neighbors have their football parties in the garage too. I guess at least the house stays clean..

#15- People driving around @ 7am with their convertible car tops open, totally normal. Did I mention it's damn hot here? Also totally normal to go to Walmart/Publix/store of your choice and see at least 2 or 3 people with their bathing suits on under their clothes/dresses. It is nearly constant tourist season after all ;)

So there you have it. I've become quite knowledgeable of totally useless things in the last year. I'm hoping that this next year coming up is much better than the first part of last year. ;) I'm off to pat myself on the back for (almost) one year survived!


Persnickety Ticker said...

Happy Anniversary and Welcome to Hell er...Florida!

I am a native.

I get that wild hair every once in a while to get out, but then I encounter that stuff called "cold" and I chicken out.

I am finally moving to a county in FL where the schools don't suck. I lucked out on that one.

In that same said move, I will be even closer to where you live. Thus making it even easier for us to become friends in real life.

I swear I don't bite.

Unlike the lizards and the snakes and the gators...

I have no excuse for St. Augustine grass and I don't get the garage thing, either. I just assume the garage people are Yankees and ignore them.

Hope you settled in well and are starting to enjoy it here!

Bridgett said...

Okay...from that description, I'll stick to WV. LOL

I've actually been to Florida a couple times...once to Marco Island and once to Pennsacola. I liked both places. But I really wouldn't want to live there [I don't think anything].

I'm more suited to New England. I LOVE autumn and can't imagine skipping over it. And I'm not a huge fan of hot weather. I'm most comfortable when the weather is in the 60's.

I had no idea about the grass! That's interesting. Truth is, I didn't see much grass at all either time I was in Florida. LOL

I don't think I could ever get my hubby to move there even if I wanted to after reading about the bugs and reptiles. LOL Doug is SUCH a wimp when it comes to those things.'s to another year of growing and learning to becomem a Floridian. :D