On Saturday, June 10, 2017, my two year old daughter and five year old son, and I, took an Uber to Newark airport! We were closing on our home in Florida that Monday, June 12th, and it was time to go. The movers were coming in a few hours, and our entire home, was going to be heading south. My husband and bonus child were staying back for a week to finish work commitments and last week of school. It was just my two musketeers and I, breaking new ground.
I get anxiety about pretty much nothing. I just push through, and nervousness catches me at times, but it’s rare, and the older I get, I know how to prepare better. I rarely find myself in what feels like completely uncharted waters, and therefore I live in as calm and peaceful world as possible (at least in my head and day to day life).
But that entire weekend, just THINKING back to what was going on, I still get completely teary eye. We get out the Uber, we get on the plane, we have a mostly uneventful ride, except for the fact that my daughter doesn’t want to sit through the two hour plane ride, but instead she wants to walk the aisles. Kind strangers entertain her, hold an iPhone with videos up for her, and help this mama out in a huge way. We get off the plane, and our bag did not make it with us. The airline lets us know the bag will be here in a couple hours. It is taking the “next” flight down.
I rent a car, and we head over to the hotel I rented for us for the next two days. I wanted to make sure it had a pool, so that the kids really start to feel like this is an awesome vacation, and any anxiety I may have from now until we get into our new home, is completely unbeknownst to them. I don’t like using that word anxiety, because I believe it is really a true debilitating condition, so maybe I should say nerves. I was smiling, but my stomach was in knots and I was just pushing ahead for these two little humans looking up at me. My son just finished a year at Catholic school, and he colored this beautiful photo of Mary. I folded up that paper and I took her with me. The entire weekend, I kept opening up this photo of her, and just kept asking her to take care of us and this entire process. I would not consider myself a religious person, but it felt right to speak with her and ask her for help. I now framed this paper and it’s hanging in my office, still watching over us.
We head over to CVS to get some little snacks and water for our hotel room. I want these kids to have anything and everything they need! I notice that my son isn’t looking good or feeling well. He’s a bit lethargic and not the energetic boy he usually is. His forehead is hot, and my mama instincts kick in and I know I have to take him to an urgent care. Thank G that these things exist and are everywhere in Jacksonville. We first head to the airport to pick up our lone bag (and swimmies), and head straight to an urgent care spot. At this point, I haven’t figured out if they take our insurance or what the dilly is, but I do know I need to get him checked out. He’s not complaining, but I know that a burning forehead is not a good sign. An hour later, he has an ear infection and strep throat. Even though this wasn’t how we wanted to start off our new life here, my experience at this urgent care space was wonderful. Kind people, and quickly taken care of (as quickly as I could fill out the paperwork). We then forged BACK to CVS pharmacy and filled up the prescription.
Sunday, I needed a ton of fresh air and new life breathed into me, so we went to Hanna State Park. It’s a beautiful area, that was close to our hotel, with natural beaches, and a splash park, and a zip-line for the kiddos. As soon as we walked into the ocean, and it was warm and inviting, it was home. It was my aha moment, that we’re here, we made it, and life was good, and that all was going to go according to plan.
The morning of our closing, I was waiting for the mortgage people to give me the go ahead for the closing appointment. If you ever closed on a mortgage, it’s pretty much the worst experience of one’s life. And I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but as our family kept expanding, we have closed on a few homes in the last decade, and each experience was worst than the previous one. Perhaps, because of the bubble bursting, new rules and regulations went into place to protect the market from being able to receive mortgages without enough positive financial evidence, but needless to say – it is four to six weeks of torture, and only gets worst the closer you get to your closing date.
We arrived at the closing appointment, and had to wait another hour plus. At this point, my father (who was moving us), was waiting outside our almost home, with a moving company. He was hours late for where he had to be, and if there is anything that I dislike more than the mortgage process, it’s inconveniencing other people.
Finally, we were ready for signatures. Because my husband was not in Florida just yet, and still in NJ, I had to sign for him. And it was full names only and my full name and his full name are mighty long! At this point, I didn’t care if my hand was going to fall off, I was determined to get through this process, and FINALLY HEAD HOME! Another two hours later, we were on our way!!!
It was pouring rain (June in North Florida, it rains almost daily for a few minutes each day, and then stops), we SPRINTED OUT OF THE MORTGAGE PLACE! It was me and my two little people and we were going home! They were excited to get out of a tiny room, and I was excited because I knew we did it!!!
We got into our car, were completely soaked, and had about 6 miles to go. The longest 6 miles of my life. I ran 10Ks that went by quicker!
At last, we arrived, and I met and hugged my dad, and it was time to UNPACK!!! The movers were amazing (because they waited for us for two hours), and through a lot of rain and sweat, we got everything into the home. It was absolutely chaotic – but it was done and it was fun! We owned the home (well the loan), and everything we worked for in the last few months (and perhaps years and years) got us to this point!
I share our story, because knowing and remember the tough details now, I’m not sure I would have signed up for the same. But looking back at this entire last year, every single annoyance, and ridiculousness, and nuance was completely and utterly worth it. I would have done it again over and over again, with half the help, half the resources and triple the nerves if I had to.
Reminiscing back on each month since our move, we have done so many cool things. Nothing exciting enough to re-tweet about, but really cool tiny little things that we are so proud of, and so happy about.
We had some amazing and wonderful and loving visitors from the north. We adopted two new pets that have grown our family without growing our health insurance bill. We purchased a golf cart, that we use on the daily and love it so much! We love shopping at Publix, and this is pretty much the only shopping we do, because it’s so much damn fun going to a grocery store full of happy and helpful people! We went to Vegas and even though this has nothing to do with Florida, it was SO. MUCH. FUN. I booked that trip while we were still living in NJ months before, so it was a little accomplishment for ME, to actually see a goal and a plan become a reality! We made two of the rooms in our home our office spaces, so we remodeled already a bit. My kiddos started three new schools, and a new camp – all that have brought us so much joy. We have met so many awesome friends and neighbors and new colleagues. This by far is so amazing, and feels so right. We have gone to the beach each month this year. We even experienced a cold and chilly winter!!! This made me thrilled because I did bring down most of our coats, hats and gloves and we used them all! We have officially celebrated every birthday in our new home, and every major holiday: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Easter! How cool is that! We have gotten into plant life, and especially saving plants that others are tossing away! We have used our amenities center so much: the pool, the water slide, the gym!
Overall, our goals for moving here were to increase our quality of life, by living more of that semi-outdoor life. Our daughter loved being outside, and I wanted to give that to her, regardless of the month of year. We wanted to reduce our tax bill a bit, and we wanted most days to be sunny. Simple, easy, breezy goals, that weren’t too unrealistic, yet it took some planning to make it a reality.
I remember when we got off the plane, the warm humid air hitting me and it felt so good. It felt so warm and freeing and happy and exactly what we were looking for. It was my hello, and we were home.
Cheers to YOU, and your goals, and making them come true in the every possible way.