Friday, July 23, 2010

SO much to post about, will you even read it all?

xWOW! It has been way too long. SO the last time I blogged, it was about us moving to Florida. Well, we moved to Florida at the beginning of April, and then we moved back to Cincinnati the 3rd week of June. Here is the wonderful story around that.

We moved down to Florida so the family could have an adventure, and for schooling for Kyle and I. Plus, why not have beautiful beaches, and the bay within minutes of the house? We found a steal of a house, that had been flipped. It was in a historical district, cobble stone streets, there was a lake that was across the way from us that even had an alligator in there for viewing (they fed him every morning). The birds that flew around the lake day in and day out we exotic, and beautiful, and the noise that they made in the morning was not disturbing, but it filled me with joy just knowing we were having an adventure.

Some of the neighbours were just as kind as they could be. But, there were also the neighbours that I called Tampa police on at least 5-6 times a week. The house that they would sit in front of could be seen outside of my kitchen window. Drug deals would be made right out in plain sight. No one would think twice about it. No one cared. I cared. This was a wonderful town that we had moved into, and yes, there were some houses that were run down, but those houses were being turned around slowly but surely. But I was not going to sit back, and watch these hoodlums run the streets by selling drugs to every Joe that walked, biked, or drove down the street. Adam (my oldest) would walk home from school by the lake (honestly taking the long way off the bus to get just a little extra time away from the twins) and he would see them across the street smoking pot, or making another buck. He is not stupid, he new what was going on. So after having enough calls from me, Tampa police finally got me in contact with their drug line, and every time I would see an interaction, I would take down the licence plate number, or description of the person selling and the person buying. Tampa was not able to sit an undercover anywhere, because the sellers and buyers would always have watch outs, and then it would get back to the house, and activity would stop. So once they got enough information from me, they were able to shut them down, and there was a large bright orange sign on the house that said something to the effect of This is an active drug house, and anyone who can not show proof of residency will be arrested on spot. It made me feel really good to know that I shut down a drug house. I was not going to let that happen right outside of my house. But this was the least of our worries.

We visited the beach twice. Once we went to the dog beach. I believe it was the 2nd week we were there. Emma Jean really liked it, but the boys were not too sure about the water and sand, it was pretty cold, and with there being dogs I couldn't really blame them. We went on a separate trip with just the two legged family members, and we had a blast! We made a day of it. We went early in the day, and went swimming for quite a while, played in the sand, and had lunch. Looked for some shells, played with the sea sponges that washed up on the beach, and then we went home. It was the best mothers day I could of ever had.

At the end of April we got our new puppy Benton. We were at a dog fair looking for a dog that was bigger than Emma Jean, not a puppy, and one that did not have pit bull in his description. We walked into the expo, and it started right inside the gates, there were some vendors, and the Humane Society was there as well, inside there were TONS of vendors and other rescues. When we walked in the gates, we saw a few cute dogs, and hen we walked past Benton, and Emma perked up, and they did some circles around one another, we looked at his info, we found out that he was 11 months old, and that he was pit bull/hound mix. But he looked just like Emma Jean, there was no way he had pit in him, that was for sure. But he was the same size as Emma, 50 lbs. We had already told ourselves, that we didn't want a puppy. We decided to go inside and look at all of the other vendors. I don't think I have ever seen so many dogs in one place ever! We found a few dogs that we liked, but either they didn't get along with Emma or vice versa. Emma is the type of dog that she is either really likes the dog, or she hates it. Toward the end we found this HUGE dog, but it was at the pit rescue. His name was Boss. Him and Emma were pretty iffy with one another, and we took them outside and tried to walk them alone, and side by side. But it just was not going to happen. So we chalked the trip up to a fun time out as a family, getting to meet many animals that will eventually be wonderful members of other peoples families. As we walked out, I said "You know what, why don't we see if Benton is still here?". Just then, Emma pulled me forward and was wagging her tail, and low and behold, there was Benton. It was meant to be. If it was not for the age difference I would swear they were litter mates. They are happy as clams together. He is still not completely potty trained, he walks better on a leash than Emma, he eats like a horse, and he is the 8th member of our family (Kyle, the 3 boys, the turtle, the dogs, and I).

We decided to become a greener family when we moved to Florida. We only used the reusable bags at the grocery store, library, etc. We started to grow our own herbs in a window garden. We only bought our fruits and vegetables locally. We rode our bikes everywhere. Kyle most of all was able to take part in this. He was only 2 miles away from work, and we only had the one car, so he would ride his bike to work rain or shine. It saved us on gas, and it allowed me to have the van if I needed it. We reduced our waste by half. We recycled 3 times more than we had before. We would use reusable bags at the fruits and veggie stands so we wouldn't have plastic bags. Turned off our lights if we were not using them. Kept our air conditioner at 78. We started using all natural cleaning products, as well a toiletries. The same with our napkins, papertowels, and even the babies diapers. They were all unbleached, and as natural as we could get them. Kyle and I were drinking shakes in the morning, we were taking vitamin B-12, the twins were taking their vitamins, as well as Adam. I know there are a lot of other things, I just can not remember them all right now. But overall, we were trying to do our part as much as we could.

Now to the house. We found the house from our 2nd Realtor. We had two Realtors for different perspectives, and different houses. The first one, Monique was very sweet, younger and she had worked with us pretty well, but also told us that we would not find anything in the areas that we wanted to live in within our price range. The second Realtor, Evelina told us that we would not find anything for under 150k. Kyle wanted more of the historical districts because of the older trees, and well the history, and I wanted to live in the newer developed houses, but that were within the older towns. So when we went down, we took the first two days to take in the town and look at the houses we had on our lists on our own. Oh my. There were parts of Tampa that I would not even wish my worst enemy to live in. On Saturday we met up with Monique and went to the houses that were on her list for us to see. Some were in the areas that I would like to live in, and there were a few that Kyle would like as well. Most of them were not in our price range, and the ones that were, well one of them literally had a swamp in the backyard, and the other was in Suburbia hell. Since we didn't find anything that we could honestly call home that was on her list, at the end of the day, we told her that we would look over the list again, and we would get back to her. The very next day, Sunday, we had to meet with Evelina at 8am and start our day with her. She too had her long list of houses to go and look at. The first house that we went to go and look at, we got off at the Floribraska exit, and I told her that we had looked at a house off of this exit, and we had already ruled this neighborhood out, even though it was a historical neighborhood. She said that we needed to keep an open mind, she found a couple who have been flipping houses in this neighborhood for the past couple of years, and there is a house that she really wants us to see. So we went to the house, it was only two blocks off of the exit. We pull up to the house, it was cute. 5 bedroom, 1 bath. 85k. Right in our price range. We walked through the house, the bathroom and the kitchen were all Ikea, and there was tile all throughout, except for in the bedrooms there was carpet. The yard was all fenced in, and it was what we were looking for. The neighborhood was just not optimal, but there were cobble stones streets, two palm trees in the yard, and oak trees all around. It was 5 min from the Bay, 15 min from the beach, 5 min from downtown, and well prime location. The school that Adam would be going to was not a great school, but he would have been able to go to the magnet school after summer break, so he would only have 6 weeks of school at the public school. So we told the home owner that we would take all of the information and let him know toward the middle of the week if we had an answer. We went and looked at the other houses, there were one or two that I think that we liked, but we kept comparing them to the first house. We knew we had talked ourselves into that house by the time we had got back to the hotel at the end of the day. We called out Realtor the next day, and told her to get the papers going. It was our last day in Tampa, so we got manicures, and pedicures, and massages. We also had a great dinner. We left to come home early the next morning, and to get our house packed up, and ready to move our lives to Florida in less than a month.

To be continued...