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  The Big Picture
Retiring to Florida
The Big Picture
Selecting Legacy
Visiting Legacy
Design Studio
Red Carpet Center
The Pool
Lessons Learned
Our Finished Retirement Home
The Move: If I Only Had a Brain
The Yellow Brick Road
Fireworks, Booze and Porn, oh my!
The Emerald City
No Place Like Home
Leesburg Hospital

 It's  It's a Big Picture

Living in Florida

It's axiomatic that most folks you talk to who do not live in Florida wonder what the heck you are thinking of moving there.  What, haven't you heard about all the hurricanes they have?  It's insane, like booking a voyage on the Titanic.  Or perhaps you aren't aware of how hot and humid it is?  My god, the bugs alone are the size of Pontiacs and will carry you away at night back to their lairs.  And so forth.

Of course, when pressed they will admit the place they live now does have problems.  Like earthquakes.  Or fires.  Or freezing winters and rattlesnakes and scorpions or volcanoes or tornados or whatever the heck it is that makes life less than perfect nearly everywhere.  The fact remains that most folks, by and large, are living where they want to live, and thinking about living anywhere else fills them with quease and unrest.

That's okay -- we aren't trying to sell anyone on moving with us.  But here are the reasons we want to live there.

5. We can afford it.  While there are certainly nice places to live in California and Hawaii is a dream land we can't afford a home in either of those places.  Heck, we can't even afford a home in Nevada -- I wouldn't have been able to make the house payments on what we sold our house for.

For the immediate future home prices in Florida are extremely reasonable.  That will change, no doubt, but at the moment I can actually afford to get something far nicer than we had.  The tax base is low, there is no state income tax, and the cost of living is around 10% cheaper than where we currently live.  There are certainly cheaper (or as cheap) places to live but none of them offer the rest of what Florida does.

4. We can have a pool.  All our lives Annie and I have wanted our own pool.  There are few areas in the country that a pool can be used year around and those we can't afford (see above).  Putting a pool in Nevada, for example, would allow only a four month or so use.  In Florida we'll swim everyday.

3. It's green.  Anyone who's lived in the desert for a long time, as I have, might forget just how green other places are.  In Florida you can actually plant and have things grow.  Amazing.  People don't even water their lawns most of the time, as it just rains enough.  I'm really tired of living in a place where artificial plants die on you.

2. There are tons of things to do.  Carson City is a fine place to raise a family, but unless you're just really into outdoor stuff there isn't much to do in Northern Nevada.  

We'll live an hour from the gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic ocean, so we have a choice of beaches.  Less than 90 minutes from Cape Kennedy, heck, even Miami's only a few hours away.  And there are a myriad of tourist spots to keep us busy for years and years to come.

We drove around the Leesburg area and found some delightful places within miles of where we'll be living, including a bakery that I'll visit every week.  Look for me to be up around 300lbs by the time I'm 60.

1. Disney.  Need we say it?  Obviously this was a huge factor for us.  I fell in love with Epcot and Disney World 20 years ago when I first visited, and it was love at first site for Annie as well.  The novelty of being able to get in the car and visit the various parks whenever we want will undoubtedly wear off in a while, but our basic love and desire to be at the parks will never fade.

The nice thing about Disney is they are always innovating, always changing.  So I doubt whether we will ever get bored.  Legacy is about 40 minutes away from the best time you can have with all your clothes on.

Momma didn't raise no fool

We would be remiss if we didn't address some of the downsides that folks throw up in our faces.  Once again -- we aren't trying to sell anyone here.  People can live where they want and, quite frankly, there are quite enough folks retiring to Florida to suit us just fine.  But here's a list of others' objections we just don't get.

5. Boy is it hot!  Is Florida humid?  Sure, in exactly the same way Nevada is not.  And both issues are bothersome.

In Nevada you get dry eyes, static will drive you crazy, and your sinuses will bleed.  Nothing will grow for long and, if it does, you had darn well better keep it well watered or it will die within days.  When the wind blows the dust and dirt come with it, and you've never known chapped lips until you've lived in a desert.  I once had skin that wasn't the texture of saddlebags.

In Nevada's winter you'll freeze and feel like staying inside all the time, except it's still cold and drafty in even the best homes.  It doesn't snow often in Carson -- just often enough to make you miserable.

In Florida things don't dry within an hour, but neither Annie nor I feel "sticky" as so many people complain. We've been there in late June and while not the hottest month of the year we had no issues at all with being too warm.  Perhaps old age makes your blood thin and need the warmth, but we've never been uncomfortable.

Do you need air conditioning?  Absolutely, but you do in Carson as well.  In the hottest summer months you stay inside, just like folks in colder climates do during winter.  Or you go out in the early morning or late at night, something winter folks can't do.

I personally think the whole "not the heat the humidity" thing is vastly overblown, but that's me.  Give me moisture every time.

4.  Hurricanes?

Yes, there have been some of these, and the four that just hit have made folks more aware than ever.  But we are living in Central Florida, and not one of these damaged any of the homes in the retirement community we will be living in.  They didn't even lose power.

Anywhere you live there are natural disasters.  If it's not earthquakes it's floods, or fires, or tornados or volcanoes or whatever.  At least with a hurricane you have a lot more warning than most natural disasters.

3. The beauty of the West

There is no doubt we currently live in one of the most beautiful areas of the country.  With the high sierras showing snow, the ice-blue lake of Tahoe is perhaps one of the most spectacular sights around.  On the west coast you have the greatest shoreline available, with crashing waves against majestic rocks, and anyone who's visited Zion National Park wants to return.

We'll be living in a state where the maximum elevation is 900 feet.  We used to live 500 feet above the Carson valley floor, so comparatively speaking we were living in the mountains when it comes to Florida.  There is no denying the beauty of the everglades and other Florida areas, but for landscapes nothing matches where we are right now.

I've been photographing the area for years now and will miss it greatly.  No place is perfect, but if you like the outdoors the west is just about the best.

2. Bugs, bugs, bugs!

Ahem.  Yes, there are indeed insects in Florida.  However, there are insects everywhere, and you've never lived until you've seen black widows infest your garage like they have here in Nevada.

And there are alligators -- but four weeks ago I was chased by a six foot long rattlesnake off my back porch.  Let's face it, every place has its share of critters, and they can be managed.  Raise your hand if you're the dominant species.  (All those reptiles and amphibians in the back room can put their hands down, now).

Many folks in Florida simply hire a pest control person who comes out once a month and takes care of things.  We may do this, if we find a need.

1. Losing Friends and Family

By far the biggest drawback to moving across country is being away from all our friends and family.  This breaks our heart.

F & F are the only reason for living.  Things can be replaced, memories live forever, but people are what makes the world go around.  We are moving to an area where we know literally no one, and the closest relative is at least a two hour plane flight away.

But the world has changed since the nuclear family, and people just don't live out their entire lives within 20 miles of where they were born anymore.  My mom's kids all live in different states (or countries -- my brother lives in China).  She couldn't stay with the family if she tried.  And while it will be tough not seeing our grandchildren grow up, as soon as they are grown they will also scatter to the four winds.

We hope people will come and visit, but we also realize it's a lot to ask.  On the other hand, the place we are living is not exactly some place people try and avoid. Then again, not very many of our friends are retired, and their own lives are so busy we rarely see them now, so tt's even possible we may see more of certain people due to where we live.  Who knows?  One of my close friends just the other day said he was considering, very soon, moving East.

One thing is for sure -- you need to live life for yourself and your spouse and friends and family only can have so much impact on where you live.  We'll make new friends, because that's the kind of people we are, and it's more likely those friendships will last since not very many of them will ever move again.  If times were different... but that doesn't mean we won't miss everyone a lot.

Still, even though we knew we wanted to live in Florida we still had to choose a place to live.

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