This “living in America” lark seems to be getting somewhat easier, as we are now OFFICIAL residents of Florida – we got driver’s licenses sorted out! Wahey! It involved several hours over two long days, a ton of driving back and forth, and visiting several government facilities, not to mention our bank… but we got them. Of course, it would have taken just one day (I got mine on day 1, after all) but Mark forgot his glasses, and apparently his sight doesn’t meet the legal minimums! So we had to go back on day 2 for him to take the eye test again.
These things happen.
Of course, you can likely put two and two together and figure out that if we got licenses, we also got a car! In this case, a 2001 Buick Park Avenue. A so-called luxury car that we paid a whopping $3000 for on ebay. Much to my chagrin, when I drove it for the first time (as we went about returning the rental car to the airport), I noticed that there was something wrong. One trip to Pep Boys later, and we were told that there was $1000 worth of repairs needed! We ended up paying $600+ to get the most necessary repairs made, and we are hoping to get away with not fixing the final bit (the mechanic told us it could wait a while) until we’re more settled.
Of course, this meant we were stranded at the Pep Boys for about 5 hours with nothing to do but follow Dexter as he made friends with a mad Brazilian woman who told us how adorable he was and cried (literally – cried!) because she was so moved by his beauty. She said she was formerly a teacher and she could tell he was crazy smart, as he was SO aware of his surroundings and listens so well.
We then had the pleasure of a 90 minute chat with a man in a wheelchair who had recently lost his foot and ankle because of a spider bite! He’d been bitten last year by a brown recluse spider and hadn’t done anything about it, so he wound up with gangrene and lost his entire foot! Then his wife up and left him to move to Tennessee, leaving their 17 year old son behind with his dad. They regaled us with stories of the housing crisis down here, and they warned us against buying or renting a house at Bimini Bay…. Which is actually where we are renting a house currently! Ay!
Apparently, there is a lot of gang activity and really rowdy/violent neighbours (I figured this out already!). And last year, a disgruntled resident BURNT DOWN THE CLUB HOUSE! Seriously! One of the people who lived here apparently got pissed off, so he burned down the entire administrative building. I had wondered why there was a “temporary” housing office and a giant abandoned lot with a burnt out husk in it!
Today we decided to visit Celebration, Florida, the town that Disney built. I have heard about it for years, and I’d always wanted to visit. I admit I have had dreams about living there, but I never expected it to happen. But since we were so close, we decided to give it a go and have a look around.
It was pretty much my DREAM town. So quaint. Small, but full of color and vibrancy. It is idyllic. We walked through the market place full of street vendors, and we visited the lake in the middle of the town. I grabbed a Starbucks frappuccino to ward off the heat, and Dexter played in the fountain in the middle of town. It was a lovely way to spend an hour or so.
Once we’d done in Celebration, we weren’t sure what to do. I voted we go home, but Mark was set on getting some discount tickets to Disney. I had to (have to!) keep reminding him that it’s kind of pointless to go until Dexter is older. We can’t go on any rides, he is scared of most other people, and I doubt giant Mickeys and Minnies would make him happy considering cartoon chickens terrify him to the point of hysteria…
So to compromise, Mark suggested we go and have a look at one of the houses we were thinking about renting. He programmed it into his GPS, and off we went to have a look.
When we got there, there were already loads of people having a look at it, but pretty quickly, we were approached by a Portuguese man in denim shorts and a t-shirt. He said he was a realtor, and were we looking to buy or rent. Mark said we were interested in both, so the man said that the house next door was for sale, and would we like to see it?
Before we knew it, we were following him back to his office, where he logged on to show us several other properties. And then we were driving all over Kissimmee to see various houses! I think we saw five in all, and truth be told, there was only ONE that was of NO interest to me (it was horrible!). The rest of them were really awesome! And we could totally see ourselves living in two of them.
It was a great stroke of luck to meet this guy. He even took us to his OWN house to show us around, as he had three houses exactly the same as his house which he owned, and he wanted to sell one. The neighborhood was lovely, the house was grand, and I was over the moon. FINALLY a proactive realtor who wanted to help us find our new home!
It was especially welcome after the one lady we saw (childless, btw) referred to me as “mommy.” EXCUSE ME! Unless you are my child, you have NO business calling me MOMMY! Condescending cow.
Anyway, having seen several houses in the last week or so, we are pretty mindful about what we actually want and WHERE we want to live. Which is fabulous.
Hopefully tomorrow we can finally get sorted with our mortgage approval (we’ve been approved twice, but they’ve messed it up and it needs redone!) and actually put in an offer on somewhere we like. Here’s hoping!