Our Journey to Florida – Part 2

To recap Part 1, Mom passed away early Christmas morning, and a couple of days later we realized that our apartment complex wouldn’t work with us to move to a smaller apartment to finish out our lease…

I started researching local apartments, and had plans on checking several out. Having multiple pets meant we would have to find a pet friendly apartment as well.

I visited on complex that I was familiar with as a friend had lived there, and I wouldn’t have been opposed to living there.  To save money so we could eventually move to Florida we were going to make do with a one bedroom (in retrospect, we might nt have gotten out of that situation with both of us unscathed! LOL.)

Tara and I were discussing options later that evening, and not really wanting to sign a NEW one year lease, meaning we would be in PA until 2018 (which now is only 3 months away), we asked ourselves if it was crazy to try to move to Florida.  Moving twice would have incurred additional deposits and expenses associated with moving, even if one of those moves was local.

Tara started researching locations and rents almost immediately.  We put a timeline of the end of March. We had to give 60 days notice to our current apartment, but didn’t think we could manage in 60 days. There was a lot to do. This gave work time to find a replacement as well.

The house hunting/rental process was all about timing.  Finding the right house, the right price, the right location (we were pretty open here) and the right availability was tough. We crossed Central FL several times , finding a home we would like, only to have the availability not work out.  I needed something in proximity of several Walgreens to increase my chances of a transfer.  We wanted to be within an hour of Disney and an hour of the beach (either coast) and we did not want to live in the same area as before. While we loved that area, and it met the criteria, we wanted to experience some place new.

While we were “house hunting” we were also working on cleaning house, with a little bit of an episode of hoarders thrown in. My mother kept everything. She had been trying for almost as long as we lived in the apartment to purge, but she just never really got very far. The longer we waited, the harder it was for her help.  Her stamina was limited. In addition to what she had in the apartment, we also had off site storage. To be honest, the majority was Mom’s.  Tara and I had maybe 10 boxes that had been there since we moved. Things we didn’t need on a daily basis, but were important memories we wanted to keep. I needed to get storage emptied by January 31st. It was winter, it was cold, and for TWO weeks, I was working over night shifts on a special project. January was a very bad month.

Thankfully I could an easy way to donate.  I just needed to set up a pick up date, put the items on the patio, and they came to pick it up!  The proceeds of sales of the items goes to Vietnam Veterans of America.  If you need to clean house, check them out www.pickupplease.org, they are located in quite a few states. This service saved me so much leg work and time. I don’t know if how many trips it would have taken me to a local donation center.

Not only was this process physically exhausting, but I was still pretty emotionally raw. Going through and getting rid of Mom’s things so soon after she passed was emotional for me. She was barely physically gone from our lives, and I was having to decide what I would keep, give away or discard. It just hurt so much, but I had no choice.  There were so many memories stored away in her room. While purging, I also revisited so many good times and bad times. All I can tell anyone, if you are a saver, or have lived in one place for an extended period of time, start thinking about your stuff and what will become of it sooner than later.

Every evening Tara would search rental listings. She had things on her wish list. A garden tub, ceiling fans, and possibly a fenced back yard. We opted out of a house with a pool for this go round, it increased the rent, limited the choices, and as much as I loved having a pool, it was just not something I wanted to have to deal with right away. We settled on working through one property management company, as they allowed three pets in all their properties. We would find a house, only to watch it become unavailable because it was too early for us. When we got to March 1st, we had to really get serious. We found one house we loved, to the West of Disney, only to have it “snatched” out from under us as I was working on the application. while walking through Lowes to get moving boxes, Tara stumbled on an awesome house, but in an area we knew nothing about. We googled it quickly, realized it would work, and put in the application right then and there. It all happened quickly, we were approved, and the timing was as good as we would get. We had to take possession of the house a few days before we would arrive, meaning we paid 5 days rent for a house we didn’t live in, but we had to do what we had to do. We were not chancing it at this point. Not having a home when we arrived in FL was not an option!


Next I needed to find a store in the area with an opening. Ideally I wanted it as close to home as possible, as we would be moving with just one vehicle. I did secure a job pretty quickly and they were willing to wait the month for me as I came already trained!

The last month is a total blur to me. I worked my full schedule, and came home and packed. Tara was working as well, so it was a very busy time for us, as well as another situation thrown in there which complicated our last days in PA.  This all made for very little fanfare, as at that point in time we just wanted to be away from it all!

I worked through the weekend before we left, leaving three days to finish packing and get the truck loaded on Thursday. Tara’s friends Ashely and Dani were so much help as were Jerry and Gavin, my nephew in law and great nephew! The girls did prett well on our own, but we needed some additional man power for some heavy lifting.

Our plan was to leave early Friday morning, after a little sleep, but we wound up moving that time line up and leaving around 11pm on Thursday. It had started to pour the last hour or so of packing, and we were just over it all and wanted to be on our way!

We pulled our of Willowyck just about 10:59pm to start or journey south! Myself driving the UHaul and Tara and Ashely in Tara’s car with the pets.

As you can see it was raining, and it rained a good part of the trip!

Next up the actual journey!

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