On July 17, 2002, we bought our home in Florida. It’s a beautiful Florida Ranch, with 4 bedrooms and 2 baths, tall ceiling and plant shelves and my favorite area, the kitchen/breakfast nook and family room. This is a post how this move came about. For your viewing pleasure and envy I have included a picture and the floor plan for our home. The hand drawn part shows the pool and screen covered pool. But enough about that now, I will come back it later.
This is a story on how we got here. It begins on January 3, 2002. My wife went to work at 8am as she had been doing for years. She worked in the Hi-Tech industry, for an extremely large and profitable company. She was doing very well and had worked her way up the corporate ladder quite well. But rumors had been floating for months that reductions in workforce were coming. At noon that faithful day they stopped being rumors, my wife was one of hundreds laid off that day. She was caught in the 1st wave of massive downsizing of High-tech companies in the Washington DC area.
Her severance package was very good, and would allow for her to take some time off, do some project in our home in Alexandria VA, and just relax before she started the search for a new job in earnest.
In was very neat coming home each evening to find what new project she was working on. Like refinishing the hardwood floor in our den, doing decorative tile work leading down to the basement, and not mentioning all the work she did in her beloved garden. Our home had become the poster child for “Better Homes & Gardens” it was beautiful.
During April of her efforts my annual golf trip came around. I and 5 friends were meeting in Orlando Florida for a week of golf. I was flying back on Saturday early afternoon, and upon my return was immediately driving to Fredericksburg VA to pick up our daughter and her friend so we could go to the NASCAR night spring race in Richmond VA. When my wife picked me up, she told me she had been busy that week, and had accomplished a ton of stuff around the house, and she when into all the things she had accomplished, and drum roll please!!!! That she had decided what she wanted to do next career wise. This really perked my interest, and I began to drill her seeking as much information as possible. Smiling my wife told me it could wait until the next morning (Sunday) because she knew my schedule was extremely tight that day, she went on to tell me she thought it was a good direction, and for me not to worry about it until Sunday. Trusting my wife, I took her at her word, and shoved the million questions I had to the back of my mind. I picked up the girls as scheduled, we when to the race, and had a GREAT time. After dropping the girls off at their dorm, I proceeded back to Alexandria, getting home at 2 am.
Sunday morning over coffee and breakfast the story began to unfold. I must say that there had been a plan in progress for my wife. While my wife was redoing the re-beautification of our home, she was spending hours and hours on the internet scouring the Washington DC area for potential employment, in her field at an acceptable salary level. She understood going in there was a general industry wide layoff of folks with her specialty and especially at her salary level, but she was making had been making every effort for 2 months and to date had come up with zero, zilch, nothing she found acceptable. She had even considered going to Kelly Girl, a place she had worked years and years before at the beginning of her career.
But while I was playing golf, she had a flash of brilliance. Realizing I was close to retirement, and that we fully intended on moving to Florida when we retired she renewed her search efforts looking in Florida for employment. She almost immediately found that Florida has/had a significant shortage of teachers, and were hiring, and it fact were searching the entire country for qualified individuals to teach. Steph immediately filled out a “pre-qualifying” job application. Within hours of submitting that application, she was asked to attend 2 job fairs being one the 1st being conducted in Tampa FL a few weeks down the road (which would have put it in the last May time frame), and a second very shortly after. We didn’t know what to expect except that if hired (and she was verbally advised that she would get multiple offers). They would have an expectation for her to be available to start the 1st week of July for new teacher training.
In anticipation of Steph getting a job in Florida, and in her general choice of areas, and understanding the time constants, we enlisted the aid of a friend to put us in touch with a realtor on the East Coast of FL in the Cocoa Beach area. We had a house hunters East Coast of Florida weekend. We flew into Orlando Intl Airport, got a room there for the weekend, and met the realtor bright and early Saturday morning. Over the next several hours we viewed numerous houses, and I mean a shit pot full. And pretty much like the show the agent showed us a ton that came nowhere near our list of demands. It was like she never paid any attention to our requirements at all. But come the end of the weekend we found a place that was okay, it didn’t have the required pool but the lot was large enough and the price low enough that adding a pool would not be an issue. We signed a contingency contract and left $5,000 in earnest money. Flew home Monday morning thinking it was a good weekend.
Two weeks later we are once again flying to Florida, this time so Steph could go to the Hillsborough County Schools job fair. (Hillsborough is on the west coast of FL). We departed Friday evening (at least we tried). We were scheduled on a 6pm flight out of Dulles Intl Airport, but because of weather (surprise surprise) our flight was delayed and then delayed again, not departing until after 10pm with us arriving at the hotel after 1am. Steph at to be at the job fair by 7am, we had no clue as to where it was or how to get there. The folks at the hotel were quite helpful, and after about 4 hours sleep I was driving Steph to this all day event. She was to advise me on a regular basis how it was going (which she didn’t) at least not regularly. But Steph being the trooper she is, managed to get her dance card filled with interviews that morning. I believe all told she had 4 or 5 interviews that day. She ended up getting three job offers while attending the fair, 2 of which would sign her to a contract that moment, and she accepted the one that she felt best suited her skills and abilities. This job required her to be in Tampa, for pre-school training by the 10 of July.
We were forced to cancel the contract we had for the home on the East Coast and have yet another House Hunters weekend in Tampa. The realtor in Melbourne FL recommended a realtor in Tampa, and we met her the Saturday of father’s day weekend. Over the next 30 hours Steph and I visited between 30 and 40 homes, and pretty much rejected 30 of them in moments. Of the 10 or so finalist I wasn’t really happy with any of them. And I asked that we be shown just a touch of new construction. The realtor took us to some model homes of a style that Steph really liked. They had 4 home that were spec homes that would be ready in early July. Of these homes we found them to be either too small or without a yard big enough to have a pool built. As we walked back towards the model, the sales rep said she did have one other spec home in another neighborhood that might meet our needs. She took us over there, and I fell in love with the house the moment I saw it. It had the only curved drive in the neighborhood, and just captured my heart, and the backyard was large enough to support a nice pool. Steph loved the house as well, but maybe not as much as me, but it was by far, head and shoulders, above any of the other 30/40 homes we viewed we immediately agreed. We when back to the sales office, filled out 2 tons of needed paperwork, and left 5K in earnest money. We returned to the hotel knowing we would be flying back the next weekend to finish the paper work and make all of our selections for rungs and all those items. We were guaranteed the home would be ready for occupancy in a time frame that met our needs and the job was complete. I am enclosing the floor plan and a picture of our home. We closed on the housed pictured below on 07/17/02, and immediately began the moving in process.
As it is 10 years after we moved in
I drew in the Pool and covered area, as well as the Driveway.
Because this has become a marathon I am going to close it out now. If you want to hear about the experience of selling our home in VA, and the actual move itself, you’re going to have to ask LOL.
As always if you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to ask. Take care, Bill