Saturday, February 15, 2014

2010 – Setting up house…

Finally we are going back to Florida! 

Our plan is to drive down so that we can bring our motorcycles with us - I am totally looking forward to driving my bike in the warmth of Florida –  I can get cold driving my motorcycle in the summer in Canada

Imagine this: you see a motorcycle go by with the driver’s teeth chattering like they had just jumped into the frozen water at a “Polar Dip” event – not that I would ever do that!  

Also decided to drive because I have three cats, Toffee, Fred and Screech, there was no discussion that I would not take them with us.

Just one problem, when we get to our new house there won’t even be a stick of furniture in the place! We decided to buy just a mattress and bring it with us. Not sure what time we will be getting there, so at least we will have something to lie down on the first night. 

As predicted, we got in late.  (lucky we have the mattress) 
Only took two days to get here, not bad seeing we left in a snowstorm! 

Now to furnish the house: I won’t lie, it was a bit of an undertaking with three bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, and outdoor furniture to get. So we 'roughed' it for the next few days until we found what we needed.  Seemed like we went out shopping every day. It was actually fun to do, to a point...

There was this great discount furniture store in Fort Myers where we picked up most of the furniture: bedroom sets for the master, and two guest rooms, couch and the kitchen table. 
I love my wicker table and chair set for the dining room :)

The best place I found to buy décor for the house was at Old Time Pottery in Fort Myers, you can find things from knick knacks for your walls and room to bedding and at great prices too!
I also liked shopping at HomeGoods, more on the pricey side for some things but they had a great selection and some good deals.

[Word of warning – if your man (like mine) doesn’t like shopping then Old Time Pottery is one place you will want to shop alone, lucky there is a bar next to it :) ]

We had brought some stuff with us, (there was a ton of room in the trailer even with the bikes). It also helped to have a lot of duplicate kitchen gadgets, pots and pans, glasses, etc. from our RV. We bought the majority of it here though, bedding, towels (got a great deal on towels at the store next to the discount furniture store, if I could remember the name of it I would tell you...) 

[In case you are wondering, we had no problem crossing the border with the trailer and the home stuff in it – sure we were asked to open the trailer but they just took a quick peak and sent us on our way]

Now that the house was furnished and we actually had a place to sit and sleep it was time to focus on the yard – with having the pool put in, it left our yard looking more like a desert and us feeling like we live in a fish bowl!
The house you see is our neighbour

Well of course I wanted palm trees, after all, we are in Florida!  Our neighbour has a steel fence (not the nicest thing to look at, not to mention no privacy) so we planted Areca palms along the fence line. (...hoping they grow quickly) We bought some sod for all the bare spots. (The saga of laying sod is a whole other story – the short version: I ended up sick for three days after, it was from the mold that was in the grass - I vowed never to lay sod again!) We surrounded the pool with Hibiscus and for or the front we got three palm trees for along the driveway and my favourite, the Silver Bismark Palm for the middle of the front yard. 
The sod has been all laid down and the Hibiscus has been planted; now it just needs to grow!

As anyone will tell you, it will cost you a bit to get some landscaping in place, but the result sure makes it worth it. We managed to get some great deals when plants were on sale.
(hint: shop before or after it is classified as “Snowbird Season”, prices tend to raise when us Canadian’s get here) Also a few friends have given us some plant cuttings and I am lucky that my other half has the “green thumb”. So if anyone is going to start asking me questions about gardening, I am not the one to ask :)

- Visitors
At the end of February my parents are coming for a visit for two weeks, so right now things are pretty hectic trying to get the house set up along with doing the landscaping. So, the first few weeks of being here was just getting the house set and preparing for our guests. 

My parents arrived and wouldn’t you know it, it decides to get cold! Well cold for Florida, and really not swimming weather. (Even cold for my other half who is not a ‘freeze cat’ like myself) At least the sun stayed shining, which helped a lot. I felt bad for my parents because they didn’t bring a lot of sweaters.  As you know by now I am colder than the average person, so I always am prepared with layers of clothing… I even make sure that I bring a sweater to go shopping because the air conditioning in the stores is too much for me to handle! Shortly after my parents left it got warm again and stayed that way… hmmm, maybe they brought the cold Canadian air with them and took it when they left….

[My misconception: I thought I would be running around in shorts all the time, looks like that is not going to be the case...]

- Motorcycles
I had just gotten my motorcycle licence in May 2009, so I am very excited to do some more riding. (it was a ‘bucket list’ thing) A little nervous, much more traffic here  than back home (Ok, I think that is an under statement)  Where we live we don’t even have a stop light – we consider it “rush hour” if you have to wait at the main stop sign in town for three cars to make a turn before you can go… My boyfriend has driven a bike since he was 18 so he is very experienced and surprisingly he is very patient with me :)

My bike is a Yamaha V-Star 250, I love it! It fits me perfect!

It is GREAT driving a motorcycle in Florida! We finally have some time to start taking some small tours and start exploring our neighbourhood on our bikes. Even with all the traffic on the main roads it is a totally different driving experience than in Canada. Motorists are more aware of motorcycles here, not to say you don’t have to be careful and also watch your surroundings, it is just that other motorists here are used to motorcycles year round. 

I am proud to say that my teeth have not chattered once while riding my bike here! Mind you, I sometimes wear the lining in my jacket and have been known to also have my hoodie on…

As a beginner, I kind of like that most of Florida is flat, there are some curvy spots, but for the most part it is straight and flat (I am sure that opinion will change) great for getting the feel of a motorbike and to get comfortable with the movements.  This year the furthest we have went is to Fort Myers beach. For the most part we have stayed pretty close to home.  I still need the practice and I have to admit I am a bit nervous, I am told it gets better ever year :)

– Saying Goodbye 
Well our time has come to an end, and we must get back to Canada. It has been quite the first year of being in our new house. Looking forward to coming back!

The most depressing thing about going back to Canada was to see all that white stuff that still never melted! Our yard is still covered; wait is there still a yard under all that white? :(

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