“There will be NO snakes!” The perpetually smiling realtor assured us from the covered lanai.
“Um, are you positively SURE?”. The words flew out of my mouth, even though I was trying hard to be upbeat and excited. We were shopping for a place to settle into for a year or more and having a pool was important. Not for me, I had told the realtor, but for my husband who was needing the swimming as therapy for his bunged-up knees. And we were, quite frankly, becoming both weary and discouraged. My husband was losing his patience with my finicky (but womanly sane) requirements. No slithering visitors was one of them.
This house was the first one we had seen that did not have the screened room over it, containing the best of being outside while keeping the leaves, bugs, and SNAKES out of the crystal blue water. We had been looking for weeks, and had a few ‘maybe’s but no decision. Either they were missing something vital to our needs…a fenced in backyard for our dogs, or no garage….or they were simply more than we were willing to fork out each month for a rental.
Yes, in case you missed the last posts, we had been on the western side of Florida in early Jan. in search of our new home. We loved all the towns, the energy and the gulf. But our timing is off for that move at present and the option to stay here near our son and daughter seemed too tantalizing. Plus, there is still too much we want to do HERE. The Kennedy Space Center is on our list (I actually got to be a VIP on a recent launch for my son’s company’s satellite) as a family all-day outing. We have museums, zoo, and of course, trips to Orlando ahead and it is way more fun to do this as a family when we can.
But back to this house….it is just about the right size for the two of us. We have room for company and two bathrooms…garage and the lot size is huge, so Shamus and Suki have room to run after the confinement related to unprecedented apartment living. My kitchen is efficient, small but contains all I need for the first time in years. Not too big, not too small and working appliances.
“No snakes in this pool” he continued as I watched my husband wander behind the garage. “You can just jump in at any time and it is always nice…see that up there?” he pointed to the black hose thing upon the roof behind us. “That there is your solar heating for the pool and the pool cleaning is included in your rent.”
The yard sold me even more than the kitchen or the house inside. In fact, the inside of the house was depressing for my overwhelming need for natural lighting and light colors overall. I had been ready to abort at first sight, when the door opened to rooms painted in a color I can only consider to be Mud. It looked similar to that weird shade of unknown classification that you get when several cans of half-used shades are mixed together in the hope of something usable. Or is that just my experience…..
But that yard…and that pool….landscaped by love at a time there was a family here. I found tucked in the crannies, little lights that were meant to highlight foliage and fern with tasteful pride. We have two enormous Bird-of-Paradise plants anchoring the patio around the pool~ both in need of care and water but hints of grandeur remain. Differing varieties of palm and citrus trees live here, as does two giant bougainvilleas ( that red and pink bounty in the picture). Most of the houses we viewed had little landscaping, certainly were not situated on almost 1/2 acre….and I had palm trees on my list.
And then there is that pool…curving and freely styled with shades of blue tile and featuring not only underwater lighting but also several seating areas to rest after laps. The pool is deeper than we have seen, custom-built from a time when this was standard.
That day, when we placed our deposit down on this place…I had already began imagining patio furniture, pool floats, tiki lights, and festive parties. The large lanai adjoins both the dining room and the ‘family room’ with two doors and a pass-through from kitchen. I love to rearrange, redo, reconstruct, remake, and turn things around. This was going to be fun!
And the first thing on my redo…..lots and lots of white paint! Done.
Now, let me add…we have been here now for three months, and once I got the walls covered in Bleached Pine instead of Mud Flat brown, I felt quite at home. Even on times my husband has been traveling, I have been comfortable. Feeling safe in a new place is always on my list of concerns and so far, so good. I have settled in somewhat…Unpacked even while finishing my spring term in university and learned my way around this town. I have been surprised by much…..frogs and lizards, birds and flora, community and neighbors. It is all good. (We do not speak of politics)….It is not home, not really yet. I am still a bit anchored to my Colorado roots, (although I did NOT miss that winter weather at all) and finding a new way to make an income has been a bit daunting.
Yet here we are. Here we begin again…Here we continue this adventure that we have wanted for the past 19 years. We are five minutes from the ocean and have made it a weekly trek. This is why we left our beloved mountains. We had to be near the water, near the sea….near the ocean..at least for awhile.
And while this transition is for us finally arriving at a time that we should be happily settling into retirement, we shall be rebuilding businesses. I am unsure how many of you out there are in our position…where we finally realized we had to make a change, had to try to grab all that we had dreamed of…before we were too old, too ill, too afraid….
Having a boat on which to live (our number one desire)…..or a tiny home….or even an RV might be in the future as we continue to work through our options. We want to make a small footprint, live simply, find satisfaction as we strive to heal the planet and ourselves. We want to contribute, to aid, and to be useful in the efforts toward sustainability and strength for this planet. And I want to write…daily with purpose.
I hope you will follow our journey. I have been missing a bit off the posts as we moved three times in the past 9 months, had pet injuries (all good now), finished classes for another term, survived knee surgery, and found our footing again.
I am striking out and testing new territory to find income that will allow us to have all that we are hoping for. It will be hard work, I know…we are used to that from all the years in self-employment and construction….and we do not wish to continue in that labor-intensive industry but rather find something else…My own hopes are that I can finish editing my novels, begin a new thriller series, and even test some non-fiction in the memoir genre….even if I have to do it around my other income-producing work.
And until then….I shall take each day as it comes…enjoy the bounty around me …the comfort of my home….the new home office I have created ….and that lovely escape of a private, always beckoning pool. This surprised me most of all. Shocked that I am quite addicted to the joy of being in the water right out my back-door.
And I haven’t seen a snake yet….