So, by now most people have heard our news and that is that we will be moving to Utah in a couple of weeks! Jared got a job working for the Church as a programmer for the New Family Search program. This has been an interesting process that started in about January. I don't think we were quite ready to move back then, but through this process, and much prayer, we do feel that it is the right thing for our family right now for a few reasons: Jared needs a change at work, I am done with school, only one of our kids is in school right now, it's summer break, this house is feeling a little too small for a family our size, I am getting really tired of the humidity, and almost all of our family lives in Utah (as well as many friends/old roommates).
All that being said, Florida has been a wonderful place for us to live. It's the only place we've ever lived as a married couple. This is where we've had all of our children. We've gone from being newlyweds to a family of six. We will miss the Plantation ward and all of our friends so much. It really is an amazing ward that I know we will not find anywhere again. Our friends down here have been our family. We've spent every holiday including Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, Christmas and New Year's with our ward family. We were becoming long-timers in the ward along with so many other fantastic families. This is the one thing we will miss the most about Florida (sniff, sniff). I know, it's sentimental, but seriously, I can't think of anything that is holding us here (besides maybe the beautiful winter weather) other than our friends. Hopefully we will always remain friends despite our abandoning them.
Here's a list of some things I learned while living in Florida:
-I know what a swale is and that it's okay to park on it
-Front doors open out and not in due to hurricane winds
-You get to know your neighbors best right after a hurricane when nobody has power, or when your shed blew into their pool
-If you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes (translation: there's a torrential downpour daily for 1-2 hours and then it's sunny again like it never happened)
-You water your lawn in the winter and not in the summer
-It's good to go to the beach on Christmas and camping over Thanksgiving
-Crab grass, the kind you always pulled out of the lawn for being a weed, is the grass
-Lizards and frogs are commonplace
-There are more scriptures in Spanish at the temple than in English--no exaggeration either
-Houses are built out of CMU's (aka cinderblocks)
-Parking lots are weird. And once again, you can park on the grass--those are actual spots.
Here's what I foresee being different in Utah:
-I will have to invest in lotion again
-Socks--wearing them, washing them, folding them
-Jeans can be worn even in the summer without them sticking to your legs
-Better hair--you blow dry it and it stays that way
-No more bulk pick-up (I will have to work on instating it in my new city)
-Winter clothes--how do you dress a baby in the winter anyway?
-Seasons, and I mean more than just "park season" and "pool season"
-Dividing our time between our families
-Our kids playing with neighbor kids (we've never played with any neighbor kids here, mostly because there are hardly any)
-A longer commute to work and a shorter commute to church
-I hope to not be so anal about keeping the door closed, you know so the hot air doesn't get inside
-We will have a basement!
-I will probably have to start putting my carts in those designated cart return things instead of just leaving them by my car (that's gonna be an adjustment). Really, it's hard for the Utah population to believe, but they don't have those here.
-We won't be able to walk across the street to get to the school
-The grocery store, the gym, and the library will all be further than 1/2 a mile away
-We'll be trapped inside in the winter and not the summer
-Carpet and not tile
-No more free swimming lessons
-The cost of living, I am told, is less than here
-No fleas! (and probably no cats, but that is still one of my dilemmas right now... ugh)
Yeah, there's probably more insignificant stuff I could write, but that should suffice, for now. Surely, it will be different, in both good and not so good ways. But we are excited for the change and feel really good about this decision. We went out to Utah last week to look for a house and found that building a house is the same price as most of the other short sales and regular homes out there. Of course, our Realtor took us to see a bunch of model homes and builders first and then took us to some crummy short sales. No contest about which was better. I have no problem working on an older home, but it was the layout of older homes (even 10 years) that I didn't like--and that can't be changed easily.
So we decided to build a home in Lehi. We won't have grass or any mature trees, but the house will be what we want. There's always trade offs when getting a house. One thing that really bugs me about Utah houses is that there are so many plans that are all the same. Okay, two things. Why are they all that ugly earth-tone brown anyway? I would love to design my own home, but it would cost way more than going with a builder who already has lots available. All I wanted was a plan that wasn't like everyone else's. When I walked into the model of the house we chose, I immediately knew that this was how I wanted my house to be. It had an open kitchen with an island and enough room for the dining table, and four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a laundry room on the second floor, with an unfinished basement (a project). The yard will be smaller than what we have here and the homes are close together, but Jared and I both felt really good about the home, the location and the price. Now we just have to make sure we don't go overboard on all the upgrades. We even went to a neighborhood barbecue to make sure we liked our neighbors and everyone seemed pretty nice and said they loved it there.
Sooo, we will be moving from this house on the 23rd and living in temporary housing for a month, and then we will probably be moving in with family until about October when the home is built (I told them it only takes Extreme Makeover one week but these people just laughed at me). My main concerns right now are selling our house, figuring out what stuff to keep in storage and what we will need in the mean time, and the aforementioned cat situation. I think we have done more in the last few weeks to our home than in the whole 8 years we've lived in it to get it ready to sell. It looks pretty good. Our Realtor even said it didn't look like 4 kids live here. But I am still nervous about getting it sold because it is competing with so many short sales and foreclosures. One other good thing about the building option is that we don't have to have our 20% down payment until October (just a building deposit) so there isn't quite the pressure to sell our home right now. But still, it's a little nerve racking.
So there you have it. I've been waiting so long to tell people our news, but really, I'll shut up now.