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Choose Your Battles Wisely

We are rapidly approaching our 7 week mark as new FL Residents, and the one thing that repeats in my head over and over again is “Choose Your Battles.” What I mean by that is making sure that I concentrate on the big tasks at hand, and not worry so much over the small ones that are just that- small.  Today’s blog is an update on how things are going, what’s coming up, and how living here has changed my outlook on life.

So let’s start with the small.  It appears that when mail is forwarded from WI, it takes about 2 weeks to finally see the light of FL- no joke.  I laugh at some of the mail I receive for 4th of July events, summer happenings in June, JUST this past week.  If you are waiting for something important, make sure everyone has your new address. We did get the word out, but we had it forwarded anyways for all those we may have forgot to tell.

Another small battle is the smell in our home seemed to be of sweat and mildew- I am sure from the many Park days of the family walking in after and stinking up the place.  Even after a shower, it seemed to linger.  Mom sent me some Wallflower refills from Bath and Body Works, and I just yesterday went and picked up a few more to plug in around the house.  It is odd how a smell can make you feel and sleep better.  I got the pillow mist for our room, the Stress Free Eucalyptus, and it made sleeping and breathing a joy in our room again.

On a side note, it’s funny how you shop differently when you move to a warmer and different climate. In WI I would have bought smells of pine trees and cinnamon, even when it wasn’t Christmas, but here I almost feel obligated to buy something light, fresh, and relaxing. It must be that FL vibe I get living here.  I got Fresh Linen for the living room, and it is nice and light and just makes the entire room feel inviting now.  I honestly should have bought them in WI and brought them with me, had I known how better they would make me feel.

Speaking on the same subject of shopping and the small stuff, I went out yesterday to the “The Loop” and “The Pointe” shopping areas here in the Orlando area.  They are basically your outdoor Malls, but THE LOOP had something that I had been missing since I left WI- “Kohls.”  You must understand, this store is my lifeline to home- we had one right near our house and I would go to it all the time with my family, but especially my mom.  My best friend, Kelly, also worked there, so opening the doors to it yesterday- I almost cried.  At one point I swear I could see my Mom in an aisle shopping- I know, I am pathetic.  It was just so nice to feel her and that place again, that I almost wished I was going to walk out the doors and into Northland Mall in Appleton again.  Moving away from what you know and love is harder than anyone knows unless you have done it, so be prepared.

After a fail at finding a pair of shorts that didn’t make me look like a 50 year old Grandma, we headed to eat next.  I love to eat in FL because there are so many new places I have never tried. I chose “Johnny Rockets” which is a diner atmosphere that serves your normal burgers and fries.  I loved it instantly, and enjoyed my special of a burger, fries, side salad and soda for $8- beat that Disney!  It was nice to relax, spend time, and give myself the permission to enjoy time without the kids.

I can see I will be at THE LOOP more often, as I also found OLD NAVY and MICHAELS.  I am a craft person, but more so a crochet gal, thanks to Sunam and Kelly, so I was quite happy to see them.  I have a friend, Mary, from my Choir, who works at the OLD NAVY in Appleton, and for a split second while I was there, I wanted to look for her and get my hug she always gives me.  Sometimes you have to let the atmosphere adjust to you, not the other way around.  I know I will make new memories here, it just takes time.  It helped that shirts were $3-$5 a piece- so I picked up 3 to make myself feel better- whatever works, right? Oh and at Michaels I found some great decorations for Emily’s room that were on clearance.   I love this time of year when all the summer stuff is clearanced, because here in FL, it is ALWAYS summer so you can use any of it year round!

They are adding a BATH AND BODY WORKS to THE LOOP this coming October 2011, so I will be going to that area to do most of my shopping I think for Christmas and other things.  Since it wasn’t there yet, we found THE POINTE which looked like an abandoned shopping district.  No one was there, yet everyone was open.  I guess if you want a quiet shopping experience, head there.  They have a Regal Cinemas, a Johnny Rockets, a Hollister, and basically what you would find at a Mall.

So let’s get to the BIG stuff- the battles you have to choose because if you choose to ignore it, it won’t go away, no matter how much you hope it will.  I have talked about BUGS before, well, we had to get serious about them now.  We found a rather large spider in our pool area that looked like he had come right out of a Museum. It was enough to scare us that Craig called ORKIN and got them over the next day, yesterday, to spray.  It will cost us $90 every other month to do so, but they carry a guarantee that if we see ONE bug in our patio area, in the front, etc… they will come out and spray again, and again if they have too.  I am on the patio now this morning, and the dead lay among me- clearly the spray works. Keep that in mind when you work on your budget for FL living, as it is almost a must to have and it will help give you and your family peace of mind when trying to enjoy the outdoors- as well as in.

The other BIG battle I am having all on my own is the mental battle.  I wake up some days with anticipation and excitement and cannot wait to see what the World holds for me, and other days I wake up and wish I was still in WI. I am not trying to whine to you, I am just telling you honest and raw relocation can feel.  Everything I do is different now, except for catching “King of Queens” or “Seinfeld” on the tube at night. I have to dress lightly now, not many dark colors do I touch these days. I wear a lot of moisturizer now, did in WI, just not as much.  My hair blondes quite quickly in the sun here, and I swear I shave my legs more here than I ever did in WI.  (It would be so much nicer if men didn’t care if we had hairy sasquatch legs).   Schools, shopping centers, where I drive, what I eat, where I eat, clean my clothes, etc… all completely different.  You can see how Kohls, Michaels, and Old Navy would be comforting to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love FL.  But if I just told you everything was cotton candy and rainbows, I would be lying, and that just isn’t my style.  It is my new life, our new lives, and again, it is just taking time to embrace it all.

I will say that the new friends I have made will never replace the old, but do fill a void in my heart that I had the moment we left the state line.  The new experiences I have had here help keep my mind off the ones I used to have in WI with my gal pals and family.  I think that my old life and new life are finally starting to bridge together, and that in time, I will find that balance that will allow me to wake up every day with a smile on my face and know that this IS home now. Relocation, it’s a scary and exciting adventure, are you ready for it?


  1. Long time lurker here! Amy, thank you for your HONEST appraisal of your new life in FLA! I’ve researched extensively such a move myself. I do feel the need to comment on this post since you mention the ‘sweat/mildew’ odor. In concern for your family’s health, you may want to check whether your home is contaminated with mold. It is an issue in many homes there. Also, some homes builders in the 2000’s used wallboard imported from China, which also emits an odor & is unhealthy. Don’t mean to rain on your parade, but these are issues many FLA residents have had to deal with in the last few years. Love to you & your beautiful family!


  2. thanks for the update, amy, and thanks especially for telling us the good and the bad. there is no perfect place, and if everything you said was good this and good that and nothing wrong, well, then we’d know that there’s something so horribly wrong that you’re not telling us or you’re not seeing everything.


  3. WOW!! I said it b4 Your family is so bold for making the move you did,

    and the way you write shows how real this is. I wanna be like you when I grow up.


  4. I just found your blog. Thanks so much! I am considering the move as well. I have loved in Florida before, and I do have a tip for you. It sounds like you need a dehumidifier. It will draw the moisture out of the air and prevent mildew. You really don’t ant to just cover up the smell with air freshener – it will only get worse.


  5. I love reading all your posts about life in Florida. It makes the time between trips seem not so long. I can’t wait to get to WDW in 28 days, it is cooler in FL than it is here in Kaukauna. With the heat index its going to be about 110 degrees. Keep up the good work Amy!


  6. My husband and I have often talked of relocating. I can see the good and bad through your posts.
    We’re still talking, but you were daring and brave to do it. I am really not a hot weather fan but you seem to be OK with it!


  7. Lol about the spider! We find MASSIVE hairy ones in the pool filter here in LA, so always be careful when you reach your hand in to check!


  8. Thanks for your honest posts Amy. We all still think you were so brave to make this move and know that there must be so many adjustments that you and your family are still making. Just cherish those good days and the bad will pass xx


  9. I remember the bugs of FL! My grandparents would always get roaches in their kitchen, they would slip right under the window from the kitchen to the lanai. And they are quick little suckers too! Next time im at Old Navy I will have to look Mary up. I love their pj’s for Morgan.


  10. Love BBW Fresh Linen. Is that the one that smells like clean sheets or is that White Cotton? Can remember. Guess I need to get some new Wallflowers myself.

    A tidbit on the bug issue: In lieu of the Orkin man, we spray our own house. We have a local chemical/pool supply store that sells a concentrate for a fraction of the cost of a professional. We mix it in one of those pump sprayers you can get at Home Depot. There might be a place there and they’d probably have just the thing for your local buggies. Just a cost saving thought.


  11. It does it get easier…I am from NY and still miss it..hard not family here…but glad you have friends and are close to Disney. I live in South Florida…and have everything we did in NY…give yourself some time…not even 2 months…it took me a long time to get used to living here.


  12. Love your honesty! As long as you mentioned Bath and Body Works, my wife found an anti bacterial hand soap they sell there that smells just like the Beach Club lobby. It’s called Rain Kissed. BC is our favorite resort so we’re stocking up on it. 🙂


  13. Yup…I never thought I would go grocery shopping with the cooler and a two freezer packs in the trunk. But down here, it’s the norm. 🙂


  14. I can so relate to your feelings. We moved to our current home about 13 years ago after living in the same town all my life. I walked into the grocery store and it looked just like the one at home only all of the people were different. It made me so sad. It took several years for this town to feel like my home. Of course we didn’t have anything as exciting as Disney to fill in the gaps! I am loving your blog and appreciate all of the info. We are working towards being snowbirds in 5 years or so and it is fun to read of your adventures. Thanks!


  15. Love this 1. When I 1st moved here, 8 yrs ago, I was amazed that the closest shopping I had was Walmart! And if we wanted to eat out we had our choice of every hamburger place imaginable. A great chinese restaurant opened the same time we moved in & we found a classic RI seafood restaurant but, oh, the lack of choices! We tended to drive to WDW & eat @ favorites there lol. Not all hardship! This area has really grown & changed just since I moved here.


  16. I am always so happy to see a new blog entry, and as I love love love the Disney ones, I love the “real life” ones even more! Our move is hopefully sometime next year, and I wonder about all sorts of things like grocery prices, bugs, etc. You really provide some invaluable information, and I truly appreciate it!

    Did the Orkin person just spray outside, or inside as well? I have such a bug phobia (although it doesn’t even compare to my snake phobia!) I agree with whoever commented upthread, please see about getting your place checked out for any mold, it can give off that smell and is really bad for you. (Here in Kentucky it’s extremely humid and people have lots of mold problems.)

    Your blog is part of my planning now! I do things like research the Publix ads each week, to get an idea of grocery prices (so I don’t have a shock once I get there!), research about a million other things, etc. But YOUR information is “real”, hands on, can’t be beat! It’s like you’re a pioneer, paving the way for us that have the dream. 🙂 I can’t wait until we are there, and hopefully I’ll be able to meet your lovely family in Disney sometime.


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