We moved. Again.
I lived in one house from 1983 until 1998, and have lived in eight houses since graduating from college in 2002. It turns out I don’t hate moving as much as I thought I did.
I’m getting a lot of the same questions from people, so I’m going to answer them in one place.
- But your hooooooouuuuuuse!
It’s true. We lived in the coolest house in Tallahassee. It was built in 1928, moved across town in 1960, and purchased by us in 2016 as a fixer-upper. We set about upgrading/restoring everything from the wiring to the paint colors. We completely remodeled our kitchen in 2018, and it is indeed a beautiful thing. If we’d stayed in Tallahassee, I would never have moved.
I do not believe in “forever homes.” I also do not believe in “starter homes.” A home is merely a vessel – it should serve your situation in life (financial, emotional, or otherwise) and the reasonably-foreseeable future. Before my mom got sick, we lived in a perfectly nice house that fit our family well. After my mom got sick and we decided to move her into our home, that house no longer served us. So we moved. And while the Thomasville Road house was beautiful and a treasure trove of projects and filled with large and glorious windows, we primarily bought it because my mother could spend the rest of her life in privacy and comfort in the detached guest house.
We did not complete every project we had on our list (who does?) but I am pleased with the renovation choices we made.
2. Why now?
Tyler graduated high school a couple of weeks ago, and will turn 18 in August. Jensen decided to skip her senior year of high school and also graduated this year. That means Jason and I are free of the custody arrangements that tied us to Tallahassee. We could go! And go anywhere!
3. But Tallahassee seems…..fine.
Tallahassee is a weird place. Neither Jason nor I grew up there, neither of us went to FSU for undergrad, and neither of us is involved in state government. Most of the interesting growth in town is around the university and downtown areas, while the northeast side’s “growth” comprises an ever-increasing number of upscale strip malls and brand-new pocket neighborhoods, where six houses are crammed onto an 1-acre lot. The airport offers very limited service, the nearest decent beach is two hours away, and allergy season never freaking ends. Jason lived in Tallahassee for over 20 years, and I lived there for 15, so I feel we gave it a decent shot. It’s not a bad place to live – the parks are outstanding and the traffic is light – but it’s not particularly welcoming.
4. Why Jacksonville? Is it just because that’s your hometown?
We started thinking about moving last year, and did a lot of virtual house- and city-shopping during the pandemic. We looked as far west as New Orleans and as far north as North Carolina. We weighed the pros and cons of small towns and big cities, of coastal locations and mountain regions. Jason could keep his job if we stayed in Florida, which was a huge factor. We wanted a city with a good airport and lots of water, and plenty of things to do when it’s raining (this was a problem in Tallahassee). Jacksonville checked all these boxes, with the bonus of being near family and old friends. But it’s also new to us – I haven’t lived here full-time since 1998, and a lot has changed. Including me.
5. How are the kids?
Hollyn will be a junior at the University of North Florida here in Jacksonville, and Tyler will start his freshman year at UNF in August. I have assured them that no native Jacksonville resident crosses the river unless absolutely necessary, so they won’t see much of us. Jensen hasn’t lived with us in two years, and has decided to take classes at FSU and live with her mother. Hazel was a little upset about moving until she realized two things – one, most of her favorite places in Tallahassee are franchises with locations in Jacksonville (I’m looking at you, Maple Street Biscuit Company), and two, most of her favorite plants from our Tallahassee yard can be found in our Jacksonville yard. She’s sad to leave her beloved Gilchrist Elementary, but her new school is within walking distance and has a great playground. What can I say? Her standards are low.
6. What about the chickens?
The family who bought our house asked that the flock be included in the sale. If we’d taken them with us, we’d have to build a new coop ($$$) and we would have to leave the rooster behind, as they are verboten in Duval County. I am glad we had the chickens, but I don’t know that we’ll replace them.
7. Is your new house a fixer-upper?
Nope. Our new house was well-loved and well-maintained. That said, one of the air conditioners died the week we moved in, so we bought ourselves a very expensive housewarming gift. We do plan to completely remodel the kitchen (rubs hands with glee) in the near future. This will be my third total kitchen remodel, so I’m feeling pretty confident.
8. Will you miss anything from Tallahassee?
Of course! I can think of five things.
First, my book club. It’s the only regular meeting I looked forward to every single time.
Second, Maclay Gardens State Park. Jason and I got married at this park. Capital City Rowing is headquartered there, and I spent many hours walking on the Lake Overstreet Trails, especially during the pandemic.
Third, Thomasville, Georgia. This was one place we strongly considered moving. It’s a delightful place with a walkable downtown, picturesque streets, and enough beautiful old homes to choke a goat. It was also the host of my second-favorite local event, Victorian Christmas.
Fourth, the Greek Food Festival at Holy Mother of God Greek Orthodox Church. HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, what a good time.
Fifth, Momo’s Pizza. It’s my favorite pizza in Tallahassee, but also my favorite pizza place. In the early days of our relationship, Jason and I used to take the kids to Momo’s as a special treat. We also ate our last meal out there before we moved. We’ve talked through a lot of issues and dreamed a lot of dreams on their patio.
We will miss our friends, but our doors are always open and Tallahassee is not far.