So we’re moving to Florida…

…Orlando to be precise. I guess this sort of flies in the face of my initial post here. Oh well. I wrote about being happy in Ohio knowing that moving for my job was becoming more and more a distinct possibility. So maybe that was a reverse jinx of sorts.

I’ve been writing now and again in this space since the beginning of the year as a moderately safe creative outlet between my days of making spreadsheets and my nights and weekends of making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This move should give me something to write about at least.

(But unless there’s a Loveland, Florida, I guess I’ll have to change the name. I’m glad I just used my own name as the domain address.)

The timeline is not certain except that it will be fast. I will be working out of Orlando on a permanent basis on March 18th. Just depending on how the sale of our house here goes, Mindy and the kids will be moving down in April or May most likely. I’ll make a few trips up in that interim period.

I’ve been dreaming of living in a warmer climate for some years now,  and this is my chance. I remember vacation in South Carolina a few Augusts ago when it was 95 degrees every day. My reaction was like, “yeah, this ain’t so bad, I like this”. Regardless, two-and-a-half months of brutally humid summers is more than offset by seven months of 75 and sunny. Just need to start stocking up on the sunscreen now.

But it’s not going to be easy, leaving a place where we’re comfortable. Mindy’s family is here. We went to college here. Our friends are here. My family is less than a five hour drive away. Seeing all of these people less will be a challenge. But at least we’re moving to a place where presumably people would like to visit.

So we’re treating this like an adventure. The kids will be fine. They’re young and haven’t reached prime friend-making age. Mindy will be fine. She adds friendships so quickly and prolifically…I have no idea how she does it. Me, I take forever to develop friendships. I remember growing up, wondering who my dad was friends with. All I could come up with was coworkers and the husbands of my mom’s friends. So that’s what I’m banking on. ( I just hope the Orlando office has a sufficient happy hour culture.)

Babysitting will definitely change. No more for free. So this will have to be a line-item added to the budget. And no more overnight babysitting either (unless we fly Grandma down while Mindy and I take off for the weekend).

But it’s worth it. I am still working for a Cincinnati company, so it’s not like we are severing all ties to our lives here. It’s a relatively low risk adventure, realizing that nothing is truly low risk. It’ll give me a chance to grow in my career. Trying to play it safe in the corporate environment is the real risk.

It’ll give the family a chance to grow too. We’ll all be out of our comfort zones, forced to be open to new experiences. I truly believe we’ll all end up better people for it.

So there it is. Florida. Here we come.

On authenticity, dancing and sailing ships

When I watch things like the scene of Adam and Hannah dancing on Girls, I picture myself being a Brooklyn hipster dancing like a free spirit that didn’t care who was watching. And for a fleeting moment, I’m like, that’s what I could be doing with my life. I always do things like this. Like when I see someone posting Facebook pics of hiking Glacier National Park, I’m like, “I could’ve had that life where I go hiking in Glacier National Park”.

But like I said, it’s only fleeting. Because the next moment, I’m like, I have a pretty awesome life. And I haven’t even hiked in Ohio let alone Glacier National Park. Mindy and I are spending more time getting fit, no reason we can’t do that here.

But back to the hipster dancing. The ship has obviously sailed on me being a 24-year-old hipster in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Or Barcelona. I don’t know if they have hipster scene in Barcelona, but being a 24-year-old dancing in Barcelona seems pretty great too.  (Many of my fleeting fantasies involve living in Barcelona. It’s 57 degrees there right now.)

Furthermore, I don’t even think I can be a 34-year-old hipster in Ohio if I wanted. I just got new glasses and Mindy tried to talk me into some hipster frames. But I couldn’t even pull that off. The ones I ended up getting were by quite possibly the least hipster brand imaginable: Brooks Brothers.

But there is at least one ship that hasn’t sailed on me yet, and that’s the joy of  dancing like an idiot. And I have my kids to thank for that. Some times we have Saturday morning dance parties in the basement. Most of the time it’s just impromptu breakdown sessions in the kitchen or living room while getting ready for a meal. I don’t know why my kids like it so much, probably something along the lines of everyone deep down likes to dance. It’s just at some point you grow too old and too self-aware.

And that’s why I like it. It’s the authenticity more than anything.

So every time I see something like that dancing scene from Girls, and I start to long for a life where I’m able to do things that I probably wouldn’t actually do anyway (like dancing crazily in front of a bunch of strangers…I’d probably just sit in the corner and drink), I just remember that I can do that now in the kitchen with Mindy and Edwin and Lyla and soon Louie.

Well, there is one place that I can dance like that. Weddings. I’m in a good friend’s wedding this May. Mindy and I plan to get an overnight babysitter and stay in a hotel. So I’m thinking I shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to drink and dance like and idiot.

On which I try to describe something as an active decision but is more likely simple inertia…

Before our holiday travels, I took our dog to the kennel for boarding. This particular kennel is in a part of town that we would not otherwise venture to. Not sure how we even found the place, but our dog, being on the timid side, seems to do better at this establishment compared to others that we had previously tried (as in, the staff is actually able to get her to take a daily walk).

Since it was Christmas Eve when I went over there, I had some last minute groceries to pick up for the dinner we were hosting that night. I opted for the supermarket close by. The whole time I was driving through the somewhat unfamiliar territory and wandered the isles of a foreign grocery store, I couldn’t shake the recurring thought of, “man, who would live in this miserable place”.

Whenever I’m in a part of town I deem to be “inferior” to my part of town, these kinds of things run through my mind. Why would anyone live here? If you are born here, why wouldn’t you move when you got the chance? What’s keeping people here? These are obviously not a very fair sentiments. Who am I to think of another part of town as “inferior”. I mean, it’s just a different suburb of Cincinnati. In the grand scheme of things, there’s really not that much of a difference between the two places. (And of course it looked liked a miserable, it was your classic grey December day in Ohio.)

And after pondering it for a while, I realize that this is a microcosm of how the coasts view all of flyover country. To someone in New York, it probably seems crazy that anyone would chose not to leave Ohio for greener (or at least less grey) pastures. So I presume those people that chose to stay in the neighborhoods they grew up in probably do so for the same reason Mindy and I stay in Cincinnati vs moving to a big city: proximity to family, friends, and all the other things associated with that.

Now, I’m not exactly from here, but I’ve lived here for nearly half my life. And I’ve been plotting my escape since the day I arrived. But the thing is, my friends are here. Mindy’s family is here. My family is a four hour drive away. And now that we have three kids, this network is more important to us than living in a more cosmopolitan city. My daydreams of Mindy and I renting an apartment in the Greenwich Village and taking yearly trips to Europe have been replaced by daydreams of having our master bathroom renovated and taking  yearly trips to Hilton Head.

I’m not sure that we’ve made this decision consciously, but choosing to stay in this familiar environment surrounded by people we love will probably lead to a happier life than anything we could experience hundreds or thousands of miles away from our family and long-time friends.

And besides, as obnoxiously sentimental as it sounds, our kids are what’s most important these days. A major part of parenting (I think) is worrying less about being interesting and more about fostering a loving and stable environment for your kids. So for the foreseeable future, Mindy and I going to live in Ohio and daydream about that downtown apartment in that trendy neighborhood we’ll have when all our kids have moved out.