Tampa is the city I have called home for the past seven years. We have a great house on the end of a quiet cul-de-sac. The yard is huge and the pool is beautiful, we have remodeled and landscaped and made the place gorgeous to the tune of a fuckload of money. Still, I have never felt completely safe here. Our neighborhood is nice, but go a mile in either direction and you run into pocket ghettos with crime filled areas and questionable looking people hanging out on every street corner. We set the alarm every night and I sleep with one eye open, getting up to investigate every sound I hear.

Jamie and I bought our house fresh off of our honeymoon. Kidless and eager to start a family, the huge backyard, pool and cul-de-sac got us. It was the second house we looked at and we signed a contract later that night. Without doing ANY of the research that prospective parents should do when moving to a new area. Fast forward a few years when we realized that the cheesy commercial is true, having kids changes everything.

As our kids approach school age, I have started looking forward to our future and it looks bleak as hell. The middle school we’re zoned for has a 45% overall reading proficiency and the high school’s is 33%. I’m still not sure how the fuck that is possible but they are the odds we’re up against and it’s bullshit. I have started mentally preparing Jamie in order to shell out money for private school down the line. There is no way in hell I am subjecting my kids to schools that bad. I will *gasp* home school before I let that happen. And I would rather lose an appendage before home schooling these angels.

All of these things didn’t matter until recently. Jamie has always stood firm on the fact that we aren’t moving, ever. We bought at the height of the market and put a lot into the house so trying to sell it now would mean we would be getting financially ass raped, something neither of us in the mood for. But the kids. And the schools. And the area. And private school tuition.

We went on a beach vacation with the kids a few weeks back. While we were there, Jamie dropped a huge fucking bomb on me. After a couple of beers, he informed me that fuck it, we need to sell the house and move somewhere where I feel safe and the kids can go to good schools. My parents are fifty minutes away in the nice, quiet, low crime area that I grew up in and he thought we should move there. Jamie works from home so really, we are free to go wherever. With the kids and their health problems,  it would be nice to have family nearby to lean on.

Still, I was initially sad and mad and generally confused about the whole thing. I have finally gotten into a good routine here in this town, it finally feels like I actually live here. I have trustworthy doctors and specialists and specialists for the specialists. The grocery store, gym and kid friendly places all know our faces and act like they care. I have friends here, ones that I can call at the drop of a hat and meet up with when either of us needs a witness to avoid killing our children. I am about to lose all of that and I will have to start over from scratch. But it’s for the kids so I will do it. We will be in a safe place where I have no qualms about letting them ride their bikes up and down our street.

Thus began the whirlwind real estate adventure we’ve been on for the past few weeks.  A month ago, I would have laughed if you told me I was rearranging my life like this. Then three weeks ago, we made the decision and have started making plans. There is a POD in our driveway and I’m dumping piles of shit into it to make our house look more appealing to sell. We’ve been house hunting and every single available second I have is spent scouring the internet for that perfect house. And I think we found it. Last weekend, we put an offer in on a short sale house that we fell in love with. Now we sit and wait for days/weeks/months for the bank to approve or deny our offer.

This house we found is in the middle of a big, beautiful neighborhood with its own playground, pool and tennis courts. There is a YMCA with an awesome water park backing up to the neighborhood and the schools are all A-rated so we won’t need to shell out private school tuition. My parents will be 14 minutes away and you’d better believe their asses will be sitting on our couch every other week while we go on a date night. My brothers and their kids are minutes away and my kids will grow up knowing their cousins. Just thinking about all of this makes me smile.

So there you have it, just one of the reasons real life has taken me away from blogging. There are many more but we will save those for another post.  Once again, Jamie and I are starting our lives over in a new, exciting place and a big, beautiful house. This time, we bring our kids and dogs and an assload of toys with us. I have no doubt that we’re doing the best thing for our family and I can’t wait. And what has been taking up your time this summer?

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  1. Sprite's Keeper

    SOunds like a wonderful opportunity and I hope it all goes through for you. SOON!
    (Is it possible to tell me which city you’re going to? Cuz if you’re going further north, I may have to hurt you. 🙂

  2. Sprite's Keeper

    I think Mrs. Bear will back me up on that one.

  3. Pollyanna

    We did the same thing about four years ago. We made a move based on the neighborhood. Ours wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t until after we had kids that we found out how crappy the schools were.

    We now live in a neighborhood where I can send my 6 1/2 year old over to the neighbor’s for a cup of sugar without worry, we ride our bikes to the pool, there are outdoor concerts within walking distance every other weekend. I have more friends now than I did in high school (I barely knew the first names of my old neighbors) and our girls attend school in a top rated district.

    The neighborhood is more expensive and it’s a bit of a financial struggle at times, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Moving to a better neighborhood was one of the best decisions we ever made.

    Best of Luck!

  4. Cara

    Good for you, Casey. This is awesome news & I hope ya’ll get the house.

  5. Cat

    Wait…does this mean I have a bigger guest room?

  6. becky

    Wow! Sounds like some major and great changes coming. The idea of having family so close makes me totally jealous. You will have to post pics of the new place. (My favorite show is House Hunters.)

    See you next week!

  7. Captain Dumbass

    Good luck.

  8. Kendra

    Good luck! I’m sure it’s really stressful but will all be worth it!

  9. Michele

    You already know how I feel about this. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it all goes smoothly. You’ll love have family close.

  10. Jenni

    Congratulations on the move, Casey. Bring photos of the new house to BlogHer? I’d love to see it!

  11. Andrea

    Well, that’s awesome! It sounds like a good decision and one you’ve accepted as the best.

    My summer is full of sh@t I can’t tlak about here. Ask me at blogher, I’ll dish!

  12. Keely

    Well, y’know, you’re already a hippie dye-free tv-free freak, what’s homeschooling on top of that??

    Honestly, you’ll be happier for it. You don’t realize how that kind of thing permeates you until you’re free of it.

    What’s been taking up MY time? Doctor’s appointments and an ebay store.

  13. ck

    That sounds amazing. I’m so happy for you guys. And a little jealous. Parents 14 minutes away? Awesome.

  14. anymommy

    Wow. Nothing like that. What an incredible decision, you sound really happy with it, so I can imagine that it is the right thing for you, despite the fact that moving is HARD. I want to hear all about it while we hang out next week!

  15. If I Could Escape

    So, THAT’S where you’ve been!!! Well done on your decision — it’s huge but sounds fantastic. Very happy for you!

    PS On BlogHer — I’ve actually sold my ticket. It just didn’t seem right to go with it being Cameron’s birthday. We’re going to do the Disney thing instead. Also, got so much coming up on my plate — that thing I told you about? It looks set to happen for us pretty soon! =)

  16. Kate

    I just stumbled across your blog. I love it! I’m going to poke around, I promise to put everything back where I found it!

  17. Lin

    Uh, when is the boring part of your life???

    At least you are doing this while the kids are young. It’s better than doing it when they have to switch schools and friends. I know it is a pain, but it will be worth it in the end.

  18. robin

    Wow! Such great news! I was wondering what you were up to.
    I have a feeling it will take a lot less time to settle into your new home. You already have so much there waiting for you! Good luck and keep us posted.

  19. kyooty

    but you know? this is exciting too. Also someone else may clean the oven? :p

  20. Mama Badger

    Wow, that was some bomb to drop, eh? Good that he was on the same page, though. Everyone will be happier, in the end.

    My summer? Who the hell knows what I’ve been doing. Nothing productive, apparently.

  21. Mrsbear

    You’re making the right choice. And I’m pretty sure you would make friends anywhere. 🙂

  22. bex

    Sweet! Change be scary – but scary-fun like a roller coaster!

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