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Where should we live? Give us a suggestion!


bethben
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We are looking to move - mostly because my dh is underemployed and some because we need to get away from snow.  Here is what we're looking for:

  • Commute to a metro area within 30 minutes
  • Newer housing (we have a wheelchair to contend with- old homes don't work)
  • housing for around $200K for 2500 4 bedroom home
  • good homeschool opportunities
  • warmer!  We only want to have winter visit for 2 months.  We're ok with snow.  We just don't want it to last more than 2 months

 

So, sell me on your location!

 

Beth

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I agree, based on your criteria Texas might work well.  And there are very few rules regarding homeschooling.  It would just depend on if you can handle the heat.  Summers will be hot.  Winters will obviously be milder than you are apparently used to. 

 

While Austin has gotten just awful traffic wise (too many people moving to a town that was never really meant to hold that many) it is still really progressive and has a large homeschooling community, apparently.  I have relatives living there but they don't homeschool.  I have done research, though, since it is a possible location for us (we live in Texas but not near Austin).

 

San Antonio, Dallas and Houston all have large homeschooling communities. Dallas appears to have the most reasonable prices for housing, then Houston, then San Antonio.  Austin is the most expensive.  Of course prices will vary widely by area within those cities.

 

Even Corpus Christi has a pretty large homeschooling group, I believe, BTW.

 

 

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We are looking to move - mostly because my dh is underemployed and some because we need to get away from snow.  Here is what we're looking for:

  • Commute to a metro area within 30 minutes
  • Newer housing (we have a wheelchair to contend with- old homes don't work)
  • housing for around $200K for 2500 4 bedroom home
  • good homeschool opportunities
  • warmer!  We only want to have winter visit for 2 months.  We're ok with snow.  We just don't want it to last more than 2 months

 

So, sell me on your location!

 

Beth

 

Texas.

 

You can *totally* find housing in that price range, and as far as homeschooling, the only real requirement is that you have actual children. :lol:

 

Central Texas--the Austin area--puts you a day-trip away from any of the other major metropolitan areas, with lots of beautiful hills all around. And definitely "warmer." :-)

 

And there's me. :-) And Jann. :-)

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We lived in East Texas near Tyler 16 years ago.  I liked Texas and didn't mind the heat so much.  What I did mind was the lack of rain while we were there.  We moved when there was a drought going on. Having everything dry up was depressing to me.  I guess if I have cabin fever, I would rather it be because it was too hot rather than too cold.  Where we are, once the snow starts falling, it stays and keeps building on itself.  We are tired of road that are always icy and shoveling when it's 0 degrees outside.  I really don't mind snow and ice.  It's just that we get sooooo much of it here in MN.  My neighbor across the street has a pie chart that she uses to teach the seasons.  Winter is October/November through April, spring is May, summer is June through August, and autumn is September through October.  It's the most hilarious pie chart.  She wanted her daughter to get a true picture of what the seasons really were, not what they say they are.  After all, when it's still snowing in April, you don't really want to say "welcome spring!".  

 

An addition mix to this puzzle is having my husband earn a more than decent salary in some states.  Right now, we have state support for our son.  Other states such as Texas don't have anything so we would be totally responsible for his lifelong care. Having the opportunity to buy a home with a pretty small mortgage would help, but so would a nicer salary.

 

Beth

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There are some relatively big homeschooling conventions in Texas, too.  There is FEAST that just happened in San Antonio in May and there is the THSC convention in the Woodlands in August in Houston.  There may be one in Dallas, too.  

 

 

Dallas housing examples:

http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Dallas_TX/beds-4/baths-2/price-175000-250000

 

San Antonio housing examples:

http://www.realestate.com/listings/forsale/TX/San+Antonio/minprice/175000/maxprice/250000/beds/4/baths/2/minsqft/2000/sort/price+asc/

 

Houston housing examples:

http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Houston_TX/beds-4/baths-2/price-175000-250000/sqft-9/sby-1/rntsby-5

 

Edited to add that I just saw your update.  Since you already have lived in Texas, I guess you are looking for another state?

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Housing would cost too much. Most houses are way more expensive than $200K for 4 bedrooms. That would get you 3 bedrooms, but not 4, and not near that square footage.

About 3 years ago we got 2500 sf on a lake with 4 bedrooms that was a foreclosure for well under $150,000.  By the time we made the repairs it, we probably have $160,000 in it.  We have considered rental properties so we still keep an eye on the market in our area and it hasn't change a whole lot.  We are in central Florida.  

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Housing would cost too much. Most houses are way more expensive than $200K for 4 bedrooms. That would get you 3 bedrooms, but not 4, and not near that square footage.

Florida is large with varying markets. You'd have to narrow it down to a region before making such a blanket statement.

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You might also want to look at Mississippi and Alabama coastal counties. There is definitely more rain than Texas. Casinos are major employers on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and not everyone wants to work in the gaming industry so you might want to consider whether that is okay for your family or not.

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Winter lasts a bit longer than 2 months but is mild in VA.  

 

The cost of living isn't very high if you stay away from the DC area (you could definitely get what you are looking for in the suburbs around Richmond) and the job market is improving.  

 

The Richmond area also has a very strong disability community and excellent medical care available.  I am fairly familiar with a lot of the opportunities and options if you want to pm me with any specific questions.

 

 

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About 3 years ago we got 2500 sf on a lake with 4 bedrooms that was a foreclosure for well under $150,000.  By the time we made the repairs it, we probably have $160,000 in it.  We have considered rental properties so we still keep an eye on the market in our area and it hasn't change a whole lot.  We are in central Florida.  

 

But are you 20 minutes from a large metro area? If so, let me know where! I want to move in about 5 years, and here in the Orlando are I paid $166K for a 3bd with 1500sqft! And that was a foreclosure that we are still fixing up 5 years later! 

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Florida is large with varying markets. You'd have to narrow it down to a region before making such a blanket statement.

 

I was going with the idea she wants to be near a large metro area. South Florida would be way more, near Orlando it would be hard to find something nice without going outside an easy commuting distance, I think Jacksonville would be the same. I don't know housing prices in Tampa, and I don't remember what they were when I lived in Tallahassee, so maybe one of those metro areas?

 

I know there are cheaper areas say in Lake County, smaller towns, etc, but she specifically said whithin 30 minutes of a big city. With the cruddy traffic here in Orlando area..that's hard. We live in the Apopka area, which is a suburb of Orlando, but even so my husband has at least a 40 minute commute to downtown Orlando. 

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But Corpus is ... the end of the world... :blink:

 

But the people are nice!  And I can be anywhere, even out to the airport, in no more than 20 minutes.  Usually more like 5 or 10.  I have three grocery stores within 5 minutes.

 

Oh, and the rush hour traffic... don't get me started.  It can extend your trip by a whole 8 minutes.  Insane.

 

And we're getting a Schlitterbahn!

 

Just sayin... the end of the world isn't so bad.  

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I was going with the idea she wants to be near a large metro area. South Florida would be way more, near Orlando it would be hard to find something nice without going outside an easy commuting distance, I think Jacksonville would be the same. I don't know housing prices in Tampa, and I don't remember what they were when I lived in Tallahassee, so maybe one of those metro areas?

 

I know there are cheaper areas say in Lake County, smaller towns, etc, but she specifically said whithin 30 minutes of a big city. With the cruddy traffic here in Orlando area..that's hard. We live in the Apopka area, which is a suburb of Orlando, but even so my husband has at least a 40 minute commute to downtown Orlando. 

 

I agree.

I am within 20 minutes of Tampa.  4 bedroom, 2900-3200 SF homes are in the mid $400k range.  2500 SF is more like high 300s if not low 400s. And they were built in the 80s so not new, either. 

 

Also, at least in my area, prices are increasing.  We moved in 2012 and are toying with the idea of moving to Sarasota and the prices are not what they were in 2012.

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I agree.  You can even ask your realtor for a wheelchair friendly access home.  We looked at some when we were looking.

 

 

North Carolina.  Around Raleigh, Charlotte or the Triad (Winston-Salem/Greensboro/High Point area).

 

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But the people are nice!  And I can be anywhere, even out to the airport, in no more than 20 minutes.  Usually more like 5 or 10.  I have three grocery stores within 5 minutes.

 

Oh, and the rush hour traffic... don't get me started.  It can extend your trip by a whole 8 minutes.  Insane.

 

And we're getting a Schlitterbahn!

 

Just sayin... the end of the world isn't so bad.  

 

We went to a schlitterbahn when we were in San Antonio.  It was surreal -- whoever heard of tram service in a waterpark?  I do like San Antonio--It may be a little too hot in the summer for us though.  My husband also still wants to be closeish to my family in the Chicago area.  We love my extended family and would love to be closer to them, but the area would not be a happy choice to live in.  We are fairly sad they live in such a stinky area.

 

Beth

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Nashville.

 

We thought about this one also.  The state's support for disabled children stinks to high heaven so the much higher salary would have to come into play.  We have decent equity in our home so that's a plus moving to a cheaper housing area (although I'm not sure Nashville is a ton cheaper housing wise)

 

Beth

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But the people are nice!  And I can be anywhere, even out to the airport, in no more than 20 minutes.  Usually more like 5 or 10.  I have three grocery stores within 5 minutes.

 

Oh, and the rush hour traffic... don't get me started.  It can extend your trip by a whole 8 minutes.  Insane.

 

And we're getting a Schlitterbahn!

 

Just sayin... the end of the world isn't so bad.  

 

Now I want to move there! I'm SO sick of living in the Orlando area. I hate hate hate the traffic. Hate that I'm 15 minutes from a grocery store at best, with no traffic, more like 20 to 25 from Target. 30 from the mall.  25-30 from a decent farmers market, with no traffic. 

 

Hate it. 

 

I want what you have. Off to google Corpus Christi. Not that DH will ever agree...he's convinced he hates Texas. (Liberal agnostic tech guy...he's sure Texas is nothing but Baptists with pitchforks looking to get nice agnostic geeks like him...sigh.) Meanwhile, i keep wanting to go. 

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Anywhere in the CA central valley you could find housing in that range. Metropolitan areas are best around Sacramento in terms of work opportunities. SFO and north provide work opportunities but housing is way higher.

No snow in winter; just wind and rain but you would be in easy driving distance to mountains to play in the snow as well as in driving distance to the ocean.

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Charleston, SC springs to mind for me, only because a friend was just recommending it. I have not lived there, though.

 

My parents live in SC and it can be REALLY difficult to find a job as an outsider.  (They lived in Texas and my mom's boss was from SC. He got hired to the university of SC and took my mom with him -- which is how they got there. My mom's still employed. But my dad has had to commute to Atlanta and do a travel-all-over-the US job to find work.)

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Now I want to move there! I'm SO sick of living in the Orlando area. I hate hate hate the traffic. Hate that I'm 15 minutes from a grocery store at best, with no traffic, more like 20 to 25 from Target. 30 from the mall.  25-30 from a decent farmers market, with no traffic. 

 

Hate it. 

 

 

 

Well, we are 8 minutes from a Target and grocery store and the library and coffee shops are 5 minutes away.  My mantra has been "If Target doesn't have it, it doesn't exist" since the nearest mall is 40 minutes away and that's just pure driving at 70 mph most of the way.  My kids have gone with too short pants and worn out shoes for longer than they really should because the mall takes so long to get to.  I do a lot of online shopping.  My dh's work is 45 minutes away with no traffic.  Add snow and construction (which happens whenever there's not snow) makes his commute 1 hour 15.  I know a lot of people do this, but we have a child with a lot of severe special needs, and three others - one of whom has her own medical issues and a lot of ADHD.  I need my husband here more.  I need to get away from snow and ice and negative wind chills.  Those items are horrible with a wheelchair.  I've only slid down my driveway once with the wheelchair.  Since then, my neighbors always comment on how clear my driveway is.  Of course it is!  I can't get my son up the driveway with any kind of ice!  I am tired of it.  I don't mind snow.  I just mind the layers and layers of ice that build up week after week.

 

Beth

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Well, we are 8 minutes from a Target and grocery store and the library and coffee shops are 5 minutes away.  My mantra has been "If Target doesn't have it, it doesn't exist" since the nearest mall is 40 minutes away and that's just pure driving at 70 mph most of the way.  My kids have gone with too short pants and worn out shoes for longer than they really should because the mall takes so long to get to.  I do a lot of online shopping.  My dh's work is 45 minutes away with no traffic.  Add snow and construction (which happens whenever there's not snow) makes his commute 1 hour 15.  I know a lot of people do this, but we have a child with a lot of severe special needs, and three others - one of whom has her own medical issues and a lot of ADHD.  I need my husband here more.  I need to get away from snow and ice and negative wind chills.  Those items are horrible with a wheelchair.  I've only slid down my driveway once with the wheelchair.  Since then, my neighbors always comment on how clear my driveway is.  Of course it is!  I can't get my son up the driveway with any kind of ice!  I am tired of it.  I don't mind snow.  I just mind the layers and layers of ice that build up week after week.

 

Beth

 

Ok, I don't want to move where you are! I don't do that much cold. Or ice. I'm born and bred in Florida, lol. I've lived from Palm Beach County to Tallahassee. And I am very interested in Texas. But hubby says no Texas. So maybe NC. Apex, mentioned above, is somewhere I was just looking at. 

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About 3 years ago we got 2500 sf on a lake with 4 bedrooms that was a foreclosure for well under $150,000.  By the time we made the repairs it, we probably have $160,000 in it.  We have considered rental properties so we still keep an eye on the market in our area and it hasn't change a whole lot.  We are in central Florida.

 

  

Florida is large with varying markets. You'd have to narrow it down to a region before making such a blanket statement.

Agreeing. The Jacksonville area is quite affordable and meets all her criteria.

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I was going with the idea she wants to be near a large metro area. South Florida would be way more, near Orlando it would be hard to find something nice without going outside an easy commuting distance, I think Jacksonville would be the same. I don't know housing prices in Tampa, and I don't remember what they were when I lived in Tallahassee, so maybe one of those metro areas?

 

I know there are cheaper areas say in Lake County, smaller towns, etc, but she specifically said whithin 30 minutes of a big city. With the cruddy traffic here in Orlando area..that's hard. We live in the Apopka area, which is a suburb of Orlando, but even so my husband has at least a 40 minute commute to downtown Orlando. 

 

 

I agree.

I am within 20 minutes of Tampa.  4 bedroom, 2900-3200 SF homes are in the mid $400k range.  2500 SF is more like high 300s if not low 400s. And they were built in the 80s so not new, either. 

 

Also, at least in my area, prices are increasing.  We moved in 2012 and are toying with the idea of moving to Sarasota and the prices are not what they were in 2012.

 

I'm in Tampa and agree that you'd have a hard time finding that square footage, price, and commute time you are looking for here.   Pasco County (Land O Lakes, Wesley Chapel) has more affordable housing, but you'd have an hourlong commute to downtown Tampa.   Valrico (east of Brandon) or Bradenton (Manatee County) might be doable price-wise, but I'm not sure of the commute time.   Where I live in NW Hillsborough County, 2500 sf would be in the high 300s.    My DH commutes 20 miles to downtown Tampa, which takes 45-60+ minutes in rush hour traffic.

 

I agree that Jacksonville would be worth looking into.   We lived in Jax when were first married (15 years ago) and housing was a bit less expensive than it is in Tampa, with a shorter commute.    Most of the suburban areas of Jax were all 20 minutes from downtown.

 

Weather is a HUGE benefit in Tampa.   Summer starts May 1 and doesn't end until November, but temps rarely exceed the low 90's because we're so close to the coast.   My kids wear shorts year-round, with jackets or jeans only occasionally.   It hasn't snowed here since 1977.   The humidity takes some getting used to, but once you are acclimated, it's no big deal.

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Are they in Columbia?

 

I find that surprising.  

 

 

My parents live in SC and it can be REALLY difficult to find a job as an outsider.  (They lived in Texas and my mom's boss was from SC. He got hired to the university of SC and took my mom with him -- which is how they got there. My mom's still employed. But my dad has had to commute to Atlanta and do a travel-all-over-the US job to find work.)

 

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Winter lasts a bit longer than 2 months but is mild in VA.  

 

The cost of living isn't very high if you stay away from the DC area (you could definitely get what you are looking for in the suburbs around Richmond) and the job market is improving.  

 

The Richmond area also has a very strong disability community and excellent medical care available.  I am fairly familiar with a lot of the opportunities and options if you want to pm me with any specific questions.

 

If you are looking at caring for a child with a disability longterm, I would advise against VA. If for some reason you want to come to the mid Atlantic, MD has many more benefits for persons with disabilities. 

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. My neighbor across the street has a pie chart that she uses to teach the seasons. Winter is October/November through April, spring is May, summer is June through August, and autumn is September through October. It's the most hilarious pie chart. She wanted her daughter to get a true picture of what the seasons really were, not what they say they are. After all, when it's still snowing in April, you don't really want to say "welcome spring!".

 

It is pretty much the same where I live in Alaska. Last year we had snowfall into the second half of May but this year we were done in early April. I think we have two main seasons: snow and mosquitoes. We have a lot of moving sales here by people who are just done with it all.

 

Here is a list of states that have TEFRA. http://www.hdwg.org/catalyst/cover-more-kids/tefra

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Housing would cost too much. Most houses are way more expensive than $200K for 4 bedrooms. That would get you 3 bedrooms, but not 4, and not near that square footage.

Really? In central Florida? We lived there for 8 years and that's not what my friends are saying about the current housing market.

 

I don't know about the job market, but all of my friends are employed. It seems like a lot of recovery has happened.

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I was going with the idea she wants to be near a large metro area. South Florida would be way more, near Orlando it would be hard to find something nice without going outside an easy commuting distance, I think Jacksonville would be the same. I don't know housing prices in Tampa, and I don't remember what they were when I lived in Tallahassee, so maybe one of those metro areas?

 

I know there are cheaper areas say in Lake County, smaller towns, etc, but she specifically said whithin 30 minutes of a big city. With the cruddy traffic here in Orlando area..that's hard. We live in the Apopka area, which is a suburb of Orlando, but even so my husband has at least a 40 minute commute to downtown Orlando.

Clermont is lake county. Cheaper houses, the commute is about 30min, the city is awesome. I loved living there.

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Here is a list of states that have TEFRA. http://www.hdwg.org/catalyst/cover-more-kids/tefra

 

There are only 19 states that have TEFRA.  That is part of our problem.  We are needing a much larger income in states that don't have TEFRA.  We are want to take care of our son, but we need to be healthier as a family.  What we have going on is not working for us.  We are willing to avoid state care for our son so we can provide it ourselves.  For example, Michigan was a state that a few years ago did really well for disabled kids and then got a new governor.  The whole system changed.  There are waiting lists for services everywhere.  We need to not be at the mercy of a state legislature.  We have to provide for our child anyway we can and we need to live better as a family.  It's been a very long road and a very hard road so far trying to figure out what to do.  Every time we think of me getting a job, we both know that I would be the one stuck juggling the family stuff, medical appointments...everything.  I would need to have a job where they were very flexible.  And, we would be winding up paying for someone to take care of my son after school anyway which would eat my whole salary.  The stress is already getting to me without the stress a job would bring.  We just really need a lower cost of living and a higher salary.  Having to figure out how to support a disabled child REALLY stinks.

 

Beth

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Really? In central Florida? We lived there for 8 years and that's not what my friends are saying about the current housing market.

 

I don't know about the job market, but all of my friends are employed. It seems like a lot of recovery has happened.

 

I guess I should clarify. When I think 30 minute commute, I mean to downtown Orlando. Not to mention, there are toll roads for many commutes that eat up income. 

 

Maybe I'm just jaded. I don't really like living here. And the areas I'm looking at, to move, if they don't have zero lot lines, are close to $200 for a 3/2, let alone a 4/2. 

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If you are looking at caring for a child with a disability longterm, I would advise against VA. If for some reason you want to come to the mid Atlantic, MD has many more benefits for persons with disabilities. 

 

Why?  I have been fairly impressed by all of the resources available in our area.

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Why?  I have been fairly impressed by all of the resources available in our area.

 

Have you looked at what happens when the child ages out of school programming. School programming is ages 2-22.

 

Community Services Boards (CSB) have few job training and job placement slots and the ones they had have been cut.

 

As you age you have to consider what happens if your child out lives you or out lives your ability to physically care for him. Housing is available on an emergency basis. This was a problem 25 years ago and it has gotten worse. There is no way to transition adults with disabilities to a facility while mom and dad can still visit and participate. It is often the abrupt second parent has died and adult disabled person has to be placed.

 

CSBs and advocacy groups have advised some very desperate parents to pack a few of their child's belongings and leave the child at a homeless shelter--then someone will do something. A parent can only do this if they did not seek official legal guardianship when the child turned 18. Without guardianship they cannot be held responsible for providing care.

 

Have you investigated what options for work/day programs/housing are actually available once your child is an adult? My child will likely outlive me and I know I cannot care for him forever.

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If you don't mind a bit of pollen and humidity, St. Louis sounds like it meets your criteria. We get snow, but it melts between storms. What industry is your DH looking for?

 

NO!  Do not move to St. Louis.  I've never been as cold or as hot in my entire life as when I lived in St. Louis.  It's way too cold for way too long, and then way too hot for way too long.  

 

Other than that, it's a fabulous place.   :)

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I'd say Metro Atlanta fits all of your criteria.  I live in NW Metro.  The job market is generally very good.  I'm definitely in suburbia, but about 20 minutes from mid-town Atlanta.  We get a nice change of seasons without a long, cold winter.  Home schooling is ridiculously easy here.

 

The only negative I'd say is traffic.  If you have to commute very far in "normal" hours, it can be awful.  That's why I work from home and have for 6 years, and why my husband just left an industry he's been in for 20+ years.

 

Definitely worth a look.  

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NO! Do not move to St. Louis. I've never been as cold or as hot in my entire life as when I lived in St. Louis. It's way too cold for way too long, and then way too hot for way too long.

 

Other than that, it's a fabulous place. :)

Aw come on, where else can you cancel Christmas dinner due to a blizzard and get caught in a tornado a week later on New Year's Eve?

 

I'm not selling this well, am I?

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Have you looked at what happens when the child ages out of school programming. School programming is ages 2-22.

 

 

As you age you have to consider what happens if your child out lives you or out lives your ability to physically care for him. Housing is available on an emergency basis. This was a problem 25 years ago and it has gotten worse. There is no way to transition adults with disabilities to a facility while mom and dad can still visit and participate. It is often the abrupt second parent has died and adult disabled person has to be placed.

 

CSBs and advocacy groups have advised some very desperate parents to pack a few of their child's belongings and leave the child at a homeless shelter--then someone will do something. A parent can only do this if they did not seek official legal guardianship when the child turned 18. Without guardianship they cannot be held responsible for providing care.

 

Have you investigated what options for work/day programs/housing are actually available once your child is an adult? My child will likely outlive me and I know I cannot care for him forever.

 

The type of scenario about leaving an adult child at a homeless shelter is not the first time I've heard it. It's happened in TN also.  It's really shocking how horrible services are for developmentally handicapped adults (and children).  I would liken it to telling a poor person who cannot afford food for their child to put their child in a homeless shelter so they can live.  This is not what developed countries do!  There are now little houses that Chinese people can leave their disabled children so that they can receive the help they need to live.  Doesn't this sound similar?  

 

No offense to anyone, but it always confused me how we as a society can suggest abortion of disabled children but provide all sorts of support for them as they grow.  Now, as I've been researching states and benefits for disabled children/adults, I am unfortunately seeing that our society as a whole (only 19 states provide help for parents financially who have severely disabled children) is consistent.  The powers that be don't want them to be born, and they don't want to support them as they live.  I have been shocked and dismayed at how we are treating severely disabled adults and children as a whole.  There are pockets of real help, but I am finding they are few and far between.  I can't believe we are treating people like we are.

 

Beth

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