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egao_gakari

Moving to FL. Suggestions?

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We have decided.... we're moving from MA to Lakeland, FL to be closer to my father-in-law! We are excited and also VERY nervous. We've never lived outside of New England!

I'd love recommendations for how to navigate homeschooling (middle/high school), helping them find friends, good field trip destinations, etc! Also, if anybody has made this type of cross-country move, what do you wish you'd known/planned out ahead of time?

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I don't know about the homeschooling community but we have family in Lakeland and it's beautiful. It's what we Floridians call "Old Florida", with lovely old oak trees and a certain style of architecture. 

Florida is a pretty easy homeschooling state. You have to have an annual evaluation done by a certified teacher but that's not hard at all. They just have to show that the child's progress is "commensurate with ability". You'll be close to the Tampa/St. Pete area, which has a number of museums and other cool stuff to do. 

Edited by Lady Florida.
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18 minutes ago, Lady Florida. said:

I don't know about the homeschooling community but we have family in Lakeland and it's beautiful. It's what we Floridians call "Old Florida", with lovely old oak trees and a certain style of architecture. 

Florida is a pretty easy homeschooling state. You have to have an annual evaluation done by a certified teacher but that's not hard at all. They just have to show that the child's progress is "commensurate with ability". You'll be close to the Tampa/St. Pete area, which has a number of museums and other cool stuff to do. 

Yup, and there are plenty of evaluators who are homeschool parents themselves and just keep up the license to do evaluations. They even do them via Skype, FaceTime, etc if you want. Super easy, never ever heard of anyone being told no, they won't sign off for the year. 

Homeschool students can also participate in public school sports, take classes on campus, and we have a free virtual school that they can do full time (then they are public school students) or more commonly, part time, just taking whatever classes they want. This is called the "flex" option. And many kids go to public school part of the day, homeschool part of the day during high school. Community college dual enrollment is free for public school and homeschool students. There is a state scholarship called bright futures that homeschoolers can qualify for that pays for all or a portion of college tuition based on SAT or ACT scores, plus community service hours. (but student has to be either homeschooled or a public school student for both junior and senior year, not switch during those years). 

We also have a special needs scholarship for homeschool or private school students - it is for kids with ASD, Tourettes, various developmental delays, anaphylactic reactions, blind, deaf, and and rare diseases. It is close to 10K a year that you have access to to use for curriculum, classes, equipment, etc. But i you use that you can't take any public school classes or activities (no double dipping with public funds). 

The aquarium in Tampa is amazing (the one is St. Pete is much smaller but has Winter the Dolphin). Also the MOSI museum is supposed to be great. 

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Thank you both! I'd heard about the evaluation thing, we don't have that in MA so I was worried about it. Good to know it's not that big of a deal.

Are the FL libraries networked so you can order a book online and have it sent to your local library for pickup? I really rely on that service for homeschooling here! (Also, do the libraries have museum passes that can be "checked out" for a day? Each library near me has one or two of those.)

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14 minutes ago, egao_gakari said:

Thank you both! I'd heard about the evaluation thing, we don't have that in MA so I was worried about it. Good to know it's not that big of a deal.

Are the FL libraries networked so you can order a book online and have it sent to your local library for pickup? I really rely on that service for homeschooling here! (Also, do the libraries have museum passes that can be "checked out" for a day? Each library near me has one or two of those.)

Every county library system is different. I'm in Orange County which is probably the best one - they actually deliver books to you door and just stared the museum thing a month or so ago. Not sure about Lakeland though. 

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On 10/5/2019 at 7:48 PM, Ktgrok said:

Every county library system is different. I'm in Orange County which is probably the best one - they actually deliver books to you door and just stared the museum thing a month or so ago. Not sure about Lakeland though. 


Oo, I love this idea!! Hopefully Polk County is similar 🙂

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Ok, I'll just ask, have you thought through the heat? That's going to be a huge shift. Is your FIL declining and needs assistance or are you just totally sick of the weather? 

My mother moved to FL from the long winters and lake effect snow of Indiana. She didn't last very long. The heat is horrific when you're a northerner, and the cost to move back was SO high. 

In hindsight, what she should have done was use the high cost of moving an entire household and bought a condo, whatever, and used a property manager. Then she could have gone down whenever. Or just gone down for like a month at a time.

Also, the challenge with aging parents is realizing when *they* need to make a move, like into assisted living or a community with more services.

I hope you love your move, but I'm just suggesting being cautious. 

Edited by PeterPan
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Best thing about your move will be Publix. Prices can be higher than other stores, particularly on meat, but their motto is "where shopping is a pleasure" and it is 100 percent true. Amazing customer service, clean store, friendly cashiers, they take the groceries out and load them in your car for you, etc etc. I once was looking for red sprinkles for a valentine's day cupcake project and they were all out.I mentioned it at the register while checking out and she sent someone to go get me a free container of them from the bakery department. They give kids free balloons as well. 

And get a publix sub! Life changing. LOVE publix subs. Their sushi is good too. 

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5 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Ok, I'll just ask, have you thought through the heat? That's going to be a huge shift. Is your FIL declining and needs assistance or are you just totally sick of the weather? 

My mother moved to FL from the long winters and lake effect snow of Indiana. She didn't last very long. The heat is horrific when you're a northerner, and the cost to move back was SO high. 

In hindsight, what she should have done was use the high cost of moving an entire household and bought a condo, whatever, and used a property manager. Then she could have gone down whenever. Or just gone down for like a month at a time.

Also, the challenge with aging parents is realizing when *they* need to make a move, like into assisted living or a community with more services.

I hope you love your move, but I'm just suggesting being cautious. My mother lost a ton of money on a move that turned out to be a terrible fit because of the weather.


We've thought about the heat a lot! In fact, we have a family member who experienced something similar some years ago and only lasted about 6 months. We're confident that I can handle it (constantly freezing even in summer), but to be honest we are worried about my hubby's tolerance for it. However, we are doing--essentially in reverse--what I bolded above. We own a condo up here, we are hiring a property manager for it and will have to be returning relatively frequently due to a court decision that the kids see their birth mother a certain number of times per year. We'll be renting in FL, at least to start. Beyond that, our plan is to move this winter, with the hope that we'll get accustomed as it gets hotter with the change of seasons. We'll have to see how it goes, but we have certainly thought about it 🙂

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We moved from Portland, OR to San Antonio, TX in March. I believe it's been over 100° more than half of the days we've been here. I cannot believe how much it doesn't bother us. We go hiking in 104° with no problem.

I would take Peter's concerns very seriously, but in my experience it's so not a big deal. And swimming in September is awesome sauce. We're going to the beach for Christmas. Packing tamales.

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4 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Best thing about your move will be Publix. Prices can be higher than other stores, particularly on meat, but their motto is "where shopping is a pleasure" and it is 100 percent true. Amazing customer service, clean store, friendly cashiers, they take the groceries out and load them in your car for you, etc etc. I once was looking for red sprinkles for a valentine's day cupcake project and they were all out.I mentioned it at the register while checking out and she sent someone to go get me a free container of them from the bakery department. They give kids free balloons as well. 

And get a publix sub! Life changing. LOVE publix subs. Their sushi is good too. 


We've shopped there when visiting my in-laws! They are pricey, but I can't remember being treated more kindly by employees apart from when I was living in Japan 😄

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3 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Best thing about your move will be Publix. Prices can be higher than other stores, particularly on meat, but their motto is "where shopping is a pleasure" and it is 100 percent true. Amazing customer service, clean store, friendly cashiers, they take the groceries out and load them in your car for you, etc etc. I once was looking for red sprinkles for a valentine's day cupcake project and they were all out.I mentioned it at the register while checking out and she sent someone to go get me a free container of them from the bakery department. They give kids free balloons as well. 

And get a publix sub! Life changing. LOVE publix subs. Their sushi is good too. 

A few years ago a childhood friend moved to FL for her hubby’s work.  About a month later I spoke with her and their list of complaints seemed huge but 99%of them had to do with dietary issues.  I offered one piece of advice Publix.......never heard a complaint since.  Beyond have you tried the whatever at Publix!  🤣

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Just now, Slache said:

We moved from Portland, OR to San Antonio, TX in March. I believe it's been over 100° more than half of the days we've been here. I cannot believe how much it doesn't bother us. We go hiking in 104° with no problem.

See I love hearing this. I always think through like what would I do, would I move there. I would check if the *humidity* is different in FL vs. where you are in TX. That can make a big difference in how it feels.

Even the locals of FL seem to think it can be torturous. The guy to watch is Denis Phillips on FB. 

I also think factor in how your family rolls with outdoors. My mother's dh loves to landscape and it was too uncomfortable to do that. He didn't like the stress of the hurricaines. He wanted to be outside much of the day, and she was happy inside. So she would have stayed but he was just so miserable. He's older (70ish) so that would affect it too. And I think the Floridians alter their sports times to fit the weather, playing ball later, etc. I think just factor it in as a family. 

3 minutes ago, Slache said:

And swimming in September is awesome sauce.

We swim in FL in January, hahaha. The natives are wearing sweaters and boots and we're in the pool. :biggrin:

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1 minute ago, mumto2 said:

A few years ago a childhood friend moved to FL for her hubby’s work.  About a month later I spoke with her and their list of complaints seemed huge but 99%of them had to do with dietary issues.  I offered one piece of advice Publix.......never heard a complaint since.  Beyond have you tried the whatever at Publix!  🤣

Yup. And if they don't have it, you can ask customer service to order it for you. 

And then there is Shipt - which has an annual fee/more expensive, but will deliver to your door. 

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1 minute ago, PeterPan said:

See I love hearing this. I always think through like what would I do, would I move there. I would check if the *humidity* is different in FL vs. where you are in TX. That can make a big difference in how it feels.

Even the locals of FL seem to think it can be torturous. The guy to watch is Denis Phillips on FB. 

I also think factor in how your family rolls with outdoors. My mother's dh loves to landscape and it was too uncomfortable to do that. He didn't like the stress of the hurricaines. He wanted to be outside much of the day, and she was happy inside. So she would have stayed but he was just so miserable. He's older (70ish) so that would affect it too. And I think the Floridians alter their sports times to fit the weather, playing ball later, etc. I think just factor it in as a family. 

We swim in FL in January, hahaha. The natives are wearing sweaters and boots and we're in the pool. :biggrin:

My husband drives for Uber/Lyft and frequently drives Floridians and Mexicans and both say Texas is worse. I think I would disagree if I spent time in Florida because of the humidity.

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So if I ever moved to FL, it would be for the cheaper Disney tix and the Zephyrhills water. I LOVE this water and guzzle it every time I go down. 

 

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Invest in thermal water bottles. You can leave them in a car for hours on a 100° day and come back to ice cold water.

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1 minute ago, Slache said:

My husband drives for Uber/Lyft and frequently drives Floridians and Mexicans and both say Texas is worse. I think I would disagree if I spent time in Florida because of the humidity.

That's interesting! And I'll bet it varies with the time of year, the part of the state, etc. We're cruising out of TX next year, so that will be my first time there. I have a feeling none of my impressions of TX were right, as they seem to have been based on cowboy movies. :biggrin:

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Just now, Slache said:

Invest in thermal water bottles. You can leave them in a car for hours on a 100° day and come back to ice cold water.


Do you have a recommended model? 🙂

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2 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

So if I ever moved to FL, it would be for the cheaper Disney tix and the Zephyrhills water. I LOVE this water and guzzle it every time I go down. 

 


Yep, it's definitely really tasty! My in-laws don't like the flavor of the tap water down there and buy cases and cases of that water.

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Just now, PeterPan said:

That's interesting! And I'll bet it varies with the time of year, the part of the state, etc. We're cruising out of TX next year, so that will be my first time there. I have a feeling none of my impressions of TX were right, as they seem to have been based on cowboy movies. :biggrin:

Everyone wears the hats and boots. Most people speak Spanish but the locals pronounce names wrong. There's a native people here that pronounced things their wrong way which is different than the European wrong way so I get everything wrong. The food here is ridiculous. I can't believe everyone here doesn't weigh 300 pounds. Also, it's hot. :wink:

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Oh and that reminds me. I heard from my brother-in-law (who sometimes gets his facts a bit confused) that the tap water in Florida is not actually safe to drink. That's not correct, is it? I didn't see anything like that when I did a quick Google about it.

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13 minutes ago, egao_gakari said:

Oh and that reminds me. I heard from my brother-in-law (who sometimes gets his facts a bit confused) that the tap water in Florida is not actually safe to drink. That's not correct, is it? I didn't see anything like that when I did a quick Google about it.

There are laws on safety, so I can't fathom that. However taste is another story. It will probably vary with where you are. You can decide when you get there. And deciding to filter or drink bottled water for a family is different from a retired person. 

I usually take a Britta with me and don't find the water objectionable with the extra filtration. I just prefer the Zephyrhills water as it's so good. I think it's kind of energizing with the minerals, but that may just be the Florida sunshine and lots of walking.  I think my brother and his wife have water delivered. You'll find a method that works for your family.

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1 minute ago, PeterPan said:

Not to be silly but does it sweat? 

No! It's fab. And mine's purple, so double fab.

I think thermals never sweat because of the barrier. I am so not 100% on that, but that's what I think.

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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

Ok, I'll just ask, have you thought through the heat? That's going to be a huge shift. Is your FIL declining and needs assistance or are you just totally sick of the weather? 

My mother moved to FL from the long winters and lake effect snow of Indiana. She didn't last very long. The heat is horrific when you're a northerner, and the cost to move back was SO high. 

 

The majority of people adjust. If they didn't Florida wouldn't have become the third most populous state, behind only California and Texas. Even the Native Americans who came here thousands of years ago migrated south from colder climates.

My family moved from Northern NJ to Hallandale (just north of Miami), then up to Central Florida. We got rid of all our winter clothes thinking we'd never be cold again. Now we're among those "silly Floridians" who bundle up when the temperature goes below 60. Same with dh's family. They went from East Tennessee to Key West, then came up here a few years later. None of us who weren't born here have any desire to leave. The kids born here are curious about a four season climate.

Dss always said he wanted to live where it gets cold. Shortly after high school he moved to Kansas City, MO with the promise of a job. He lasted 6 months, and having gone through one winter decided he couldn't go through another. Before he left Florida, he couldn't get it through his head that it not only doesn't warm up by noon in winter, but it stays cold every day for months.  Ds is now saying he wants to move to a colder climate and dss has been giving him brotherly advice from one native Floridian to another. 😄 

 

1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

See I love hearing this. I always think through like what would I do, would I move there. I would check if the *humidity* is different in FL vs. where you are in TX. That can make a big difference in how it feels.

Even the locals of FL seem to think it can be torturous. The guy to watch is Denis Phillips on FB. 

I also think factor in how your family rolls with outdoors. My mother's dh loves to landscape and it was too uncomfortable to do that. He didn't like the stress of the hurricaines. He wanted to be outside much of the day, and she was happy inside. So she would have stayed but he was just so miserable. He's older (70ish) so that would affect it too. And I think the Floridians alter their sports times to fit the weather, playing ball later, etc. I think just factor it in as a family. 

We swim in FL in January, hahaha. The natives are wearing sweaters and boots and we're in the pool. :biggrin:

Yes, the humidity is much higher here. Both Florida and Texas are hot. It just depends on whether you prefer a dry sauna or a steam bath. 😂

As for outdoors, who says summer is the outdoor season? We spend much of the winter outdoors, and outdoors in summer means a pool, the beach, or the springs. On Christmas Day it's common to see kids outside in shorts riding their brand new Christmas bikes. People often grill out for Christmas dinner or a New Year's Eve party.

Gardening is done from October-ish to April. Did he try to do landscaping in summer? Summer "gardening" mainly involves keeping the bugs and weeds at bay. We have a longer growing season than places that get freezing temperatures, but active gardening is best done in late fall, winter, and early spring.

Yes, Floridians agree that the heat can be unbearable but people from cold climates will also say the cold is unbearable, and some stay indoors as much as possible during winter. 

 

ETA: Often the people who have trouble adjusting are the ones who can't (or won't) change their ideas about when to be outdoors and what the seasons mean in a tropical (south FL) or sub-tropical (north and central) climate.

Edited by Lady Florida.
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We have thought about this, as potential rainbirds.  (Actually, I am a darkbird--hate the short days in winter.). It would have to be a condo situation though, and the thing that keeps me from considering some places is the BUGS.  I just can't deal with the BUGS and I am physically super sensitive to chemicals so the thought of the exterminator coming every so often is as bad as the thought of BUGS.  I'd love to have a place in Colorado (my birth home) ... but I do wonder about the summer heat and the mosquitos.  And rattlesnakes.  (Listen to me--silly rabbit.  I grew up there and spent half my life there...good grief.)

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1 hour ago, egao_gakari said:


Do you have a recommended model? 🙂

Any Yeti type cup works great.  We have name brand Yetis and generics.   Will leave my ice water in the car for hours in the 100+ degree heat and it will still be ice cold WITH ice when I return.  

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5 minutes ago, Slache said:

i-love-looking-at-the-snow-on-facebook-from-florida-12318498.png

5c35546da2961b1fcc5fe256405cf520.jpg

785a88bd96a0c6e64e0b3135a91dd63a.jpg

I've shared each of these on Facebook in winter. 😄 

There's a Facebook group called Florida Memes. 

Edited by Lady Florida.
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2 minutes ago, Patty Joanna said:

We have thought about this, as potential rainbirds.  (Actually, I am a darkbird--hate the short days in winter.). It would have to be a condo situation though, and the thing that keeps me from considering some places is the BUGS.  I just can't deal with the BUGS and I am physically super sensitive to chemicals so the thought of the exterminator coming every so often is as bad as the thought of BUGS.  I'd love to have a place in Colorado (my birth home) ... but I do wonder about the summer heat and the mosquitos.  And rattlesnakes.  (Listen to me--silly rabbit.  I grew up there and spent half my life there...good grief.)

The bugs here (TX) have armor. They are like mini Greek gods. Powerful and terrifying. But the only bug bites I've gotten since moving here are from our trip to the Midwest. I will take giant bugs over biting bugs any day of the week!

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1 hour ago, egao_gakari said:

Oh and that reminds me. I heard from my brother-in-law (who sometimes gets his facts a bit confused) that the tap water in Florida is not actually safe to drink. That's not correct, is it? I didn't see anything like that when I did a quick Google about it.

I'm very picky about my tap water.  Our tap water at our Georgia house (I live in Georgia and Central Florida) has actually won awards, and tastes great.  Growing up I remember that I never liked the taste of Florida tap water.  It even smelled of sulfur.    I would buy bottled water when traveling here even before bottled water became a 'thing'.    But now I have no problems at all here in Florida, it tastes great and has no smell.   I really detest paying for bottled water.

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1 minute ago, Lady Florida. said:

There's a Facebook group called Florida Memes. 

Yes! OP! Go check it out!

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1 hour ago, egao_gakari said:

Oh and that reminds me. I heard from my brother-in-law (who sometimes gets his facts a bit confused) that the tap water in Florida is not actually safe to drink. That's not correct, is it? I didn't see anything like that when I did a quick Google about it.

The water is perfectly safe and healthier than bottled water due to leaching plastic bottles. It just has a high mineral content from the limestone so some don’t like the taste. Personally having grown up on it I find bottled water tasteless, lol. Our tap water is more like Fiji brand than zephyrhills. Now, if people are on a well that water is gross. High sulfur content and smells and taste like rotten eggs.But I’ve had city water in three or four different parts of the state and had no problem. Never bought bottled water.

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1 hour ago, egao_gakari said:

Oh and that reminds me. I heard from my brother-in-law (who sometimes gets his facts a bit confused) that the tap water in Florida is not actually safe to drink. That's not correct, is it? I didn't see anything like that when I did a quick Google about it.

I'm not sure where he got that from. There are several places where the tap water has been unsafe for years. Flint, anyone? Florida has safe, if not good tasting, tap water. 

Bottled water is depleting our aquifer. Yes, Zephyrhills water (owned by Nestle) tastes good, but Floridians are paying a high price for it. 

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/editorials/os-op-nestle-bottled-water-florida-springs-permit-20190809-4fcfc2gnzndwdkpekmtj43qip4-story.html?fbclid=IwAR0-4rsLFL7d9D4J8JLcANvS1ji3MFex4skSpdEQS0UI0xLY-pJ-lDvnOdk

https://www.zmescience.com/science/nestle-gallons-water-florida-02092019/

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/15/opinion/bottled-water-is-sucking-florida-dry.html?fbclid=IwAR1zdksIExtUzHytIg0N2TGwPIM-wPZtUlzR3sXHItLrQnjFQRzt9w6uVeM - NYT link. Requires paid subscription if you've reached your free articles for the month

 

Edited by Lady Florida.
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17 minutes ago, ZiMom said:

Any Yeti type cup works great.  We have name brand Yetis and generics.   Will leave my ice water in the car for hours in the 100+ degree heat and it will still be ice cold WITH ice when I return.  

Yeah, I thought the yeti thing was just marketing but my husband has one and it was pretty amazing.

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4 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

Best thing about your move will be Publix. Prices can be higher than other stores, particularly on meat, but their motto is "where shopping is a pleasure" and it is 100 percent true. Amazing customer service, clean store, friendly cashiers, they take the groceries out and load them in your car for you, etc etc. I once was looking for red sprinkles for a valentine's day cupcake project and they were all out.I mentioned it at the register while checking out and she sent someone to go get me a free container of them from the bakery department. They give kids free balloons as well. 

And get a publix sub! Life changing. LOVE publix subs. Their sushi is good too. 

Their tarragon chicken salad is amazing, too.

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3 hours ago, Slache said:

Everyone wears the hats and boots. Most people speak Spanish but the locals pronounce names wrong. There's a native people here that pronounced things their wrong way which is different than the European wrong way so I get everything wrong. The food here is ridiculous. I can't believe everyone here doesn't weigh 300 pounds. Also, it's hot. :wink:

Has construction on 410 ever stopped?  We lived there for five years about 12 years ago.  It was a great place to have babies and toddlers!  But oh man, I don't miss the traffic situation and endless construction.  I do love and miss the access roads though!

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19 minutes ago, Terabith said:

Has construction on 410 ever stopped?  

Of course not, silly. We came here from Oregon though, so we don't care. As far as driving and COL go we essentially lived in a pretty LA.

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 Hint:  the fire ants are crazy.  They build nest mounds everywhere and if you disturb the nest (on the sidewalks, in the yards, at playgrounds, at the beach, parking lots, etc) they attack in a group.  So keep on hand, always, a tube of hydrocortisone ointment (from any drug store, Wal-mart, etc) as that stops the bite sting quickly.  I always kept a tube in the car, one in my purse, one in backpacks, etc.

 

Myra

 

 

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yes, fire ants are probably the very worst part of Florida. 

Everyone freaks about alligators and snakes, but it is the fire ants that are the real problem. I need to treat for them again - was going to do it yesterday but it has been raining for about 48 hours. 

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