We finally found a new home (maybe, hopefully)

Well, assuming everything checks out, we seem to have bought a new house in South Florida. We had not had the opportunity to see this house when we were last in Ft. Myers because it was under contract. But that sale fell through, and we saw it back on the market. Yesterday we spent ten hours (!) in the car driving there and back to tour the house, work out an offer, and come home (with intense Florida thunderstorms almost the entire way back – truly a white-knuckled ride in the middle of the night). All so no one would buy it out from under us. It’s an older house close to the Edison – Ford Winter Estates, however, so I am not counting my chickens until we get the inspection and see how the core bits have been maintained. If it falls through, you’ll probably hear me whine about it here.

The house is going to be a project for sure (alas, that’s the price you pay for character), but it’s a huge mid-century modern built in a “U” shape around a swimming pool, with virtually every room opening up to the courtyard. It kind of reminds me of old-school Southern California, actually – makes you want to put on some Sinatra and fix a martini. It also has a lot of mature tropical plants, including many large plumeria that tower over the pool. I am looking forward to taking nighttime swims with the fragrance of plumeria all around us. There are also quite a lot of fruit trees in the backyard, which I love. I spotted lemons and limes, but there were some that I could not identify. I am guessing one is a star fruit, but I have no idea. It has a giant horseshoe driveway with a mature Royal Poinciana (Pride of Barbados) tree in the center. The house is right on the Gulf – like you can see boats coming in and out from the kitchen sink – with boat slips available for community use and a neat park to watch sunsets from. And we will be a short ferry ride from Key West. Pretty cool.

But best of all, the neighborhood is full of children. A little girl our daughter’s age kept doing laps on her bike in front of the house while we were there, clearly hoping we were buying it. Even though the neighborhood is essentially downtown, the streets off of the main roads are quiet and guarded from traffic. Lots of bikes in the front yards and basketball hoops. A large YMCA and churches are walking distance away. We were seeking the exact opposite of the retired New Yorker-heavy community our current town is becoming, and we found it. The new house already has a nifty space for the ultimate homeschool room.

I am looking forward to adding to the tropical gardens around the house, and my husband bought me this book, which I highly recommend to anyone who is moving very far south. In addition to the inspiration, it identifies all the wild specimen plants in the gardens.

And for exploring the area:

Starting to pack is making me think I really need to cut back on my reading addiction, however. I bought 120 Bankers Boxes to get going on the library. Yeah, I might have a problem.

It’s perversely a lot of fun rediscovering books I have not touched in years though. When did I ever think I needed a Sumerian grammar?

We shall see. Fingers crossed.

15 thoughts on “We finally found a new home (maybe, hopefully)

  1. Good luck, I am from Ft. Myers, HS class, 1962, around 30,000 people in Lee County then, 800K now? Edison/Ford/Firestone homes on Caloosahatchee River, 15 miles(?) from gulf & beeches, love S.C., way too many people in FL

    Sent from my iPhone


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    1. Yeah, I can see that. I **love** South Carolina too, and we go there all the time, but it’s too far away from the places we want to boat to (Keys and Caribbean) for us to actually live there. The whole time I was growing up, I desperately wanted my family to move to Charleston. I am terribly romantic about that region and all the beautiful saltwater marshes.

      I have lived in a very wide range of places, and the question of whether a city or smaller town is preferable is a pretty loaded one for me. I grew up in Los Angeles, and I will never live in a city like that again, truly, not even if someone gave me millions of dollars to do it – it’s why wouldn’t consider Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. I have also owned a country house and lived in smaller towns, but that’s no place to raise a kid, in my opinion. Living in the country is lonely. Friends from in town do not want to drive 30 minutes on back country roads to come to a dinner party except on rare occasions. If you don’t like your neighbors, too bad, that’s all you see. We also want to be near places where our homeschooled daughter can do dual enrollment and have lots of high-quality extracurricular activities. That all requires living in a decent-sized town. To me, Ft Myers is not oppressively big. You can get across town in no time, it’s not like Los Angeles with bumper-to-bumper traffic at all hours. You don’t have to queue up for literally everything. But you aren’t going to buy a lot of land either. The new house is on a half-acre lot, which is enough to keep me busy gardening, but not too much that it becomes another full-time gig.

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  2. Wow – 120 to the library beats my 2009 haul of 40-45 milk crates. But, speaking of Sumerian, are you familiar with Neal Stephenson (one of my favorite authors), in particular, an early one of his called Snow Crash? An incredible book, but what your comment reminded me of was this part of the book:

    The book presents the Sumerian language as the firmware programming language for the brainstem, which is supposedly functioning as the BIOS for the human brain. According to characters in the book, the goddess Asherah is the personification of a linguistic virus, similar to a computer virus. The god Enki created a counter-program which he called a nam-shub that caused all of humanity to speak different languages as a protection against Asherah (a re-interpretation of the ancient Near Eastern story of the Tower of Babel).


    Typical Neal . . . as all his books offer tangents like this. Sorry for the verbose comment; you just hit a nerve.

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      1. We’re officially zone 10b. Last winter we had only two nights of 39 degrees, and one of 37 degrees. The rest of the season it got no lower than 40. That was our winter. The mildest we have ever had. What makes the plumeria slow here is cold feet. It starts to warm up in March, but the thermal low develops inland and draws the cool ocean air over us. We get the June gloom early and it stays late. Today is broiling. It feels like Palm Desert. Our plumeria there grows like crazy. Probably the soil is a couple of degrees warmer. Have you checked out Truly Tropical on YouTube? They post copiously, especially about mangoes . They are a nursery in Del Ray Beach. Not very far from you if I recall.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I will look it up. In the “winter” here, the ground never actually has the chance to get cold. If there’s a cold snap, it’s only for a few hours. South Florida is honestly still pretty scorching in the winter.


      3. The plumeria and anything else that flourishes in Cuba or Hawaii will love it. We’re, it turned out, marginal for plumeria. Not surprisingly, plants that originate in tropical highlands like cherimoya, jaboticaba, and giant bird of paradise do great. What surprised my landscaper, he’s an expert, used to teach at UC Agricultural extension, is that mangoes do really well. It’s all about microclimates.

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      4. Microclimates are such a huge deal! I have learned not to plant tropicals on the northwest corner of this property because it collects the cooler air in the winter, and the angles of light are so totally different at different parts of the year. Now I have to learn new ones. I am resolved (let’s hope, anyway) not to plant anything serious until I get to know the land better.

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