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Thread: Moving Day

  1. #1

    Default Moving Day

    Seventeen days and counting.
    First, a home inspector looks at the place, decides what is wrong with it and shares that information with the buyer.
    The buyer is retired and evidently widowed and may be living with her daughter.

    They offered a fair, cash price for the house and after a give and take, I took. Tuesday, the inspector, along with the realtor, the buyer, her daughter and a few other folks will be here to micro-examine my home and determine if they still want to buy it. It's all centered on the roof. It's the original one, the one that came with the house.
    That is where our give/take negotiations began, over the condition of the roof and the (original) A/C unit-- both approaching 20 years of faithful service but soon in need of replacement-- so I gave them $15,000 off my selling price and still came within 90% of my goal.
    I have never had a problem with the roof, even though it was hit with heavy branches 11 years ago when a tree split in half during a storm and crashed into my side yard.
    And the A/C just hums away, keeping the house cool on hundred-degree days, like yesterday.

    I came to my little adopted town to stay in 1999, after a lifetime of living in--and escaping from--big cities.

    --By 1973 I had forsaken New York --actually, anyplace where it snowed--and had moved on to Ft Myers, on Florida's laid-back Gulf Coast.
    I met my wife, we had our kids. As the family grew, we all watched our compact little beachfront town of 120,000 explode into a mega-Resort town of 600,000.
    Real estate got stupid.
    My parent's simple beachfront place on Captiva Island became a sought-after piece of Florida-- and finally sold for 4 million. The Cape Coral house that I bought and lost in a divorce cost $49,000 and sold for $155,000. I'd owned it for 15 years, then discovered that rents during that time has trebeled and had gotten close to New York style rates--$1,000/mo for a basic apartment...

    The non-moving lines of tourist traffic across the 2 mile long bridge/causeway that linked Ft Myers to Cape Coral would erode hours off my life-- twice a day. It was the only way to my job and it was an ongoing, never ending 3-dollar a trip traffic jam under the blue Florida sky, under the HOT Florida sun. It usually took 10 minutes to cross, even in light traffic. In Winter, when all the tourists were in town, it could take 1/2 hour or more to cross.
    That was just to get to work. Everyday.

    After 17 years of that, a divorce rolled around and after dealing with THAT and then selling our house, it was time to go. I had the desire to live in a CITY for awhile, instead of an always-under-construction sprawl zone, so I migrated northward to Tampa.

    Then (back in the mid 80's) Tampa almost qualified as a failed state. Sure, it was a city, but it was a low-end version of one.
    I used to call it Buffalo--without the Charm.
    It was poorly run, a miserable, dirty and very urbanized town with an endless, city-wide gridlock traffic jam that made the Cape's traffic look like a simple parody of actual gridlock.
    Architecturally, the city reminded me of some of the less-pleasant, waterfront Brooklyn neighborhoods of my youth, with a few newish 30-story buildings thrown in as weak proof that the '70s and '80s really DID exist for the skyscraper in Tampa. Hardly anything significant was built there during my stay, just the "beer can" tower down by the river, a round, almost cartoony depiction of a modern skyscraper. Downtown Tampa was a legitimate Dead Zone, a place where no one went if he didn't have to.
    Trump had a 30-floor condo development scheduled for Downtown, but it never got off the ground, and a new museum was proposed but not funded.
    What I did not know was that the REAL redo of Tampa was just beginning, but that's another story.

    In 5 years in Tampa, I was either victim or witness to more crime than I ever saw in New York. I had 2 apartment breakins and witnessed a third, had my Cadillac looted and the wheels and tires stolen, had a gun-toting kid rob my business ( I bitch slapped him and took his gun, then made him call 911 and turn himself in. I could do things like that in those days).
    At a crowded street fair downtown, I had a kid walking ahead of me suddenly turn, smack me in the mouth and steal my camera, then run away. (That's how I learned how to handle a gun toting punk who was robbing me. Another punk taught me the bitch slap. You learn by example.). I witnessed a murder, I was involved in a shooting, was victim of a hit and run, and I saw street racers turn homicidal, popping their pistol at me because my car was faster.
    Tampa was a rough town.

    I lived in the same rental complex for 5 years and watched it turn into an expensive, section eight ghetto, with numerous police calls to the crack houses nearly every night. I couldn't wait to get the hell out. Tampa re-taught me just how wrong a City could be.

    ( To be fair, Tampa did undergo a renaissance in recent years, cleaning itself up admirably and adding a cluster of very nice 30-50 story skyscrapers Downtown. They've rebuilt the freeway system, rebuilt out the worst neighborhoods and gentrified some unlikely sections of town, adding sports palaces, aquariums and convention centers. It's become a hell of a place, totally remade from the city I once lived in.).

    Luck rolled around on life's wheel and I had a great career opportunity open in Lakeland, 30 miles away from Tampa. I packed, had a porch sale and filled a truck with my stuff. It was, again, time to move on.

    (--My last night in Tampa:

    Overnight, my Nissan 300ZX had its' window shattered and the radar detector was stolen. The lock on the rented truck that held all my earthly goods had been messed with--I really, really, really had enough of the City--ANY city.).

    I moved on, to Lakeland, half-a -city, filled with brick streets, expansive parks (with lakes, lots of lakes) and Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. I rented a nice Wright-inspired house on a tree-lined street that went downhill to a big lake where all the wealthy of Lakeland lived.
    I stayed there until I prospered, and I retired to Ocala, in '99.

    For years, I used to camp and hunt with friends who had a place near the Ocala National Forest, located just outside the town's built-up area. It was a true wilderness, hundreds of untouched square miles of dense forest and isolated lakes, laced with Jeep and hiking trails-- a blessed relief from the endless development that signifies Florida. To a New Yorker, that would be like having the Adirondacks rise up at the Westchester County line.
    When I left Brooklyn and moved here (in 1973), Florida had around 7.5 million citizens. Currently, 20 million now call it home. We have switched demographic places with New York in 2 generations, and we're third- most populated, after Texas and California.

    Ocala, in 1999, was still an outpost. Around 35,000 lived in the city proper, another 250,000 in the lightly developed, sprawled-out county. The city is a pretty well-off place, full of horse farm millionaires and reclusive famous people (Like George Steinbrenner and John Travolta)--and middle class retirees who want nothing to do with the beach.
    Today, the population has increased by over 100,000 newcomers--the county now holds around 350,000. Nearly 10,000 people per year are moving into Marion county.
    It's all light-density subdivisions built on wooded, rolling hills ( reminiscent of the Finger Lakes area)-- a welcome relief from the incipient, unending urbanization that now characterizes so much of Florida.
    Five minutes from my house, I'm in deep country. Ten minutes the other way, I'm at the Town Square. The mall is 10 minutes from downtown. There is NO traffic, NO rush hour, NO gridlock.

    When I first saw my house, I knew I wanted it. It sits on a suburban quarter acre, but it is surrounded by mature oak trees and backs up to a dense woods. It's a ranch style, 1600 sq ft split plan 3BR/2.5 BATH with a cathedral ceiling, eat-in kitchen and huge master bedroom, a 2 car garage--(actually large enough for 3 cars, or maybe 2 1/2) with a 16'x12' tiki patio and a sundeck of orange pavers, all under a heavy tree canopy.
    I paid $99,000, sold it for twice that.
    I've been here 17 years, 10 months.
    That is the longest I have ever lived in the same place, anywhere.
    The buyer wants to move in on July 28.
    That means I'm out of here in 17 days.

    I'll be moving to St Petersburg, 90 miles away, a neat, mid-sized city with the population density of Brooklyn and a place where the entire physical environment is completely built out.
    St Pete has around 350,000 and is in the center of a metro area (with Tampa and Clearwater) of around 2.5 million. It's on a peninsula and it is 60% surrounded by water. It's very tropical.

    There is little area for expansion in St Pete, so if you want to build something new, something old has to go. It is a very nice place to be, a city with a LOT of museums, a walkable, skyscraperish Downtown, brick-street neighborhoods and sidewalk seating at the better restaurants, PLUS-- 40 miles of beaches, pro sports and $5 million highrise Bayside condominiums.
    My daughter and granddaughter live there and about half of all my blood relatives live in the metro area. And the rents are New York 1980's style--i'm looking at $1,600/mo for a nice 3 BR unit, near the water.

    I put my place on the Market last December. After it sells, I'll be back in the Big City once again. I've bounced from city to city in my life, from monsters like New York to midsizers like Dallas or Tampa or Rochester. The longest time I've ever spent in one place was in my little adopted hometown of Ocala, and small town living, while free of the traffic and urban pains in the ass, is dull beyond description. It's so laid back that it's almost comatose. Nothing ever happens here--if I want to see concerts, pro sports, new Infinitis, boat shows, even to find proper medical attention, I have to go elsewhere. I go elsewhere a lot.

    I'm off to get some boxes at the supermarket to pack stuff in, and I'm having a yard sale to clear out some of the unwanted things that I've accumulated during my tenure here. I have a lot more stuff than when I originally arrived here, back in the last Century, so there is a pile of things to sort through.

    I guess I'll be glad to get back into a big town, but I will miss the solitude that Ocala provided...
    Last edited by Hof; July 17th, 2016 at 08:10 AM.

  2. #2


    Quote Originally Posted by Hof View Post
    I'll be moving to St Petersburg, 90 miles away, a neat, mid-sized city with the population density of Brooklyn
    This I didn't know. How do they squeeze into St Petersburg at 37,000 per square mile?

  3. #3


    I exaggerate, sarcastically.

    I used to live in Brooklyn-- Park Slope

    St Pete's population density is around 4,000 per sq mile, nowhere near Brooklyn's (which is around 10 times the density).
    It is the most crowded city in Florida, and Pinellas County-- a peninsula-- has a density of around 3,400 per sq mi. The whole place, except for the swamps and beaches, is built-out, urban.

    Marion County, where Ocala is located, has a density of around 200 per sq mile. Moving from Ocala to St Petersburg is, to me, like going from St Pete to Brooklyn, density-wise.

    A more appropriate, semi-sarcastic example would be equating St Pete to the population density of West Virginia, but I won't go there.

    Brooklyn, one of the most crowded places on the planet, has the density of Chennai. I definitely won't go there.
    Last edited by Hof; July 17th, 2016 at 09:55 AM.

  4. #4


    Ten days to go.

    It's amazing how much stuff one can accumulate in 17 years. I'm spending a lot of time sifting through things that I haven't looked at or thought about in a decade or more, performing an almost hourly personal triage.
    When I began packing things up, I decided that, if I haven't used, laid eyes upon or thought about something in 5 years, that it probably is of no use to me anymore and would have to go. I am moving OUT of 1600 sq feet and into less than a thousand, so nearly half of what I have must go to the curb. I'm finding old computers that go back 3 technological generations, stereo components that I thought I'd fix someday, Christmas decorations that have gone unused since Santa's reindeer were the size of a puppy.--things that were important to me in 2004 or thereabouts that make me wonder why I buried them in the back of a closet a decade ago.

    Starting in September 2001, for example, I'd saved about 3 months worth of the St Pete Times, the NY Times and other dailies relating to the Trade Center disaster. I stacked them all into a cardboard box, put the box in a closet, then for the next 15 years I piled stuff on top of the box, filling a closet with things I never looked at again. I read them once, put them away and never thought about them again. So, should I save all this paper or toss it??? These newspapers ARE historical documents (and actually are quite interesting to revisit), but they are also redundant. I can't sell them, have no idea how to give them away (or to whom) and I will probably never look at them again.
    Triage, hourly.

    I had a garage sale over the weekend. It was well-attended and I sold a lot of stuff. Curious, I put the box of newspapers out there, labeled it and watched it garner exactly zero interest among the shoppers. The history of the Trade Center attacks goes into the dumpster today, along with dozens of paperbacks, old boxes of unused Kodachrome, shoes that never quite fit right, blown stereo speakers and 10-year old paintbrushes with bristles hardened like rebar...

    --One of the garage sale people bought all my vinyl LP records.

    I had about sixty, winnowed down from several hundred around 2003, when I went to CDs. I'd nearly forgotten them, but when the buyer, a 40-something music lover asked if I had any vinyl, I knew exactly where they were buried. He said he was interested in Jazz and folk music from the '60s and '70s, and he began flipping through the collection, which was stored in a cabinet that I hadn't opened since the Bush Administration. I'd saved mostly old Jazz and folk recordings, things like Gil Evans, Benny Goodman, Tom Paxton and Phil Ochs. There were original pressings of Elvis, Brubeck, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, etc, and the guy had an orgasm when he first saw them. It was like he had found a vein of gold. He offered $250 for the bunch. I hesitated and he immediately upped his offer to $300.
    Sad to see them go, but happy that they went to an enthusiast.
    He also bought a non-working turntable for $50.
    I had not looked at or played with any of that stuff in nearly 15 years, and if I tried to ebay them they'd probably take another 15 years to sell...

    I made over $600 from the weekend's garage sale. I sold plants, furniture, framed art, a Navajo dreamcatcher, a bong, some books, an unused George Foreman grill, an old, working microwave, things that have been of no use to me for at least five years. Nobody wanted my old computer components, and I couldn't GIVE away my old race-day posters or any of the $40 coffee-table art books that caught my attention back in the 20th century. Nobody wants books anymore.

    I'm going to have another one next weekend.

    I also need to make the trip to St Pete to find a new home this week. I went down there last week and looked at a few apartments, but didn't see anything that appealed to me. I originally wanted to find a place close to the beach, but the rents are breathtaking near water so I'm revising my search inland.

    My time in Ocala is now measured in hours.
    Last edited by Hof; July 17th, 2016 at 10:13 AM.

  5. #5


    At one week to go, the buyer flaked out, leaving me with a garage full of boxed books and furniture ready to be packed into a truck. I have spent the last week or so carefully packing up a lifetime of stuff, getting into a move mode. Fortunately, I did not put a deposit on the apartment I was looking at in St Pete, or I'd be really screwed. Most of my stuff is sitting in a hundred--degree garage now, and I feel like I'm camping out in my own place.

    The buyer, a retired lady with a bad foot decided that she could not navigate through my doorways while on her wheelchair and she strung me out until the last minute, returning to the negotiations to downsize her offer by $5,000--due to the inconvenient interior architecture that exists in my home. When she originally toured the house she was in Limp Mode--she had a bound foot and was using a cane. She seemed to navigate through the place just fine.

    I think her new offer was a cynical ploy to squeeze a few thousand more out of our deal, and I wasn't having any of it. My real estate agent said that this was the THIRD time she has done this to potential sellers, returning at the last moment with a downgraded offer. HER real estate agent has dropped her as a client. There is some question whether or not I am going to collect the escrow she posted.

    Needless to say, I'm enormously pissed off, ready to give ISIS her phone number.
    Anybody know how to get in touch with them???

    (I decided to keep the box of 9/11 related newspapers. I'm starting a fresh collection of things that I won't be looking at for the next ten years, and the slightly yellowing newspapers are a great beginning).
    Last edited by Hof; July 22nd, 2016 at 06:00 PM.

  6. #6


    To the extent any WNY members start making terroristic threats, I wonder if it's time to shut this thread down and report the member to the police.

  7. #7


    KMA you politically incorrect, humor-impaired azhole.

    As mentioned previously, get off my posts and go away.

  8. #8


    You are a pompous imbecile. No one cares about your stupid move across Florida. If it weren't for me, no one would even comment.

    You should be thanking me for reading your garbage.

  9. #9


    Recently, I've noticed lonely third-grade (or possibly fourth-grade) style comments about what OTHER readers (ie; everyone BUT eastmillinocket) care about when perusing this thread ("No one cares", etc).
    Once again, he/she presumes to be a spokesperson for the WNY members who read this post.

    My moving experiences ( which, in all candor, have indeed turned stupid), while mundane and common, are experiences that every New Yorker who has ever changed their address has gone through, and I thought I'd share some thoughts about it while packing boxes.
    I actually didn't seek comment.
    I just wanted to write about it.

    Hell, even people who have moved from a trailer trash community in backwoods Maine to a cardboard box in Midtown have had to go through a move like mine--it's a shared experience among the adult population. (Here, I assumed that the writer, EM, has passed through puberty. Please correct me if I'm in error.)

    I have also noticed, contained within the simply constructed soundbites that the writer manages, a weak attempt at descriptive insult--something a third grader would practice in his (or her) tiny head when seeking a way to kill time between visits to the principal's office.
    I welcome these comments, particularly when they are constructed by a writer whose main means of communication on this site is copying what others have written. It shows a desire to consume garbage and then write original thoughts about the experience, indicating a flicker of native intelligence and a broadening of life's experiences that cannot be gleaned from slasher flicks.
    The writer's simple comments are also amusing, exposing his/her odd, mean-spirited manner while revealing an antisocial arrogance that is rare among the human population.

    Since the sale of my house has now fallen through, I no longer see the need to expand on this thread, so this strange "writer" can now be free to find other posts to haunt. This will allow him (--her) to shuffle from his (--her) steam grate in Midtown to the computers in the public library with a renewed purpose in his--or her--life.

    So, EM, thanks for reading my stuff, but keep your sad comments to yourself.

    Oh, yeah--and go away, OK???
    Last edited by Hof; July 26th, 2016 at 02:51 PM.


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