It’s Happening!

My favorite phrase these days is – it’s happening! Started move to Florida – it’s happening! Coming soon real estate sign on our driveway – it’s happening! Staging activities started – it’s happening! My day feels filled with minor tasks but each one is a stepping stone towards our journey to Italy.

I made a quick trip to Florida to begin the process of establishing residency in Florida. I needed to get my car to Florida and I’m a terrible long-distance driver so I took the auto train. (Thanks Rebecca for another great idea!) I got the train in Lorton, VA (south of DC) the afternoon of July 7th and arrived in Sanford, FL (north of Orlando) the morning of July 8th. I had the car packed full of stuff – can’t miss an opportunity to move stuff! They drove the car on one of the two level “auto-racks” and I rode in one of the passenger car, in a small sleeper compartment called a “roomette”. Although you can put two people in it, it seems better suited for only one person. I enjoyed my privacy, including some wine and a snack. They had three dinner seatings and they seat you at tables of four people. It’s easy to start a conversation with someone – “do you take the auto train often?” – and people chat with strangers very easily on the train. There’s a feeling that we’re all in this together; everyone gets on at the same place and off at the same place. I departed from the Sanford train station at 10am and had a 2.5-hour drive. I arrived at 2pm because I stopped three times. Can you imagine how long it would have taken me to drive the full distance?

I took care of my tasks at Derek’s house and we headed back to Orlando. I met my very first friend that I can remember – Kelly. We connected on Facebook a year or so ago and have been trying ever since to meet. We had a great dinner, talked about old times, and gave each other a Cliff Notes version of our lives. I look forward to spending more time with Kelly in the fall.

Derek and I spent a day in Animal Kingdom and had a blast. We got to the Pandora rides ASAP and didn’t have too long of waits. The rides are fantastic and the setting is amazing, especially after dark. We did the animal safari ride twice, once after a rain storm and once at dusk so we saw a fair amount of animal activity. And we did many of the other fun rides and attractions. AK is the smallest of the park so was good to do in a day. I was dead exhausted after 13 hours in the park and could have slept through anything, except the fire alarm at 2:30am. ☹

Pandora in the Animal Kingdom, WDW

The next morning, I headed to Lake Apopka. Tara, a friend of Derek’s, told me about it. She knew that I would love it as there are tons of birds to see. She even let me borrow her binoculars, which I promise will be in the mail soon. It is an 11-mile drive around the lake and wetlands. The speed limit is 10 MPH, but we seldom went that fast. It took a few hours and I saw SO MANY birds. No first-time sightings but it got me excited about the birding opportunities ahead of me for this fall and winter.

Back to the train. This time I had a coach seat. A roomette was $250 extra on the return train due to a larger crowd. Coach wasn’t bad. Most people, including me, got two seats so I was able to sleep in all kinds of strange but semi-comfortable positions. My conclusion: the roomette is worth some extra dollars – but not $250!

So, I returned to Virginia and my seemingly endless tasks to prepare the house for sale. The electrician is doing electrical stuff. A stager did a consultation yesterday and I have a list of 97 things to do to stage the house. The exterior worker dude brought by the proposal today with plans to start work on Saturday or Monday. I met with the interior worker dude and gave him a long list; I should receive his estimate tonight. And I got 6 new gold fish for the pond. It’s happening!

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