Sunday, July 19, 2009

Back from Florida, where the MLS overfloweth but the jobs do not

After two weeks and 28 hours of driving, we're home again. We packed up the dog and the baby and left on Friday morning, July 3rd for Charlotte, North Carolina. For the first time ever, Mike, his two siblings, and all related spouses and children gathered at his dad's house. We had a good time, and Lion traveled very well, as usual. I keep waiting for his good nature to fall apart, but so far it hasn't happened. I think he's lulling me into thinking that he'll always be easy and then he'll give it to me good when he turns two.

It was nearly impossible to get him down for naps and bedtime at any reasonable hour while we were there. He was so switched on from the constant attention of his three cousins that he seemed convinced that he would miss something great if he closed his eyes for a couple of hours. Also, the second night there he had a temperature of 102.5 and a runny nose, which we would soon realize was due to three more teeth coming in. However, while the lack of sleep was hard on us, it didn't seem to bother him a bit.

On Sunday, July 5th we packed the car again and headed to my parents' house in Florida. It took us about 8 hours with stops. I found myself feeling somewhat thankful that Lion is no longer breastfeeding, because while roadside nursing on the way to and from Florida last December was fine, I wasn't so anxious to do it in the 90 degree heat. Instead, we just stopped for gas and diaper changes, and we were free to zip along as I fed him and gave him bottles in the back seat.

Lion is currently fascinated by anything with a buckle or lid. I included a small Gladware container in my bag of tricks and he would happily study it and play with it for a good ten minutes at a time. Also popular was the empty Eclipse mints tin, with its shiny blue surface and hinged lid. Makes a great racket when you beat it against the window!

(and this is why we don't buy many toys. Why should we, when the most random househould objects are so endlessly entertaining? Here! Play with this can of green chiles!)

After Lion turns one on September 3rd, we'll finally be able to turn his car seat around so it faces forward. He's been in the 95th percentile for height since he was born, and his legs are so long that he has to sit with them folded up against the back seat. Can you imagine how annoying it is to be a baby, with so little control over the position and movement of your body? If we do any more lengthy car trips before his birthday, maybe I'll let him ride in the car top carrier. Which, yes, we bought a car top carrier. God. Mike summed it up perfectly, after securing the bungee cords to the roof rack: "I feel so dad."

Anyhow, we made it to Florida and had a great time. Mike and I even got away for a couple of nights, soaking up the ocean view from our hotel room and swimming, sleeping, and sunning to our hearts' content. Granted, I woke up at 4:30, 5:30, and 6:00 our first morning there, but managed to sleep until 7 the second morning. And as we discovered, the days seem so luxuriously long when there is no schedule! There were no meals to prepare or nap times to work around or dirty diapers to wash. No, all we had to worry about was drinking that mango margarita before it melted.

Bizarre. What did I do with all my free time before Lion came along?

Oh, right.

We also spent a day with our real estate agent, who showed us several lovely neighborhoods. I already knew which one I like the best, though. It's an older neighborhood, with modest, well-built homes that went up in the 1950's and 60's. There are towering oaks, biking trails, good schools, and it's a ten minute walk to shops and restaurants, or a 15-minute drive to the beach. And there are lots of nice houses for sale. There's only one problem, and I'm sure you can guess what it is.

No jobs.

The agent was brutally honest. "It's very, very difficult to find work here," she said. "It's bad."

While there were lots of great bargains, we were always painfully aware that the low price on our MLS printout was coming at the expense of some other family's dream. It was sad to tour some of the foreclosed homes, gazing into what was obviously a child's room or a baby's nursery as the agent told us that the home is now worth only 40% of what the previous owners paid. I wondered where they all went. I wondered where those children were sleeping.

So for now we will continue to live here, and be thankful for our good jobs. Like so many other times in my life, I wish I could close my eyes and see what the future holds. Another child? A new home? Job loss?

Would you want to know?

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Blogger His suzy said...

Welcome home! I'm glad you all had a great trip!

I've seen and read a few things about how some people are getting the home of their dreams, or even a home at all, because of all the foreclosures. But, like you said, their good fortune is coming at someone else's loss. It sucks that it has to be that way.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

I would definitely want to know the future. I also kind of want to know my death date (morbid as that is).

8:38 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

really? I think I'd rather not know when I'll die, because then I'd think about it all the time.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Caro said...

Lion will always be even tempered. It lulls you into a false sense of security to make you have child number two, who will be a wild child. LOL

No jobs anywhere I'm thinking...

1:20 PM  

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