Five years ago today, I rolled into Orlando after surviving a wrath-of-God thunderstorm closer to Daytona. It was hot, humid, and I collapsed on the bed of an extended stay place with the cats, exhausted after two long days of driving. It was a Friday, and I was thankful that my dear friend Kara was here to welcome me with dinner before I slept for 12 hours. It was the start of a week without my little family unit, and was exceptionally weird.
There was a lot of anxiety that week, even though I nailed down a rental pretty quickly. The new job, new town, me and three cats in a little room. When Diana and Simon made it down the next week, with a few more days in a hotel until our stuff made it down from Cleveland, I was excited to see them but the three of us in a tiny room was stressful. Being transient just isn't a ton of fun. The very next day we used the house lease as proof of residency and got annual passes to WDW and had a wonderful (and wet) time at Magic Kingdom. It felt amazing to be able to provide for my little boy in that way. It felt so right that we signed to build a house within two weeks.
We did move to a bigger house in this five years, but we've basically been in the same area for the whole time. We love it here. The theme parks are a nice perk, but they're not even close to the primary reasons for it being awesome. The weather is probably the biggest thing for me, and the three months of summer hotness isn't a big deal when 70 degrees is "jacket weather." The job market isn't bad here for what I do, even if I've spent half of that time working remotely for a Tampa company. The schools have been reasonably robust in helping us with Simon's challenges. Diana has found a wonderful place to work. There is a ton of great food here. We're an hour away from either coast, with super easy cruise access. We can see rocket launches from home. We sit in our street with neighbors and sip adult beverages.
Other than Cedar Point and some of the people there, we don't miss Cleveland at all. Seattle is more complicated, because we felt like we belonged there and should never have left. This is a slightly weird state, because we miss Seattle, but we'd miss it here too. I think we can feel both and by happy to stay put.
We made a good decision, and it all happened in a matter of weeks. This has been the most stable period of residency since we met, and it has been good.