The Johnson Family Took the Florida Plunge
September 18, 2013 posted by Scott Parker
There were many virtual “Disney Friends” that I communicated with prior to taking the plunge. One of those friends was Rachel Johnson. We had chatted several times on Twitter and eventually became friends on Facebook. My relationship with the Johnson family was unique in that we all lived in Texas, the Johnson’s near Dallas and we lived just outside of Ft Worth, yet we never met in person there. When we made the announcement that we were taking the plunge, I learned that the Johnson’s were also taking the plunge within days after us. I have to admit, it was comforting knowing someone from home was moving here, even though we had never met. Well, eventually, we did meet and I have to say, this is a family that I know I will be friends with for years to come. Rachel and her families plunge has circumstances that are different than most and I am honored that she has chosen my blog to share her families story.
My name is Rachel Johnson. My husband is Ken, and the kiddos are Kelsey and Dylan. We took the Florida plunge too. We moved to Florida two weeks after Scott and his family. Our arrival date was June 27, 2013.
Ken and I had been talking about moving to Florida for the past two years, if not longer. Well, the girls graduated school and my oldest, Brooke, got a scholarship to the University of Texas, Dallas. Kelsey was going to a local college, so Ken and I decided that it wouldn’t be until they graduated college before we decided to cut the apron strings and head on out to Florida. On July 4, 2012, we sent Brooke to the store and on her way back, a car darted out and hit Brooke and she was instantly killed. For 6 months we did our best to cope with what had happened. Finally, I made the decision that I could no longer live in Dallas because of what happened to Brooke. The accident was close to where we lived and I had to drive down that street every day.
Ken and I talked about it for two months. Finally he said yes! I started booking my flights and hooked up with a real estate agent and in February we were finally looking at houses, cities, and having a grand time doing it. Unbeknownst to him I had narrowed my search way before February. I had investigated the surrounding cities of Orlando, their crime stats, school stats, distance between me and my happy place…When I met with the real estate agent I had already had a list of cities that I wanted to look in. Those cities included Clermont, Mt. Dora, East Orlando, and Oviedo. Ken only had one request, that we live in the country. Ick! I loved Clermont, but the houses were way too close together. We encountered the same issue in Mt. Dora. Besides, Mt. Dora was way too far away from my happy place. I also loved East Orlando, again too “citified,” for Ken and the houses were really close together. We honestly would have settled in Oviedo, but every time I found a house and was ready to put an offer in, it was already under contract. UGH. I was getting desperate. I wanted to be out of Dallas by the first anniversary of Brooke’s death.
Then, as I was talking to my best friend, her husband mentioned that St. Cloud was a nice country place to live. He said that they would be looking around the same area when they were ready to buy. So, I booked another flight, went out to St. Cloud, and there we found our home. Oh it wasn’t built yet, but I was ready. We found a new subdivision going up. So, I got the best of both worlds, 30-40 minutes from Disney, city enough for me, and country enough for my hubby! I was so excited that I went to the bank that day and withdrew enough money to start the contract. THEN, I called my husband and told him what I did. He was a little hesitant until I started sending pictures of the land, the home, and the surrounding area.
I went back to Dallas armed with all of the information, pictures, and wildly excited state. Ken has no other choice but to love it. I go and talk to my boss at work. I was determined he was going to let me telecommute. Otherwise I would have had to leave. Hey, I work in healthcare, think there are plenty enough places for me to work in the area? It wasn’t a struggle at all with my boss, he knew it was coming. He was very accommodating and let me take another position that allowed me to telecommute. The only downfall was that I would no longer be in a management position and would take a step down. That was okay with me minus the salary cut. But I knew that we could still do it even with a salary cut. Ken works in the oilfield. He spoke to his boss and worked out a schedule where he works two weeks in Shreveport, LA and one week home. So far, his time home has been a lot less than a week at a time. But, we’ll deal with that later. It’s a busy time in the oilfield, so we didn’t expect to see him a whole lot right now anyway. My wish is that he gets to enjoy Florida the way I do all the time. But I’ll save that for another post.
So, as it came time for us to move, I could not find anywhere for us to live for a few months, that would accommodate me having to have a separate locked space for work. Finally, I called a vacation resort. I was able to secure a vacation condo until October 31, 2013. It’s a really nice condo. Three bedrooms, three baths, and they gave me the snowbird discount! How lucky am I. We have our design meeting, and let me tell you, if you build a house, you really need to figure out which upgrades you are going to pay for, because I went in there and like a maniac wound up with 42k in upgrades. I’m still kicking myself. Not really, I’ll have the house the way I want it. But, everything seemed to be an upgrade. I was told this would happen but I still did it. At the design meeting, I find out that the house may not be ready until mid-November. What was I going to do!!!!! So, I called the vacation rental people, and they said that they didn’t have the condo rented again until December 1st. So, okay, I can stay a few more weeks.
So, we get to Florida. Scott and I had been Facebook and Twitter buddies. I lived in Dallas and he lived close to Ft. Worth. We had never met though. We finally hooked up with our children and spent the afternoon at Epcot soon after we were all settled in the condo. We spent the afternoon with Scott and his family and another family who had just moved to Florida. I’m finding more and more that Florida is not just a vacation destination anymore, it’s a wonderful place to live! So, if you decide to join us and take the Florida plunge, we all can give you a plethora of information to get you started.
If you’ve taken the plunge and would like to share your story, email me at FloridaPlunge2013@gmail.com.