This is going to be an update. No recipes, no food, just bringing you up to speed on la vida and what’s been going on.
Bit of a warning up front: This is
probably going to be a little long winded. Maybe if I feel like it I’ll put a TL;DR at the bottom. I have a lot to say. I mean, a lot’s been going on. And I’ve never been one to summarize, not even if I tried. So it’s probably best to just embrace my inability to stfu.
Speaking of which, I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this. How to come back to this whole blogging thing. Do I just burst in to your screen like I’m cherry flavored and pretend I haven’t been gone for 7 months? Do I explain everything and apologize profusely because I know you’ve been missing me oh so dearly? Ok, I know, there’s a very good chance you don’t care about me and have already closed the page when I said there’s no food in this post. Let’s be honest here. Time is money. You have things to do, I’m sure. Who am I to ask you to read details about my life? Heck, there’s a fairly good chance that if it were me on the other side of that screen, I would have skimmed past all this and gone straight for the TL;DR that may or may not be at the end. But I can’t assume such things for everyone. I guess I do owe some sort of explanation for my absence here to the few that do care enough to read about it (hi mom).
Ever since my last post I’ve been rather meh on the whole food blogging thing. I guess I’ve been that way for a while, keeping with the whole honesty thing. Looking back,
it seems like all I’ve been posting about is Wilton stuff. As you may know they were a huge part of my blog for the past two years. Sadly, they decided to switch around the way their blogging program works, so you won’t be seeing nearly as many posts on their behalf. I’m not mad or anything. Well, kind of sad, but it’s the way the cookie crumbles, as they say. I look forward to whatever they continue to do since I still love their stuff. Maybe in the future we’ll work together again. I’ll keep everyone updated in that case. But if you’re curious, go check out all the posts I’ve done for them over the years.
Of course, Wilton and I taking different roads wasn’t the only thing that left my blog in a dry spell. The fact that I’ve been fairly busy lately hasn’t helped either. Well, right NOW I’m not particularly busy, but for the last few months it’s been a chaotic shit storm of various proportions. Sitting on the top of the list – and the main focus of this post – is one that I am oh, so happy to finally get in writing here:
If you haven’t been following my socials anywhere (those spiffy new icons you see in the top right corner of your screen), allow me fill you in.
In the beginning of January, we decided to put the house back on the market. Since the last time we took it off we wanted to stay for a bit more. We wanted to fix up stuff around the house and give everything another shot. But as the months went on we felt like we were just wasting time. New construction was going up down the street and our confidence in Seb’s school wasn’t making us feel any better about him going there. So we put it on the market with a different realtor and hoped for the best. Sure enough, a month and a half later we were under contract. It was an investor looking to fix it up and rent it out. Since there was no real rush and he was paying cash, we did a little negotiating and dropped down from what we were asking for. It was a nice chunk of change we came down from, but honestly, it was probably the most realistic price we were going to sell for, plus we needed out, so everybody wins. We asked for a month to find a place since that wasn’t figured out yet. And it was a stressful few weeks, lemme tell ya, but we found a spot right smack in the middle of Orlando, FL. We were trying for more north because there was cheaper options, but I guess fate wanted to put us here. So far it’s working out great too. We’re in the middle of everything and anything we’ll ever need or want, and the absolute best part is Seb’s school is freaking AWESOME! He left North Carolina and didn’t look back once.
Speaking of which. Let me get into that.
When we had our house built in North Carolina, we thought that was going to be it. We were excited about everything from the amazing house to the great view in our backyard despite our Sarlacc Pit (huge thanks to Matt for the awesome re-imagining of our backyard!). We didn’t think we were going anywhere else for a long time. Sure enough, things changed. We found ourselves wasting away up there, far from family and friends and the things that we knew. So when we finally picked up and left, it was the very definition of bittersweet. We knew we were leaving for the right reasons. We knew Seb needed a new school, we knew him and his brother needed more regular interactions with family throughout their childhood, and we knew our parents weren’t getting any younger. But, we also knew we were leaving behind a beautiful home that we chose and had built just for us. We were leaving a nice, quiet neighborhood where we felt safe and secure (unless you count the evil HOA that loomed over our lives like the Galactic Empire). It was something that was hard to do, but again, we knew it was for the right reasons.
We had a month to pack and get out before everything was signed over. The entire process from when we were negotiating to the time we drove off into the sunset was so fast it was ridiculous. There were a few weeks we were in this limbo of not being able to find a place, and knowing we were on a time table. That was probably the most stressful part of the whole situation. But luckily, something came up and we were able to secure it. After that, it was only a matter of getting everything packed and out. If we’re talking percentages, I’d say I packed proooooooooobably about 4% of the boxes while the wife packed the rest. HEY! It’s not my fault. I can’t just dump drawers into a box and tape it up. But anyway.
We hired truck packers. Movers? Whatever they’re called. We hired muscle to get the trucks loaded and unloaded. Let me explain something to you: If you’re ever in the situation where you’re moving, and you have a crapload of stuff. Hire help to load and unload the trucks. Best money ever spent. Of course, we have a ton of stuff. We needed 2 of the biggest trucks they had. Apparently, spending 4+ years in a 4 bedroom house kinda turns you into a hoarder of sorts. So yeah, with boxes overflowing the house and some of the heaviest furniture built by man, the movers were an easy decision.
So where are we? We sold, found a place, packed.. last thing left to do is get it loaded and say goodbye. Here’s where stuff gets real.
I swear, I was good. Ask my wife. During the entire process, from the very beginning when we decided to put the house back on the market, I was a cold and heartless bastard with no remorse for any memories or good times had within those walls. I kept my eye on the prize and knew that we were making the right choice. I’ve gone over it time and time again in my head, listing the reasons to go against the reasons to stay. And never did staying EVER make any sense.
So. The trucks are packed. All the vehicles are ready to roll out. I go to do my final walk through of the house. That’s when I see it.
On the top of the staircase, right at the entryway to Sebastian’s room, just sitting there where it’s been for the past 3 years, was this sticker. Yeah, it’s just a sticker, whatever, right? No, not right. That sticker was home. The house was the walls, the roof, the fixtures, the plumbing… But that sticker.. It signified more than anything that can be constructed. It was placed there by the tiny fingers of a child who was the prince of his castle. Was he supposed to put it there? Heck no, we weren’t thrilled. But walking by it every day for the years we lived there, it kind just grew on us. We knew Seb put it there because he felt comfortable. It was right there in front of his room so why not leave it there? That was his domain, his territory. And it was a sticker, it’s not like he was pouring concrete. But seeing that damn Bowser sticker there, looking at me, knowing it was going to be the last time.. That’s when it hit me. Everything. And it hit me hard. Like a magic school bus from space, entering the atmosphere at 17,000 mph, and making a beeline right to my chest.
I swear, I was good. Until I saw the sticker. Then… Niagra Falls.
It reminded me of so much, you know? The good. The bad. The excitement of moving in. Bringing Lucas home for the first time. Seb running around inside before unpacking the trucks. That one time there was like 10 family members in the loft and the gate opened and 15 month old Lucas was running for the stairs and I was the only one that ran for him and I slid, caught him, and rammed my knee into the corner of the wall. I couldn’t walk right for a month. But you know what? In that moment, looking at that sticker, I forgave the house for almost breaking my knee cap. I walked over to the window in the loft and looked out at our backyard, admiring the trees and the way they surrounded our fortress on top of our mountain. It was a great home. A great area. And it’s going to make someone very happy one day.
I know. I’ve been going on for a while on this, but you know what? I could go on even longer. I could talk for hours about that tiny sticker. What it meant to me. What flashed through my head when I saw it. How I tried to take it off but it had been there so long it wouldn’t have been recognizable. But I’ll stop now. I won’t get into how the wife found me trying to physically hug this inch wide sticker, or how she didn’t blame me because she was already in tears. Like I’m sure she’s in tears now, counting down the minutes till she’s done reading so she could come and punch me for reminding her of that day. Then we’ll hug, I’ll tell her how I cried writing it all, and she’d feel bad, but not too bad because she’ll punch me again. C’est la vie.
We parked our asses smack in the middle of Orlando. It’s a really nice neighborhood. Funny enough, we were scoping this area back when we were first first first looking for a home, way back when, before kids and before marriage and everything major in our lives. If we would’ve bought back then it would’ve probably been close to $100,000 cheaper than now. But who knows the path that would’ve set us on. Anyway, about 5 minutes down the street just so happens to be the Barnes & Noble where the wife and I first met. So yeah, there’s a lot of history here for us. And I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t happy. I mean, yeah, the house leaves something to be desired (I’ll get into that in another post), the internet here is somewhere between the towel section in Target and complimentary in-flight Wi-fi, and we had to cram our 4 bedroom castle into a 3 bedroom cottage. But… I’m happy. Well, not about the internet, that angers me on a daily basis. But here we are, 4 months after moving, and I still have to remind myself, “oh yeah, we’re Floridians again.” It’s a great feeling, to be honest. It’s like we came home, as dumb as that sounds. Or as awesome as it sounds if you’re Han Solo.
We get to raise our kids where the wife and I matured. They get to go to AWESOME schools. When we’re bored, we could do crazy shit like go to theme parks or drive 30 minutes to the beach. Seriously, to put it in perspective, I haven’t worn socks since we moved. 4 months. 4 months, and counting since my feet have been free from their cotton constraints. About 2 months after moving we got a picture from my sister in-law back in North Carolina and she had snow in her yard. Yeah, sorry, no, I’m good. If anyone needs me, I’ll be over here working on my farmer’s tan.
It’s crazy how things work out sometimes, you know? Like these boxes on the curb after we unpacked. They look like regular boxes right? Well if you look closer, you’ll see a paw print. First of all, know I didn’t arrange anything. I saw it after putting them out and I couldn’t believe it. That paw print just sticking out like a sore thumb. Like a Bowser sticker on a banister. I grabbed my camera and took a picture because it was a great feeling to see it. What the hell is the big deal? Well that box was the very first box we packed. Very very first. Back to the first time we had the house on the market and were wanting to move. The paw print was because the kids were crazy into Blue’s Clues and I was having fun with them. That box sat there for months because no one was biting on the house (damn Sarlacc pit). The box that signified our wanting to change our lives just sat on the floor collecting dust. After we took the house off the market I put the box in the closet and that’s where it sat until we finally put the house back up and eventually sold. But seeing that box was like coming full circle. It’s so crazy. How things work out. As if everything had fallen into place just the way it was supposed to. The box there, saying goodbye. I know, I’m a dork. But dammit, I’m sentimental.
So I think that about catches you up with the craziest thing to happen to us since my last post. Now, onto a very important question that I’ve only recently began pondering:
Where does all this leave my blog?
I really wish I knew a straight answer. I want to continue blogging. Getting something going and posting it and seeing it run out into the wild, open fields of the internet has really been a joy. There’s still so much I want to post about and experiment with. There is a problem though. As I learned with National Doughnut Day a few weeks ago (month ago?), I realized how unfriendly my kitchen is for pictures. If there’s one thing I miss about the old house, it’s the natural light that came into the kitchen. It made things so ridiculously easy to look good. So now I wonder how it’ll work. Not getting good pictures will surely put a damper in my desire to.. get… good pictures. But of course, I don’t always have to post so many in depth shots of the whole cooking process. I dunno, we’ll see how it goes. Maybe I’ll have to adapt and just get 4 or 5 good shots instead of 10. Or 15. 25. Geeze, my posts have a ridiculous amount of pictures in them.
Once this is out and published I’ll try and keep the ball rolling. Don’t be surprised if I post randomness from time to time or if food posts aren’t frequent. I’m sure living here in Florida again will inspire me in new ways. Focusing on refreshing dishes rather than hearty soups. Because seriously, it’s effing hot.
But again, it’s been hard to find a rhythm again. Getting in the kitchen and taking time for pictures and plating and such. Maybe I could get in full swing again once Seb’s summer vacation is over and it’s less chaotic around here. But for now, I have a few posts that I’ve never published, and a few ideas for posts that I’d like to put out. So just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. If you are here for the food and nothing else, then forgive me as you hit unsubscribe. If you don’t mind me blabbering about my opinions on things, talking about food in general, reviewing dorky stuff like LEGO sets and such, then I hope you enjoy whatever I’m doing. We’re happy passholders to the theme parks now! So that means no more vacation posts about us coming to Florida for the 329th time, but I really wouldn’t mind reviewing restaurants on theme park properties or just talking about them in general since they’ll be a huge part of our weekly endeavors now.
And don’t forget! I’m also a co-host of a very awesome gaming podcast (I might be slightly bias)! For the first half of the show, we talk games. What’s going on in the news, what we’re playing, all that jazz. And the second half is more personal as we discuss our week and the various adventures we’ve encountered in life. If you think you’d be into it, go ahead and subscribe!
So that be that. I feel like a new chapter has started in our lives and I’m just now writing it down. I’ve heard a few times that we’re crazy and are brave to take our kids and turn our worlds upside down to start over somewhere new. Look… If you’re not happy where you are and you feel like there’s a bigger, better world beyond the horizon, why are you going to sit there and watch the sun rising and setting everyday just imagining of something better? It wasn’t easy to do what we did. It was hard af to make the decision, sign papers, pack, move, and get comfortable. Especially after being settled in an amazing home for 5 years that was ours. Nothing about picking up our lives was easy. But once it was done… Man. It’s hard to think back and recall what we were doing with our lives before. It’s like we’re in a brand new world living a new life. The kids are happy, both with the fun they’re having and with seeing their grandparents a lot more. And we’re happy knowing life feels like it’s moving forward as oppose to being at a complete standstill.
So to all those out there who feel like something’s missing. Who feel like they could be doing better. Don’t sit still. Don’t feel trapped like we did. Get up, and figure out what you need to do to get on the track you want to be on. It’s not going to be easy. But in the end, whatever pain or sacrifice you would’ve made would be worth it.
Until the next post…
Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. ~ Walt Disney
Eh, I changed my mind. Go read everything, ya lazy bum.