It's Official, The Gnu Is Moving To Florida! (2 Viewers)

Will pay good money for a pic of Gnu in:

-rocking chair on front porch
-overalls
-straw hat
-corn cob pipe
-playing banjo

Make it happen.

Assume I can pick this all up at the local WaWa?

14570133-classic-smiling-senior-farmer-with-straw-hat-plaid-shirt-bib-overalls-corn-cob-pipe-he-sits-on-a-sto.jpg
 
So what part is dominant?

the entire rest of the state which overwhelms the progressives concentrated in the triangle in order to support state legislators who enact laws requiring that technicians perform an ultrasound and describe the fetus to any woman seeking an abortion regardless of her wishes.
 
....Somebody told me to get a sunlamp. I haven't done it, but maybe it would work?

I've had a couple of co-workers with seasonal depressive disorder, and the sunlamps in their offices were an important part of their treatment.

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the entire rest of the state which overwhelms the progressives concentrated in the triangle in order to support state legislators who enact laws requiring that technicians perform an ultrasound and describe the fetus to any woman seeking an abortion regardless of her wishes.

This. Just like Virginia, from which I have blessedly escaped.
 
Remember when Gnu moved down to Florida and became the suspect in a case involving the harassment of all the elderly women within a fifty mile radius of his house?

...Good times.
 
And just like that, all is once again right with the world (or at least the state of Florida).

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That's polar Armageddon in Florida

I grew up in the midwest, so it doesn't really phase me (even after two decades down here). But my native friends can't handle it, and our neighborhood was covered in sheets and blankets as the locals tried to protect their plants from freezing.
 
The Gnu has landed!

DAY MINUS 1 - THE MOVING SALE


There's no way we're going to get everything we own into the rental cargo van, but we're ok with that. We've been steadily selling stuff off the past week or two, including my poker table and old chips (but not the CPS ones!) plus our kitchen table. Unfortunately a couple that were going to buy our couch and chair had their transmission go a few days before they were going to come pickup, so their couch fund is now their tranny fund (waiting for a joke on this one) and we're back needing to dump it.

Unfortunately the weather is horrible in CT. We've been pounded with snow for months and the yard has piles over my head, plus bitter temps start the day, leading to very few people coming by.

We manage to sell a few odds and ends, but a large chunk of what we can't possibly bring with us has not moved. One weird guy showed up, kinda country-bumpkin, gravely voice. He's looking around at my coin collection, but he wants coins with silver content and I only have a few. He's talking to himself (but out loud so we can hear him) saying "nothing good.........nothing good"

As he prepares to leave he utters "we thank you" and after he's gone I turn to my wife and say "we WHO???" since he was alone and there was no one else there but us. Without skipping a beat she replies "the voices in his head" I love this woman

We then proceed to spend the majority of the remaining daylight loading up the rental van and realizing some stuff we planned to bring won't be making the trek, ugh. Exhausting.


MOVING DAY - SUNDAY, MARCH 1ST

Our day will begin in Broad Brook CT, and end in Rocky Mount NC, a 584 mile journey. We load up a few odds and ends into the van in the morning and pack our cats in their carriers and place them on top of one another on the floor between our seats and hear their cries of "why?!" Their increased paranoia from the weeks of stuff being sold off or packed up solidifying their confidence in their live read.

The day begins pretty awful, as I notice the check engine light is suddenly on our console. It wasn't lit before, but it's not going away and I'm not sure the reason. I look online and see a variety of causes. I haven't noticed anything off about how it drives, so I hope that it's the gas cap and plan to fill up before we leave and see if that corrects the issue.

It does and I feel a boost of confidence, this will be a good day. I am very wrong. As we get into the New York area we encounter signage warning us of low clearance. Shit! I have no idea what the clearance on this thing is, I'm guessing 8-9 feet but I'm not sure. I decide to not risk it and take the exit for trucks. This leads me to the Bronx Expressway (I think that's what it was) but first I must traverse city streets lined with horrible bumps and potholes before it brings us to the on-ramp.

As our van hits a particularly nasty bump the entire center console goes black, no readings on any gauges and the heater ceases to work (yet the radio still functions) We now have no wipers and no blinkers. Fortunately the van is still running and my GPS is still functioning. I'm afraid if I pull over to shut the car off and restart it that I risk us being stranded in the cold. I decide to wait until we can reach a rest area so we can at least go inside and stay warm if we have to wait for Enterprise to send someone to check or tow the vehicle (my migraine forms as I consider the hours we spent loading this stupid van and wondering how fucked our move will become if this vehicle dies this early)

Fortunately there is no precipitation and we make it to a rest area unscathed (although my wife is getting very cold). I turn the vehicle off and back on and thank the gods the console fires back up and the heat kicks back on!

But the gods aren't done fucking with us yet. Oh no, the two months of blizzards, -23 degree temps with wind chill, etc. weren't enough, we must suffer more. As we reach NJ we encounter mixed and icy precipitation, coupled with three plows in front of us blocking all traffic from moving at more than a snails pace.

The console will go out on us multiple times throughout the journey, but eventually I figure out that while I'm driving I can just turn the key like I'm starting the van and it pops the electronics back on. I have no idea what caused this, but I don't care, I have a fix and it's working and by Odins Beard I will not be denied my escape from this frozen wasteland!

We pass through PA and VA and MD and DE and eventually arrive in NC at our hotel. It is a motel 6, they don't charge pet fees and are pet friendly, so we've pre-booked and it's under 50 bucks for the night. It's no palace, it's barely a hovel fit for the lowest of peasants, but it's a place to rest our weary heads.

The cats are released and given food, water and a litter box. They are quite skittish at first, but happy to finally be free from their cages, and quickly warm to their new surroundings.

THE GNU STRIKES BACK - DAY 2


We begin our journey early, the cats attempting to resist being shoved back into their tiny prisons, they had already planned to make this hotel room their new residence. As we exit our room we are greeted by the stench of what I can only term "skunk weed". God Bless America. Today we will be driving 452 miles to another Motel 6 in Kingsland GA.

Day 1 saw us dealing with constant precipitation throughout every state we passed, but fortunately as we've made our way further South it's just been rain and not ice.

This day is relatively uneventful, except that there are no convenient rest stops with food courts like in NJ, which were convenient for getting the cats at least outside the truck for a bit. While Day I saw us hitting highways for 70-90 miles each, today we are hitting highways where we have 176 and 279 miles to traverse on each one.

While this is another long day, it's not as bad as Day I was. I have planned this, so we could have our journey start out difficult and get progressively easier, with our third day allowing us enough energy to offload the van and get semi-settled.

We arrive in Kingsland GA and are a bit irked upon arrival to be told that they just received a fax today about our reservation (we booked on Feb 18th) and don't have anymore king beds left, and that our double bed room won't be ready for another 20 minutes (despite there being maybe one or two other cars in the parking lot and it's around 2pm.) We lug our cats back out to the van to wait, since their lobby has nowhere to sit.

We are presently surprised to find that this Motel 6 is one of the recently remodeled ones, however, and the difference is truly night and day. Our room is really nice and modern, the beds and décor are fantastic for this price point (still around 50 bucks) and the bathroom is nicely updated as well. We also find a minifridge and microwave conveniently inside as well.

A few design choices are a bit poorly done, however. They have the flat screen tv mounted inside a small enclosed box thing higher up on the wall. The sensor that reads the remote is partially obscured by the cover of this box and the angle makes it difficult to get the tv to respond to the remote when sitting in bed unless you raise your arm up into the air and get the angle right. Plus all of the lighting is particularly harsh and unpleasant in the bedroom.

Still, a great value and much nicer place to hunker down for the night. Florida, we are SO close now!



*****to be continued, the gnu is tired and will regale you with additional exploits, crazy encounters and more tomorrow!
 
DAY 3 - DOWNTOWN GNU BOOGALOO

Tuesday, our scheduled day to arrive at our new home in Brandon will see us drive 3-4 hours, much less than the previous days. This includes a slight detour from our recommended route so that we can meet one of my wifes pen-pal friends in Lake Mary FL. Unfortunately, her friend has been having some health issues and we're unable to reach her. We still continue on with our plan to stop at Gators Dockside in Lake Mary.

Surprisingly it is located in a shopping plaza and not by the water. Fortunately, as her friend had already scouted the location, there is an outdoor seating area that we settle into, with our carrier-bound cats seated next to us.

We arrive at our new home and meet our landlord in person for the first time, and begin the long process of unloading the van. First off we place both cats into a closed off room with their food, water and litter, plus some items of comfort (toys, scratching post and some of our worn clothing from the trip so there are familiar scents for them) The cats will remain in that room for 24 hours so as to not overload them with too large of a new surrounding.

A yappy neighborhood dog comes and poops on our lawn to let us know that it's his lawn, but aside from that our cul-de-sac is quiet and peaceful.

We approach the unloading of the van with military precision (I have played Battlefield 3), placing boxes into their appropriate rooms and eventually having me focus on unloading the van while Jenn begins the process of unpacking. Somehow it seems to pass pretty quickly, much more quickly than when we loaded this thing.

EVERYTHING ELSE

The week has flown by in a blur. We arrived on Tuesday and it is now Friday. We have scrambled to replace items we left behind, scoring a King size mattress and two twin box springs for $300 (+$20 for the guy to deliver and help me move it inside) We skip a frame and headboard since one of our cats loves to hide under the bed, and it'll be a bitch to get him out.

Scouring Craigslist some more we manage to find a wood-top, metal-legged kitchen table with four chairs for 30 bucks. The hunt for a couch or loveseat is quite the drag unfortunately. One place we look at we discover it's located on the 2nd floor of an apartment complex with stairs that twist and turn, ah-no-thank-you.

We eventually find two used leather couches, they're worn, but comfortable and dammit we haven't had a couch for a few days and it's getting old real quick. Jenn and I pick up the love seat without any issue, but the couch is too heavy for her to carry. In addition, the rental truck only has a 6 ft 8 inch bed, and this couch is just a tad too long/ The kids offer to not only help us load & strap it down, but also to follow us and help us move it in! They are asking for $200 for both, but I only have $140 on me. Their mom REALLY wants these couches gone so they take the deal and drive the 15 minutes to help us bring it in. I feel bad that I can't even offer them a beer for their troubles because we've barely done any real shopping.

During one of my 7am forays to a 24hr WalMart SuperCenter I am walking along one of the main aisles near the grocery section when I notice a group of three people on the other side passing me. I make eye contact with one for a second, then bring my eyes back and continue on my way. Shortly after I pass I hear a yell from behind me "HEY HOMIE, YOU NEED A TAN!"

On another 7am foray to this same WalMart, Jenn and I are picking up a few odds and ends, including a crock pot/slow cooker. While we're in an aisle looking a lady comes barreling into the aisle with her shopping cart and blocks off an area we were just looking at. She NEEDS a crock pot and she NEEDS it NOW! She has to get it for food she's bringing into work today. How the FUCK is some other idiot shopping for a crockpot at 7am when we're shopping for the same fucking thing? You have got to be kidding me. I think "bitch better not take our crockpot!" as we quickly snatch up a model we had been looking at before she can get to it.

Having done research beforehand I opt to open an account with Grow Credit Union, as my bank Santander has no presence in this state. The process is smooth and friendly, the branch well maintained and nice to visit. I also take the opportunity to get pre-approved for an auto-loan and while I'm going through that process the guy mentions that since they already pulled my credit they can also look into a credit line to consolidate some of my higher interest credit cards if I'd be interested. HELLS YES I WOULD BE INTERESTED, THE GNU FREAKING LOVES MONEY!

Later that day I receive a call with good news, I've been approved for the loan (at 3% less than what I had paid on my previous loan) and the credit line as well, with an initial savings (6 months) of almost 60% off what my cards are charging me, and then around 40% off after that period ends. FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!

He also mentions that with the auto loan they have a local dealer that works with credit unions and has special priced inventory. On top of that, if I look online and enter a special code I can see inventory specific to my credit union. If I wind up purchasing one of those I'll get an additional 3.5% off my car loan rate!

Having recently become a wannabe-mustachio (google mr money mustache) I take the bait and find there is a good deal on a Mazda 3 i sport. Unfortunately when we call the dealership it turns out that's already been sold, most of their inventory is in disarray and all over the place and they only have a Chevy Aveo (and I swore off GM awhile ago)

Our credit union guy steers us to another dealer (although without the extra 3.5% off possible) but unfortunately they don't have much to offer. We test-drive a Mazda 3 but the engine feels anemic and there's a number of things off with this vehicle, so we pass.

Getting back home and feeling the crunch (my rental truck goes back on Saturday) I search Cars.com and find a few vehicles that catch my eye. The first is a 2011 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0 Turbo and the 2nd is a 2013 Nissan Altima Coupe. I call both dealerships and I'm told both vehicles are still in stock. Arriving to test the Hyundai first they come back and tell me that the car was sold "30 minutes ago" Yeah........right. We walk and hit the other dealership and find the vehicle in stock.

We take the car for a test drive, it goes well, and come back to crunch numbers. This was previously a rental vehicle, so it's higher mileage (around 57K) but book value is still higher than what they're asking ($13,500)

Still, I know there's room to negotiate, and with 7% sales tax plus another $400 for registration, title, plates, etc I know I NEED to negotiate. I start with an offer of $11,500. He says he can't do that. I remain silent. I have learned that you give your offer and then you shut-up, the onus is now on them to counter. He hems and haws for a bit, and does some research to figure out how much he paid for the car (he claims $11,375 plus $50 for some fee and another $60 for the delivery) He says he needs to make some money on it, and counters with $12,500.

While that's a pretty good deal, I'm not done negotiating. I ask if he can do $12,000. He calls his business partner, crunches some numbers, says he'd hate to lose the sale over $500 but he's not sure he can do it for that. I remain silent. Eventually he comes back with $12,250 and I take the deal. In addition, they'll clean it up and then have one of their guys follow us in it to the rental place (15 minutes away) so I can return the truck, then bring their guy back.

I discover that my insurance per month has almost doubled, from around $70/month in CT to $128/month here in Florida (so many uninsured drivers) but the savings on my monthly car payment will help make up for that.

All-in-all it's been a great, albeit exhausting week. We're relatively settled at this point, although we still have a variety of things to accomplish which will carry past this weekend. I return to work next week in our new Tampa office, but I'm feeling good and looking forward to our new life down here.

I still haven't had a chance to visit the casino and think that won't happen until probably next weekend, but that's ok, it's not going anywhere.
 

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Glad everything's going pretty well. But while it looks nice, I don't envy you the lack of rearward visibility with that coupe.

-- Larry
 
On another 7am foray to this same WalMart, Jenn and I are picking up a few odds and ends, including a crock pot/slow cooker.

You should have applied for a Club Courage - South franchise. I heard he gives those away to new locations....


Glad to hear everything seems to be working out dandy, Anthony. How are the cats doing in the new digs?
 
Glad you had a safe trip and are getting settled in. Let me know if you need a vet recommendation - I used to work at a clinic near you.
 
Thanks guys!

The cats have adjusted to the new digs much more quickly than we anticipated. These guys aren't too easily fazed it seems.

Just hit up a local Winn-Dixie and got a rewards card, they have gas rewards just like Stop & Shop has, although a bit better (earn $0.05/off per gallon every $50 instead of having to hit $100 for the $0.10/off like S&S, plus the rewards seem to last up to two months while S&S's expire after 30 days)

Still haven't checked out the Aldi and was only in a Publix for a short moment (funny story, my wife accidentally referred to it as a Pubix and I said there was no way I was shopping at THAT store!)

Absolutely loving the new coupe, big change in driving style from the Camry LE which didn't corner all that great, this Altima really hugs those turns. Just purchased a SunPass but gotta wait for it to get sent so will likely have a bill showing up off my plate for next weeks commute. I do love how they don't have tollbooths, really keeps the traffic moving.

Also noticed another thing I like around here, most of the street signs are significantly larger and bolder and better positioned than we had up north, and they're also lit at night, which is pretty fantastic. In addition, unlike CT I'm not finding Stop Signs in really dumb spots (like every 20 feet when you're on the main road and there are side roads you're supposed to stop for)

Definitely not a fan of the traffic, not only a higher volume but a larger concentration of idiots/dangerous drivers out there. Almost been hit a few times already, so have to keep my guard up
 

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