Home {part 1}

Oh, home, let me come home
Home is wherever I’m with you

– Edward Sharpe

The day of our big news has came & passed – we bought a home! Not that there was ever a question about this but we are permanent Florida residents! As a refresher, we’ve both lived in Florida since 2017 and we both have wondered a time or two if we’d stay (mostly during crisis times) but Florida is most definitely home for us. I wonder all the time how anyone can live anywhere else! I personally couldn’t do it & luckily for me, I don’t have to. I thought before I properly tell the story of purchasing our home, I’d like to take a trip down memory lane & revisit my former homes in Florida.

I moved here on Valentine’s Day 2017. Very fitting for someone running from divorce & unhappiness. Emma and I stayed with my aunt and uncle for about a week although I got the keys to my little beachside condo on Daytona Beach the very next day. I saw the “Welcome to Ormond Beach” sign right off the i-95 exit on the way to my aunt’s and I looked over at Emma & told her “We’re home babygirl! We made it!” and ,yes, in that exact moment I knew I made the right decision coming here. It already felt like home. In fact, it felt like I should have been here YEARS before I actually pulled the trigger and came! I loved my little musty scented condo on the beach! I loved being able to take the elevator down & walk outside to the beautiful pool and the ocean being right there. I loved my evening walks on the beach, picking up shells & catching the gorgeous sunsets. I loved how buttery brown & sexy I was because I was outside all the freakin’ time! I loved how many people I had that would come visit, although now I see it’s because it was also convenient for them to have someone on the beach to stay with (I never cared, I was just happy to have company). I loved my neighbors – Patty and Janey. I loved going upstairs to have dinner & drink wine with them on their balcony (I was on the 1st floor, they were on the 4th and their view was so much better than mine!) I loved walking Emma down A1A – during Bike Week, the bikers would pull up to us & rev their engines – not sure if they were working to impress me or Emma but Em loved it! She’d get all giddy and excited and do these little hops like “mom! Did ya hear that?!” It was nice for the time. However, I did NOT like the fact that Emma was not allowed to touch the flooring of the building – she had to be carried in and out or I had to use a pet stroller, which she was terrified of. I did NOT like the fact that you can DRIVE on the beach but can’t take your dogs. I did NOT like the fact that this bitter old bitch that worked the front desk would call me multiple times while I was out or at work just to tell me she was barking. One day I was grocery shopping and she called me 3 times to tell me Emma was barking. I responded with “I don’t really know what you expect me to do from Walmart” but I had to bite my tongue from saying “dogs bark bitch, get over it!” Obviously I couldn’t say that & it got to the point that we were going to be asked to leave if she didn’t stop so I had to do the unthinkable and buy my baby a shock collar. I was horrified the first time she barked and I saw it shock her – actually I laughed first because she jumped damn near 2 feet in the air & it just completely dumbstruck me but then I was horrified because that’s not something I believe in. My baby should not be punished for barking (if it was really even her, Patty and Janey would visit my condo while I worked and stand by the door and listen and they never heard her barking!) but alas, I had to do something. Once it shocked her and MY initial shock had worn off, I took the collar off her and cried. Emma is my main girl…the very best girl, and she deserved a real home. This was not going to be it.

In fact, I only kept it for 7 months because I got hired on with my airline to be a flight attendant! My daddy took Emma for me during my training and while I worked where she has lived a very spoiled and pampered life! She still goes for visits. He and my uncle Jim went over to the condo while I was in training and loaded up all of my stuff for me & stored it in his sunroom. Some of it is still there, mostly my skinny girl clothes (haha) where they have resided for almost 4 years! Insane. Anyways, after graduating flight attendant training I stayed in a crashpad in Fort Lauderdale with 9 other girls – all flight attendants & one female pilot. I knew most of them from my training (we all kinda piled in on this lady who had just recently started her crashpad) and we all got along beautifully. We had a lot of fun – beach days, going to Miami for New Year’s, Rocco’s Tacos, Las Olas, shopping, drinking, getting our nails done, etc. It wasn’t a bad deal really, $300/month to crash close to the airport but at 30 I was one of the oldest ones there & sometimes the owner of the crashpad was batshit crazy. So, in December of ’17 I met this super hot guy who lived in Boca & he started taking up A LOT of my free time (ya’ll pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down? It was Clinton) – one night Clinton informed me that a friend of his from Indiana was moving down & they would be moving into a new place together and I am welcome to come join them if I’d like. It was soon & typically I don’t rush into things BUT please remember, I’m not always home! So I thought that would be a great idea. I thought we would both still have a decent amount of personal space with my being gone away for work. I gave my notice at the crashpad but it didn’t matter because the owner asked a bunch of us to leave (a kind way of saying…she kicked us out!) so that was that. I moved to Boca Raton.

The Boca days could have been so much better. I love that show “New Girl” with cutesy little Zooey Deschanel and her 3 guy roommates – when I was married I envied that life. Zooey and her guys had so much fun being in their 20s and early 30s, they were all hot, and all their quirks were funny. It just looked like so much fun & a life that I never got to experience because I chose to get married at 22 to someone with the personality of a cardboard box. When I actually started LIVING the “New Girl” life (I started with 2 guys then a 3rd moved in a few months down the road – we were out of room at this point so he slept on the couch) – I realized that shit is for the birds. Life is not a sitcom! Quirks are only funny for so long, the luxury apartment that we needed 3 paychecks to pay for stayed dirty & disorganized no matter how much I tried (and eventually gave up on), my stuff was scattered all over the place, I missed Emma something fierce & did not want to inconvenience anyone in the apartment to watch her while I worked so she mostly started with my dad, I never cooked there because the dishes were usually dirty & I didn’t want to double down on the work (I’d have to do dishes to cook then do them again afterwards!) so I stayed eating out, and I gained even more weight there which put me in a nasty insecure headspace. Oh, let us not forget, Clinton and I bickered all the time. Like, he got on my damn nerves constantly and we just simply could not stop arguing. We loved each other so much though so we just kept pushing no matter how toxic we were being. Honestly, it was pretty bad. We had some fun there with being so close to the beach & I loved when we’d take his motorcycle out but simply put – that was not the environment for me. So I left – I transferred to Orlando from Fort Lauderdale & rode the rest of my time being based in Fort Lauderdale out in a cheap hotel by the employee parking lot called the Red Carpet Inn. The Red Carpet era was fun – I was heartbroken not being with Clinton, but staying at the hotel with my girl Karren was nice! The Red Carpet offered a crew discount of $55/night and when we’d be in town at the same time on reserve (on call) for work, we’d split a room. The hotel left much to be desired but the staff were awesome to us, the pool was nice, and the little attached bar & restaurant was pretty good! Clinton and I would still see each other somewhat regularly and start making plans to start fresh in Orlando. To this day when I go to south Florida or have a layover in Fort Lauderdale I get very anxious and can’t wait to leave. South Florida really ran me through the ringer emotionally. Some of my most stressful & trying times happened there & I don’t like it.

Once it was time for my transfer to take place, I found a townhome in Daytona. Please reference post “Mickey’s Corporate Office” for more on what happened with that. Basically, Clinton got hurt & I didn’t want to deal with it so I backed out. It was for the best. We figured our shit out & became better than ever. I’m so proud of us! I can honestly say now that we have the healthiest relationships of anyone I know. All 2019, I stayed with my dad or with Clinton’s family. Eventually his dad & step mom would move to Texas and take him with them for a few months. I would begin flying out to Texas on my off days and after about 4 months we couldn’t do it anymore. It was time for him to be back in Florida. This was for his well being mostly – Florida had his doctors, insurance, therapies, etc from his accident. So then we landed in Orlando – it was nice. We chose Orlando (I actually would’ve preferred a suburb of Orlando) so I would be close to the airport and be able to be home more. After 3 years of bouncing around & constantly moving, we settled down in our little apartment & overall enjoyed it! We didn’t like our neighbors very much & sometimes even the apartment itself sucked but we actually enjoyed Orlando. The thing with apartments though is that it never really feels like you’re settled because deep down you know it’s not a forever home. No one stays in an apartment forever.

So here we are. New Smyrna Beach. This is it for us, we have put down our roots. Getting Clinton to this point has been a journey – not so much recently but before (circa 2018) he never really thought he’d buy something again because he never saw himself staying in one place. Good thing for him though, he is engaged to a flight attendant & honey I don’t stay nowhere for very long! But I’ve had to work with him on getting him to understand that having a constant place to return to is a beautiful thing. This spot is OURS – to be loud in, to have fun with, to do whatever we want in! I am so excited to be a homeowner with this man!

– Autumn, Clinton, & Emma (and hell, Nagini too)

*I’d like to note that a few weeks ago, I actually found Emma’s shock collar from all those years ago and threw it in the garbage where it belongs! We do whatever the fuck we want in these parts!

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