Settling into the New Home

We moved in a week ago, but the truck is still in transit. One hundred six (I numbered them) cardboard packed boxes, 17 Rubbermaid bins, 12 milk crates with random tools, 6 bicycle boxes filled with TVs and large items, suitcases, 2 couches, 2 rugs,2 bikes and who knows what else is expected to arrive tomorrow.

It’s amazing how easy it is to live simply. The past week we’ve done just fine with our limited belongings that we packed in the SUV for the 23 hour drive to Florida from New York. Why do we have so much stuff?

For months I have been purging. Donations to Goodwill stores and boxes in the church parking lot. Garage sales and listings on Facebook Marketplace provided us with some cash to spend on future new furnishings. The last week we gave away the entire den set for free to some young guys setting up their first apartment. We ended up throwing in pots, pans and Kraft macaroni and cheese as well.

Then there were the piles of garbage the last few weeks at the end of the driveway. With all that purging, I’m surprised anything is making it down here tomorrow!

Over the past few months I checked off boxes on my bucket list. Trips into New York City included walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and visiting MoMa and Central Park. Pete and I visited some Long Island Gold Coast estates to enjoy the gardens and celebrate our 2nd anniversary at the Oheka Castle.

I enjoyed kayaking and some days at the beach, lunch out with friends, and even a couple of girl’s weekends.

I even had fun going back to school to substitute teach and screen the incoming 4 year olds with a pre- kindergarten assessment. They all passed and will be adorable excited learners in September.

It took a few months (I’m exhausted just writing about all this) but it was what I needed and wanted to do before moving 1000 miles away from the place I’ve called home for most of my life.

By the end of July I was ready. I’ve always loved to have something to look forward to and life in Florida is going to be awesome.

Our house is great and Pete loves that it is all on one level. Harry is adjusting. He doesn’t have the same excitement of barking and running in circles as the other dogs pass the front deck like he did in the house by the beach. His little paws never especially liked walking on the sand but he probably misses his morning visits to the beach camp to see all the kids.

This house is quieter. At night, we let him out onto the screened in lanai. He is not used to the new night sounds and often scampers away from strange noises the tree frogs and crickets emit.

Moving from New York to Florida in mid summer.  The adventure of life after the loss of a spouse and retirement continues.

I love the pool and hot tub on our own lanai. We went in every day for the first few days but we seem to have been attacked by tiny gnats. In Centerport we called them no-see-ems and they swarmed around us on the sand at dusk forcing us to leave the beach. Somehow they snuck through the screen here and are now floating on top of the pool. We have a nylon pool skimmer arriving in the truck tomorrow so today I may be visiting the community pool for my swim.

The beach in Florida is a 20 minute drive and I know the white sand and clear water is absolutely beautiful- most of the time. Right now the local beaches are having a red tide algae bloom. It is not advisable to swim and the air often emits irritants that lead to coughing so we will skip the beach visit right now.

Not only am I making the big move to change states, but after 2 years I am officially changing my last name. I visited the social security office on Monday and put my passport, marriage license and application in a drop box. Hope I get a new card soon so I can start making changes official on all the other important documents.

We have a beautiful water view beyond our pool that totally brings me joy. If we get up early enough, we can see the sunrise. Looking out at the view I noticed an object floating that appeared to get longer. Sure enough, upon further investigation I realized it was an alligator. We have kayaks available for use by community members but, I may wait a bit before trying that adventure.

We moved into a community with all types of amenities including restaurants, golf, pools and planned activities. We have been to happy hour with good prices and live music on Fridays at the Bahama bar. I’ll be signing up for some exercise classes next week so looking forward to that.

Best is that my sister lives 5 miles away. We have been out to eat a few times and even to the mall where I got my ears pierced at Claire’s. I had the droopy hole in my earlobe sewn up a few months ago. She held my hand as the young salesgirl punched itty bitty blue sapphire earrings into my ears. It didn’t hurt that much.

My one regret is that I did not get that haircut with Aunt Linda before I left. For 12 years she has been my hairdresser and seen me through different colors and styles, most recently washing that gray out. Now I am here and my hair has taken on a life of it’s own. I’m not sure of the color and the outgrown style is just that – outgrown. I have a hat to wear and some scrunchies for a short pony tail but eventually, I will need to find a Florida look. Stay tuned!

We listed our used cardboard boxes for free on the local social media site ‘Next Door’ and people called immediately. People are coming and going in Florida – more are coming it seems. The builders are busy and grocery stores are plentiful, awaiting the establishment of new communities.

Top 3 things I learned about moving states:

  1. Get rid of more stuff before you move

I thought I had done a good job with downsizing, donating and selling items but once we got here, so much more was not needed. We had combined two houses and all that kitchen stuff and office stuff is unnecessary (who really needs 5 staplers in a retired household?)

2. Find a reliable moving company

Get recommendations and plan in advance. The movers and the closing date almost didn’t work out so be aware. My friend recommended a colleague and that worked out well for us. We used Prime Meridian Moving with Homitch Grabowski and were pleased with the service provided.

3. Keep important papers handy

With so many boxes to unpack, it was good to know where to locate the passports, marriage license, and home sales paperwork. It took a while to find everything, but think about what you may need in the first month of settling in and keep that nearby (that goes for clothes and toiletries you may need as well)

Get a copy of my book here:


At the age of 51 I unexpectedly became a widow. For the first 6 months after my husband died, I was in shock and numb. I journaled and with the help of friends, family and therapists was able to get back to living my old life, even if it is now very different. Before I was married, I had spent a semester in England and backpacked around Europe. My husband and I moved from New York to California for 8 years and started a family. Travelling took a back seat to raising a family and going to work everyday. Since the loss of my husband I have visited a lot of places with family and friends and took a solo trip to Thailand. I am enjoying sharing my stories and adventures as well as some of my insights to how I am traveling the path of being a widow. I hope to share my stories and adventures as well as some thoughts on being a middle aged widow. While I have some great experiences traveling to Thailand and cruising to Central America, some of my adventures involve a trip to see a Broadway show in nearby Manhattan and a shopping trip at Bed, Bath and Beyond. If I can inspire anyone to go out and continue to live a good life that would be my greatest accomplishment.

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19 Responses

  1. Thank you for posting this. My husband passed 4 months ago, and I am heartbroken 💔

  2. GPS says:

    I’m pretty sure it was Divine intervention that caused me to find your blog shortly after my husband died a year and a half ago. Thank you for these words which bring me hope of a fulfilling life once again. Keep writing! Love your stories!

    • runawaywidow says:

      Thank you so much for reading and your comment. One day at a
      time. It does get easier but we never forget ❤️

  3. Moving is so incredibly difficult…I’m glad you are enjoying your new home!!

  4. cedar51 says:

    Enjoy the journey, a new chapter is being added to your life story – and it sounds like it was a move needed for you. As for all those boxes, wow!

  5. OyaSophia says:

    Trust me. Avon’s Skin-So-Soft (original) will keep the gnats away from your body. Your pool is another story! lol
    I just moved from Arizona to Coastal Georgia, so your story resonated with me! Have fun!!!

    • runawaywidow says:

      Thanks. Good to know ❤️ we have a pool guy coming Monday so hope he can fix it. Enjoy Georgia!!

  6. Dianne says:

    Looks like you found ‘your place!’
    Enjoy it all and those boxes will be gone before you know it!! 🙂

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