When I originally bought the house in St. Petersburg that I am currently living in, back in 1999, it was pretty much perfect in every way. It was big enough to accommodate my family, it was within a few miles of both my Sister and my Mother (who were helping us raise our son), it was near great schools, and it was safe. What it wasn’t, by any means, was close to my job. I was working in Clearwater at that point, at the Staples up on Sunset Road. My daily commute, distance-wise, wasn’t horrible…but it wasn’t great either (especially considering the fact that, at that point, very little of the construction that has improved traffic on U.S. 19 had been completed).
My next job after Staples was my first job working for a software company, and the office was located in Tampa near the airport. The commute wasn’t horrible, because I was able to get off of the interstate right at the airport exit and miss the traffic going through the downtown area, but it wasn’t great either. It was around this time that I started acting professionally, and with the exception of one show in the entire time I’ve been acting all of them have been in Tampa. I briefly worked for a company that had an office that was right off of the airport exit from 275, but it was still in Tampa.
Then there’s my current job. My office, when I have to go in, is in Brandon. On a good day, the commute takes me about 45 minutes. Most of the time? It’s an hour or more. Traffic has gotten considerably worse in the last 14 years as well, and where I used to be able to consistently get from my house to the Straz Center downtown in 30 minutes that generally only happens on weekends now. I need to budget at least an hour to get there if I want to be on time.
With so much of my professional life being centered around Tampa, my social life has kind of evolved to be centered there as well. While I do have some friends here on this side of the bay, the majority of the people I know live on the other side of the bridge, and the numbers weigh far too heavily in their favor to make a case for regular outings on our side. Hell, most of them live within walking distance of the places we usually hang out. As a result of this, I yet again frequently face long commutes (and getting home WAY too late after).
Needless to say, I’m kind of over it.
Lisa and I have been talking about potentially moving for a while, but one of the big things keeping us in place has been the fact that in order to move we’d have to sell the house. That, in and of itself, comes with its own set of problems. The decline in housing that started back in 2008, coupled with a re-finance that I did before that in order to pay the bills, makes the possibility of us actually being able to sell the house for what is owed challenging. Not necessarily impossible, but certainly not a certainty. There’s also work that would need to be done before we could even consider putting it on the market. It was while we were discussing this the other day that it occurred to Lisa we might have the solution right in front of us in the form of my sister, Kim.
Kim has a young family. Kim needs a place with a yard. Kim’s ex-husband lives about 2 miles from this house, and her job is a lot closer to this place than it is her current one. Kim is currently looking for ways to get closer to her work, her kids, and her family.
In other words, all the reasons this place was perfect for me back in 1999.
We talked it over with her, and we put a plan in motion. In February of next year (if not sooner), Kim is going to rent the place from us and we’re going to move to Tampa.
I cannot tell you how excited I am about this. I looked up the commute to work from the area we want to live. 15 minutes. It’s 5 minutes from both of the theaters I work in professionally. It’s where the majority of our friends in Tampa live. It’s a cool area with personality.
It’s where we really need to be.
One thing I find interesting about all of this has been the reaction of a few folks we know here on the St. Petersburg side of the bay. You’d think we were moving to an entirely different state. I’ve said for years that people in St. Pete were more willing to go to Tampa than Tampa residents were willing to travel to St. Pete, but I’m really starting to wonder if that was just me. Maybe the reluctance to cross the bridge works in both directions, and I just haven’t seen it because I was always willing to make the drive over. I do have to admit that after years of spending hours in my car on a daily basis I’m not likely to be chomping at the bit to make regular jaunts across the bridge once we’ve settled in Tampa, and if faced with the same choices that our friends with Tampa face in this regard I’m not entirely sure we’ll make different ones.
But we’ll see.
I just wish it was February already.