Archive for September, 2009

The trouble with Cape Coral

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

My girlfriend Crystal and I moved to Cape Coral, FL in July of this year.  Overall the city is a nice cross between country living and the conveniences of a city.  Practically every restaurant or chain store we could want is with 10-15 miles of our house.  Yet our house itself has only 3 neighbors either touching our yard or across the street.  There are none of the neighborhood association nightmares of city living (at least in the North…I hear South Cape Coral is downright uptight).  In spite of the majority of the city being underdeveloped, the streets are mostly 4 lane, intelligently laid out, and for the most part in good repair.

However, if you are considering moving to The Cape, and are scouring, as we were a few months ago, for info about life in Cape Coral,  you might want to take some notes. 

Some of the nature here is very cool.  In our area there is a pack of coyotes that live in the 120 acres of woods across the street.  They come out every garbage day looking for leftovers.  As is fairly evident by my website, I worked with exotics, including big cats, bears, wolves, and crocs.  Consequently, the prospect of coyotes wandering the neighborhood might disturb some people, but I find it refreshing.

We also have…well had…a neighborhood skunk in the area.  Last week he was hit by a car.  He freaked out Crystal who dreaded the thought of the skunk spraying the dogs.  But still, he didn’t hurt anything, and seemed to just survey the area.  As long as they are not stirring up the dogs just to spray, I don’t mind skunks.

But…. (big “but” here)

No See-Um’s (Biting Midges, Sand Flies)

In internet slang WTF!?!?!?  These little bastards are outrageous.  Mosquitoes with a voracious apetite for blood and small enough to crawl through the screen of a pool enclosure.  Nothing kills them.  We tried marigolds, catnip, Terminix, Bug Free Back Yard, those little personal powered bug repellants…nothing works.  Asking our neighbor, Dan, he replied “Stay inside at dusk and dawn.”  Are you kidding me?  If you are outdoorsy, like Crystal and I are…seriously reconsider SW Florida.

Fire Ants

Fire ants are all over the South.  I came across them from time to time in Davie, FL (Western Ft. Lauderdale area…just north of Miami).  But they are EVERYWHERE here.  After we moved in I found 6 piles.  This problem is at least fixable.  We tried Terminix, and a couple sprays, but what kicks their little fire-breathing buts is “Spectracide Fire Ant Once and Done”.  24-hours and the little buggers were nowhere to be found.

Beyond the bugs, the tax rates and the politics here, as in much of Florida are a little nuts.  There was a big todo here not too long ago because the city wanted to tax the heck out of the residents to pay for water improvements based on possible future growth.  I wouldn’t mind having city water here, but “future growth”?  Out of all the areas I looked at before we moved, this are had the lowest expected future growth!

Water is another disconcerting issue.  While South Cape is on city water, much of North and West Cape is on wells.  The wells are deep, but get this…the water contains sulfurous compounds.  That’s right, your water will smell like rotten eggs!  Mmmm.  Every house around has a water softener that pretty much does the trick.  However, many houses here have sprinklers which bypass the water softeners.  If you like to jog or walk in the early morning, you probably don’t want to live in NW Cape.  Every house who has a sprinkler system will smell…bad!

Finally, Chinese Drywall.  Yes, that’s right…drywall from China.  Certain areas of the United States were growing by leaps and bounds between 2004 and 2007 (including SW Florida).  Demand for drywall was through the roof.  So some contractors started ordering drywall from China.  One particular province used power plant waste or something to create its drywall.  It (like the water here) smells of rotten eggs.  Not only that but the sulfurous compounds mix with water to make a weak sulfuric acid which apparently has done a lot of damage to wiring and AC systems around the area.  Thankfully, we don’t appear to be living in a house plagued by this. 

Overall, we could have done much worse than Cape Coral.  But I have to admit it’s pretty bad when you move to a new area and within 30 days start weighing whether you want to move again or not.  When Crystal asked Dominick “Do you like it here” after a month of living in the new house, Dominick replied casually “No.”  “Why?” asked Crystal.  “I’m tired of getting bit by bugs,” Dominick responded.  “I want to live back at the old place.”  [An 800 sqft 2 bed 1 bath condo].  “But here you have a yard, your own pool, a sandbox, a swingset, and lots of room to play and have fun.  You wouldn’t have that at the old place.”  Dominick watched the oncoming, morning school bus pulling up to our driveway.  “I don’t care, I’m just tired of getting bit.”  I’m on it, buddy.  I’m on it.

In the beginning…

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Welcome to the new and improved version of my website.  I have added, among other things, a wordpress installation to the site to to hopefully over time jot down much of the background noise that rattles in my head every day.