New Year, Same Issues, and Thoughts of Moving

Over the past several months, I have been struck by the dichotomy of Cape Coral.  Coming from SE Florida, Cape Coral is 1000% better in terms of customer service, general friendliness of neighbors and the public at large, traffic, and comfort.  Our landlord, Roland, is as cool as they come.  And we’re living on a half acre with a 1500 sq ft, 3/2/2 home for less than I paid for a 1/1/1 condo in SE Florida.  But this bus issue with Dominick is getting seriously old.  And we have a new (for us) negative wrinkle–snow birds (people that come down to Florida during the winter months).  Typically we truly enjoy the neighborly attitude of stores.  But in the past month, every body walks around with a dark cloud over their head.  They are rude, cut you off in traffic, bump into our kids without a “sorry”…it feels like SE Florida all over.  Some dusty old fart in a Cadillac cut me off driving today by a matter of 2 ft.  He was from Ohio…OHIO…my home state.  I was so ready to come unglued on him, but wasn’t about to jeopardize our kids the way he already had.

At the beginning of winter vacation for the schools, a local radio station morning show host started talking about the bus issue and got so many callers she cleared her morning guests to handle all the calls.  She posed the question “Do parents like or dislike ‘School Choice’”.  (This is the heart of the issue–parents can choose any school in the county for their child to go to, and with the exception of charter schools which fill up quickly, the county will provide transportation.  However, when you’re one of the poorest counties in the state, with unemployment over 13%, that quickly turns into the 4 hours a day Dominick is spending on the bus.)  Many, many parents called in and a terrific solution was made which would save county tax dollars, long bus rides, and still give parents the choice to choose which school their child goes to:  parents would still be able to choose any school in the county (open enrollment), but busing would only be provided for their local district.  If a parent chose another school, it would be up to them to make the arrangements to get their child there.  Of the many callers, a significant majority seemed to favor this option.  Meanwhile, not a peep heard from the school board.  I can’t understand it…these are elected officials.  It’s not like they’re appointed.  They’re voted in.  And with the exception of Chilmonic, they have got to be the laziest bunch of assholes I’ve ever seen.

I think Crystal and I have pretty well decided to leave Cape Coral at the end of our lease.  Our two primary choices are North Port (an hour up the road) and Ohio (despite the old prick from Cleveland).  We went to check out Port Charlotte (50 minutes North), which appeared online to have a relatively low crime rate, and be worth checking out.  A branch of Crystal’s college is also located up there.  And we seem to putter around Punta Gorda (just south of Port Charlotte) regularly.  Port Charlotte just looked run down, and the customer service was pretty sad.  It didn’t take long to stamp it with a big fat “No!”.  However we went up the road just a little ways to North Port.  North Port struck us very nicely.  More densely populated that NW Cape without being crazy (SE FLorida).  People seemed friendly.  Definitely a consideration.  Ohio is  a distant possibility as well, though much depends on getting Crystal up there to actually SEE it first.

More to come as the year unfolds.

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