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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: blessedmommyuv3
Date: 08-03-2005, 03:31 PM (1 of 14)
My dh was informed today by the selecting committee in Madison, WI that he was on the most qualified list (maximum 3 people) for the chief's job there. They will be contacting him within a week to schedule an in person interview there (which they will pay to fly him out for).

SO, my question to you is, what is Madison like?
Weather, schools, poisonous snakes, housing, cost of living, natural disasters, and OF COURSE, fabric shops???

We are currently residents of Los Angeles County in Southern CA--living in the EXTREMELY hot high desert. Cost of living here is ASTRONOMICAL!!!! In fact, our home has nearly tripled in price since we purchased it 4 years ago. This will be a huge blessing to us when we do move. DH's commute is 1 1/2- 2 hours EACH WAY to downtown LA--the chief reasons we are moving.

TIA for all advice and info you may provide
I sincerely appreciate it!!!


PS: Any prayers, good vibes, or finger crossing you can send our way is much appreciated

User: blessedmommyuv3
Member since: 05-18-2004
Total posts: 263
From: grandmasue
Date: 08-03-2005, 08:12 PM (2 of 14)
Hello, I was born and raised here in Wisconsin. And I love my state. I spent a year out in California and I didn't adjust well. I need my 4 seasons, yes it's cold here in the winter, but there's winter sports to help you forget some of that. And the first time you see the Christmas lighting displays threw a blanket of snow you should be hooked forever :)
Madison is a college town so there is always lots of activity going on. And from what I have heard it's a safer town that Milwaukee which is an hour south of where I live. There are also several smaller towns around Madison where most of the people live and aren't any more than maybe 45 minutes from Madison.
No poisonsous anything here that I know of, the worst weather we have to face is in the spring when we have to keep an eye out for tornados but they really aren't a big problem in this state.
we do have some higher taxes here than in other states but our cost of living is lower so don't feel the pinch too much.
And most important there are fabric stores. we have the basic chain stores of Jo-Ann's and Hancock Fabrics, and there are also stores like Hobby Lobby, Banner Crafts and Walmarts that carry fabric. Of course there are always the quilt shops that carry your quilting fabrics.
I'll keep you and your family in my prayers.
Grandma Sue

At the end I am not showing up at my grave all pretty and well preserved...I am coming in sliding, yelling "What a ride!"
User: grandmasue
Member since: 10-26-2004
Total posts: 138
From: blessedmommyuv3
Date: 08-03-2005, 10:07 PM (3 of 14)
Grandma Sue,
Thank you so much for your thoughtful and informative response.
I really appreciate it :bg:

And thanks for keeping us in your prayers.
I really hope that WI is indeed what God has in store for our family---I want so badly to get away from the fast paced life of Southern CA; WI sounds like it might just be what the dr ordered-lol!
We really enjoyed living in MT and OH, I was thinking WI might be similar to those two states.

User: blessedmommyuv3
Member since: 05-18-2004
Total posts: 263
From: MaryW
Date: 08-04-2005, 06:01 AM (4 of 14)
Jen, I hope it all works out for you. I know what it is like moving to unknown places, especially with kids. Schools were my first concern. How do your dogs cope with that heat?
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: blessedmommyuv3
Date: 08-04-2005, 08:34 AM (5 of 14)
Thank you, Mary.
Actually I was beginning to get a bit of an itch to move anyway-lol! We have lived here the longest (approaching 5 yrs) that we have ever lived anywhere in our almost 17 years of marriage. I married my dh when he was in the Airforce, so we have lived in Germany, Montana, Northern California, Ohio (twice--different parts) , and now Southern California. My oldest dd (13) is used to moving--unfortunately she was in 3 different 1st grade classes. Our two youngest, however, have only been in school here.

As far as our dogs and the heat (which has been 106 lately here), they were both born (and adopted thru a Saint Bernard Rescue by us) in Southern CA, and they haven't ever known any different. They are inside dogs, and what you see them doing in the pic is pretty much what they do 95% of the time. Lay on the couch under the air conditioning, or lay on the nice cool tile snuggling with the cool porcelain toilet-lol! Which is only fun until you have to hurdle two Saint Bernards to use it! I think they will welcome the cold climate of WI should we be fortunate enough to move there. We had a Bernese Mountain Dog that we adopted in Germany while we were living in Montana (he is the cousin to the Saint Bernard--beautifully colored with black, and brown, and white) and he LOVED the snow. He would roll in it and shake and look altogether pleased as punch!!!

User: blessedmommyuv3
Member since: 05-18-2004
Total posts: 263
From: DorothyL
Date: 08-04-2005, 09:55 AM (6 of 14)
Jen -
You will have to knit the dogs sweaters if you move to a colder climate.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: Longblades
Date: 08-04-2005, 10:31 AM (7 of 14)
Oh, Bernese Mountain Dogs! I love the looks of them. A Christmas tree grower near me (N. of Toronto) has a weekend of dog hauling every Dec. The Saint, Newfie and Berner people bring their dogs and haul your tree, which you cut yourself, out to your car for you. Maybe your Saints would like to do some carting or sledding in the cooler weather?
User: Longblades
Member since: 07-14-2005
Total posts: 182
From: blessedmommyuv3
Date: 08-04-2005, 01:51 PM (8 of 14)
lol! As quickly as I knit----it would take FOREVER! :bg:
I have actually been trying to teach myself to knit since Christmas---and my piece is the size of a Barbie sweater! I have always wondered though if I could spin their fur into useable yarn. Right now they are blowing their coats which amounts to a collective furball large enough to make a good sized cat or a small chihuaha like dog!

I would love to teach them to pull. I was often tempted to harness them to the kids' little red wagon and let them pull them; however, they are incredibly strong--and my biggest girl is STUBBORN. So, if her attention was on a neighborhood cat my kids would have gone careening down the street behind her! Many times taking her for a walk I would feel as if I was waterskiing behind her. When a close to 200lb dog gets it in her mind she IS or IS NOT going to go somewhere or do something it is really hard to dissuade her-lol!

User: blessedmommyuv3
Member since: 05-18-2004
Total posts: 263
From: blessedmommyuv3
Date: 08-30-2005, 06:49 PM (9 of 14)
My dh found out today he has a job offer in Bay Pines, Florida.
So we will be moving to St Petersburg (Tampa area/Pinellas County) probably in December of this year.
My sewing has now taken an entirely different direction. I guess I no longer need to sew heavy fleece, warm scarfs, etc... lol! :bg:
Anyone who is familiar with this area, I would love to get the skinny.
I noticed on the Halloween thread that Chrysantha lives in the panhandle--I wonder if this is near where we are moving to and if the same Halloween rules apply thru the entire state.
Hurricanes are another question--I have heard this area gets hit less hard. :nc: I sure hope so. I can handle earthquakes (I'm a native Californian after all)---but I'm a little nervous about hurricanes.

User: blessedmommyuv3
Member since: 05-18-2004
Total posts: 263
From: Chrysantha
Date: 08-30-2005, 09:51 PM (10 of 14)
FL is like CA....theres a north and a will be moving into the south.
I live in the north and I have no idea what Tampa/St Pete is like, except for what I've heard.... high crime rate, thumping car stereos, high heat and humidity, lots of bugs (you'll LOVE the palmetto bugs..L A R G E cockroaches that fly and 'click' when they walk....they fly into your home, usually in Aug and Sept.) there are 15 types of cockroaches here in FL...termites, fire ants (when fire ants sting, they are small dirt colored ants, you may not even see'em, it raises a bump, it may take weeks to go away, (if you're allergic, see a Dr.) it BURNS and itches at the same time.) Lightening kills more people than sharks do.( 5 people were killed here in N. FL by lightening last week. they were on the water on sea-doo's). DRINK WATER, even if you don't feel thirsty. The humidity sucks the life out of you and the heat will give you horrible headaches if you don't drink enough water.
Housing USED to be the last 3 years it's gone up 50% or more.
(my house 10 yrs ago was 82,'s now $215,000..1500 sq ft brick).
There is no dirt here,it's all rocks, they're 'imported'. Palm, long leaf pine (look like regular pine needles, but bottle brushes, tall and thin..KILLER pine cones, will flatten your tires), the usual trees, except for spruces and types of pines. St Augustine, Centipede grass. ( Centipede grows on runners and is small bladed, St Augustine is large bladed and tough.) No other kind of grasses really grow here.

School....started Aug 4th, will end in May....they have a test called FCAT here...thats ALL they teach...the test..nothing else. Everyone in school MUST take it. Schools are GRADED on this test. ( most parents want their kids to learn to read, write and do math...that doesn't happen here unless you home school or private school)(parents hate the FCAT....or so they've told me).

Drivers license good for 7 yrs (provided you don't get tickets).
Buy a home, take the -homestead exemption-, takes $25,000 off the appraisal taxes of your home. (postcard re-enrolls you once a year, you MUST own the home and live in it to get the exemption).
Car tags on registered owners birthday, every year. (runs about $35. a car depending. We have over 100 plates to choose from, charges are 10-25 dollars for 'special' plates. ( Challenger, save wildlife, etc) Plates are picked up at the TAX COLLECTORS office. NOT DMV. DMV is for drivers license ONLY and is run by the sheriff's dept. Sheriff's can give you tickets here for MOVING violations. (sheriff's cars are usually white with green, gold or blue stripes down the side). FL Highway patrol is tan over brown, new light bars this yr, cherries AND blue berries...they also have sneeky cars...camaros, mustangs, SUV's...all regular paint jobs, just little red and blue lights on the dash and back deck....they hide REAL well...radar detectors are NOT legal here. Back plates smog checks, emmission stuff....

Gas today was $2.74/9 (premimum, thats what we use). It will go up tomorrow our gas lines have been cut from N.O., due to hurricane Katrina.

Homeowners insurance is almost impossible to get here. And it's HIGH and getting higher. Car insurance not so bad. (unless you have teenagers). If you live near the water, NO flood insurance.
If you buy a house here make sure you get a termite inspection and make sure you keep the termite policy. (out of my block of about 30 houses, mine and one other are the only ones that have NOT had termite damage, we use
a local company that uses bait stations, NO spray...initial charge (unless the previous owners transfer policy is about $1200...then $300 a yr after that).

You might try googling Tampa/St Pete to get more info....
this is about all I know and I'm sure some of it you don't care about...but trust me, it may come in handy one day...I wish -I'd- have had some of this info.
I don't know where you're comming from...but if it's up north, fine...the roads from N.O. EAST are gone and the bridges closed...the roads may NOT be passable for some time...I know you said you're moving in Dec,. but trust me, the roads may NOT be fixed by then.
(I don't know about Halloween down south...sorry)
Earthquakes are a rareity compared to hurricanes...I grew up in CA, trust me, I know this after living in FL for 10 yrs. You get used to boarding up, leaving town, ice, water and gas being in short or NO supplies. You get used to buying batteries, and anything that RUNS on batteries. (buy a generator if you me, you will need it some day) keep candles handy.
Casual clothes are usually worn. sandals (zoris/thongs/flip flops whatever you call them are all over). Kids wear shorts, t-shirts and sandals to school during the hot months...
It MAY get cold. (I said MAY...) or at least coolER. (it freezes up here during Jan and Feb, but by Mar the a/c is back on.)
(more)than 2 cents worth... :bluewink:
User: Chrysantha
Member since: 09-06-2002
Total posts: 2414
From: beachgirl
Date: 08-30-2005, 11:13 PM (11 of 14)
I'm not from Tampa area either, we live in Naples, Fl. that is south of there & on the west coast. Much different here that where you just heard from. Naples is extremely high on land & homes. We do have flood ins. even on the water. Homeowners is high but you can get it easily enough. Flood ins. isn't bad at all. Our schools does have the Fcat but the kids learn all the regular stuff as well. Gas is high, as of today reg was $2.59 gal but with Katrina it will go up. We don't have cold here or rarely. Does get cooler in the so called winter but is real nice. Same as other as for as car tags & when they are due depends on whose name is first on title & their birthday month. Do need to keep a generator on hand & hurricane shutters are almost a must or you use 3/4 plywood. Candles on hand & batteries. A battery operated combo tv,radio is nice too. Stock up on huricane supplies & don't wait until the last min. to buy them.Sounds more scary than it is. Not that you won't use some of the stuff but some years it's just not much but others is scary. For me not as scary as earthquakes( lived in Calif.) or tornados ( in Mo. ) & been through some of those. At least here we have some warning. Now, you need someone that really lives where your going to live. Just wanted you to know some things are different in different areas of FL. We love it here. Been here since Jan. 1970. Good luck on your move & where you are going to live. :bluesmile
User: beachgirl
Member since: 08-31-2004
Total posts: 615
From: suesodyssey
Date: 08-31-2005, 08:15 AM (12 of 14)

I have lived in CA and FL, and would pick FL any day. I lived about 50-60 miles north of Tampa in central Florida. Just like in CA, housing depends on where you want to be. Close to Tampa or the water will be expensive. If you can live further out, housing is cheaper, traffic isn't so bad and you are closer to the center of the state. Can't say anything about the schools, my kids are long gone. Picking an earthquake over a hurricane is easy. You get warnings about a hurricane. I could never get used to the earth moving under me with no warning. Just like anyplace, you will have to learn about all the little critters and how to handle them. Central FL has lots of armadillos. I was raised in Texas and I always thought they were just roadside decorations!!!! The only time I saw them was as road kill. In central FL, they are always out at night, digging holes everywhere, but they are also out during the day. You make the most of where ever you live. If you go in with an open mind it will probably be good. I too have moved a lot. I have never lived one place more than 5 years. Good Luck on your move.

User: suesodyssey
Member since: 03-29-2005
Total posts: 86
From: blessedmommyuv3
Date: 08-31-2005, 12:55 PM (13 of 14)
Thank you all for your replies :bluesmile
Luckily housing prices are still much lower in FL than what we are paying here in Southern CA, so that will actually be a bit of a relief--instead of a huge shocker. And the sand will be nothing new, we live in the desert right now--
I AM looking forward to seeing some green and "real trees"; our trees are joshua trees--and although they have a loveliness of their own--they just aren't green and lush.
The hurricanes and snakes are the scariest part of the move, I think....
Well, that and the thought of driving across the nation 4,000 miles with 3 dds and 2 huge Saint Bernards. We plan to buy a travel trailer to pull behind our truck; hopefully this will make the move easier, provide somewhere to live while we locate a home and go thru escrow, and provide a mean of escape from the hurricanes.
Car registration will also be a huge relief. Here in CA you pay something like 10% of the car's value--oh and if you are 1 month late on your renewal there is a $100.00 late penalty. We paid $600.00 to renew 3 vehicles this year--and only one of them was new!! :bang:
Our gas prices are now up to $3.00/gal-- although I'm sure our Canadian friends most likely are paying more--so I can't complain too much.
I definitely plan to stock up on bottled water, canned goods, and batteries once we get established there. I am so thankful we will be moving after Hurricane season has ended---we will get a chance to get settled in.

Thanks again for all your help!

User: blessedmommyuv3
Member since: 05-18-2004
Total posts: 263
From: LeapFrog Libby
Date: 08-31-2005, 01:03 PM (14 of 14)
I have always enjoyed the vacations when we went that way.. (St Pete Area) Beautiful.. I remember once my Mom and I pulled into St Pete right after a late afternoon thunderstorm and the sky and ocean was most awesome.. The contrast of sunset and the dregs of the thunderclouds was wonderful.. we walked out on the beach and that was the widest strand of beach I ever walked on.. I have never forgotten that evening.. That is a beautiful part of Florida..
Sew With Love
User: LeapFrog Libby
Member since: 05-01-2002
Total posts: 2022
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