Orlando: One Year Later

Hello, friends! Long time no write! It’s been a busy time in the Lawrence home for the past month or so. There was an emergency wisdom tooth extraction among other things, so my attention has been scattered.

That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to be reminded that we have officially been in Orlando for one year. The anniversary was yesterday, April 24th, and today marks the beginning of our second year.


There are so many anniversaries to keep track of in our busy lives. A special shout out goes to Facebook Memories for reminding us, though receiving the second half of my SO’s signing bonus is a nice reminder as well.

Before we moved here we were living in a small town on the other side of the state, near Tampa. It was nice enough, and I miss it every once in a while. My Companion was working from home for a global Telecom, and I was jamming out the final edits and proofreading on At Wit’s End for it’s release date.

The Company That Shall Not Be Named shut down shortly after we moved, and though I was given all of my rights to my work, it was still quite the kick in the teeth.

We had a routine there, because it was a small town. Places we went on certain days, people we saw regularly. The clerks at the grocery store knew us by name, as did the clerks at the gas station where I used to buy all of my scratchers. My win streaks were legendary there. They kept our beer and other preferences well stocked.

That’s one of the things I miss.

We felt safe there, protected. Everything was familiar, and if it wasn’t, well, we knew someone who could help us out. We have preferred vacation spots on that side, for weekend getaways and for longer term.

God, I miss Anna Maria Island. We’ll get back there, I swear. Did you know Anna Maria Island was the first library to receive a donated copy of any of my books? Yeah, that’s how much I love it. Not to mention that we were there shortly after it was released and I happened to have a copy on hand.

Anyways, about a week ago we remembered a courier showing up to hand deliver wine glasses from the company after he accepted the offer. They are beautiful, and we still have them, and we still haven’t used them. We pulled the glasses out, and I have a bottle of wine in the fridge. What I don’t have is a corkscrew.

Ah, such is life.

Friends from the small town have gotten engaged, some married, one has some serious health issues and I’m worried about her. Job changes, break ups, graduations … there’s been much that we’ve missed. Has it been worth it?

The experiences we’ve had in the year are plentiful. They had better be. My Companion’s income leaves us in a nice spot. He’s working in an office now, so the travel has cut back, which sucks, but we’re working on figuring that out.

Our dining opportunities have been fantastic, and we’ve been introduced to a lot of new foods. The atmosphere is very different. This is a Disney town, after all. I’ve lived in other large cities and they did not have the same feel as this place. I sense opportunity here, far more than others, and maybe that’s because Disney injects optimism into the air or something, I don’t know.

We’ve met some normal people, rubbed shoulders with others who have been famous in their own niches, have famous parents, or parents with extremely high powered jobs, people with surprising jobs, and a few whack jobs.

The shooting at Pulse nightclub happened around this time. That will be a sad anniversary. They’re still working out the logistics of the memorial. I haven’t heard much about it on the local news in a while so I may be making use of Google later.

That was my first experience being near what was considered a terror attack. 9/11 was a long time ago, and in New York. Yes, it fucked my world up, like everyone else’s, but I never thought I would live in a target environment, so to speak.

The shooting affected me, though I didn’t realize it at first. I never used to watch crowds with suspicion, only out of interest and blatant people watching. When we went to Sea World or Universal, I found myself scanning for backpacks and checking over my shoulder.

I’m not a fan of that.

The feeling has eased in this year, but damn. I drive by Pulse regularly and still well up with tears.

That was a huge blow to take when we moved to a town that already had thrown us into such a deep culture shock I wondered if we hadn’t actually been living in the backwoods of Michigan before Orlando.

Traffic, angry people, sirens all the time, construction all the time, it’s hot, no breeze, tourists are everywhere all year round, I just … sometimes we want to run.

I’ve transitioned now. The schedule I’m privileged enough to keep allows me to work around traffic in ways most people can not, I have patience for the angry people, after a while you don’t hear the sirens or construction, and chatting with tourists is fun. Because we’re discovering the area, we can tell them all about restaurants they should check out as we were just there.

Now that we’re settled, travel kicks in this fall. We’re not staying in Florida for this one though. The first blast of fun is going to be out west with a pop in visit in Michigan at some point. Then we’ll start planning local weekends.

I can’t wait.

My Companion is thrilled with his job, to the point that looking at houses is in our 3-5 year plan. I’ve never been able to write as much as I have in the past year, nor as quickly. The next two books in the Baldwin Series will be released before 2018. That’s some pretty amazing output, trust me.

Though the first half of the first year in Orlando sucked to the point I invented new metaphors I can not share here, I’m glad we came. This opportunity has been amazing, and I can’t wait to see where else it leads.

To all of my friends out there, are you coming to Orlando? Do you live here? How about we open up comments for questions and suggestions? If you’re here, tell me where to eat or go play (bars are included in this) and if you’re coming, ask us where to go.

We’ll chat soon!

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