Having visited my FIL many times over the years that he has lived in Florida, I am all too familiar with the type of person who packs up and moves there with the hope that sunshine solves problems. Tired of winter, they fully believe that a permanent vacation lifestyle awaits them once they cross the border.
These people run the gamut from unskilled laborers to blue collar workers with the occassional misguided professional thrown in. These folks are often shocked that their problems follow them. That a laid back work ethic-i.e. no work ethic at all- ultimately won't serve them any better in Florida then it did in their original location.
Trolling message boards has given me a behind the scenes look into how some make the big move. Basing the availability of plumbing jobs on the number of plumbers listed in the phone book. Not being concerned with an elementary school because their child is only four and won't be going to school until next year.
For the record there are a number of current residents on these boards who try to talk some sense into their potential neighbors. Often times the voice of reason will be accused of being a naysayer and not wanting to share life in paradise. Given this economy, how anyone in their right mind relocates anywhere with children in tow with nothing but airline tickets and moving expenses is thoroughly beyond my comphresion.
As is often true in life, the most active/vocal participants on these boards are also the most crazy. So it can take a little while to find birds of my feather but I am making headway in the potential friend department. Stop the presses, I might even have a black friend ! She's a Navy wife who'll be on the move at some point but, if there's one there might be others.
I've also found a schooling option we could be happy with, I'll know for sure after our visit in a couple of weeks.
All in all, things are shaping up ok. Even if technically Florida is a last resort for us as well!