July 7th marked 6 months since I moved down to Orlando from Atlanta, followed by our big move 2 days later on the 9th to Lakeland, so today is now our 6 month anniversary of moving to Mehland. Do I have any updates about living in Lakeland? Construction is now complete on our section of 33. Yay.
It’s not that Lakeland is really that bad. It’s that there’s nothing to do here PLUS I work so far away that exploring becomes too exhausting of a notion to entertain. Actually, that does sound really bad.
We’ve had dinner in downtown Lakeland a few times, to mostly meh reviews. The area is super cute, and you can tell that this area was on the up and up before the recession hit and pooped them out the other end. The architecture of the buildings is so wonderful, a mixture of old and new, and the landscaping is beautiful. But almost every store front is for lease or sale, which is a huge downer. I don’t even have any skills as an entrepreneur, but I’m freaking dying to open up a bakery, a farm-to-table restaurant, tapas, non-smoking gastropub, and a crepe shop.
One night, we ate burgers at this place in downtown that made us feel like we were on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. We were so freaking excited, we were like, “OMG, we’ve found our burger spot! Yay for supporting local businesses!” But this experience immediately became a haunting note in our relationship with Lakeland as we were both stricken with diarrhea not three hours later and had to make a “run” (see what I did there) for our lives back home.
The Mexican food isn’t all that bad here. Our normal spot Tapatios isn’t open on Sundays (what the hell…I hate small towns), but it’s the best we’ve found so far. Ignoring the fact that their clientele all weigh about 150 lbs over their ideal weight, the cheese dip is good, and that’s how we measure success in these here parts. We found a place called Abuelo’s, which seems to be a chain in FL that serves some pretty alright food. Our bartender last week served us some super sweet skinny mojitos that probably were mixed with a cancer-inducing sugar substitute, so we shan’t be ordering that crap again. The cheese dip is not Timmy’s favorite so another strike.
BTW, every Mexican restaurant we’ve eaten at here in FL doesn’t understand “cheese dip w/ or w/o jalapeños”. It’s like a crazy mystery order to them. Which is super odd because that’s a standard order in Atlanta. Do you want your cheese dip to taste like the napkin or do you want a slight bit of heat in your cheese dip? I’ll take tasty heat, thanks! When you order w/ jalapeños here, you have to explain to them to put them on the side (or else they will dump half a jar of jalapeños into the cheese dip and you will burn your face off), and to have them finely diced (otherwise they will put them sliced raw with seeds and ribs and you will burn your face off). WTF. Why is this so hard?? I miss Taxco like whoa, and especially El Toro, which was right down the street from us in Decatur. God, why is it so hard to find good Mexican food here?!?!?
Floyd has adjusted nicely though, which we’re very thankful for. He loves playing in our huge dog park field in our complex, and he’s even made a few doggy friends. He still “sags his pants a little” (as Barbara says) when he’s on his leash and sees anyone or thing that might be a threat. So far, that list includes: trees, people, dogs, children, squirrels, bushes, frogs, and my favorite, a bicycle. Anyone have any feasible tips on training out leash aggression?
We’re waiting for fall to come around so that we can plan a few days to go visit the parks in Orlando when tourist season is over and the deathly heat abates. Timmy has also never been to SeaWorld (like how our Disney trip last November was his first trip ever…the horror!!), so we’re pretty pumped to get our butts there.
Other than our constant trips out of town for weddings, things here aren’t really that different than when I started this blog. I don’t know how I feel about that, but hey, I guess it’s better than things being god awful, right? I feel almost ashamed that I don’t have a better update 6 months later about our lives here. We’ve been through a lot of ups and down in our relationship, and we’re both working really hard to make things good at home. Work is pretty fantastic and I’m still grateful for being able to get my dream job in the first place. But I think both of us would be lying if we said, yes, this is it for the long haul. FL is totally where we want to settle (I think I threw up a little in my mouth writing that). Our hearts belong to Atlanta forever. But I guess our bodies will have to be all tan in FL for the time being.
Here’s to the next 6 months. May we find more things to do in Lakeland, or so help me I will tear this town apart. At least help me find some good Mexican food within driving distance. A girl needs her cheese dip.
P.S. Don’t forget to check out our “30 Years, 1 Wish” page! It’s our 30th birthday party/fundraiser in September and we’re donating to three charities! Donate by clicking the link on the sidebar (or clicking here) or ask me for the password to the page!
Hi Victoria and Timmy, sorry you are starving or dying of dysentery in Lakeland. Our friends. Don and Rita Selvage live there.. he’s a city councilman or something…They are , of course, old enough to be your parents, but they might be able to point you in the right gastronomical directions. Rita is my friend from high school and OSU and she met Don on the bus to campus. (We were townies) He retired from the USMC and they ended up in Lakeland. Don is on Facebook. Please look them up and tell them you are young friends of ours.
Yes! Finally someone writes about Mexican.
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