the road to pensacola, pt. III

how did the spark become a flame?

if you’re not up to speed yet, check out the first two posts:

the road to pensacola, pt. I
the road to pensacola, pt. II

here’s what’s been going on since that lunch lise and i had back in december where we decided to see what it would take to actually move to pensacola…

i began things by logging into (the pensacola Multiple Listing Service where all the for-sale homes are listed with prices, pics, realtor info, etc.) and looking at homes in the range we can afford. one of our biggest concerns is that we don’t want to move backwards and have to rent an apartment forever and ever again – we want to be able to buy a house (eventually) down there. good news! there are plenty of homes down there in our range all over the area. i registered with the site and hooked up with a realtor down there, brian.

brian and i have talked on the phone a couple times and have exchanged emails regarding information on homes, areas, mortgages, and other things realty. seems to be a nice guy. we’re taking him to lunch when we hit pensacola for spring break the first week in april.

Positives: 1 Negatives: 0

next, i needed to know that i could transfer from xavier to another grad school to complete my m.ed in special ed and get licensed to teach. this was a concern: i thought pensacola was home to only community colleges and some baptist-y christian college. a quick look through chamber of commerce materials showed otherwise! university of western florida is in pensacola AND they have my program there! a couple calls there and i come to find out that they not only have my program, it’ll take less than HALF the time it’d take me to do the program at xavier!

Positives: 2 Negatives: 0

obviously if we’re going to move, we’ve got to be able to sell our house. this is where things got a little… sticky? not negative but not as positive as we had hoped.

i had talked with our mortgage company here about them making us a loan in pensacola, etc. and about the sale of our house here in cincinnati. the woman who has helped us told me the formula for figuring out what the listing price would normally be: take the county auditor’s appraisal and add 20%. this sounded too good to be true (given that our county appraisal was $107,000, then add 20% would give us a listing price of almost $130,000). we bought this house 3.5 years ago for $97,000 – there’s no way we’re going to be able to list it for $130,000!!

and i was right. dangit!

mike, our most excellent realtor, walked through the house with me, made a list of things we need to get fixed and straightened up (a much longer list than i was expecting) – then he sat me down and told me the truth. he won’t list the house for more than $109,900 because the market wouldn’t support more than that, and he has to be able to sleep at night. and it’s this honesty that makes me glad he’s our realtor. so, if we can sell at $109,900, after the commission and county taxes, we’re back at around $99,000, leaving us with about $20,000 cash from the sale.

and i’m concerned that won’t be enough to get moved, settled, and get a down payment on a house down there. we’ll see.

Positives: 2 Negatives: 0 Marginals: 1

so now i’m at the point where we need to be talking to the school systems down in pensacola about transferring lise’s certification, finding out what kind of salary there is to be had, and what kind of job i can get while i finish my grad school down at UWF.

quick call and a couple departments later and i’ve gotten most of the information i need on lise. now i start asking about my own job-worthiness. as i’m explaining about being at xavier, what ohio requires (and why it’s going to take me four years to finish the program here, but at UWF only 1 or 2 years), how i’m working in special ed now, etc. etc. etc. the woman finally stops me and says,

“wait: you mean you have a bachelor’s degree?”

“well, yeah – i’m in grad school.”

“oh, hon – don’t transfer to UWF – if you have a bachelor’s degree, you can take the Florida Teacher’s Certification Exam – it’s pass/fail – if you pass, you get a three year temporary certification and we’ll put you in the classroom right away!”

“wait – i don’t have a bachelor’s in education – i’ve only been working in education for a long time.”

“that’s ok – we have a program here to help you through the three year temporary certification to a permanent certification! here’s the website – go register to take the test – when you pass it, let us know and we’ll start the process of getting you certified and hook you up with a teaching position here in the fall.”

and at that, i about wrecked the car.

absolutely amazing. i go from thinking i’m going to have to spend years to get certification and i’m finding out now that all i have to do in florida is pass a computer-based multiple choice test in Elementary Education K-6 and another multiple choice test in Education of Students with Exceptionalities and *poof* i’m a teacher.


Positives: 3 Negatives: 0 Marginals: 1

we’ve spent the last 2 weeks starting work on the house. a lot of painting, a lot of chipping, drilling, patching, a lot of clutter-removal (daaayng!! we’ve got a serious case of CLUTTER!!), a lot of being overwhelmed at the task before us.

but a lot of excitement, too.

stay tuned – more excitement is around the corner!

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