Wishes And Pixie Dust

Follow the journey of a Wisconsin family of 4 who relocated to the Walt Disney World area in July 2011

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Approaching the End

Last week we received a call from our landlord, stating he was going to send us a checklist of things we need to complete if we want to receive our security deposit back.  He called this morning to check to see if we received it, and as of yet, we haven’t.  He then stated he would get it to us soon, but we’re not overly concerned with what’s on it.  This will be the fifth time we’ve moved in thirteen years, and we know what needs to be done, and are working on completing it.  It’s exhausting to say the least, but we are thankful the end is in sight.

Today we pulled all items off Craigslist, except for the lawnmower, and will donate them to Goodwill.  The kids’ mattresses were picked up today, and the television armoire was also picked up today.  Yeah!   Our garbage can and recycle bin are overflowing, as we tried to dispose of as much as we possibly could, so as not to leave the cans full when we leave.  (Pick up is Wednesday morning)

Today was Ben’s last day with Ray* (*name changed to protect privacy).  Ray has been Ben’s therapist since Kindergarten, and he has really helped Ben to grow and mature, and understand his autism.  We have had several therapists come and go in our household, but Ray has always been there for Ben; he has been his steady rock in a world that seemed always changing and unfamiliar at times.  Ben knew that no matter what happened; Ray would always be there for him. Over the years Ray went from being a therapist to one of the family, and really provided that Grandfather presence that Ben lacks.  We are so appreciative of Ray’s devotion to our son; there is no way we could ever express how much it means to us.   And so today, we said good-bye to Ray; there were tears, but Ben handled it really well.  God bless you, Ray, for making a difference in the life of our child.  ♥



Moo-ving along!

 We’re from Wisconsin–we had to include a pic of a cow somehow! 😉

We have reached a point in our move where we need to examine what we will need for the next few days, and pack the rest away.  It’s very refreshing not to be hassled at the last minute, as we have been on all our other moves. Instead of being in major packing mode, these past days have, for the most part, been pretty routine.  Catie’s room is done, except for the last minute necessities that need to be packed up, and the kitchen is slowly getting packed away, as we decide on whether to keep certain items or give them to Nick.

On Monday we received 25 boxes from a fellow Freecycler, sturdy boxes from a moving company, and we were so grateful to get them!  We are currently trying to dispose of the rest of our furniture, and will have to decide soon when the break point is when we pull everything off Craigslist and donate it to Goodwill.   We also have a lawnmower, which is less than a year old, and a weed whacker, which is less than a month old; if these do not sell before next Friday, then we will give these items to Nick to try to sell for us.

We’ve finalized the payment for Mayflower, and are really excited to see that part of our journey unfold, as we’ve never used professional movers before.  We’ve learned so much about the “right” way to pack, which is really a consideration if you are moving such a long distance.  Please see our earlier post ‘Packing Those Boxes’, published in March, if you are looking for more detailed information.

Thank you for following us along on our journey!


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Just Around The River Bend

As we approach the one-month milestone in our long journey, it seems wild that we will no longer be residents of Wisconsin; it’s almost too much too take in at times.  In the early planning stages, we decided to make this our future reality, but we always knew that if things didn’t work out, we could always postpone the move.  Even as we moved forward with our dream in January, our “escape route” of delaying the move was always a possibility.  We have reached the point now, however, that backing out is not an option 🙂 It’s kind of scary to go out there without a safety net.  The quotation by Robert Burns “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” really applies.   It doesn’t matter how much you organize or how hard you plan, there will always be something that changes.   It may be a good thing, it may not be so good, but you need to go with the flow and accept it for what it is.

As we approach our 30 days countdown, we thought it would be fun to make a list of 30 things that haven’t gone according to plan:

  1. Our first moving date was going to be September 15, 2012
  2. Our second moving date was going to be in 2013.
  3. Our third (and final) moving date is July 22nd, 2011.
  4. We considered renting a U-Haul truck at one point.
  5. We thought about renting Pods.
  6. We considered driving both cars down.
  7. We considered letting Mayflower do part of the packing for us.
  8. We considered renting a house.
  9. We decided against the first city we picked.
  10. We paid much less in a security deposit than we anticipated.
  11. We didn’t get the apartment we wanted.
  12. We got a better apartment!
  13. We didn’t meet our packing goals.
  14. Car repairs cost way more than we thought it would ($1564)  Some might question the wisdom of this given the age of our car, but we expect to get at least two more years from it, it purrs like a dream now, and it also means no car payments, which totally rocks.
  15. We didn’t sell nearly as much stuff on Craigslist as we would have liked.
  16. We considered having a rummage sale but decided the grunt work wasn’t worth it.
  17. Disney raised ticket prices so the cost of an annual pass will be higher than anticipated.
  18. We’ve gone through 33 end rolls of paper that we use to pack boxes.  We received 5 free, so that totals $56.   We didn’t expect to use so many, and we’re not done yet.
  19. All our boxes have been free so far, from either Mayflower or the seafood restaurant, and we currently have 138 boxes packed.  $138 x $2 (average) = $276 savings.  We expected to have to pay for boxes (although we’re not done yet!)
  20. We don’t even want to total the cost of packing tape 🙂
  21. Our bank decided to drop the Disney Rewards program for our bank cards.  This was a disappointment, however, we currently have $172.44 saved in Disney Reward Dollars, will probably accrue a few more dollars before it ends, which we will be able to use at Disney World.  Good news.
  22. We didn’t realize just how much stuff we had.  Let’s put it this way:  we should have our own wing in the Goodwill store!
  23. We didn’t think we had so much paper/documents/art projects stored in the house, and it took weeks to go through it all.
  24. We didn’t realize how hard it will be to move away from businesses we’ve frequented for years.
  25. We weren’t able to sell our oak desk, but we were able to dispose of it a lot easier than we anticipated.  It will not be missed!
  26. We acquired a lot more medical bills than we would have liked.
  27. We didn’t expect that our son Nick would be able to get one month’s free rent at his new apartment, which saves us on needing to rent him a hotel room for a week, and a storage unit for his furniture.
  28. We were hoping to take a visit down to Wisconsin Dells to ride the Ducks, but given the cost of the car repairs, we are unable to do that before we leave.
  29. We were also hoping to possibly visit Chicago for a day trip, as our son Ben absolutely loves the city of Chicago, and Mark was born and raised in Chicago.
  30. We are fine with putting off the day trips, because it gives us an excuse to come back.  🙂  Not that we need one with Nick here, of course!
We don’t know what the following weeks have in store for us……just around the river bend….. but we are excited to see how things will unfold and begin our new life as Floridians.  Walt Disney said it best:  “Many of the things that seem impossible now will become realities tomorrow.”  Since we first imagined our dream, it has been 1,266 days in the making.  Wow.  Hold on to what you believe in, and keep persevering.  If you believe in it, you will do it.
We hope all our readers have a magical Disney-filled week!  31 days and counting!  What are you doing now to pursue your dreams?  

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Farewell to Rosenow

Today was another series of “lasts”:  the last time I will drive to and from the schools, which surprisingly feels very weird, but more importantly, it is the last time Catie and Ben will see the inside of their respective schools.  Catie will miss her friends more than the school, but poor Ben has been having a rough adjustment with transitioning on.  At fifth grade graduation yesterday, the principal gave a small talk about the “Rosenow Way” (Rosenow is the name of the elementary school):  the school environment is a close-knit community, where teachers treat the students as their own children, and the students are always welcome back to the school to visit.  He said, “you can always come back home”. Ben has been attending Rosenow since 2003–eight years is a long time in a young child’s life, and especially with a child who has autism:  it’s so very hard to walk away from what is familiar.


We reached an important milestone in the Vitek household today:  we brought up the few remaining items that were left in the basement.  It may not seem too monumental to some, but this is the first time ever that we have been living in a house that does not have piles and piles of boxes in the basement.   This is what was left in the basement:

So we have added to our Goodwill/Freecycle pile 🙂  We have been trying to pack at least a box a day, if not more.  We have started to organize our photos/videos/candles into the bags they will go in our car trunk.  With our pictures we are throwing away the duplicates and those stored on the computer.  We can always order more prints.   When we first decided to move in July, we were totally unaware that certain items could melt while in transit, notably crayons, videotapes, candles, and potentially cassette tapes and photographs.  Well, we knew about crayons, having previous experience during a family vacation trip to St. Louis, but didn’t think about the rest.  🙂  The framed pictures are being packed, but we will be bringing all the non-digital photographs with us, as they are totally irreplaceable.  Life before digital cameras:  the horror of it all!  :=)  Looking back, I don’t think we would have altered our decision, as it is important to us that the kids finish out their school year in Wisconsin, which they have.  We also wanted to make sure that we move in the summer months, as moving in the dead of winter, which we have done, is certainly not an ideal situation, and one to be avoided if at all possible due to the potential for delays and detours due to the weather conditions.

We wish everyone a magical and happy weekend!





Say Goodbye to “Stuff”

One recurring theme that we reflect on in our blog is the accumulation of and eventual removal of “stuff”. We live in a very materialistic society, and we are as guilty as the next person of acquiring things.  In the past we have wanted to reduce the amount of clutter that we own, but simply have not been motivated to do it on a large scale.

We do not have a picture of what our basement looked like two years ago; it is too bad that we didn’t snap a photo because we know it would provide inspiration to those of you who think there is no way you could possibly downsize enough because you have too much stuff. We were so there.  Our basement was ceiling to floor boxes, as well as assorted items tucked in between gaps.  We have progressed from a packed basement to an empty basement; a fair “guesstimate” would be to say we have donated/thrown away/sold approximately 60% of our belongings to date.   It is interesting, because many of the things we have kept from year to year are easily tossed into the Goodwill box, without a moment’s hesitation.   They were worth keeping as we moved from house to house within the city, but they are not worth keeping when our move is measured in terms of weight, and we must reduce as much as possible.

We have put together some ideas which have helped us as we sort through our stuff.    We hope that it helps to inspire you to downsize what you own.  If you are planning a move in the next one to three years, trust us.  It is never too early to start.

As you contemplate an item, ask yourself:  “Have I used this in the past two years?”  If the answer is no, ditch it.  It is said that you use 20% of your stuff 80% percent of the time.   Chances are this item falls into the 80% of your items that you never use.  We recommend finding a place in your home where you can keep an empty cardboard box.  For us it was in the closet in the front entrance foyer.  This is your Goodwill box.  Any item you don’t want, place in the box.  When the box is full, take it to Goodwill.  This eliminates the problem of putting items in the basement (or other place) to deal with ‘later’.  Again, trust us, you do not want to sort through an entire basement-full of items that could have been dealt with right away.   We have so been there, done that, and it’s not fun to spend hours and hours doing this.

“But I paid good money for it”, and “I might need it someday” are two common rationalizations that we use to hold on to our belongings.  If it’s not an item that you love or use on a regular basis, it’s time to let go of the item.  Consider whether the item is costing you money, in terms of storage space and/or maintenance.  Would you be able to sell it on Ebay or Craigslist and recoup some of the original purchase price?  If you hold on to every single item that you might need someday, can you reasonably organize it so that you know exactly where it is when you need it?  Probably not.  You’ll not only be storing an item, you’ll also be buying a replacement for it because you’ll have no idea where it is at the time that you need it.  Just ditch it now and give yourself the added space.

For items that hold a special place in your heart, utilize your digital camera and take pictures.  When you find it difficult to part with an item, it’s usually not because you want the item in question; you want the memory that is associating with seeing the item.  Do not save every single paper that your child brings home from school; save a couple.  Take pictures of the projects, then dispose of the projects.   You can place the photos in an album; this will allow your children to see his/her projects more often than if they were stored away collecting dust, and will often last longer than the actual project itself.  The key is to keep only a few favorite items, and photograph the rest.

We recommend writing goals that you want to accomplish, and break it down into baby steps.  We look at it in pieces, because if we looked at everything that needed to be packed at once, it would be way too overwhelming.   Concentrate on one area, and when completed, check it off your list.  You will feel a sense of accomplishment as you progress down your list, and this will keep you motivated to continue on.

Please feel free to comment on ways that you declutter around your home, and what has helped you.  Thanks for following us, and feel free to friend us on Facebook to follow our journey!