For all the old stuff I still have to unpack and put away, there’s even more new stuff to get used to.
By Hannah Wallace
I hope you all enjoy references to my moving, because dear lord, it will never end.
It’s such an all-consuming thing. I find myself wandering from room to room like a mental patient—this thing goes here and that goes over there and the bookshelf is crooked and this pile of shoes shouldn’t be in the middle of the living room, the people the people the people.
But we’re slowly settling in and exploring our new surroundings. Saturday we got up in time (heh) to have lunch at the Red Barn Flea Market (which, we’ve decided, is Bradenton’s St. Armands). I’m not sure I get the Red Barn, though. Flea markets in general, yes, but the Red Barn seems to be less garage-sale stuff and more, as my sisters would say (air-quotes included), things that “fell off the back of a truck.” It’s a great spectacle, but I’m still trying to figure out what distinguishes it from Super Wal-Mart. Well, the Red Barn does have an awesome steak-and-cheese, for one.

Weekday mornings I’ve been toying around with jogging routes. We’re less than a mile from McKechnie Field—something to keep in mind come spring training—but nothing jumps out at me as an obvious (and safe, especially pre-dawn) course to get in more than a mile or so. Running in any direction, even at 6 a.m., sends me into busy streets (301/41, 9th Street, etc.) and unpredictable sidewalk configurations.


HOME BASE: The Pirates’ spring training field is just a quick jog from our new house.

And now that I no longer live within five minutes of the office, I’ll either have to bring my lunch or eat out every day. As much as I enjoy Pho Cali, Whole Foods, Jimmy John’s, Citrus Café, Main Bar and all the other lunch greats downtown Sarasota has to offer, I fear my income will not support those indulgences five times a week.
Alas, lunchtime naps are no longer an option.

After hours, the Bradenton relocation puts an interesting hitch into nights out with friends. Pals Big J and Little J both bought houses in Sarasota just as we began our migration northward. (We’re no more than a couple miles from Big J’s old house in Samoset, but he now lives off Bee Ridge.) And all of our usual casual nighttime hangouts are now a less-than-casual drive away, so we’ll have to forge new bar crawls. We took a break from unpacking Saturday evening to visit the Lost Kangaroo Pub in downtown Bradenton. I’ve only been there four times total, but I’m constantly reminiscing that the Lost Kangaroo reminds me of one of my favorite college hangouts, DeLand’s Blind Pig Pub. Both are long, narrow, brick-walled pubs (“bar” doesn’t quite capture their European qualities) with impressive selections of draught beers (and a somewhat fratty clientele).


I SMELL BACON: Ok, it doesn’t look like much from the outside, but DeLand’s Blind Pig holds some great memories.

There’s been an ad for the Lost Kangaroo along the boards in one of Ellenton’s rinks for as long as I can remember, so it’s never been far from my mind. Now I think I’ll be making a habit of it.

Anyway, like anything else, the important part of settling in happens in the quieter moments. Tonight, after CCB puts the final screws in place on our new grill (an absolute steal from Sam’s at $170), we’ll be cooking steaks and corn on the cob under the cool January sky, next to our orange tree, in our back yard.  


THRILL OF THE GRILL: What our new grill should look like, once we get it all put together.

I mean, I have a yard now. How cool is that?