“But,” I jokingly wailed to my husband as my search for rental homes on the island that would accept pets and had at least three bedrooms turned up fruitless, “I don’t want to be a Bluff rat!”
My husband and I, living in North Carolina at that time, had both grown up in Corpus Christi and had both heard the amusing but not-so-flattering nickname given to those who resided in Flour Bluff. When it was time to move back home, it wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to live in Flour Bluff (again) as it was that I wanted to live on the island. My oldest had been accepted into the charter school there. My husband was looking forward to surfing and fishing. But the island was always an area of town that, growing up, seemed unattainable. It was also low on available rental property, so Bluff rats we became.
Three years ago, we arrived at the house in Flour Bluff we had rented sight unseen, save for some emailed pictures. The home was very nice, and the neighborhood mostly quiet. We were very close to HEB, and I quickly became spoiled by the convenience of having a grocery store minutes from the house. If my kids went to Flour Bluff, our location would have been perfect. I could have walked them to school. Instead, I found myself driving 30 minutes round trip in the morning and 30 minutes round trip in the afternoon. That inconvenience alone was not enough reason to move. But, there was more. Almost all of the friends we made through my son’s school lived on the island. We hardly ever made it to the beach and my husband never went fishing. We felt as though we were in the wrong place.
So, I began to monitor the rental sites and, low and behold, a house on the island popped up. I jumped on it, and we moved to the island a little over a year ago.
While married, my husband and I have lived close to downtown, on the Southside, and in Flour Bluff. Twice.
The island is, by far, our favorite.
It’s just different from those other areas of town. Now, we are about 15 minutes away from the grocery store. If the bridge gets backed up, we’re trapped. Few places deliver food out here, and ice is often on the endangered species list at the convenience stores because of the tourists.
But, these mild inconveniences are a small price to pay for where we live.
There is always something to take the kids to do. We can walk to the beach, should we chose, or drive there in a matter of minutes. If I’m not feeling like bringing a collection of sand home in my car, we can head to Schlitterbahn instead. During the off season, we’ve had the pool to ourselves on multiple occasions. The kids love the mini-golf place here, and can spend hours browsing in the tourist shops. (But we have to set a price limit BEFORE we go in!) Scuttlebutt’s is a great kid-friendly restaurant, and dog parents can sit out on the patio with their fur babies.
There are multiple fantastic restaurants out here. We have sushi, seafood, burgers, Mexican, and more. Several restaurants are situated to provide water views and three that I know of have boat docks. Our kids have had the experience of riding in a boat to dinner. How cool is that?
Having a boat allows us to explore the canals and waterways near-by, and we get to take the kids out on it frequently. They get to meet their friends in the ski canals and swim and play while the adults relax and talk. And there’s fishing from the boat.
Our neighborhood is fantastic. We have wonderful neighbors! The kind that head outside just to talk to one another and let their kids play in the front yard. Traffic is light and it’s easy to let the kids ride their bikes around while I follow. (I just wished we had sidewalks.)
And our friends. Someone is pretty much always doing something. We’ve had bonfires on the beach, birthday parties on the beach, and parties at people’s houses. We meet at Schlitterbahn or a restaurant or the ski canals.
And almost every where I go, I run into someone I know. Not in one of those damn-it-I-have-to-put-makeup-on-before-I-leave-the-house kind of ways, but that warm, fuzzy if-I-run-out-of-gas-because-I-saw-the-low-gas-light-as-a-challenge-I’m-not-alone-someone-I-know-will-be-around-to-help kind of way.
I take the kids to VBS, and I see face after face of people I know, and I know my kids are in good hands and are safe. I have kids coming up to me who remember me from the school year saying ‘Hi!’ I know all the students in both my kids’ classes, and many of their parents. And I know, without a doubt, if I ever find myself in a situation where I can’t make it to pick my kids up from school on time, there are easily over five friends I could call to grab my kids, and, without hesitation, they would.