New Resident Feature: Meet Sandy and David Cook
February 22, 2022
Sandy and David Cook officially landed at Lakeside at Waterman Village in Mount Dora, Florida, on December 16, 2021. They hail from up north – the Chicago suburbs, where the average temperature in February is a windy, chilly 35°F. While the Cooks were well-accustomed to cold winters (Sandy is originally from Michigan and David is from Massachusetts), they’ve been dreaming about the sunny and moderate Florida climate for more than two years.
“When we first started looking a few years ago, we made a huge grid comparing about 100 communities, mostly in Florida but in other states, too,” David says. In the end, resort-like Lakeside rose to the top of their list. While they appreciated the luxurious amenities, restaurants, fitness center and gorgeous lake views, what really sealed their decision was the unparalleled nursing care if they should ever need it. Sandy’s background is in professional nursing, and so they looked closely at the full continuum of care. “Healthcare is very important to us,” Sandy says.
Bringing in the new
For one, the Cooks wanted a new home. The brand-new waterfront neighborhood that is Lakeside at Waterman Village made a big impression on them. “We wanted a garden home, not an apartment,” Sandy shares. They appreciated having the option of a duplex to maintain independence. The Cooks settled on the Merlin floor plan. It has two bedrooms, a den, a spacious kitchen and a great room, plus a garage and screened-in porch – perfect for relaxing and looking out on beautiful Lake Margaret.
The big move went well, albeit with a few hiccups, but nothing unusual. Due to a scheduling mix-up, the movers were a no-show on the first day. “The people here at Waterman have been very responsive,” Sandy says. David agrees. “Everyone has been very helpful, friendly and accommodating. It’s been a wonderful group of people to work with.”
Exploring the community
Now that they’ve had a little time to settle in, the Cooks are getting to know their new neighbors and exploring the community and surrounding areas. David has enjoyed a fascinating career as a research meteorologist with the U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory near Chicago; he still works remotely a few hours a week and plans to retire in June. After he finishes organizing the garage and a few other items on the to-do list, they’re excited to get out and about.
“We can’t wait to go over to Lakeside Grand and eat over there, enjoy the pool, gym, spa and exercise equipment,” David says. They’ve already met several people from the community and had dinners with them. The Cooks enjoy walking three to four times a week around campus, and David also likes to bike. “We’ve been so busy getting the house in order that I haven’t gotten to bike yet.”
Back in Chicago, Sandy shares that they were part of a readers’ group and hopes to find a similar group in Florida. “I have led Bible studies in the past and I would love to do that again, or couples Bible studies,” she says. Because of the pandemic, they haven’t tried any of the churches around Mount Dora, but they have looked online to see where they might want to go. One positive thing to come out of the pandemic is that “We’ve been watching our church service online in Illinois,” Sandy says. Recently, they started going to a Christian Bible study fellowship group, which is just two miles away from Lakeside.
Sandy is also interested in hand work. Her mother taught her everything from cross stitch to knitting and crocheting. “If there is a knitter’s group or a crafting group, I will be getting involved in that. I’d love to get back to tatting.”
Seizing the moment
The Cooks are happy that they moved to Lakeside when they did. “We’re on the younger side and wanted to make the move sooner rather than later, when it’s harder to adjust,” Sandy says. They’re in their late sixties now and expect to have many years ahead of them filled with friendship and community involvement.