moving to Texas


gm_13005 Shining Bank Snow, Alberta 1977

Image by CanadaGood via Flickr

With a second “snow event” in as many weeks behind us, I pondered the piles which have turned our yard, front and back, into a white labyrinth and thought about the phone conversation I had yesterday with my husband.

“The boss dropped by, ” he told me, “looking for anyone who might be interested in a possible project down on the Gulf Coast. I told him that I might be but it wasn’t a decision I could make* without consulting you. The probability of the project is based on a U.S. economic recovery, which isn’t all that likely, but how would you feel about it?”

He was talking about the Texas coast. Texas being only slightly less objectionable than say Alabama, whose governor recently admitted that he has no Christian charity to extend to anyone who isn’t Christian and was once such a bastion of seething racism that blacks forced to travel through it packed their own porta potties and carried an extra gas can for refueling in the trunks of their cars.

“Baby, this is the 7th day without sun and it’s been snowing non-stop since last Wednesday,” I said. “This probably isn’t the best day to ask if I’d like to move south.”

Of course, the southern states in the U.S. are harbingers of the level of bat-shit crazy that will fan out over the rest of the country like the four horsemen once the next election cycle kicks into full propaganda mode this coming fall, so I am lukewarm (though not literally) about the prospect of a front row seat. Monitoring the shenanigans from Canada is enough adventure for me.

But the prospect of warmth, sun and no snow does tempt.

Everyone is escaping to Mexico. I listen to the travel tales filled with bouts of uncontrollable diarrhea and Federales with  machine guns escorting bus loads of pale northern tourists to the insulated resorts with a minimum of envy and a lot of wonder.

I read too much to consider Mexico even the slightest bit safe for someone pale and unable to speak the language beyond the ability to ask for a beer or for directions to the nearest washroom.

Silly white tourists. My student roster when I taught drop out prevention flowed over with Mexicans, who are ingratiating and smile a lot but who also see Americans (we are all Americans to them) as marks to relieve of the heavy burden of our bourgeois bounty.

The boys would regale me with stories of their tourist trap homes and cajole me to visit.

“I have a cousin (uncle or auntie) who can set you up cheap! It’s warm and more beautiful than anyplace you have ever been.”

“Is it safe?” I would ask.

Sheepish grins before a serious look would replace the huckster, “I wouldn’t send you anywhere that wasn’t. My family (friends) would look out for someone who I send.”

I’ve never been to Mexico. Rob and I thought about marrying down there, but the whole translation of documents plus the logistics of getting everyone there proved to be a significant deterrent.

Normally, it’s Rob who funks out early in the winter. He blames it on the lack of sunshine, but statistically, Alberta is one of the sunniest places in Canada.

I am fine until mid-April and it’s still snowing. It’s not the lack of sunshine; it’s the absence of spring. We simply don’t have spring here. It’s cold until it’s not. It snows until it’s meteorologically impossible for it to do so anymore. This could be early April or it could be June.

In Iowa, winters are a bitch, but spring – hot sometimes and lush due to the rain and snow melt – arrives with gusto in late March or early April. That is what my body is used to and I do miss it.

But there are feet of snow in the yard, along the roadsides and piling like small mountain ranges in the parking lots. And it’s still January.

Everywhere I go, people marvel and say, “I have never seen it snow this much before.”

Even Rob remarked, “It’s never snowed this much in the fifteen years I have lived here.”

To be a part of such an historic snowpocalypse hasn’t been a life’s goal and I am unlikely to look back fondly on it.

People talk about “climate change” and “global warming” and I read about scientists who are concluding that the earth is nearing one of the ends of its infrequent warm periods and preparing for the next ice age. The earth’s natural state, after all, is “ice ball”. Whatever the reason, it sucks and I have reached literal saturation.

*Rob unilaterally made the decision to move the family to Kansas back in the early 90’s and was informed by his late wife that he did not have the authority to ever do something like that again.


Rob got the okay on his transfer. The details have yet to be ironed out but it appears that I may be a Texan by summer. Moving back is not something I much considered when I came here to by with Rob and get married even though I knew that it was a possibility given his job. Now that it is a fact, I am a little sad. I will miss it here. Rob thinks that is a bit crazy (okay, a lot crazy) because we live in the midst of an industrial cluster-fuck on the prairie. And he is right. We went into the city last night and the refineries were spewing god only knows what into the frigid air. Fouls smells and water vapor laced with chemicals. Still, the heart of the city is a forest. A real forest that surrounds the river banks and bluffs. I was noticing the shelter belt around our little town yesterday too. You can’t even see the town for the trees. There was nothing like this back home in the States.

As a midwesterner my opinion of Texas on the whole is rather negative. I turned down teaching jobs there when I was right out of college because I couldn’t imagine living in such a redneck, backward thinking place (and I grew up in a basically lily white, near exclusively Catholic blue-collar town too). Perhaps it will not be the ultra-right wing, pious on the surface only place it portrays itself to be? It doesn’t matter because I will be living there for the next couple of years and I am going to make the very best use of the time.

So, now it is time to make lists and clean and sort and purge. It is also time to think about teaching again and to that end I have a bit of work to do as well. I am thinking that I may just want to sub instead of looking for full or even part time work. But we will see what comes up.