As I celebrate the sale of our house in Houston, which we left four months ago for our next big adventure in DC, I’ve become contemplative about my hometown of the last 13 years. Raised in western New York, I never in a million years expected a Texas city to become the place I would live the longest since leaving my parents’ home at age 17. I originally came to Houston on a temporary assignment and expected to stay no more than two years. Yet as the years passed, the first house was purchased, two li’l Texans were spawned, and Houston came to feel like home, if always a little surprisingly. The city has a lot to offer, as a companion piece will argue, but there are aspects I’ll gladly leave behind, some tongue-in-cheek and others dead serious.
You know it’s time to leave Houston and Texas when…
- You start using “fixing to” in everyday speech. I’m fixing to prune that sago this weekend.
- You’ve had to stop yourself from dropping the ‘g’ in “fixing to” in written prose.
- You hear yourself using the expression “might could” in conversation. I might could use the number of a good contractor.
- You’d like once again to eat restaurant beans prepared without pig parts.
- You can cross “live through a hurricane” off your adventure bucket list.
- The second spring in a row is too hot and drought-stricken to grow anything but salvia and purslane.
- Your monthly summer water bill hits triple digits with no end in sight due to a historic, catastrophic drought.
- You’re tired of the risk of heat stroke severely curtailing your outdoor activities in the very season when the kids are out of school and daily sunlight hours are at their peak.
- The mosquitoes keep you indoors even when the daytime temperatures start to drop.
- For months on end even 5:30 am isn’t early enough to escape the heat and humidity on your run.
- You’ve had enough entertainment and lifestyle news to last a lifetime and want a local paper that reports actual news on its homepage.
- Your child’s science teacher says she presents the theory of evolution in biology class because it is forced upon her but she knows the real truth.
- There are many such science teachers in the public school system.
- The so-called Texas Miracle of growth amid the economic downturn is about to turn into a nightmare as funding for public schools is cut by billions of dollars.
Admittedly this was written some months ago when the temperatures were still blazing. And maybe the mid-Atlantic summer to come will prove to be just as hellish. But I doubt it. And no Houston autumn can come close to the perfection we’ve been enjoying this year. I think I’ll stay awhile.