When we last chatted I was telling you all about how grateful we were for my parents’ assistance with our relocation to Texas. Thanks again Mom and Dad! And now it’s time to end this so-called ‘Relocation With Family’ series with an update on how we’re doing three weeks later, along with suggestions on how to go about your post-relocation week, and a list of five noticeable differences about where we came from, and where we are now.
Mom and Dad spent an extra day with us before leaving us with an apartment filled with boxes. No worries they did more than enough, both with the commute down and, buying the boys a bunk bed (Mom and Lis handled the construction of that), helping me construct the TV stand that we bought (Dad helped me with that), and hooking up our $50 Craigslist electrical dryer we had brought with us (again, Dad helped with that).
After that it was two straight, exhausting days of unpacking boxes and finding a hole to put things in. (There’s a “That’s what she said!” joke here, but I’ll refrain.)
My wife won’t rest until everything is in its place, until there are no half-packed boxes laying about, and everything is put away, nice, neat and organized in its new home.
This is both great because the house looks clean, but also crazy because she’s basically in a zombie-like zone until it’s completed.
After we were organized (and Lis had taken a much needed shower), we thought we’d have a Kid Day since our little troopers had been trapped in their rooms playing toys.
A big recommendation because after 2-3 days of hanging inside an apartment, the kids need to get out and you need to get them out.
We visited the Lego store, we went to lunch, we spent a day at the pool. We tried to focus on them for a day since we had sort-of-but-really-did neglect them the last couple of days.
And in between then we registered the kids for school and looked tirelessly for a used car for my new commute. Which brings us to … queue the Ginuwine …
What’s So Different?: Five Differences Between Here and There
As Lis put it after she walked with the kids to the library, a 2.8-mile one-way jont in the summer heat, and then attempted to ride her bike – with Lia – to the bank, a 1.7 mile ride across six lanes (not counting the two extra for turn lanes) and no crosswalks, “Everything is close but not within walking distance.”
We can get to our go-to grocery stores, the elementary school, our bank, Chick-Fil-A, and our likely new church home within 5-10 minutes … all in a car. So yes, everything is close, but not walking distance close, like they were where we came from (Liberty Lake, not Sultan…ain’t nothing but the elementary school close, living in Sultan).
And since my commute requires me to take the van (another sad difference from my 9-minute walking commute in Liberty Lake), we decided to bite the bullet and buy a nice, used car using the savings we had built up since got out of debt. (I’ll be shouting out to Dave Ramsey for the rest of my life so … shout out to Uncle Dave!)
We settled on a 2001 Honda Accord LX. It had some miles (166k), but it was a Honda right? It ran well when I test drove it with the private owner. The dude seemed honest, real, open and had everything organized. Compared to the other two shady vehicles we had looked at, this looked like the for sure winner.
And it was…for about 20 miles!
Two days later Lis drove it to that store that is five minutes away (2.5 miles), and felt the car not wanting to shift gears. Odd.
A day later she had to take Lukas to his school to pick up his schedule and check out his locker. That’s when she realized that she couldn’t go in reverse. Odd: Part II.
She could put the shifter-thingy-in-the-middle-of-the-console in reverse but the car wasn’t going anywhere. It didn’t matter how much you floored it. Odd: Part III.
I arrived hours later. We pushed it backwards, got it going forward, and drove it to a nearby automotive repair shop.
But not before Lis, who had just passed the automotive repair shop, was pulled over by Frisco’s finest for not having a license plate. She was literally yards away from the shop. It’s hilarious in hindsight.
The cop let us off the hook, after all he could see by the look of exhaustion on our face that we had been taken to the cleaners by someone I mistakenly trusted to sell me a decent car.
The car cost $1900, the repairs are going to be close to $2600, and that’s all I’m going to say about that because it makes my heart hurt, and forces me to have a mixture of wanting to sob, scream out expletives and/or punch something. Welcome to Texas!
I used to walk 9-minutes to work. I now commute. The commute will change once the new building is built but in the meantime the best way to explain my commute is by showing the opening sequence from Office Space, which fittingly enough was filmed in Texas on the roads I travel.
I spent my first 13 years in Southern California. I spent two years after that in Hawaii. And lo siento to my peeps in Washington State, but I’ve never lived in a place so diverse as the place we live in now.
At work I’m the minority. Lia and Levi’s elementary school class rooms look like the United Nations. Lukas was the only white kid (and to be honest, white’s only the color of his skin, he is half-Brazilian after all) on the basketball court at a pickup game in our complex, and the first church we visited they didn’t have to ask who my daughter was because … well she was the only one of her kind.
You can walk through the grocery store, our complex, drive down the street and you’ll find a wide diversity of people from all sorts of backgrounds. There is no majority or minority. It’s kind of cool. Especially in this day and age.
Don’t run! Stop stomping! Whisper! Walk lightly!
Words we didn’t have to use as frequently when we were living in a four-bedroom house!
Apartment living is different, but so far it’s been good.
Yes, storage is at a premium, especially since we had a garage, but the amenities at a complex outweigh the miniscule obstacles we have to overcome. Five swimming pools (that we’ve used daily), a 24-hour gym, an on-site basketball court and a sand volleyball court that we may or may not ever use.
Sure we can hear the people upstairs, but it hasn’t been obnoxious. We look out our window and see trees, and our building borders an 18-hole golf course. Our goal is to save for a house, so for now apartment living is a perfect and temporary living situation for us.
Bigger and Bricker
I asked the rest of The Johnson Five to share what some of the differences were between here and there.
“It’s hot!” was the winner, but the kids are forgetting that our ex-town was also in the midst of summer, and August in Eastern Washington usually featured temperatures comparable to Texas.
After that it was noticing that every house had brick exterior, and even the mailboxes were surrounded by brick.
And that “Everything is Bigger in Texas” saying?
- I can tell you the churches are huge, and on every city block.
- The roads are wide (and too fast for me to handle).
- There are a variety of restaurants as diverse as the people they serve.
- The schools are big, comparable in student size to where we came from, but big in square footage-size.
- And football … heck, check out the nearby town’s high school football stadium. I was in awe.
No worries, the school district our kids will be attending will frequently play at The Star in Frisco (not this field, but the building adjacent to it).
That’d be the practice facility for the Dallas Cowboys which brings us to my final thought…
Jerry’s World and One Last John Hughes Reference
Spent $18 to take Lukas and myself to the Colts-Cowboys preseason game. Yes we were excited to watch football, albeit preseason football, but mostly it was to see the spectacle that is AT&T Stadium.
We haven’t traveled to many football stadiums, but I’m guessing few will ever compare to the size and quality of what they call the Death Star.
My favorite part of the day … seeing Lukas’ face as we walked into the stadium. Sport stadiums are my version of a work of art. Like an art nerd starting at a beautiful painting I stand in awe, staring at the outside of the building. It only gets better when I walk in, see the majestic field and the surrounding facilities.
Lukas had the same look on his face. A kid in a toy store. Taking it all in, wanting to see the ins and outs of the complex. It was my favorite part… spending time with my sports buddy for life.
Lis played Uber drive and spent the time while we were at the game going last-minute school shopping with the younglings. On our way back we took a wrong turn which brought us to my final John Hughes reference.
I was in east Dallas, attempting to find directions back to the Interstate when a nice man with a squirt bottle and rag scared the bejesus out of me by knocking on the driver’s side window.
I rolled down and he began to give me directions to some dude I wanted to talk to on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard that would give me directions to wherever I needed to go.
I thanked him for his time, apologized that we didn’t have cash or change for his ‘service’ and drove off thinking about the time the Griswolds got lost in St. Louis.
Ta ta for now!