Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Nina in Texas. A summary.

Most of you know that I'm from Northern California (a smallish town) and my link to Texas is BA...  this blog started when BA and I met up in Southern California and then decided to come back to Texas in a caravan (her with her truck and tiny, me with my uhaul and trailer) to build my tiny house. She had been telling me for over a year that I was going to move to Texas and EVEN THOUGH I NEVER EVER THOUGHT I WOULD, I've now done it twice within 6 months. 
The question I've been asked over and over since my move to this big city in this big state... "How do you like it here?"

I love the people, they are really just NICE folks and I've made some great tiny house friends and the vegan community is a lot of fun and very active and HEY, this is a major city with two nearby/inexpensive major airports and I recently got to see the Rolling Stones without a LONG drive to the nearest big city because...they came here! The cost of living and building my tiny house is less here than it is in California, yes..  oh! and there's a lovely side of nature that I've gotten to experience: watch ducklings and goslings mature in the neighborhood pond, baby kits play while their mother protects them, turtles sunning themselves, bunnies hopping around the bushes in the evening...really lovely.


I have found some challenges in the form of:

The Rain - I brought my 20 ft trailer here to build my tiny house upon. I believe we worked on it a total of 5 days before the rains started. And it rained all of May. So much for the drought!  ...there was a moat around my build even on the days it didn't rain. Rescheduling work days over and over again was wearing at our itchy trigger fingers (Drill Trigger, not gun)  Oh, and then Tropical Storm Bill came right upon us, the eye of the storm right over Dallas.  So much for "that never happens".  I learned new weather terms and saw colors on a weather forecast that I didn't know existed. I have three different weather apps on my phone. That is just... 2 too many. I thought there was some rad stereo system at the nearby park...until I realized they were sirens that warned you that a tornado or hurricane or whatever bad weather thing was about to hit you.  We were on our bikes when they went off.  I just don't think that that's normal.

The Humidity - I once took a vacation to New Orleans during August and thought I was SUPER lucky to find such great hotel rates... they were actually GULLIBLE TOURIST rates... I had no idea what humidity was until I spent 10 days in NOLA. And now I'm here in Texas where humidity is king and that shower you took lasts just 40 seconds after you step outside. I liken it to being licked by the sun.  It's yucky.
my hair is different here.

Victim of Humidity:
I wondered why all the salt shakers lids in restaurants are dented.  Now I know. The salt cakes up and won't come out the little holes unless you bang the crap out of it.

The traffic is like none other. It's like the Indy 500 on the turnpikes for 20 miles and then 2mph for about 3 miles while you get through a bottle neck and then back into the centrifuge that spits you out somewhere and you just hope it was the right turn off.  You're either going ZIPPY quick or at a dead stop... and the red lights here take forever because the intersections each have 200 cars to sift through. I'm sure there's math to figure out how many hours of their life a typical Dallas driver spends at red lights.   I have gotten carried by traffic a couple of times and not able to get over a lane, I will be going about 75 and slow lane is going 80.  THE SLOW LANE IS GOING 80.   At 80 is when I start to feel my car tremble and I'm aware that a fender just might fly off.  And the wrecks...oooh, when there are wrecks they are SPECTACULAR.  People are pretty cordial but sometimes, if they're flying past you they just don't see signals and cars merge into the same lane. I hadn't ever witnessed a 5 car + semi wreck up close and personal until the other day.  Completely surreal.   The WAZE app is essential here.

The sheer size of this place. So many roads, so many people, the tall buildings and the enormous houses... I sound like a country bumpkin, I know.  I've been lost SO many times, added an hour to a simple errand, my Google maps app will spin and spin and I sit and wait.  When I first started driving my own car here I quickly got lost and texted BA "My maps app won't work, I've pulled over, I'm lost"
"Where are you?" she asks.  "I'm in front of Stein Mart".
She texted back "LOL" and that was it.  No help.  Turns out, there are about 48 Stein Marts in the DFW area so...that was NOT narrowing it down for her.   I come from a place with one store of each. MAYBE two and that's only for a little while before the 2nd location goes under because there's not enough to sustain it.  I am in a metroplex now.. (didn't even know what that meant..had to look it up)  and so I will just have to be ok with getting lost.
Yes, this is real. It's made me do it twice now. I don't get it. And it makes me dizzy.

The construction is never-ending. I'm not sure traffic flow gets any better, they just build more and higher and it's astounding that whatever they do is full of cars as soon as they finish and then...they build more. Google maps gets confused and tells you to turn where there is no longer a turn, you find yourself between lanes because you were following the old painted lines and now there are new ones...but it's really hard to tell so you just hope that car in front of you is more sure than you are.  And we're going 75mph in total uncertainty...fabulous.
the first time I took this tollway I just HOPED that there was a happy ending... Goodbye Cruel World!!!

The "Protected Green" is a concept that is new to me.  You're making a left turn, and the light is green but... DO NOT GO. It's not "protected". A green ARROW is protected. A green CIRCLE is iffy and a yellow arrow is TAKE YOUR CHANCES.  It's just so... unclear UNLESS you have very clear signs.  
if it's anything else (this green circle of a yellow arrow, either dead stop or FLOOR IT!)

The insects are many and they are large and many are new to me. I've seen wasps and hornets before but...there are several kinds of each here in different colors and sizes and they ALL look and sound Pissed Off. 
I didn't know what chiggers were...I DO NOW. (I hate them. HATE. and people say "oh just dust some powdered sulfur on your shoes...  but then you smell like sulfur!)
I saw a picture of my friend Alek on Facebook...he was laying in the grass (IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA) napping with his nephew... it looked great, he looked carefree and relaxed.  I, on the other hand, saw it and was like... "OH HELL NO, ANTS AND CHIGGERS AND... NOPE NOPE NOPE..." 
Alek is such a show off!!! Can't do this in Texas unless you're sulfured, neemed and/or pyrethrumed.

I have pulled over on a busy highway and opened both doors and the hatchback until a stranger came and took a weird bug out of my car. (Turns out is was an Assassin bug. An ASSASSIN Bug)
I have joined a facebook group that identifies Texas bugs for you.
I have had my boyfriend take many a bug outside after I become frozen in place.
Him: "Is that a...what is it? It looks like a weird, little...scorpion?"
Me: <<silent scream>>
Him: "Ok, so not a scorpion, since scorpions don't fly...where is it? Nina, where is it? Nina?"
Me: <<faints>>

The snakes... one of the first nights I was here, it was dusk and I was out on a walk with my boyfriend when he suddenly stopped me. There...about 8 feet in front of us was a very thick branch of a tree...slithering...oh! was a snake.  I was surprised with how thick and long and black and silent that snake was. <<<shudder>>>   From then on, IF we went on an evening walk, I had my high-powered flashlight and I aimed it 20 feet in every direction the whole damn time.  Very romantic.
I joined a facebook group that teaches about Texas snakes and I have learned that...snakes are really just everywhere if you sharpen your focus. They post pictures of trees, shrubs, rocks, etc....and then you see it. <<<shudder>>>

I'm not posting any pictures of bugs or snakes in this post because I can't take it.
You're welcome.

The Texas Drawl/Accent.  If I have BA there to translate a particularly heavy accent I'm very relieved but if I'm alone...  I just nod and hope I'm not agreeing to go wrestle cows or some other Texan thing. 

 The unknown...
I pass this frequently...nobody knows what it is. But it looks serious.

So there you have my LONG answer.  People ask me if I'm going to stay and then they remember that I'm building a tiny house on wheels for the sole purpose of not having to "stay" anywhere.  My short answer to the question if I'm going to stay (which will likely be the same answer for any traveling tiny houser) is  "Yes...I'm staying...for now"

1 comment:

  1. You're hysterical, Nina! And very brave to take on Texas, weather, bugs, snakes et al. Hope the build is going well. --Rebecca


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