Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

"Might as well ride along with us. Hell, everyone else is." -Clint Eastwood, The Outlaw Josey Wales

The last picture we took in Alaska. Worth it. Ahhhh . . . wonderful snow.

Okay, I’m back.

Sort of.

Did you ever see the move, “The Outlaw Josey Wales”? Well, I have. I have it on DVD. In my opinion (which is normally right) it is by far Clint’s best flick. I won’t go into details, because this isn’t a movie review column. It’s life in Alaska, right?

Well, no.

The book that “The Outlaw Josey Wales” was based on was originally called, “Gone to Texas.” Gone to Texas was a phrase that was used in the middle of the 1800’s that indicated that someone had headed out to avoid taxes, debt, or some other crap that was enveloping them. Well, guess what.

I’ve gone to Texas.

Life in Alaska, as you’ve known it, is over for now.

Did I want to move? No. But, yet, here I am, in Tejas.

And, yes, The Mrs., The Boy, and Pugsley are here with me. It’s been a whole lot of adventure, and now we find ourselves in the Lone Star State.

The Boy is patently in favor of it, though he cried when he missed his friends H and S. Pugsley? Well, as long as they have food there, he’s good with it. The Mrs. was dragged along, but in the end agreed with the decision. Instead of the 49th star, now we’re in the Lone Star. I’m going to omit a lot of the details, since everybody’s moved (unless you’re still firmly ensconced in your mother’s basement, and, well, “Hi”) and moving is pretty boring stuff.

I’m thinking that the next few posts will encompass the differences that I’m seeing, the culture shock from moving from a state that’s the least populous in the US to a city that’s the third largest in the US. Let me tell you, I’m still reeling. It’s a change in latitude, and a change in attitude.

Houstonians don’t wear shorts when it’s forty because it’s so frikkin’ warm. No. They wear parkas and mufflers and knit gloves. Me, I’m still shaking my head.

I have a palm tree in my back yard. A. Palm. Tree. I know nothing about palm trees. Do they shed?

It’s December, and my palm trees are still green. Is it too early to take my chainsaw to them so that the wood has time to dry for winter?

What are these fire ants, anyway?

Okay, it’s obvious things are changing. But, you know what? I feel like a velociraptor in a room full of kittens. Houston may have a hard time assimilating an Alaskan. Let’s play.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back ! AK to TX ? talk about extremes... So now its "Life not in Alaska"..?

8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy things sure can change, can't they? Apparently it gets mighty hot in TX. Good luck this summer.

Imagine all the free time you will have now, not having to chop wood and shovel snow?

The game is on.... can your life in TX be as exciting to read about as life in AK???

4:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohhh... stay away from the fire ants! Don't piss em off.

Down south they always warn me to always wear shoes when walking outside. Vicious ants.

4:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally taken by surprise....I don't know if I can take the change.

6:15 AM  
Blogger SusanE said...


I feel so sad.

7:22 AM  
Blogger The Tundra PA said...

JohnjohnjohnjohnJOHN!!! I am shocked, stunned, and amazed! Holy crap, Batman--WHY??? And not just Texas, but HOUSTON??? Again I say WHY??? I figure this must have something to do with your day job, and to that I suggest it is time to quit your day job, move back to Alaska and be a full-time writer! (and if I could figure that one out, I'd do it myself!)

I am abysmally disappointed that we have lost you to the lower 48 (Houston, OMG!). Please tell me that it is temporary and you are coming back ASAP. You and the Wilder crew belong here!

10:59 AM  
Blogger Carl Oberg said...


My best and favorite source for Alaskaiana: gone.

But I, like John, will stick with it. I WILL move to Alaska some day. I WILL continue to enjoy the John & Family antics.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Sara Jean said...

thats so sad! Talk about extremes. I dont think you could get any more opposite than that!

2:13 PM  
Blogger Priest Raphael said...

Oh the horror! The shock! The dismay! I've been living vicariously through you and Ben Adams, no more wilderness adventures for the Wilders.....

Oh well...

I do have advice: If your gonna play in Texas, you better have a fiddler in the band...

2:30 PM  
Blogger Jeffro said...

Gadzooks! Houston?? Make sure your A/C in every vehicle and your house is in perfect running order. You may want to roof your yard and cool it as well.

Good luck in the new digs.

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow...the pictures are going to be hard to beat. That was the thing that got me to be a loyal visitor. Can't wait to see what pictures Houston has!

4:19 PM  
Blogger Uncle Crappy said...

Um. Wow. I admit to not knowing much about Alaska, but since my mother in law lives in Dallas, I have a few experiences with your new home. Some examples:

1) I'd bet the beer is worse. I know it's harder to keep cold.

2) Did you have Mexican food in Alaska? You certainly do now.

3) Moose will rarely be a problem.

4) More food. Drive exactly one hour out of town in any direction, and then stop at the first barbeque joint you see. You will be amazed. I'm not saying there aren't good barbeque joints in Houston, but the ones out in the country are almost always going to be better.

5) I don't think you'll find any shortage of characters in Texas.

If I think of more, I'll let you know. Have fun...

4:48 PM  
Blogger Duck Hunter said...


Well, now you'll have to learn to drive on paved roads. One question. Did you ever name your road before you left? Would be nice if you were able to leave somehting behind besides a huge pile of chopped wood.

7:09 PM  
Blogger grannypie said...

What a surprise. I'm from San Antonio and never dreamed you'd leave Alaska. Actually, as we speak, I am sitting at my son's table in Anchorage, and it's cold! I'm told it's been colder, but plenty cold to a Texan.

Oh, and there were two mooses (meece?) in the front yard yesterday.

Good luck in Houston. I lived south of there for 32 years.

8:50 PM  
Blogger shawnkielty said...

I don't now John -- I am hard pressed to make good pictures out of moving to San Francisco --

Can't imagine what it would be like in Houston.


10:26 PM  
Blogger Coldfoot said...

It's a balmy 20 right now. Yes, above 0. Had to force the kids to wear a coat before leaving for school this morning. The kids miss the boy.

We never did get to play Dune. Oh well, maybe in a couple years.

1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think a little piece of me just died inside.... I was soooo using you for my own vicariousness. Good luck on your move!

5:01 AM  
Blogger Clara....in TN said...

So that's the reason The Mrs. had you chained to the water pump? She didn't want to move to Texas.
Oh Well, I'll miss the adventure stories in AK, but maybe you can stir up some excitement in Houston. I'll keep reading!

5:05 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

No wonder the wood pile was non-existant!

An Alaskan in Texas... I hope you can adjust, I hope your neighbors can adjust when you find the urge to cut wood at midnight.

7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you mean "moving is pretty boring stuff". I think some of the livelyest conversations I have ever had with my wife were in the midst of moving!!! Where's this? Where's that? What box are the kids in? What do you mean this couch doesn't match our new carpet? Why don't our dishes match the new cabinets?

I also enjoyed that the Mrs. gave you permission to use the line: In my opinion (which is normally right). I had a good laugh at that one.

Welcome back to the lower 47 and CA.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good writing is not about the environment - you will find new adventures - keep writing and we'll keep reading!

11:07 AM  
Blogger kewyson said...

I guess this explains your recent absence from your posts - all I can say, is a quote from Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues - Eugene said, as he arrived from the temperate areas of NYC to the south - 'Man its hot. It's like Africa Hot. Tarzan couldn't take this hot.'

Looking forward to your perspective of H-town

6:03 PM  
Blogger My home is Alaska said...

Wow. From one of the most free states to one of the least free. Not to mention the unbearable heat, the pollution, overcrowding, traffic and lack of wilderness. I'll be interested to see how you do. Best of luck to you. As for me, I'd put my right hand in a meat grinder before I moved to Texas.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Texas??? Huh? Heck, you weren't even in Alaska long enough to lose cheechako status, let alone get anywhere near sourdough.

Maybe Fairbanks wasn't conservative enough for you?

12:57 PM  
Blogger John said...

dj in ca,
Back, and back indeed. Now it's . . . going to be some new name.

Things do change . . . I'm not looking forward to the heat. The game IS on. I think there's more fodder down here than you might imagine.

Shoes . . . on!

It will work out. Breathe deep :)

Why. . . long story. It'll come out. Don't feel sad - I'm not going to stop.

I love the line . . . Holy crap, Batman!

As to the full time writer thing, there's more to that story, too.

The future is . . . well, the future.


Subarctic to subtropic. Yup.

Ohh, the adventures are still out there. Wilderness? I know where some is.

We're running AC NOW. In the "winter."

There are some beauts. I'll be cracking that soon.

uncle crappy,
1) true (big sigh)
2) not any good Mexican food in AK
3) I think the fire ants ate the moose
4) BBQ is good . . . reference (obscure) Mojo Nixon
5) Lots of characters in Tejas.

Never did get to name that road. This time. I did leave the new owner a full winter's worth of wood.


I think we can do some good ones. It's the captions, I think.

Mine has been trying to go to school without a coat, thus ensuring The Mrs. gets the coveted "Texas Mother of the Year" award for freezing her kid.

Dune made it here. I think. (Boxes . . boxes, boxes)

princeton sean,
There's more, but it will be more damp and moisty.

Yup. I think there are still some fingernail scratches on the pavement from our home.

No! Wood pile was COMPLETE. Dangit.

Well, boring, no. Mundane, yes.

Adventures ahoy! They've started already. Easy taking notes with a change like this one.

Yup. Been here in summer before. Ugh. I would have loved to have seen Elvis here. "Dang, it's hot."

That's why I'm typing with one hand.

alaskan dave,
No place is free enough!

6:52 PM  
Blogger dogsled_stacie said...

Wow! We'll miss ya in the north, but I eagerly anticipate all your observations and comments on the Lone Star State - never been there, probably will never go, so I look to you to enlighten me!

An Alaskan in Texas... awesome...

And, by any chance did "woofwoof" move down there with you? He seems to have disappeared as well...

8:33 PM  
Blogger Uncle Crappy said...

Holy crap. I now know of four people who know who Mojo Nixon is...

4:08 AM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

Damn damn damn. I'm gone for a little bit and look what you did. I just might have to come out of hibernation. Texas, I can't believe it. OK, oil oozes out of the ground too, but what else is the same?

And seriously, just when I was thinking about taking a trip to Alaska (Yukon Quest, Iditarod, you know), and now you are gone.

(Sorry to hijack - Stacy, it's nice to be missed. I am still here in the Quake state. Just took a long trip though. I promise to write again.)

10:18 AM  
Blogger Sweet Yet Sassy said...

Good Grief! I am glad I came back to blogworld before you changed your name or I would never have found you.

Houston-WOW! Been there a couple of times....No thanks.

The one time I went to Alaska (last year) was so cool. I am so sorry you had to move. :( Alaska is much better than Houston America.

Oh Well! Welcome to the lower 48!

a.k.a Lady Luck

9:32 AM  

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