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 10, 2006

"This is an empty milk container and they said it could be an apartment house. Good idea?" -Mr. Rodgers, Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood



Downtown Houston. Or downtown Denali. I can't tell. You can click on it for larger pictury goodness (and, yes, we're in the process of building up pictures from Texas).

I still haven’t tossed the new name change up. I was thinking of waiting until the first of the year. Oh, it’ll be all dramatic and stuff. I think I might spend 50% of all the planned future profits from the site on a party. That would make it, “BYOB.”

So I made the comment that moving was “boring” a few weeks back. That’s incorrect, as an astute reader from California noted (oh, and if you just bought a birthday present for your wife, well, I think you’re in trouble, dude).

Moving isn’t boring. It’s exhausting, it’s stressful. But despite being those things, well, it’s mundane, so I thought I’d skip the whole ordeal. Everybody out there who thinks packing endless boxes up is interesting, well, raise your hand. See? I’m not going to win that MacArthur Fellowship for nothing. (Can you believe that one of the winners (Sarah Ruhl) was a “playwright creating vivid and adventurous theatrical works that poignantly juxtapose the mundane aspects of daily life with mythic themes of love and war.” See, I QUALIFY!!! Well, except for the poignant part. I do like that they juxtaposed poignantly and juxtapose. That’s vivid and adventurous.)

The first experience in Houston was an apartment. So, I went from barely seeing concrete in my daily life to having my feet touch nothing other than concrete, my car drive on nothing but concrete, and spotting of some forgotten bit of soil and enjoying the view before a crew of crazed concrete installers found it and poured out the gray stuff to stop the blight of nature from impinging upon the urban area.

Don’t even get me started on the never-ending requests for money by shiftless people hanging out in the street. I didn’t make nary a dime. (See, I’m adjusting. Notice the use of “nary”.) Interestingly, it appears that every single person begging had lots of money as they were taking the bus to their sick mother’s house and got robbed in Houston. I suggested that perhaps a bank might be a better place to keep your money than in a plastic baggie in your flannel shirt, and don’t bother to visit your mother, she liked your brother better, anyway.

Texas looks (at least in the parts of the greater Houston area we’ve seen) much more “Manicured,” in the words of The Mrs. It’s an apt observation. Almost all of the land, all of the features we see on a daily basis are created features. Even the rivers and bayous are contained in massive concrete channels or massive earthen dikes and tamed as they enter and exit the city. It’s like the rivers were very, very, bad and someone put them all in timeout. Forever.

No one can tell me what exactly the difference is between a river and a bayou. I think the primary difference is that “Born on the Bayou” would have sounded really, really stupid if John Cafferty Fogerty¹ had been belting out, “Raised on the River,” or “Child on the Creek” or “Like a Virgin” instead. So, if the word Bayou exists for just that one song, well, I guess it’s okay, even though it’s stupid to have rivers and bayous.

Apartment life has other drawbacks. I’m used to living the life of a lumberjack, bounding from tree to tree, with The Mrs. by my side. Actually, I’m used to Alaskan life driving the consumption of and subsequent use of more calories than concrete stairs, concrete escalators, and concrete sidewalks burn off during a day. Start cutting down the trees in Houston with your chainsaw for a little bit of stress relief and enjoyment, and, well, a twenty-three year old in a blue uniform and shiny badge comes with a gun drawn asking you to “put the weapon down, sir.” Then the concrete people cover the stump with concrete. The nice thing about getting arrested for cutting down trees in downtown Houston qualifies you as “eccentric.” I think they have a special place to put you if you’re eccentric. It’s called, “the box.”

The apartment also has a nice selection of palm trees. Palm trees. The darn things look like tall, skinny pineapples. Cut one apart with a chainsaw, and, well, it’s watery, just like a pineapple. It does, however, not taste like a pineapple.

The biggest culture shock came early one morning. The radio was on, and the local weather was on.

“Bundle up. It’s going to be cold today, perhaps all the way down to . . . 40ºF.”

Sad part? She was serious.

Oh, and now the part where I poignantly juxtapose: “Somewhere nearby, a kitten couldn’t find a fluffy string ball to play with. It meowed poignantly in the night, it’s head juxtaposed at last with it’s fluffy pillow.” Man, that’s MacArthur worthy.

Hey, buddy, can you spare a MacArthur Fellowship?

¹Note that the Ministry of Wilder Information asks that you forget that you think you’ve seen John Wilder make a mistake. Unthink that ungood think.

9 Comments:

Blogger FDR said...

Er John, that John FOGERTY (W/ CCR) who did "Born on the Bayou." John Cafferty was too busy on "The Dark Side."

5:51 AM  
Anonymous The Mrs. said...

Oh, honey. How can you be my husband and not know that it's John Fogerty! I was hoping to be the first to point this out, but FDR beat me to it. You really need to let me proof your work. REmember, the source of all this music in Casa Wilder is the Mrs. Do not taunt the Mrs. At least not about popular music.

8:17 AM  
Blogger John said...

fdr,
(Meaty thwack of hand hitting self on head)

The Mrs.
Oh, you'll get what's coming to you. Just you wait.

4:11 PM  
Blogger JohnCub said...

Ah yes, mr. Van Wilder, I have caught you being wrong. It is Mr. Rogers, not Rodgers.

Texas will do that to a mind.

4:20 AM  
Anonymous Oz. said...

No mistakes were made in the production of this blog. Any mistakes are merely figments of deranged imagination.

Did you really think you could fool us? We all know that you're going to move from state to state, but wanted to do it from largest to smallest.

7:34 PM  
Blogger John said...

johncub,
Noted, corrected, and shamed. I LET YOU DOWN MR. ROGERS!!!!

oz,
One state at a time - I like that.

5:48 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

Wow John,

I neglect to visit for two weeks and you up and move to Texas! Texas! That's like ... a third the size of Alaska, and it's also state where people actually outnumber the next most populous large mammel - which I'm guessing is longhorn cattle. Or dead armadillos.

I lived in Texas from age 1 to age 5. Suburban Dallas, actually. All I remember about it was laying in the fetal position in the center of my turtle swimming pool as fire ants circled the peremiter.

You were a brave man to perservere in Fairbanks, and you are still a brave man. I wish you the best. I look forward to your future Lone Star adventures.

- Jill

7:10 PM  
Blogger ~cj said...

One day you too will think 40 above is cold, then you'll know you're a Texan.

I think I'll stay in Alaska. ;)

7:12 AM  
Blogger Lynn said...

For You:

http://www.jacquielawson.com/viewcard.asp?code=1078119421272

1:33 PM  

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