Friday, May 04, 2007

Things I've Learned Lately

Since I rarely seem to blog, nobody probably noticed that I've been gone for a while. The main part of this time away was spent flying to Texas to get my aging parents all loaded up and moved to Tennessee to be close to family here. Everything went reasonably well, and after a very crazy week, I managed to get my parents, three cats, a yappy little dog, and a whole bunch of stuff (including a very heavy upright piano) moved here, all by myself.

Anyway, during these last couple of weeks, I learned a few things, in no particular order:

1. Houston is not the same place it was when I grew up there. I know that change is a constant, and Houston has been growing rapidly for many years, so no real surprise here. But it seems like it has changed very much for the worse. I grew up getting Season Passes to AstroWorld every year, and things were such that my best friend and I would get dropped off by his parents or mine literally about every other day during the summer, and would spend the whole day there -- alone, unsupervised, and frankly never fearing for our safety. AstroWorld closed a couple of years ago, apparently overrun by gang problems and neglect. Just a few days of watching the news in Houston led me to feel hopelessness and depression (I know that bigger cities have more people, and thus more crimes to report, but there just seems to be such a malevolent nature to a place that once seemed so much friendlier).

2. Southeast Texas is a giant, never-ending road construction project. Okay, I didn't really learn this, but I was certainly reminded of it way too much while there. I guess the sheer volume of traffic on the roads wears them down quickly -- that I can understand. But it also seems like the pattern is to plan a giant new highway project, and to tear everything up completely while working on it, and make everyone drive through ridiculously narrow lanes between cement barriers. Then, no sooner than they finally open the new, wider superhighway, they begin work on the next major upgrade to it. Trying to get out of Texas (from the southwest part of Houston) on a weekday seemed at first to go surprisingly well, as I cruised along the 610 Loop, thinking I had beaten the system by taking a sneaky route around town, avoiding stop-and-go traffic. Boy was I wrong. The entire east side of I-10 heading out was actually narrowed down to a single lane at one point (where they were widening a bridge or something), so traffic backed up for many miles and came to a standstill, for hours and hours.

3. I don't like humidity. Well, this isn't really a new realization, either. Middle Tennessee is nothing like the Gulf Coast, but we do have a few weeks every year during the peak of summer when it does feel sort of like that here. So I know I don't like it. But the humidity in southeast Texas is so constant, so heavy and oppressive. I don't recall it bothering me when I was a kid growing up there -- I guess it was all I knew. When we visited there during Thanksgiving a few years ago, my wife thought she was going to die. There we were, late November, and it was hot and muggy and very unpleasant, and we were sweating and could barely breathe. (Sorry, enough complaining about the weather -- some people probably like it hot like that -- and I realize that people do acclimate to their environment).

4. I hate being away from my wife. For so many reasons. She's my best friend, my lover, my biggest fan and second-harshest critic (I'm first), but so much of the time, she also seems like the glue that helps keep me together. I'm scattered, disorganized, and a whole host of other things, but somehow my wife manages to make me a much better person, on so many levels. I literally thank God for her every day and night, and being separated from her for any period of time is a stark reminder of just how much I have to be thankful for, and how much I need her and depend on her.

So anyway, it's good to be back home. I've been incredibly busy, and have a lot of work ahead of me, but things are great, and I really do have a lot to be thankful for. The Lord is good.


  1. I'm from North Alabama (about 1 1/2 hours from Nashville), and I now live in the Houston area, and I have to ask you...can we trade places??! :)

  2. Susanne - I've been down into north Alabama several times. Wow, very beautiful area. I can certainly understand how someone could be homesick for it.

    But I'm also just sort of picking on Houston a little bit, since I grew up there. I have a brother and lots of friends still there. I wouldn't want to live there now, but it's not all THAT bad, is it?

  3. yikes those pictures of traffic!

  4. Seth - Amen, brother. So when will you be leaving the Devil's turf to come live here in God's Country? (Or at least coming to visit God's Country again...?)