Welcome to the Lone Star state! The home of the Texans, the World-Series winning champs (THE ASTRO’S) and the Cowboys, too! It’s hard to believe that next year marks 10 years since I’ve moved here. Honestly, where does time go??????
Since I was born and raised in Wisconsin aka Titletown USA, making this move was important. I will ask you this: Where were you in 2008? Remember the great recession of 2008? So long story short, my father was working for an engineering firm that was drastically affected by the recession and he lost his job that year. For an entire 12 months, he searched (until he was BLUE in the face) until an engineering company offered him a position in Houston. Needless to say, when you’re living on unemployment and receive so little in unemployment checks, you need a JOB! My dad flew down to Houston after the first phone interview and aced his second interview that was one on one with his future employer. So when he got the job, both my parents were excited and relieved that he finally found work again. My dad spent an entire 12 months, bored out of his mind. I don’t blame him. I get bored on a day off or on a week’s vacation. My dad and I like to stay busy and keep our minds moving.
So in 2009, my dad came home from Houston and said to my mom: “We’re moving to Houston. I got a job! FINALLY.” I was elated but sad to see them pack up and leave. The condo they lived in took a while to sell. No surprise. But they were able to find a nice little ranch house in Houston in no time. During the summer of 2009, I had the opportunity to transfer to move to Houston with the company that I was working for at the time. So I thought, WHY NOT? Change is a good thing!
After I accepted the transfer request to Houston, I had to say goodbye to friends, family, and co-workers. (That’s always hard!) Thankfully, my co-workers threw a nice going away bash before I left. I remember my anxiety and depression were acting up again! Moving is stressful. Especially, when you’re moving over 2,000 miles away from home. My parents helped hire a moving truck that followed me all the way to Houston and got everything set up in my car and decided to drive to Houston.
Yes! I drove to Houston! Luckily, in late fall (not in Texas heat summer!), I drove myself and my two chihuahuas all the way down in one trip. Normally, a road trip from Southeastern Wisconsin to Houston, Texas is roughly 2,000 miles or a 24 hour road trip. It’s very long and I did it in two days. Before I left, I got a GPS and mapped out the quickest and fastest route possible and also saved up a lot of gas and emergency money. I had to make a lot of decisions on when I would stop and take a break, get food and gas, take the dogs out (they got antsy after 3-4 hours in) and other choices, too. I had a cooler in my car that contained food and water (for both myself and the dogs), I had to make multiple trips to Starbucks for strong black ice coffee because you can easily fall asleep at the wheel. The route that I took was from Madison (Wisconsin) through Illinois into Missouri, Oklahoma and then through Dallas and all the way down to Houston. Fun fact: When I was driving at around 8 or 9pm, I was pulled over by a cop because I was speeding. The sign said 70mph, but it also said after dusk the limit was 60. I told the cop that I’m just moving down to Houston and I didn’t know that and to just give me the ticket. Remind you, when I got nailed by the cop, my chihuahuas were barking their heads off at the officer. But the officer was kind and gave me a written warning. So nice! It was in southern Oklahoma, where I decided to call it a night at the hotel that I found. It was the same that my dad used. I was so tired! Driving for more than 12-15 hours is exhausting both physically and mentally. Bless the people who are professional truck drivers!
The next day, I drove through Oklahoma to Dallas and on to my new house in Houston. I kid you not, the traffic was a wake up call for me. I’ve seen crazy drivers, but never this crazy until I reached Houston. WOW! I almost died multiple times because people drive like they own the road. Some just don’t care. One time on the way to work, a guy in front of me thought I was honking my horn at him, but it was the idiot teenagers in the car next to me that were honking at their friends and the guy pulled out a gun in my face. I was scared and also mad. There’s no excuse to pull out a gun on someone for something so small. I reported that guy because I don’t let people get away with crap like that. Houston traffic! Yikes!
As I settled into my new house, I had to adjust myself in living there. My dogs had to get used to the new house. I hate moving! It’s a great new experience, but unloading box after box and decorating a home, is EXHAUSTING and STRESSFUL. I had to learn how to live in Houston. I had to learn to how drive more defensively done here. I had to learn how to survive the Texas heat! Man, the weather is crazy down here. Hot weather is one thing and it’s another when you add humidity. A hot and humid 100 degree day is BRUTAL. Thank God for AC! My girls love the Texas weather. They hated Wisconsin snow and brutal chilly temperatures, so they adjusted to life in Texas just fine!
My first day at work in Houston was a blur. It felt like the first day of school all over again. I had the worst case of the jitters. Don’t we all? Eventually as time went on, I adjusted to the new normal. I had to explore Houston because being the fourth largest city in the US and there’s so much to do in Houston.
Some of my favorites are:
- Going to Reliant/NRG stadium to watch the Texans (I love you, JJ!)
- Going to Minute Maid Park (GO ASTROS)
- Going to the Woodlands (So beautiful there!)
- Going to the Cynthia Woods Pavilion
- Galveston island (I love the scenery down there and especially Moody Gardens)
- Downtown Houston
- Johnson Space Center
I like going to see what’s out there. There’s so much to see and do. But I do miss Wisconsin and still root for my Wisconsin teams (ALWAYS!). Eventually, I will try to make a trip back to WI via flying, not driving in the future. With almost 10 years in, this decision was probably one of the best (hardest) decisions to make and I don’t regret it at all.