Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Top Ten Tuesdays: Why are we leaving da U.P., eh?

Three years ago, The Lovely Becky and I arrived in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula like Eddie Albert and Zsa Zsa Gabor (with me in the role of Zsa Zsa). We traded malls and metrosexuality for nature and neverending winter for the sake of greater economic stability. Despite the forbidding climate and remote location, we gave it the old college try.

We came in the summer, and a splendid summer at that. The weather the first few months here was spectacular, rivaling that of Southern California, but without the smog, traffic, and cyborg governors. The beauty also blew me away. The clear blue vastness of Lake Superior was just blocks away, and we were surrounded by pristine forests that didn’t feel like the afterthought of urban planning. Wow, I thought, I could get used to this.

Then winter came and smacked me in the balls with one of the many man-sized icicles hanging from my roof. For five straight months, I dug out and snowblowed and shivered and offered to do anything to make the mercury climb over 32. Even when the temperature did rise above freezing, it still often felt freezing well into June. Just when I felt the last bit of winter chill thaw out of my nuts, the icy cock-punch of winter returned.

It was a classic case of it’s not you, it’s me. For anyone looking for abundant naturally beauty, winter sports, small-town living, and the thrill of tracking, killing, and gutting your dinner, this place is perfect. We concluded, however, that were too soft, too squishy for a remote town founded on iron mining. Even the influence of the local university couldn’t shake the feeling that we lived in an outpost more than a town, a little bubble of urbanity floating in a sea of forest preserves.

We missed our families, too, and with the addition of Libby, those family ties felt even more stretched. We wanted our daughter to be able to see her family without having to make the journey like an expedition from the Arctic. Plus, I’d be lying if didn’t say I missed the malls and metrosexuality.

So we’re packing up the trading post and returning back to the city. TLB got a great job at DePaul University, and by September we’ll be back in Chicago, back to city life, back to family, back to the familiar.

The funny thing is that I feel very much like I did when I left New York City—the Anti-U.P. I also spent three years there, and while the experience was life-changing and fantastic, it never felt like home. It was like studying abroad in a foreign city, full of energy and adventure but also with a time limit. It’s been the same way here. Being able to walk a few blocks and go to the lake shore or to our cozy little downtown, soaking up a sky full of stars, or taking in the fiery bloom of the fall colors…I will definitely miss that. But like New York, this just wasn’t home, and right now, we feel the pull of home.

Of course, there are additional reasons we’re trading the country for the city, so here is today’s list: Why are we leaving the U.P.?

10) Feel more comfortable living where “bear hunting” is a euphemism for bagging hairy gay men.

9) Miss the excitement of random carjackings.

8) Need to live someplace where the annual snowfall amount doesn’t seem like a typo.

7) Camouflage is not our color.

6) Only crack available here is plumber’s.

5) Want to trade the fresh, clean air of nature for the smell coming from the Cinnabon at the strip mall.

4) Simply cannot live somewhere that isn’t showing Avatar in 3D.

3) Couldn’t get used to using the phrase “nice beaver” in non-ironic sense.

2) Prefer our mustaches to be covered in pizza sauce rather than permafrost.

1) Realize we’re more London, England, than London, Jack.

32 comments:

Jennifer said...

Brando- I'm so happy for all of you, and as I said before, selfishly happy that you will be mere miles away from me, but not close enough that I back over your garbage cans.... I will indeed make you those rare, white sugar cookies. :)

fish said...

8) Need to live someplace where the annual snowfall amount doesn’t seem like a typo.

Um, Chicago?

Brando said...

Um, Chicago?

Believe me, Chicago winters are going to seem quaint. We've had a "mild" winter this year and still be well into the triple digits.

TLB said...

Yes, fish, Chicago. The annual snowfall here is NORMALLY 150 inches. In Chicago that would be a disaster. Here it's a mild winter.

The Uncanny Canadian said...

Bravo for making it as long as you did, and double bravo for moving forward. You can still get some great lake glory and get food out that is worth blogging about! Good luck with the move.

fish said...

50" in DC caused riots, wailing, hair pulling and gnashing of teeth. They called it snowpocalypse.

We have malls too.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

You realize, of course, you will soon be destitute because of all the groovy bands to spend money on.

Then, we all pack it up for Jennifer's Blogging Compound, wherever she puts it. You will recognize it by the HUGE black plastic glasses on the front. Mailbox will read ZED, RONALD.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

...and of course, any ensuing shenanigans if you visit Milwaukee during Summerfest will be TOTALLY fish's fault, not mine at all.

but hopefully TLB will bail both of us out.

Von said...

Chicago is so excited and can't wait!
I know this, because I took an informal poll on my lunch hour, asking random "man on the street" strangers, and all are giddily excited that you're coming here!!
Me especially.
Fish - Shut.Up.

Von said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

Then, we all pack it up for Jennifer's Blogging Compound, wherever she puts it. You will recognize it by the HUGE black plastic glasses on the front. Mailbox will read ZED, RONALD.

LOL!!!

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

ZEDHaus.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

...In the shape of a Z....

scuse me, gotta go to the drafting table....

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Also, I hope you rocked the chiffon gowns as well as Zsa Zsa did...

Noelle said...

I think we're on similar paths... After 3 years, I'm ready to go back to NYC. Maybe it's because I totaled my car in the snow, and maybe it's because I burned all my Hudson Valley Bridges, but I think that this place is too small to handle all of me.

Jennifer said...

Also, I hope you rocked the chiffon gowns as well as Zsa Zsa did...

Are your hotcakes inedible?

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I'm far from sold on Columbus after over 4 years.

Then again, I lived in Manhattan for 22 years, and never considered it home, either.
~

Churlita said...

Yea for you guys! Of course it would work out soooo much better for me if you moved to Iowa City instead. See what you can do.

fish said...

Are your hotcakes inedible?

That is a rather personal question, don't you think?

fish said...

What I meant to say was don't ya think?

Jennifer said...

I thought of Dan Lacey while typing that, but couldn't go there. Of course, fish could...

fish said...

SSSHHHHHH!!!!

Churlita might not click the link...

Mandos said...

I've lived in the suburbs my entire life, but have never felt like it was home. A couple of years ago, I spent three months in Manhattan, and it was. Circumstances still don't permit me to move to the city for real, and may not for some time yet. Perhaps not ever.

So heartfelt congratulations on moving somewhere you like to be, from somewhere you don't. You're an inspiration :)

Brando said...

LOL, I'm doubly laughing because I've had a lot of e-mail lately with Tickle & Co. about Pancake Z.

Everyone should click on that link.

Kathleen said...

that's big news! very exciting. Congrats!

Another Kiwi said...

There will be pancakes in the blogging compound, I would hope.
Good luck with the move Brando, got the huskie team hired yet?

Adorable Girlfriend said...

Congrats! That's wonderful news. I cannot believe it has been three years. It seems like just yesterday.

Churlita said...

MIGHT not? You'll just have to let me know what was on there.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Churlita, a pancake was on there.

Damn you fish. Some things cannot be unseen.

Brando, I clicked your link. And of course had to read all the way through, again.

So much for productivity THIS morning. Damn you Brando.

fish said...

Don't listen to Jennifer and Zombie Churlita. It is completely innocent. The link has a painting of a hotcake and a unicorn. How can that be bad?

Grendel said...

Selfishly psyched you're gonna be closer. Watch out for me in the spring.

almostinfamous said...

oh god not the high resolution pancake loupe!!!#@% whyyyyyy did i click on that stupid link? why why why why?

and i guess you're now saying goodbai to da UP eh?
have fun in chicago - looks like the place to be for bloggers! wish i was there!