Howdy! While I had a nomadic youth, from twelve years old onward to high school graduation, I lived in what I consider my hometown, Levittown New York. Mine and my husband's immediate families reside there, while our extendeds also mostly live nearby, scattered across Long Island. Friends from high school, and even some from college, live in the area as well, though I went to college about three hours north of there. Meanwhile, my husband and I live in Texas.
I think if I was an extrovert, I'd have created a circle here by now, having lived in this state since early 2019. Instead, I squeeze a year's worth of socializing into however long my annual holiday visit to Long Island is. Are there perks to living so far away? Absolutely. Housing is significantly cheaper in suburban East Texas than on Long Island. So much so that we can afford to rent a house with a decent sized yard, which is great for our dogs. Gas is likewise more affordable. I've found that Texan landlords and businesses cater more to dog owners than those in New York, so while I have to pay a pet fee to my landlord, at least I can have pets. Which isn't the case in much of New York. Compared to Albany New York, where I lived from 2009-2018, the dog parks here are much nicer, and more common. Conveniently, the weather is also warmer in the south.
My husband loves Texas for those perks listed above, but also because he swears folks are friendlier here, that there is less crime, that the roads are wider and better maintained, and that his income isn't being taxed by the state. If you weren't aware, Texas doesn't have an income tax, but they make up for that with hefty property taxes. He's taken up barbecuing since moving here, and he loves being in close proximity to so many great barbecue restaurants.
Personally, I can't abide the state politics. I'm a leftist in a red state so there is never any good news from that arena. Without going on a rant, suffice to say that if it were up to me, I'd have left Texas for good after a certain SCOTUS ruling back in June 2022. But that's a Texas specific issue. If I lived far from family in a blue state, I'd still miss having a community.
In Albany, yes I was a good three hours north of family, but that was a reasonable distance for monthly or bi-monthly visits. Texas is a two day drive from family, and flying isn't an option if I want to bring the dogs. It's lonely living so far from everyone. While I have made some friends in Texas, and I enjoy brief outings to the nearby dog parks and cities, I am missing out on watching my niblings growing up. With the youngest niblings, we've only met a handful of times. My friends have started having children and I imagined myself as more of an involved honorary-auntie than I've become. It's a shame.
If there was an emergency, my husband and I only really have each other to lean on in-person. We're friends with a couple who moved back to their home town after having a child because they quickly realized that, with a little one, they needed more of a support system than they had here. That's always in the back of my mind when my husband and I go out for a few hours. If something happened and we didn't come home, who would come for and care for the dogs? Who would notice we were missing, and when? I have taken precautions, within reason, but I worry.
We're saving to buy a house and what with the current obscene interest rates, even had we the more funds, we'd hold off on purchasing for now. But, I am keeping an eye on the housing market. Ideally, we'll buy a place in the Carolinas, Pennsylvania, or Ohio. As much as I don't miss winter, we are too far from home. Even just halving the drive to New York, would make a big difference in how often we can visit.
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Light Step is out in the world! To my knowledge, the ebook and paperback are available at Tea With Coffee Media's online store, and the paperback is available on Amazon. The book will be available in both formats on Amazon and the Barnes & Noble online store, but there has been a delay in them populating there. Tomorrow will mark one week since publication so I'll reach out to my publisher then, in case there is anything they can do to get that ball rolling.
This past week was crazy, updating all my socials and the site to reflect the Light Step release, squeezing in family time while sharing Light Step meme clips on TikTok, and then from Thursday night up until the wee hours of Sunday morning, driving home from Long Island. Okay, my husband drove, but I wasn't kidding about the trip taking two days! We actually had to pull over and wait out a snowstorm at one point, but we also made a pitstop to visit a friend in Nashville, so that was fun. My husband is looking at Tennessee as our next possible home-state, but as we just renewed our lease in Texas, that potential change is a ways out.
I didn't get any painting done in New York, despite having brought ample supplies to do so. While I consider myself flexible with regards to where I can work, that view may be giving me too much credit. The one time I attempted setting up a work space, there was too much commotion in the immediate area and I quickly packed my supplies away. Unable to paint, I threw my efforts more at marketing Light Step, though I also spent much of my time babysitting or playing with my niblings. Home again, I'm ready to work. Aside from being sick that is. It's probably just a cold and I'll be well soon enough.
I'm still reading Princess Diana's updated (post-demise) pseudo-autobiography, Diana: Her True Story--in Her Own Words and plan to read Spare, by Prince Harry, next. Then I plan to read Soulmates: A Metaphysical Love Story, by Sarah Faeth Sanders, who was, coincidentally, the editor for Stem & Stone and Light Step.
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