Posted by: notdeaddinosaur | April 24, 2011

Texas; Why Did it Have to be Texas?

Four years is an academic generation. It may feel like forever when you’re going through it, but let me assure you: watched from the sidelines, it goes by in a snap. In the time it takes for a newborn infant’s second MMR and VZV boosters to come due, the new high school graduate (center)

June 2007

goes from flying the nest to preparing for yet another migration. This time, though, in a massive shift from attending college at his parents’ alma mater, it’s to a place so new, so different, so utterly foreign to everything familiar to one born and bred to the Northeast corridor. That’s right: the NinjaBaker is moving to Houston. As in Texas. The land of Stetsons, cowboy boots, and concealed carry. Where April is like August and August is unspeakable. Texas.

I had the honor and the pleasure of accompanying him this past week as he set out in search of living quarters, with a subsidiary goal of starting to get a feel of the place. Traveling light, we arrived late Tuesday, captured a rental car and tracked down the hotel, where we plotted our plan of attack.

Wednesday was devoted to scoping out assorted areas on our own, guided both by realtor-provided listings and internet gleanings. Wandering around by car, we covered a fair amount of ground which included areas that appeared very nice indeed (therefore likely prohibitively expensive) and some that were considerably less so. After a meal and a brief snooze, we set out to explore on foot.

The Texas Medical Center consists of a crap-ton (precise unit) of hospitals, clinics, medical schools, research facilities, and the like crammed together closely enough to make sardines feel their tin is downright roomy by comparison. Memorial Hermann, Baylor College of Medicine, Methodist, St. Luke’s, University of Texas at Houston, Texas Children’s hospital; the buildings swirled together. Outside one, I saw the logical extension of Emergency Medicine’s struggle for terrain: not the “Emergency Room”, not the “Emergency Department”, but the “Emergency CENTER.” WhiteCoat would be proud.

Thursday saw us given into the clutches of a fearless sherpa in the person of a nice little Jewish lady who showed us around many of the areas we’d seen the day before. Multiple apartments were inspected; literature was collected and carefully perused over lunch, after which the decision was made to return to the very first place seen. Forms were completed, papers were signed, and before you could say “Molecular Virology” the NinjaBaker had a place to live, in honor of which a celebratory dinner was consumed at a wonderful little all-you-can-eat Mediterranean buffet.

Friday was dedicated to the Houston Zoo, a nice little park where we also managed to collect the obligatory gifts for family and staff. Later that afternoon we met up with students — his future colleagues — at his graduate program-to-be, and were treated to a wonderful tour of the facilities, complete with meeting (me)/saying another hello to (him) a whole slew of folks uniformly delighted to the prospect of him joining them in their endeavors. Although I had no concerns about this being the right venue for this next stage of his career, if I had had them, they would have been well-allayed. Truly, they seemed as pleased with him as he clearly was with them.

Saturday marked the return home, to merely 80% humidity from 110%. When I asked NB what the weather was like back east, he replied that the temperature was 18 degrees. “Art thou shitting me?” I said. He claimed he was not. I know that winter has been ridiculously reluctant to loose its frigid grip on the Philadelphia environs, but all I had with me was a t-shirt and lightweight hoodie. Then the little creep revealed that it was 18 degrees Celsius. *Sigh*

And so another milestone approaches: graduation from college. Another month to go, complete with thesis and presentation deadlines; exams and packing; entertainment to be coordinated for family gathering from the far corners of New Hampshire and Virginia; the usual crap. Still, I hope he finds the time to savor these last few months in the region of his birthright before heading off into the wild west.

However far he roams, I will always hold him in my heart.

Vaya con Dios, my lastborn.

To Texas. Of all places.

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Responses

  1. Texas ain’t so bad.

    And even better, you have an extended circle of friends and blog readers close by to dispatch on motherly errands if needed.

    I’m only 3 hours away, and I’ve got oodles of blog friends in Houston.

  2. Oh my…. I know, I know… we’re just “fly over country” down here in ye old Houston 🙂 .. You should be mildly concerned that some crazed knife weilding (on-duty)/gun-totin’ (off-duty) surgeon is keeping track of your musings 🙂

    Nonetheless, your northeastern culture will not be rubbed off by our cowboys. I promise not to indoctrinate him into the spittoon, Marlboro, rawhide, gun wielding mayhem that we embody.

    Yes… this is all tongue-in-cheek humor. I just couldn’t resist giving a jab back your way. I will have to call my good friend and vascular surgeon in Laconia, NH.. and have him huntcha down.

    Peace!

  3. Zoo!? PENGUINS! Tell me you got me a Penguin! Penguin!?

  4. Sounds like a BCM grad student?? Had friends there in Mol Virol–got my PhD from the CMB Dept in ’00. Great place for research–staggering resources and expertise all around. Yes, the weather sucks in summer, but spring, fall and winter aren’t bad at all. Like me, he can always come back north afterward, too. 😉

  5. I remember crying when we left Moorestown, NJ for Cincinnati. Now, after fifteen years in Ohio and seventeen in Kansas City, I am glad to report that there is civilization out here – though not a decent bagel or hoagie.

  6. Why so do you feel it necessary to malign the state of my birth? Where would you have preferred your youngest deposit himself? California? Home of the glamorously and fiscally irresponsible. Illinois? Where death never stood in the way of voting?

    Since it sounds as if he’s going to be in the medical center area, have him check out Kam’s Fine Chinese on Montrose just north of the Hwy. 59 bridge. Excellent Chinese food. It’s a hole in the wall, but well worth it. Chuy’s on Westheimer for Tex Mex. The Black Lab is a nice English pub on Montrose between Alabama and Richmond.

  7. DiMassi’s? Good choice!

  8. Texas is lovely, although Houston is not the loveliest place in the state. By and large the people are friendly, even to Yankees.

    I know any number of northeasterners who have moved than there and never looked back.

  9. I second the Kam’s motion – it’s fantastic! And the weather here is great. If you don’t like hot weather, it’s not for you, but I love it. Make sure he knows not to drive in puddles unless he knows the road – we flood erratically.

    Also check out the rest of the Museum District. The Montrose people are a clannish group, but it’s a great neighborhood. Then there are the Heights, and West U – have him check out Broiler Burger!!!


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