Laughing, Weeping, Living

Life happens. You laugh about it or cry about it, sometimes both.

What I Will and Will Not Miss

on April 13, 2013

Since we’re down to about one week before departure, I figured it was time to do a list of what I will and will not miss about living in Rio Rancho, NM. I don’t think it will be any big surprise to those of you who know me personally when I say that we did not like it here. I mean that with all charity because I know plenty of people choose to live here, like the location, and enjoy their lives in the Land of Enchantment. We just aren’t some of those people. On the other hand, there are a number of things I really did enjoy about living here. So in the spirit of equality and fair treatment of all parties involved, here is a one-for-one list of what I will and will not miss about living in Rio Rancho.

1. I will not miss the extremely dry climate with winds that push dust through the cracks in my closed windows. I can count on one hand the number of times it’s really rained since we moved here seven months ago. I want it to rain, I want grass to grow, and I don’t want to be sand-blasted every time I step outside. And what is up with the plastic grass people put in their yards? I agree that throwing a pile of gravel out back isn’t my idea of landscaping, but fake grass is almost just as bad. Too bad it’s necessary if you want a lawn in this desert.

a. I will miss the sunshine and mild temperatures. Where we are going in Ohio, it is cloudy more often than not. And here, there were a couple cold cold months, but we’re already dressing Stephen in shorts whereas Montana and Minnesota (two other places we’ve lived in the recent past) just got lovely April snowstorms. Plus, as Jeremy pointed out to me, this weather is pretty much ideal for riding a motorcycle. You can almost ride all year, with a few exceptions for extreme cold or wind.

2. I will not miss the exorbitant cost of housing. It cost us more to pay rent and utilities for our two-bedroom apartment built less than 20 years ago in a mild climate than it did to pay a mortgage and utilities on our three-bedroom, two-story house built in 1911 in Montana. And that house still had all original windows. In one or two places, you could look through the gap in the window frame and see outside. Come on, Rio Rancho, surely a town incorporated in the 1980’s can do better than that.

b.  I will miss the great deals available on grocery shopping. There must be more competition here or something, because the deals in the weekly ads are out of this world compared to deals in Billings. I didn’t even bother reading the ads most weeks in Montana. But here, Albertsons frequently has a “buy one get two free” deal on cuts of meat, and that is just awesome. Plus produce has been really fun to shop for. The quality is much better than I was used to getting in Billings. I don’t know what it will be like in Ohio, but I hope the grocery shopping continues to be so fun. I have really enjoyed hunting for the best deals and getting the most food for my grocery money.

3. I will not miss being so isolated from our families. My entire family is in Ohio. Jeremy’s entire family is in California or Idaho. We are not geographically close to anyone we are related to. It kind of sucks, especially now that Stephen is a little older and we want him to know his grandparents and aunts, uncles, and cousins.

c. I will miss all the wonderful friends we’ve made here. We’ve gotten close to a few families and we will be sad to leave so soon after meeting these lovely people and just really getting close. I just can’t express how blessed we are to have met such beautiful folk, especially at this time in our journey when we are really struggling and so many people have stepped up to offer support and encouragement. We are so, so blessed by the friends we have made here. And I really hate saying goodbye.

4. I will not miss the blatant disregard for posted speed limits and other traffic control signage. I know bad drivers are a plague affecting most locations, but here more than anywhere else I’ve lived, we’ve really had to keep alert to avoid getting creamed. Even in our own parking lot, people zip around the corners like they’re in a race, regardless of pedestrians and cars pulling in or out of parking spaces. I’ve almost been hit on at least two occasions by cars pulling into or out of the driveway of our complex. Not to mention the frequent speeding of up to 20 miles over posted limits, the cars running stop signs, and turning against red lights. The ones that really kill me are the double right turn lanes when the car in the middle lane turns right against a red light into the left lane with oncoming traffic. That’s just crazy.

balloons in the streetd. I will miss the hot air balloons. I’ve never seen a hot air balloon in person before living here (I don’t think…) and here they are super common. In fact, we often see several balloons out our living room window in the morning. And during the International Balloon Festival back in the fall, dozens of balloons filled the sky every morning. One morning they even landed in the parking lot of our church just as we were arriving for me to drop off Jeremy at the office! It was so neat to see all the balloons trying to do precision landing between the houses of the neighborhood, with the ground crews driving frantically up and down the streets to find a way close to the landing location of their balloon.

5. I will not miss having to drive everywhere. I really enjoyed walking around Billings and around my neighborhood there. Here, there isn’t anything close to where I live, and to get to any retail area, driving is absolutely essential. We spend so much money on gas compared to Billings since Jeremy had to drive to work here rather than ride his bicycle. Plus we can’t walk to church here, which I really really liked in Billings. Our church was literally five blocks away. Even when the streets were covered with a foot of fresh snow, we could make it to daily mass on foot. So cool.

e. I will miss living near locations with cool history. Before we moved here, we never lived anywhere that had history going back further than a couple hundred years. But here there is all sorts of neat history with the Native Americans and Spanish and Mexican settlers, going back almost six hundred years or maybe more in some places. I guess my one biggest regret is that we didn’t explore the history of this place more thoroughly while we were here. We did get up to visit Santa Fe a time or two, and we went to Chimayo, and of course the Old Town part of Albuquerque. But I never really delved into the history of the Spanish missionaries and how the towns developed and the events that occurred along the way through the years.

So there you have it. Next week Jeremy and I will be busy packing. We haven’t packed even one fork or framed photo yet, so it should be quite a whirlwind. I’ll try not to bore all y’all by writing about packing every day next week. Then the week after that, we will be on our road trip! I will try to post a few times each week we’re on the road, but with only a dinky little netbook and uncertain internet availability, I won’t make any guarantees. At the absolute very least, I’ll do a few road trip posts once we reach our destination, if I’m not able to do much on the road.

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One response to “What I Will and Will Not Miss

  1. Kathy Schwager says:

    I’m happy for you that you will be close to your family. The California branch of your family will just have to start shopping for bargain air fares to Ohio!

    I agree with you that being able to walk to many of the places you need to go is wonderful. It’s one of the things we like best about where we live. Days and days go by when we don’t use the car!

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