Monday, February 23, 2015

Oh, Texas...

 
I've lived in Texas for over 22 years now, and I'm still learning new things.  Which was to be expected in the beginning - after all, they say Texas is "like a whole other country" - and they're right about that.  I had to get used to the idea that when a Texan talked about their "tank" they were referring to what the rest of us call a pond, and that a "bar ditch" wasn't necessarily outside of a bar, but in fact is a grassy dip on the side of the road built for drainage.  They are not made for parking, but at times you will see a random vehicle parked at an odd angle in a bar ditch - although I've never done it, people seem to run off the road and into the bar ditch fairly often around here.  And don't get me started about the time someone gave us directions and told us to take the access road...you do not want to know how long it took us to figure out that it was the road that runs parallel to the highway and not, in fact, a road named Access.

I said all that to say (which is a phrase I first heard in Texas) that I heard a new one this week.  We have new next-door neighbors, and in chatting with them, they told me about their (grown) children, saying their son went to school for (whatever, I can't remember) but is a "landman" and that their daughter went to school for (whatever, I can't remember) but she's a "landman" as well.  No idea what that meant.  I asked them if they were retired or still working, and they said they both were "landmen" - and I couldn't hold in my ignorance any longer and had to ask.  Apparently a landman is someone who works for the oil/gas industry and helps to get the mineral/oil rights on land before drilling can happen.  All these years living in oilfield-dense Texas, and I'd never heard of that term.

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Another Texas phenomenon is how rapidly our temperatures can change.  I'd never heard of the term "blue norther" until I moved to Texas, but the first time I experienced one turned me into someone who checks the hourly weather forecast every morning.  A blue norther is when the weather turns cold in a very short amount of time.  It's also something that can make you feel like a bad mother when you send your little kindergartener off to school wearing a weather-appropriate outfit of shorts and a t-shirt, and then the blue norther happens and that child is shivering and covered in goosebumps when you pick him up in the afternoon.

Gullywasher in progress...

Last week, Jeff and I wanted to get a run in before the (predicted) rain began.  At 5:15 am, it was a balmy 65 degrees, and we were running in short-sleeved tops.  We were nearing the one mile mark when the rain started (which was sooner than what the hourly forecast said, darn it); I didn't want to get caught in a gully washer (another Texas weather experience - an intense period of rain that can flood not only gullies, but bar ditches as well) so we headed home.  We finished the run at 1.5 miles, and were lightly soaked from the rain.  I jumped in the shower to warm up, and could hear the rain pouring down outside - it did, indeed, turn into a real gully washer.  And about 30 minutes later, the rain eased up but it got cold - I checked the temperature, and it had dropped to 38 degrees!  I think I got Texas bingo with that gully washer/blue norther combination.

One thing is for sure - even after all this time, Texas sure keeps me guessing.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.

18 comments:

  1. Your weather in Texas sounds as crazy and messed up as our weather
    here in Florida. From Fridays low 30's to Sundays high of 80 we had a
    50 degree difference in temps how crazy is that? Don't get me wrong I
    am grateful for the warm up but it makes it hard for to stay well. I've lived
    in Florida all my 50 years and the weather just seems to be getting crazier
    and really hard to predict and the seasons as it were are messed up to.
    Oh well, most of the time we still have the best winter weather in the nation
    can't complain to much about that. Have a great Monday!

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    1. I forgot about the magical sickness that you get from going cold to warm to cold to warm...you Floridians get a hefty dose of that, too. But yeah, overall, you still have a winter climate that most everyone is envious of!

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  2. First it's funny that it's 22 years ago since I left my parents house and moved to the house where I still live. So we moved the same year.

    Our country is so much smaller than yours. I even looked it up: If we would put a part of Europe in Texas the would mean that the Netherlands, Belgium, most of Germany, part of France, part of Switzerland and Austria would fit in. It's 17 times larger than the Netherlands. Wow! Texas is really big!

    But our country is (let's called it states) divided in 12 states. One of them is Friesland and they have their own dialect and other names for things. They differ a lot from the rest of the country but even then there are differences. When I first moved to my town, someone called a ladybug a "kukelesaantje" and I had no idea what it was. Turned out where I come from we call it "lieveheersbeestje"

    But I love it when not everything is the same everywhere.

    Now all we have to do is to see if Texas can meet the Netherlands one day :)

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    1. How interesting that you've experienced something similar in your country - I guess that happens all over! And yes, Texas is freaking huge. It is a long, long day of driving to get across the state. Which I have done, but do not enjoy. I have a hard time fathoming how small other countries are, compared to the US, much less compared to Texas! That is pretty wild, how many countries could fit into this state.

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  3. I think every state probably has it's quirky words. In Connecticut, a submarine sandwich is called a grinder, which is funny considering that Groton is the Submarine Capital of the World, what with Electric Boat, which builds them and the Naval Submarine Base both being located there.

    Along Fran's line of just how big is Texas, she should feel intimidated. Texas is biggler than a lot of states here too!. Texas is as large as Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and all of New England (6 states) combined; Connecticut and Rhode Island could almost fit inside Brewster, which is the largest county in Texas.

    This is probably why born and raised in CT Mr. Helen won't drive 2 hours to an airport and you Texans think nothing of it!

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    1. Make that she she NOT feel intimidated - jeez!

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    2. If we Texans didn't drive 2 hours, we'd never get anywhere! LOL - but seriously, in my town, everything is 15 minutes away at most...not accounting for stupid football traffic, of course.

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    3. Not intimidated at all :) I'm a woman of the world, there isn't much that surprises or scares me (except violence against humanity/animals) these days :)

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  4. One of my FB friends coined our weather properly - it's bipolar! It was 80 degrees here during the day, dropped to around 65 last night, got up at 5am and it was 46. By the time I left the gym and got to work it was 42 at 7am!

    I will never forget the year we moved here from Tacoma and it rained every single day of the summer for about an hour or so each day at 12noon. That year, Houston received more rain that Seattle. Made for a miserable summer break and I couldn't wait to get back to Alabama (yes, I went from one coast to another to another) for school.

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    1. Bipolar weather is the perfect description!

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  5. Ohhh, I got all sentimental reading this. Its been 28 years since I left Texas, and I only lived there for 8 years, but they were 8 really important and good years in my life. I'm glad I've still got a little Texas connection! Just for the record, I'd never heard the term bar ditch OR landman. I wonder if they are South Texas terms?!

    I also enjoyed Fran's geography lesson :)

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    1. Aww, I'm glad this post touched your Texas heart! :)

      Bar ditch may be more of a south Texas thing...or maybe in slightly more rural areas? Not that we're rural. Glad you hadn't heard of landman either.

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  6. I grew up in upstate NY and when I moved to Colorado - I could not get over how far apart towns were, even little ones LOL! The weather there turns on a dime as well, particularly in the foothills (I lived in Boulder). The weather would be totally fine and then almost like clockwork in the afternoon, clouds would roll over the Rockies and it would get freezing cold and rain for 30 minutes. Then sunny and warm again.

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    1. Wait...towns are supposed to be close together? ;)

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  7. I love the regional "isms"!!! I've heard that "everything is bigger in Texas"....true?

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  8. People have always said "if you don't like the weather here, wait 5 minutes" about Chicago and I totally don't see it. Ours just sucks most of the time, but it doesn't change dramatically like that! A good Midwesternism is that there's 2 seasons here: winter and construction.

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  9. YEP YEP YEP although I LOVED our 2 hours delay for one piece of ice yesterday morning :-)

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