Tuesday, February 22, 2011

One Mom in Oregon?

Sam and I had our annual let's-move-away-from-Maine conversation last night.  

If I could keep track of such things, I'd be interested to see how consistent our timing is on this from year to year.  I'd guess it is always within a few weeks of right now when both of us are tiring of the long winter. 

Here is how it usually starts:

I hate Maine.  It's so ugly right now.  The teacher pay is crap.  We could do so much better somewhere else.  Somewhere that had an earlier spring. 

I always add:  I want to live somewhere with more good restaurants.  And closer to a major airport.  And closer to my siblings.

Sam always adds:  We need to live somewhere where I can surf.  How about northern northern California?

We usually mention North Carolina, Colorado (no surfing), parts of California, and always end up talking about Oregon.  It seems like the place for us.  Surfing and mountains and trail running and cool cities.  But the rainy season?  I don't think we could do that.  Plus we don't know anyone in Oregon.  But we fantasize about how much better the teachers are paid there and how adventurous it sounds to just pack up and go.

We go around and around like this until one of us says something about the Maine summers.  And the island.  And the ocean.  And the hiking.  And the glorious fall!  And our friends.  And all the lakes to swim in.   And how happy our kids are here, and how much of a community we have built here, and how connected we are to the schools.  And our dear friends!

Then we get really nostalgic for the Maine we almost betrayed, and decide that we actually love it here, and all we really need is some more money to travel to Costa Rica for surfing vacations, and while we are talking crazy, a governor who isn't going to rob us of our meager salaries by using cuts in teacher take-home-pay as a way to help pay down the state's deficit. 

And here is part of what got me mad at Maine:  This week we got a bill in the mail for $700 for our 2009 Maine state taxes.  I'm not sure what happened or whose fault it is yet (I use TurboTax), but somehow our retirement contributions weren't added into our gross income last year and now we need to pay back taxes for them.   It made me so mad.  Nothing worse than an unexpected bill in the mail.  I just keep thinking (I honestly do) that someday Sam and I are going to get a letter in the mail from the state saying "You both work so hard and do so much for our youth, and we'd like to thank you and reward you with this check for a lot of money."

Just like we get fed up with the muddy snow season in late winter, we also sometimes get fed up with the unfairness of teacher pay and our inability to go on vacations.

You know what would help?  A warm day at our favorite local swimming spot.  This is all we really need, right?

I do love Maine and all its imperfect quirkiness.  Yesterday my friends and I started talking about some of the things we want to do this summer:  camping, climbing Katahdin, island trips, adventure races... just talking about it all made me so happy.    I think we'll stay put for now.

I've written before about the best thing about living in a place like Maine is that the seasons are all so distinct and intense that you really feel like you have earned the pleasure of warmer weather once you finally get there.  That's us right now:  earning the rewards we will soon reap.

p.s.  I promise I'm not going to complain my way through March.  Promise.


Kelly Dahl said...

We're thinking a lot about Oregon. Just sayin'. Maybe we could meet up in the "other" Portland.

Carly said...

After being in Maine for 4 years for school, I'm over it. Not that NH is much different, but at least we're close to Boston, which has much better options, and both my husband and I have more opportunities for teaching jobs. We're looking forward to moving in May!

SoulSister said...

I have an acute case of cabin-fever myself...so allow me to join in the fantasizing. I spent three weeks in Oregon this summer. It's SO beautiful and Portland totally ROCKS. Yours truly from icy Madison Wisconsin, Phoebe.

Brooke said...

I have no room for complaining about weather here in AZ, but we have Bend, OR on the brain.

I'm glad to know that other couples go through these repeat conversations.

Eileen said...

Just as a point of comparison, I live in Pennsylvania, and I fantasize about Maine. :)

Zoe Kreitzer said...

I can relate to your feeling of earned respite from the cold. I have never been so intensely in love with winter as I was this year, but now I'm feelin' spring... I admit, I feel a bit guilty about it. I a Mainer, I'm supposed to have ice in my bones, right? Not supposed to need warm weathah, right? But I can't help it, I pine for the smell of mud, and for sun dresses, and flip flops. And after the snow we've had this winter, you can be sure we EARNED that sunshine and 70's!

Ali Climo said...

western North Carolina...? mountains, marathons, 4 hours from surfing...US!! we miss you! and it was 70 degrees this weekend!

elizabeth said...

Ahhh...well, I've been in Utah 21 ski seasons longer than planned, and am working my way back to Maine with a longing that has never ceased..sometimes, though, my friends on the island get my attention when they say..."remember why you left..."...but it will be different coming home than leaving home, and I am looking forward to that...hugs to you two, and if you're still there when I finally get home, we'll climb Katahdin..! :)

Frederique said...

Well, Emily I have thought about what you wrote and I have to say that home is where you make it regardless of the weather, temperatures etc... I lived in France until age 11, then we moved to Switzerland and I moved away from home when I was 16 and moved to Germany for 2 years, at 18 I moved to California, and at 22 ended up in Pennsylvania, then, New Jersey and now Delaware! I know it has been a grand voyage, however, I don't get attached to a place, I just made a home with my husband, our children and our dog. I have added numerous friends to make Home, homier! But, my overall goal is to create as many happy moments as possible! You see, I too dream about going to other places with the family, but I have to say that even when I dream of "better" places I could live in, my thoughts bring me right back to the fact that I am "home" and I am always glad to come "home"

Airy Nothing said...

Please tell me you've checked out IFC's "Portlandia"! A simple search on youtube (Portlandia + I dream of the 90s) might make all your dreams come true ;)

Lisa said...

Portland is one of the cities top on my possibility lists as well. :D