Sunday, April 10, 2016

Our New Town

We're settling into our new home in the woodlands of southeast Texas really nicely. (To be clear, not THE Woodlands, just the woodlands. We like to think of it as all the trees without the taxes. Or gondolas.)

The People of Wal-Mart are here. Not too long ago, I was pushing twin 18-month-olds in a faded stroller, with my 8-and-a-half-month pregnant belly, sitting down for contractions in the rice aisle. I believe we've found our people.

Apparently, last year's family membership to the Grapevine Sea Life Aquarium was over-rated. We have a whole wall of aquariums less than a mile away at our local Wal-Mart. And this display is much clearer about the life cycle of small fish. And the dangers of open filters in a small aquarium. 

Walmart Memories, circa 1985
Walmart in Conroe, circa 2016
There is one electricity provider. (I spent 45 minutes on the phone with customer service, trying to figure out their rate. Nobody knows.) 

I'm sure the super-nice receptionist at Conroe City Hall thought I was nuts. I called, just to verify there is only one electricity provider. 

"Hi, um, I'm new in town, trying to set up electricity, but it looks like there's only one provider." 


"Um. There's only one provider?" 


"So, there's not, like, a website I can go to, to choose an electricity provider?" 

"Ma'am, what do you mean?" 

There are two internet providers. We had a phone line installed to get internet. 

There are no sidewalks. Buses pick up kids who live 1/4-mile from school, because it's easier to build an expansive bus service than sidewalks.

We have both a Hobby Lobby and a Michaels, across the street from each other. Also, Walmart, Target, Lowes, Home Depot, HEB, Aldi, and Kroger. I walked a mile with all five kids to Aldi earlier today. We made it back home with groceries and all five kids, so I'm going to call it a smashing success. 

It's 80 cents extra per bag of trash set out on garbage day. Recycling is collected every week. If you have extra recycling, don't set it out by the recycling bin. It will be ignored. If your brush isn't cut into 4-foot branches and tied into bundles with twine, it will also be ignored. 

Thrift stores are actually full of people's faded, broken stuff. These are not the second-hand boutiques of Dallas! I had to wait until we visited to Dallas to buy a used microwave at a resale shop, because these citizens of Conroe (Conroe-ites? Conrovians?), they don't junk stuff that's not junk. 

Our neighbors fly a "Come and Take It" flag, every day. Every house on our block has a lone star displayed on their house in some way (ours included). Parking spaces are large enough for the pick-up trucks that fill them. #TXproud

There's a great rec center, everyone is friendly and welcoming, and there's a national forest just down the road!

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