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Nebraska -- The Pros and Cons

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nebraska -- The Pros and Cons

"So, Major Mom, how would you sum up Nebraska so far?"

I've gotten that question a lot this week. From neighbors and friends who have been calling to check up Dave's surgery recovery.

So here are the pros and cons of Nebraska, and our new lives near an Air Force base.

Pros:

1.) Nice People. The people are SO NICE! Our neighbors wasted no time bringing us cookies and greeting cards, and offers to watch the boys when the movers were here delivering our stuff. In fact, today Dave received a card from his nurses at the post-surgery recovery ward at the hospital. Awwww...
2.) Cheap! The cost of living is much lower than what we were experiencing in the Raleigh/Durham area.
3.) Not as many SuperMoms here. There aren't waiting lists for every activity/preschool/sports club that I'm interested in for my kids (yes, there was one for Jake's soccer, but he still made it into the program and he was LAST on the waiting list!)
4.) No traffic to speak of. I don't count the gate lines to get onto Offutt AFB in the mornings. And they aren't that bad...not at all like Patrick AFB in 2002.
5.) Folks here drive the speed limit. I'm not sure if this is a pro or a con, since I tend to be an aggressive driver, this area has calmed me down quite a bit.
6.) Cheap gas. About $0.35 cents less per gallon than in NC (see CON re: gas below)
7.) We're Near Our Local AF Base! The base gas station, commissary, exchange, post office and fitness center are all 10 minutes away. We're renting a camper in mid-September from the AF base Outdoor Recreation center for cheap.

Cons:

1.) The endless corn and soy fields. While you might think, "Isn't agriculture a good thing?", I envision many of these fields are being grown for biodiesel and corn-ethanol. While I support our getting off of foreign oil reliance, I think other agricultural priorities (i.e., feeding people) are now taking a back-seat to it. That discussion is for another blog posting. You can read this for now.
2.) The cheapest gas here is the ethanol blend. This is why gas is so cheap here. The ethanol blend is a higher octane, so it sells as "Plus Unleaded", but it's $0.10 less than regular unleaded. A mindset shift.
3.) Odors. The STENCH in our neighborhood when the winds are coming in from certain directions. If the winds are from the south but light, we get the stench of the pig farm just south of here. If the winds are from the ENE and coming in at a good clip -- 10 knots or more, we get the smell of some sort of rendering plant. I was checking my trash can on Monday when I was smelling what seemed like garbage -- but really it was throughout the neighborhood (trust me, I walked around the corner and still smelled it).

Tangent: I remember living in Deridder, Louisiana in 1995-1996, I had a 20 mile drive northward to work every morning. I could forecast whether there would be fog at the Fort Polk base weather station when I arrived at work in the morning based on the smell I experienced when I walked out of my apartment. There was a paper mill to the west of where I lived -- the stronger the stench when I walked out of my apartment, the worse the fog would be as I drove north in the morning.

I wonder if I will be able to predict the weather based on the smells here. Fun.
4.) Lines on the Road. The large intersections here don't have lines painted on the road to tell you where to stop...and NO, this isn't why I got into a traffic accident earlier this month! But no, no lines painted. I guess we're on our honor to stop such that we don't get hit by the cross traffic.
5.) The "N" is for "kNowledge". There are NO major-league sports teams in a 3 hour radius of this area. So people have no choice but to root for University of Nebraska sports...sigh...and it's fanatical here -- almost as fanatical as Penn Staters!!! Many of the houses have block "N"s somewhere on it -- sometimes it's subtle, like a small block N on the front door. Sometimes it's gaudy as hell, with a giant red-track-light-outlined "N" emblazoned on the fence.

This week is the Nebraska State Fair. While North Carolina's is TOTALLY AWESOME, I'm sure Nebraska's will be fun, too. Hopefully Dave is feeling well enough that we can go this weekend. Maybe we can see Styx in concert on Monday?

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