In less than two days, Everything2 will no longer have any active noders in West Texas.

If you haven't heard the news yet, I finally got a job, after seven months of drawing unemployment. I'll be working at the University of North Texas in Denton, where I'll be an "Online Content Specialist" -- meaning, I'll be helping to make sure that all the university's websites are compatible with each other and fairly consistent in quality across the board.

I start work on Monday, and I'm definitely looking forward to it -- the job description sounds like it was written specifically for me, and the employees I've met so far seem to be great people. I also got my Masters degree at UNT, and I'm fairly familiar with Denton, which is a very nice, scenic city, though it's punishingly hot in the summer. It's got a strong artistic/musical/intellectual culture, thanks to two different universities in town (UNT and Texas Womans University), and while it's close enough to the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex to allow for some fun trips into the big city, it's also far enough away to keep me from feeling claustrophobic about living in a big city. It has one of the most spectacularly beautiful town squares I've ever seen. My favorite bookstore in the universe is located here, and they've actually got two comic book stores in town. I fully expect to love living in Denton.

I'm also going to intensely miss Lubbock. I've lived here for about eight years, and I've gotten very attached to living in the same town as my grandmother (turning 98 in September, and still living on her own), my brother (who has let me live for the past month or two rent-free in his duplex), and my niece (Hyla, my brother's rat terrier). I'm going to miss the friends I've made here. I'll miss the local bookstores, the local grocery stores, the local garage that kept my car operational without cheating me. I'll even miss Lubbock's famously crooked politicians, and the city's tendency to periodically fly into insane moral panics about random inoffensive stuff.

Nevertheless, Lubbock had plenty of chances to hire me for something (and I'm starting to suspect that Texas Tech just shitcans any job applications from Lubbock residents -- it's more presitigious to hire Austinites, don'tcha know), so the Hub City's loss is Denton's gain.

My parents, my brother, and I are planning on trying to pack my furniture into a moving truck Wednesday morning. If we can get it done before noon, without killing ourselves with heatstrokes and heart attacks, we'll go ahead and drive to Denton; otherwise, we'll wait 'til Thursday morning. And once we get to Denton, we can look forward to a fun few hours of unloading all my stuff in one of Denton's spectacularly hellish July heat waves. Here's to lifting with your feet, not your back, and to proper hydration.

That's what's been happening with me, kids. How 'bout you?

Drove from mid-Jersey to Cresskill (north of the George Washington Bridge) this evening in order to drop off my car at the cousin's house where I store it. We (a co-worker was in convoy to give me a lift home) made a wrong turn and ended up getting off the Garden State Parkway north of the bridge, and discovered why New Jersey is peopled at all: it's a damn flytrap. We exit the parkway and turn left underneath it, hoping to immediately get on the southbound side. Nope; there's a huge 'NO LEFT TURN' sign, and the entrance to the parkway is an angled entrance, so we can't make the left. So we continue 1/8 mile to a T intersection, and there is an enormous 'NO U-TURN' sign. So we turn left. About 1.8 mile down, there's a driveway entrance to a corporate park - and it's got an angled entrance, and a big 'NO U-TURN' sign.

Apparently, once you get off the Garden State Parkway in North Jersey, THAT'S ALL FOR YOU.

My friend (who was leading, being a Jersey ex-Native) pulls over. I know what he's doing; he's trying to get his GPS to tell us the route to the bridge. I mutter "DON'T GET CLEVER, DICK!" but it's too late. He takes off down the road. As he does, the impressive lightning display which we'd been watching for the past 45 minutes on our way north suddenly unloads right on top of us - that driving, torrential rain which is so heavy you can't see out your windshield with the wipers full on. We slow down to perhaps 15 MPH but he continues on.

After maybe ten minutes, the rain slackens, and he gets us back on the parkway south at another exit. Hooray! We drive off towards the Bridge. Avoiding going over at the last moment, we exit to get on to the Palisades Parkway North. He lets me lead, because apparently I know where I'm going. News to me. After we get off I-95 in Fort Lee, I follow the sign which tells us to go left for the Palisades only to see an enormous panorama of construction equipment, a maze of cones, and sun-bright worklights.

Somehow we make it through that, and find the entrance to the Palisades Parkway north. Hooray! I zip up the entrance ramp and we're off.

Three minutes later, the rain starts again. The storm we had gone through before has intercepted us again. I feel like Storm Chasers or something. The rains gets heavier. And heavier. And heavier.

I notice there are an awful lot of leaves on the ground.

Like, a full carpet. I can't see asphalt, and this is a two-lane-in-our-direction highway, with a shoulder. Then branches.

Big ones.

Then traffic slows to a crawl in the torrent, and after a minute of creeping I realize it's because everyone is going around the 8-inch-thick tree which is down across one lane. I gulp, we drive around it, and continue on. It's not getting better. More leaves, thicker branches. One, two, no, *five* more trees. We slalom.

The ground is steaming.


Meting ice. ICE. It was 84 degrees out perhaps two minutes prior. There's a blanket of ice covering both shoulders of the road. Half an inch thick, melting fast, in billowing clouds of fog. Melting fast, meaning they just fell there.

Another two trees down across the road. We get off at our exit, and my co-worker phones me.

"Hey. 1010 WINS is reporting multiple unconfirmed reports of tornado touchdowns in north Jersey and Westchester County."

"Yeah, you think? How much do you think we missed it by?"

"I dunno, but the ice hadn't melted."

"Yep. I give it one, two minutes max."

We dropped my car off at my cousin's house, and had to leave it blocking her driveway because her lodger had parked in front of the empty garage space that's mine. I left it there; she has keys and can move it inside tomorrow. The house was dark; eithe they hadn't woken up, or had gone back to sleep. That far off the highway, there wasn't nearly as much debris on the streets; it might have just been a quick windstorm.

I'll call her tomorrow and tell her the tornado left her a BMW and she should put it in the garage quick!

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