Move to Maine they said.
It’s not as cold and snowy as you think, they said.
The ocean mitigates the temperature on the coast, they said.
To which I say, “HA!”
Actually, I’m not in Maine. We’re on our annual sojourn in Key West, but I’ve been watching the Portland temperatures and snow fall tallies with interest. (Not to mention, we paid someone to go into our house to make sure the pipes were okay.)
We left before Christmas, but not before two decent snowfalls and some temperatures that, at the time, seemed cold enough. I thought the City of Portland would be champs at clearing the streets and sidewalks, but I think in Maine the attitude is more, “Only wusses need clear places to walk. Good luck!”
Indeed Portland (known as Northern Massachusetts to the rest of Maine, or as Portlyn due to the insurgence of hipsters) seems to wobble between the high tax, high regulation, hot-and-cold running services philosophy we were used to in our dense little city in the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts and the more laissez-faire Live Free or (be prepared to) Die (at any moment) attitude of its neighbors to the west and south.
For example, in Massachusetts, we had to pay a guy hired by our realtor to pre–inspect our smoke alarms, so that when the fire department came on the only day before the closing when they had an open appointment our alarms would be sure to pass. The consequences for not passing were that dire.
In Maine, at the closing, the buyer agrees to have the smoke alarms inspected within 30 days. “By the way, no one will ever come to check on that,” the closing attorney told us cheerfully. “Good luck!”
That “Good luck,” thing comes up a lot.
On the other hand, in Portland it took us three weeks to get up the courage to put out our garbage. The problem wasn’t a lack of instructions. It was too many of them. First, per the city, we have to buy the bags to put our trash in. (In talking to others, I’ve discovered other places do this.) So if something doesn’t fit in the bag, I guess that’s a no. And second, we’re not supposed to put the cans out until 6:30 am on the morning they get picked up, which is around 8:00. (Per the condo association, because..sea gulls.) Bill and I spent many anxious Trash-day Eves hanging out the windows trying to figure out how our neighbors did it. We normally aren’t up at 6:30, but Bill’s been making the sacrifice.
Despite much declaring of our goal to ourselves, each other and everyone we saw over the fall, Bill and I didn’t quite get the place totally unpacked before we left. The living floor and the bedroom floor are done (or done for now), but our studies are…not.
People keep asking why we moved to Portland to which I have no answer except we like it. They also now ask how we like living there to which I answer that with all the unpacking and travel this fall, we don’t quite feel like we’re living there yet.
But we’re looking forward to finding out.