Those silly warning labels on products such as “Do not use iron on clothes while they are on your body” and “Do not close your head inside the oven while baking a cake” are the best. Those warnings are there because some doofus did just that. One would think common sense would prevent such blunders, but clearly there is a knowledge gap…between the ears of such blunderers.
Having moved from the deep south to the frozen tundra of the northeast, I quickly became a firm believer that New England should require an entry exam for southerners BEFORE they are allowed to relocate. They should also require a second and more extensive exam prior to owning a home in New England if that southerner has lived in the northeast for oh, say, less than a few decades.
Life is full of in the moment learning experiences, but a “Handbook for Doofuses Moving from the South to the North” and “How to Pass the Nonexistent New England Entrance Exam” would be great additions to anyone’s collection, particularly mine.
I’m coming up on the 15 year mark of living in Maine, so I have learned by trial and LOTS of error. I do believe that my errors would have been lessened with proper training and instruction ahead of time. However, by not having prior training, I know I entertained the hell out of my neighbors in my myriad of attempts to be a Maine homeowner.
Here are some rules that should be in such a handbook for other southerners considering a move north (assuming said southerner is insane enough to pull this relocation stunt) that is guaranteed to produce culture, climate, and sanity shock.
Rule #1: Whatever you think you know about the north, forget it.
If you grew up in the south, then that means there will be cold weather in the north, right? No. There will be #$*$&@! FRIGID weather in the north at times. I didn’t know gasoline, while still IN your car, can freeze inside the fuel lines. Guess what? It can and does!
Rule #2: If you can’t already laugh at yourself, learn or don’t bother moving. Rules 1 and 2 are probably interchangeable in rank at this point, but you get the idea.
Roof rake? Really? If you have never SEEN one of these things before, you should NOT be allowed to use it unsupervised. I was smart enough to keep the rake out of the power lines, but not smart enough to realize I should not stand directly under the spot I was raking. Several pounds of snow landing on top of your head, embarrassing yet entertaining for all. I think even my dogs laughed at me for that one. At least I learned quickly and only dumped the snow from the roof on my head once.
Make a major move across climates at least once in your life. It’s wicked fun, and, who knows, it may end up being less temporary than you originally planned. Or you may dart back south with your tail tucked between your legs. I ended up staying… after I unfroze my gas line in the truck and got the snow off my head.
Photo by me. Dec 2013. Maine