Moving to Minnesota

Moving to Minnesota – I suggest NOT

Moving to Minnesota

Are you considering moving to Minnesota or moving to Minneapolis, St Paul or anywhere in the Twin Cities?  I suggest before you accept as gospel all of those “best places to move to” articles you read this entry on Minnesota relocation. I found myself moving to Minnesota a few years back and wish I had a blog like this to educate me ahead of time.

I made some lifelong friends in Minnesota that fully accepted my family that we miss. There are many wonderful people in Minnesota that I wish we had here in South Florida (review forthcoming), . and we were drawn into lovely, memorable families that we shared the joy of weddings, the agony of loss whom will forever have a place in our hearts.

As the pictures illustrate we made the best of it and have some very special memories. Nonetheless, while there are certainly worse places to live, Minnesota is a very difficult place to relocate to. Like so many other places in our great country, Minnesota is a beautiful place to visit and has many positive attributes but I encourage you to read this blog about moving to Minnesota before you get swayed by the marketing and the very fleeting summer beauty.

  • Moving to Minnesota?  On The People: Minnesota Nice is Actually Minnesota Ice

Minnesota is great for Minnesotans but unless you are a native, or your looks are par with Jessica Simpson or Brad Pitt there will quite a long time adjusting and until that happens you will be extremely lonely living there.

Roy Carlson of The Carlson Companies which includes TGIF and Carlson Wagonlit travel is thought to be the author of the term Minnesota Nice. I learned while living there that Minnesota Nice was created as a marketing gimmick to polish up an otherwise rough image and make people want to visit and relocate to Minnesota. By those who migrated into the Twin Cities, Minnesota Nice is frequently considered to be Minnesota Ice as it is completely superficial  It is known amongst people that relocate to the Twin Cities that Minnesota Nice stops at the door which means that you will be welcomed with a smile but not welcomed in to the home. No wonder since Carlson was also the author of the mantra “work Saturdays” which has endeared him to many workers around the world.

You Are An Alien Invader – While we were regaled upon relocation with the wonderful experience of neighbors bringing pies we found that was more about them than us. You have to understand that as someone relocating you are an absolute minority in a highly provincial state. You will work in an environment where people grew up together since grade school and you will be the alien. Even if you have the same odd characteristics of a Minnesotan you will not fit.  This isn’t too say the natives are unfriendly but rather to say they are already have their A list and while we were welcomed by some wonderful families it is definitely not a melting pot where people seek each other out.

What Odd Characteristics? – Minnesotans blanch when someone offers an opinion. Maybe it is the long winters or the lack of exposure to anything outside of their experience but they are not accustomed to people that actually speak their minds. If you offer anything that resembles an actual opinion lips will tremble and mouths will clamp shut as if Anthrax was just released. The closest you may come to breaking that vow of silence is speaking out against the Twins or the Vikings or…God forbid, Lutefisk or Walleye!

Like the legendary scene from Invasion of the Body Snatchers where Donald Sutherland ends the movie screeching and pointing at the humans you will be marked if you ask the wrong questions. I will never forget the complete silence that fell when I asked what a Cheese Curd was. Forty heads swiveled like turrets and stared at me in suspicion and hostility suspecting an extra-terrestrial vanguard was amongst them.

Civility

You will be amazed at the rudeness of people that live there. My wife while pregnant and toting around a toddler was amazed at how no one would open a door for her when she had her hands full with groceries. Not a great parker, she had a man slam down his fist on the hood of her car for overlapping her line. People pulling up next to you to debate a sticker on your car or about the way you turned your car is also acceptable in this crazy state. Minnesota Ice.

Primitive

I have never witnessed the absolute lack of respect for people like I did in Minnesota. I can’t stand the rudeness in South Florida but the constant roar of people honking their horns is music compared to the number of women I met that were being abused or cheated on by their husbands in Minnesota. I definitely saw a pattern of primitiveness in the coarse way people treated each other all behind a veneer of plush corduroys, coifed hair and expensive sweaters. I don’t pretend to know the cause – maybe the way farmers treated their wives groomed their sons. Maybe the Midwestern culture of alcohol combined with the sports programs tradition of losing sparks domestic abuse. Whatever caused it is irrelevant to its disgusting nature.

Impact

Clearly this will be hard on your family as it was in our small community of ex-pats who met in basements in secret with lights turned down low and shutters nailed shut. It will also be damaging to your career aspirations to seek to climb a ladder populated by men right out of a Stieg Larsson novel who can speak about ice fishing everyday as if it is mounting Everest.

  • Moving to Minnesota?  Provincialism Gone Absurd

Where the Hell is the Airport?

It isn’t just the behavior,  it is also the provincial culture that affects everything including road signage and highway design. For instance, try and find the airport without GPS. There are no signs on the famed 394 or 494 or any other highway that direct you to the airport. Why? Well, everyone knows where the airport is.

Hello??  News Flash – NO. Not visitors or new residents – we need a bit of help. The airport has two completely different terminals and the DOT does not bother to explain which one is for which airline or rent a car company.  Invest in signage!!!

Myopic Civil Engineering

Have you ever seen a three lane highway just end in downtown without any notice? Go 394 East in Minneapolis and you will experience the oddity of throttling down from 70 and slamming your brakes as you suddenly come up to a red light without a clue as to where to go next. Better yet, feel like taking your life in your hands? Drive the highways in the twin cities and try to exit off or merge onto the interstate. The ingenious hayseeds that designed the roads placed the on and off ramps so close together that they give everyone the same 100 yards to battle exit and entrance. Every time you make an entrance or exit is a harrowing decision where you have a 50-70 MPH merge negotiation with at least a half dozen other cars doing the opposite. Idiotic.

Don’t Believe The Surveys and Articles

Gee – all these surveys say that it is one of the best places to live – let’s go!

NO – the pollsters survey ask the natives, of whom 99% have never moved outside their home town. Of course, Minnesota is the best place to live. They have never lived anywhere else!

Example – Read this drivel

Two State Rule – Many Mid-westerners live by the Two State Rule which means it is illegal to visit anywhere more than two states away and you are forbidden from relocating until retirement. Show me your typical Midwesterner and I will show you someone that has not left the Great Plains.  There is a caveat called the emergency clause where residents are allowed one annual winter emergency escape to somewhere where the sun shines. The comparatively balmy Omaha or Saint Louis will suffice but the Minnesnowtans will be running back to the Mall of America before you can say corn dog.

  • Moving to Minnesota? The Four Seasons

If it wasn’t for love, Minnesota would be empty.

It was thought that Mark Twain once quipped: There are two seasons in Minnesota, winter and the fourth of July.  While I found no evidence of Twain being the author I assure you the saying isn’t far off. The winters are the longest I have ever experienced and like me you may be deceived with idyllic Norman Rockwellian scenes of ice skating and snowmobiling. While these delusions may dance through your head, I assure you that when the sun sets at 4:00 and your arrival home from work is at subzero temperatures you are assuredly not strapping on skates and going out there. More likely, you will dash from the car into the house and shiver for thirty minutes ruing the day you ever thought to take that job “opportunity”. There was a reason it was available.

Trick or Treat (is on You!)

The loud going clang of Labor Day ushers in the Canadian Clipper cold fronts and truly signals the very short warm weather is done.  After a quick flirtation with lovely fall colors that are quickly rained or iced off the trees frost takes over and maybe a snowfall Halloween is suddenly drifting down on the leaves you didn’t get a chance to rake.  After a shocking revelation as to the trick or treating temperatures you put your long johns under your Halloween costume, parka over it and desperately clutch your children’s gloved hands. You may opt like we did to throw them into the wagon and cover them with 12 inches of blankets and then go house to house for trick or treating and begging for hot chocolate. As you do, bid your neighbors a fond farewell as outside of a Christmas party or waving to each other over the sound of snow blowers you will not see them again until a very distant spring.

Moving to Minnesota?  Birds Drop From the Sky!

Both weeks of autumn and summer are long forgotten and you have signed up with a gym which given the now ice covered streets and snow banked streets is mandatory unless you are seeking to try out for Santa Claus. Yes – the winter temperatures are what you have heard but feeling is truly believing. There is a tiny window where you can go outside in the winter and not suffer. Eliminate those ideas of sledding and snowman building with your children. After 15 minutes outside you will find yourself shoving the kids outside and slamming the door behind them and running for hot Chocolate and reruns of South Pacific.

Past fifteen minutes – you have never experienced pain like this. It seems record setting cold temperatures happen every year in the Twin Cities and this is apparently something to be proud of. The weather forecasters announce with bravado that if you go outside the 20 to 30 degree below zero temperature actually results in birds falling from the sky. Further, they will boast of the fact that cattle lose their ears at 60 below zero which is definitely not the time to try cross country skiing. Given the sports team’s records I guess you need something to brag about being first in. Minnesota hands down wins the coldest award. You will come to know the temperature without looking at the thermostat by the amount of time it takes the inside of your nose to freeze between the door to the garage and your car inside the closed garage. If, by the time you cross that ten to fifteen feet you have felt the moisture inside your nose crystallize it is definitely below zero. A partial nose freeze means around 10 degrees and a more rapid freeze means 10 degrees to the negative based upon the rate of crystallization. I imagine a formula like NxC /feet = temperature might be a good formula.

Moving to Minnesota Checklist for Surviving – Honey, it’s Cold Outside!!

I realize some of my readers may already have made the mistake of moving to Minnesota and therefore some tips on survival are here for you and a warning for others.

  • Get a heated garage – This is essential!
  • Work somewhere with a heated garage – this can be negotiated!
  • Work in downtown Minneapolis – the tunnel system means you never have to be outside!!
  • Get the season pass for the Mall of America’s amusement park – you will need to go there regularly to have some sense of open space
  • Join a health club like Lifetime Fitness – they frequently have saunas and hot tubs. Do be aware of the negative impact of chlorine vapors in enclosed areas on pulmonary function.
  • Televisions – get many
  • Library Card – They thankfully have many libraries – for good reason!!
  • Be prepared for rodents – you will find them in your home, your garage, your sheds. They don’t want to be out there either!
  • Small bathroom – getting out of a shower into a large cold bathroom is not appealing
  • Heated floors – not cheap but something to consider
  • Heated driveway – essential if you are on a hill
  • Mandatory escape trip to the sun – or go Jack Nicholson in the Shining crazy from Cabin Fever/Season Anxiety Disorder SAD (Sun deprivation – very real)

Moving to Minnesota?  Look our for Pterodactyls – Honey – It’s Dangerous Outside!

For those of you that survived the seven months of winter the earth has slowly turned and at last, Easter arrives. Noses wriggle and cautiously poke their way out of doors and whack – a mosquito bites you. You have literally not seen your neighbors since Halloween and you emerge like bears from hibernation astonished to see how big the children in the neighborhood have grown. That shock will be more poignant in another couple of months upon your first glimpse in a mirror of yourself in a bathing suit.

However, you did not squander your winter and did your homework for this summer.  No, after the previous summer of being chased through the yard by swarms of mosquitoes you are fully prepared.

Bat House – check

Dragonfly habitat – check

Anti-mosquito plants like Marigolds strategically placed – check

Mosquito Magnet – check

Citronella Candles – check

Citronella Torches – check

Coils – check

Cancer causing and asthma inducing deet loaded repellents – check

Mosquito larvae floating poison – check

For a while you may delude yourself that moving to Minnesota was a good decision – we all live with rationalizations.  With a winter of preparation and research behind you a swagger is in your stride as you play with your son in the yard in the warm midday sun. A great day you think as you reflect upon the fact that you’ve beaten the mosquitoes this year. Bending over to pick up the baseball, you notice something out of the corner of your eye. Transfixed, you stare in horror at the porcupine quills embedded in your shoulder. Your eyes adjust and you realize that you have six mosquitoes drawing so much of your blood that your head is about to implode.

Screaming to your son in abject fear you both race into the house and slam the door behind you, gasping in horror at the phalanx of bugs striking the glass door behind you. Then, you look at the marigolds and see the mosquitoes actually live in them!

Realization sets in about the same time the bumps on your shoulder appear – you live in the Northern Everglades. The 10,000 Lakes is yet another marketing spin for an insect infested, entomologist dream where the entire continent of birds converge, summer and feast upon billions and billions of bugs to produce and raise their young. (Thanks Carl Sagan)

There is no such spin for the Florida Everglades – no one lives there for good reason. The Mosquito Coast is just that. The 10,000 islands on Florida’s west coast are devoid of humans as the mosquitoes won without any Minnesota Nice or 10,000 Lakes BS marketing to defeat them.

Moving to Minnesota?  You Better Love Television and Stretch Pants

You spend your winter inside – you spend your summer inside. Don’t believe the illusion that Minnesotans are outdoors-men. Ice Fishing – bring a TV and a twelve pack of Leinies. Leave the cooler at home – you live in a freezer and well…bring the rod for appearances sake. Hunting? Bring your blind and a twelve pack – no cooler required – you will need a semi-auto to kill the deer or ducks as your aim will be affected by the six pack you downed for breakfast. Wear the stretch pants to accommodate your gut as you finish off a magnificent buck while hiccupping up beer and donuts.

Forget all that outside stuff– accept the truth and follow the lemmings to Best Buy and buy a big screen TV for every room of your house. You are going to need it if you are moving to Minnesota.

I hope this blog reaches you before you are moving to Minnesota!! If not…Texas is hiring!!

Good luck to you and yours!

August

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