Illinois you suck!

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OK Illinois that's it. I've had it with you. You've officially robbed me of the two closest family members I had here, my mom and my sister. You let Texas win. Texas always seems to win. It's got better weather, a coast, several major and exciting cities, affordable taxes and homes, and it's bigger of course. Not a bully. It didn't have to be. All it had to do was outstretch its arms.

No need to get into all the reasons so many of us Illinoisans hate Illinois. It basically boils down to money. Unless you are very well off, the thought of funding this state's greedy debts for the rest of your life is very off-putting. If people can find a way out, they are taking it. I know others who have bailed too and many more who want to or plan to.

My mom moved to Lubbock, Texas almost three years ago, lured by the extremely cheap housing and starry eyed promises made by friends. She was able to transfer with her job and no longer had to work a second just to make ends meet. Her husband who was retired was totally up for it. He died 6 months ago so she was left all alone, anguished and wondering, "what am I DOING here?" Well that's when my sister decided to put in a job transfer as well and join her.

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If it weren't for kids and jobs, I'd be out of here in a heartbeat too. It is my secret fantasy. To be reckless for once, to pack up and move somewhere warm without a clear plan. SIGH. I'll get there one day I'm sure, a little more responsibly.

But for now we are settled and still paying off debt, and the culture here is very appealing for our midwestern raised boys. I would feel bad taking them out of the land of baseball and hockey which they love and dragging them to dry and dusty Lubbock Texas, where the way of life is so different there. Even though Lubbock is a big city, it is best described as a big small city. Think livestock, oil, snakes, dirt and not grass, open roads, pick up trucks, barbecue, guns, rodeos, etc. It makes me wonder how does one move to another COUNTRY?

Indiana and Wisconsin are out of the question. Indiana seems like a foreign land to me. I know nothing about it and it just doesn't excite me. If I'm going to uproot my family and move a lifetime of things, I better damn well be excited. Wisconsin is nothing but bad memories for me (long story for another day) and I refuse to ever step foot in it again. They both still have our lousy weather too, and from what little and unexciting action I have experienced in Wisconsin, no thanks. I need to be near big cities with lots of buzz and action. I would take Houston or San Antonio for the win please.

I have a love-hate with Chicago. I love it when I am going there to enjoy myself on my own free time, such as a Sox game, a great restaurant or to try yet another new bar with fancy drinks. I love exploring. The part I hate about it is trying to get around there. There's never any parking, there's so much traffic, there's no room, people are weird, and if you even think of parking somewhere you are not supposed to, you get a ticket.

I would never want to live there, I certainly don't like working there. Most areas are depressing looking, with alleys, graffiti, vandalism, and so few open spaces or places to roam. Even the sidewalk cafes are trying just a bit too hard. There's no room yet they cram it in, mere feet from smelly exhaust and annoyed commuters.

I must admit I LOVE the food here in the Chicago area and suburbs too. And the fancy drinks. A corner dive bar in a small town will NOT do it for me. Cooper's Hawk and their lovely wine pretty much keeps me in Illinois. I always supply my Texas mom with her favorite Blanc de Blanc from there when I see her. And they are one of the fastest growing chains, I just read. Cooper's Hawk and Portillo's, go to Texas too! I promise you will find many Illinois (and new) fans!

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When I was in the military, I was SO homesick. As pathetic as it is to admit it, I missed White Castle burgers and Italian beef the most. Po' boys of the south just wouldn't suffice to satisfy my cravings. I resorted to buying frozen White Castle burgers, but they were just NOT the same. That sounds disgusting even to me now, but it's called desperation, my friends.

In sleepy Biloxi Mississippi, I remember thinking I missed traffic. Imagine that!! How I've grown! I feel like I'm so ready to spend the last half of my life somewhere warm dammit, like I've earned it for commuting all these miserable years in the winter.

Texas (and pretty much any other state other than Illinois), you've won this battle for now! But as they say, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! (One day!)

Filed under: things I hate

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