Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Spring Thaw

Katie and I threw the frisbee around for a few minutes on Monday, for the first time in many moons.

The weather is finally warming up and it has got me thinking. ("Now Horace, I warned you about thinkin'.") (Did I watch too many Disney movies as a kid? Yes.) We enjoy Grand Rapids, but maybe someday we will want to live somewhere where the weather doesn't suck (excuse my language) 5 months out of the year. Now some of you might start quoting 2 Nephi 2 in my general direction. "But Jon," you might say, "You can't fully appreciate good weather without experiencing bad weather." My answer to that: "I have seen enough bad weather for my lifetime." Now it is useful to point out my definition of bad weather is the following: 1) cold (below freezing) or 2) snowy. Katie's definition is more like: bad weather = cloudy or too hot. So right now, the typical year in Grand Rapids is Winter = bad weather for both of us, Summer = bad weather for Katie.
Anyway, we've talked about places we would like to move if and when we decided to move. We have come up with the following finalists: Denver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles. You will notice that these places are of the western persuasion. None of them have all of our desired qualities (medium to large city, pleasant weather, good job prospects, affordability, family/friends close by, doesn't have a French name ("You're outta here, Des Moines!")) but they are the best we have come up with.
I'm wondering if any of you have had similar thoughts about or might end up in any of these places. I'm not talking about the Northern California rural dream, I'm thinking more of a medium-term practical goal. Several of you have some expertise in the area of Seattle, but comments on other places are welcome too.

As a side note. Whenever I tell people that I grew up in California and I try to say something interesting about where I grew up, I always end up mentioning how nice the weather is in the Bay Area. That's not the only interesting thing about the area but I usually get blank stares if I talk about Silicon Valley or say something like, "I went to the same high school as Steve Wosniak and Steve Jobs." Anyway, many people (usually girls) said that they liked the weather where they grew up (someplace cold) because it had "four seasons". This is probably bad of me, but I would always think, "I bet you weren't the one shovelling snow." Now I guess I can agree that some people actually like snow overall even after you balance the fun with the extra work, but that's not me.


Nick said...

Seattle just won't fit Katie's weather requirements. It has more cloudy, rainy days than just about anywhere you'll ever live. Not the most rain in the US, but the most days of rain.

I lived in LA for a year, and hated it- weatherwise. It was just as hot in the summer as here in Utah, but more humid, and the pollution obscured the mountains even though I lived a mile away from them.

I'm thinking somewhere north of LA and south of SF. Like Bakersfield or Fresno. Does anyone know what the weather is like there?

JonnyF said...

Unfortunately, no place in the U.S. as far as we know scores well on all of our criteria. We know Seattle is cloudy, but that is balanced by it being close to some friends/family, decent job prospects in my industry, etc. Likewise with LA, some of the other factors balance the hot weather and unaffordability.
I don't know too much about Bakersfield (I've driven through it a few times), but I do know it is really hot. Somewhere around Bakersfield is the world's largest thermometer, and it's there because it has some high temperatures to measure. The only other thing about Bakersfield I know is that it gets some pretty righteous (er, severe) thunderstorms, which isn't necessarily bad.
I think Fresno is more up in the hills. I've never been to or through Fresno, but my impression is that it is on average cooler than Los Angeles. I have (distant) relatives there, and they just built a temple there. Hmmmm, maybe Fresno would be nice. Besides, it's ridiculously close to Yosemite. I'll have to ask the family in my ward that just moved from there what they thought of it.

Nick said...

Just to show what seattle can be like, go to, and type in 98020 in the zip code spot, then go to 10-day forecast. 9/10 days are rainy these next two weeks.

Jenny said...

I can no longer sit idly by ... while it's true that Seattle does have more than its fair share of clouds, the majority of them are friendly clouds, the kind one likes to see. The unending gray mainly occurs during the winter, and while it isn't my favorite time of year, I don't tend to spend much time outdoors during winter wherever I am (unless I'm going to a snow park, which are under an hour away from Seattle) so the gray doesn't really bother me. And I think it's a great trade-off for some of the best summer weather anywhere. It doesn't get too hot, you're close to a zillion different kinds of beaches, and everything is green throughout the whole summer. It's gorgeous. I love summer in Seattle.

That said, I'm still not sure it's the place I'd choose to move (even though Nick and I have literally all of our family up there, something that looks more and more enticing the older Lucy gets). The reason? Extremely high cost of living and extremely horrible traffic. The kind of traffic that causes people to morph into slimey traffic beasts as they slowly rot in their cars going 2 mph. For four hours. It's not always that bad, but it is worse than you would think. So living there would mean living close to where one worked. And unfortunately, that usually means extremely expensive housing.

But I do love the Seattle culture (outdoorsey, sciency, naturey, good eatingy, watery, along with some fantastic jazz clubs and a well-developed arts community). Maybe Portland ...

Jenny said...

What I really want to know is what all ya'll down in Texas think about living in Texas. Several of you are down there ... it just seems so far away.

erin said...

I have decided that Wyoming in the summer and Arizona in the winter is the magic combination. If you switch it around it'll kill you within a matter of minutes. I like nice weather, but I like space, too, and the fact is that where there is nice weather, that's where all the people are. No one live in Wyoming because we don't have nice weather. ...And we don't have jazz clubs...or Arts...or temples...or beaches...or natural foods stores...or trees. But we also don't have much of a problem with traffic or polution and there are plenty of jobs in Rock Springs (AKA Pottersville). Besides, the cold makes you smart. Eventually you get so smart you move south. This winter was easier and shorter than I was afraid it would be, though, and now we've got sunshine and 60+ days. Anytime someone wants to try it out, come on over!