Here’s another addition to my Things. series: 3 Things I miss about Portland.

1. ODOT.  You guys know what ODOT is?  Granted, I am hyper aware of such things due to my husband’s work in the commercial contracting industry, but ODOT is the Oregon Department of Transportation.  All of those lovely “Road Work” and “Flagger Ahead” signs, cones, flaggers in orange and yellow with signs, detour signs, reader-board signs…SIGNS!…the men and women who tell us drivers where to go and when to slow down…yeah, you know what I’m referring to now.  Probably the most annoying part about summer in Portland, Oregon is all of the road work.  OK–you get the picture.  So we don’t have that out here.  No CDOT no MassDOT with SIGNS–just pure chaos.  Actually what they do have is a poor lonely police officer in a hat waving around in the middle of the road.  What?!  One person and half the time you can’t even see them until you’re about to hit them!  Now, I am not one to be lobbying for more government involvement in my life, but let’s just be honest, when a a huge back-ho is digging out a hole in the side of the road with no cones or warning signs and then decides to go rogue and jump over the curb and drive into on-coming traffic, you are starting to wonder where in the world is the government ;-)

2.   Cost of Living.  Now, if you are a native to Oregon and have never left, this may come as a surprise to you, but you pay much less for your utilities than the average American.  Large rivers and Natural Gas are some of the wonderful God-given resource to North America and is what gives the Pacific Northwest specifically an incredibly low cost of living.  It’s what keeps you from paying through the nose when comes time to heat your houses, cool your houses and cook your meals.  You may think you already pay a ridiculous amount of money during the cold & warm months for your gas bill but let me just put these feelings to rest:  our monthly heating oil bill was $600.  Yes, folks, a month.  That’s not in Yen, that is the gold standard we’re talkin’ and Tyler and I are longing for the days of cheaper energy.  It’s not like the stone age out here, but the majority of the homes in these older communities are still on heating oil and we don’t have the Bonnevlle Dam to give us a lower power cost.  In fact, we are ranked 49th in the country for the price per kilowatt, just above New York and Hawaii…let’s just break it down:  we pay at least 1/3 more out here for almost everything.  Food is ridiculous.  I walk into Stop and Shop, the so-called cheaper grocery chain and I end up buying generic food for Whole Foods cost.  It’s insanity.  Gas.  It’s a good 20-30 cents higher than crossing the  boarder up to Massachusetts.  Clothing.  Taxed till kingdom come.  And don’t even think about buying a gun.  It’s all a little maddening (if you can’t tell…) ….I’m not even going to go into income taxes in this crazy state–it’s the 3rd highest in the country–right behind New York and New Jersey.  AHHHH!!!!  I’m stopping now.

3. Restaurants.  Oh please don’t tell me you don’t know Portland is one of the top Foodie cities in the country?!  Because it is.  Ranking in the highest in almost any online poll or food article, Portland has 24 restaurants per every 10,000 people–that’s 10th in the country per capita!  Pretty crazy when you think about it.  I had just always assumed that’s how every city was–wrong.  It’s not even close to that kind of quantity or quality in Connecticut.  When someone gives you a suggestion for a restaurant it’s right up there with Applebee’s.  Dear goodness, give me some good food that my table and booth don’t smell like!  And a menu that doesn’t include fried cheese, Cobb salad and pizza.  I will admit the obvious, we don’t get out much, so it is actually working in our advantage out here. But it’s just sad, people.  Just sad.