A Big Change Coming…

As some of you may already know, my family and I will soon be leaving our beloved city of Philadelphia. It is hard to believe, but I have spent the last fifteen years of my life in this fine city, the longest that I have lived anywhere in my life. The first half of my time here in Philly I spent in graduate school and then writing my dissertation (which, in my opinion, is an incredible waste of time and a practice that is close to being no longer relevant, at least in the eduction field).

The morning view from our rarely used third floor deck.

The second half of my time here has been defined by my two boys, both of whom were born here, and this little blog. Back when I started The Drunken Cyclist, I really had no idea what I was doing and to a certain extent, I still don’t. I enjoyed writing, though (as long as it was not a dissertation), and wine seemed like a natural fit for me.

As I continued to publish (this is my 984th post), I started garnering a few followers and I began to meet a host of really fantastic people in the wine industry. I really had no expectations when I started, so it would be disingenuous to state that this blog has exceeded any, but I honestly am amazed that there are as many people out there reading as apparently there are.

And for that I am eternally grateful.

So here I am, preparing to move from an area to which I have grown joyfully accustomed to a region and city that was no where close to the top of the list of those cities where I would choose to move “when I grew up.” Even though I have another 7-8 months here in Philadelphia, I am already mentally saying goodbye and preparing for a big change.

 

There are a bevy of reasons that I love Philly: being on the East Coast, close to both D.C. and New York, but in a much more affordable town, living in perhaps the historically most important city in the country, our own little neighborhood, and of course all the great friends we have made over the past decade and a half.

One of my favorite songs of all time, even before I lived here:

Then there is the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board—the state owned monopoly on all wine sales and shipments.

In an odd way, I am going to miss that as well. No, I will not miss their pathetic selection, their ridiculous markup, nor their inept employees. Nor will I miss the fact that they do not allow any (legal) direct shipments of wine into the state (many producers will not even send me samples).

I am going to miss railing on them, however.

I guess I will find a new preferred punching bag, but the PLCB epitomizes pretty much everything that is wrong with the wine industry in this country, and when I was in need of a rant or a witty dig, the PLCB provided endless fodder.

We knew at some point this would happen, since neither of us grew up here and we do not have any real ties to the area, but we are status quo people, not willing to upset the apple cart for no real good reason.

The oddest feeling, perhaps, is the realization that we will likely never be back. Sure, there might be the odd chance that we come back for some sort of business trip or even once or twice to visit friends. But with no real family in the city, chances are rather slim that we will use any valuable vacation time to come back “home” to Philadelphia.

My sister in-law, upon hearing the news, sent us a gift pack, which included this book.

My sister in-law, upon hearing the news, sent us a gift pack, which included this book.

Enough reminiscing (for now). Time to look forward: We are moving to Houston, Texas. I never, not once in my life, thought I would ever want to live in Texas, but sometime this summer, we will be packing up and moving to the fourth largest city in the country.

Yeah, Houston.

Not exactly my idea of a “hot-spot” unless you mean the temperature in June, July, and August (and probably good chunks of May and September).

When I tell people we are moving to Houston, the response is usually: “Houston? Really? HOUSTON?!?” This is usually accompanied with a pained look of pity, and followed by “I hope you like the heat!” That reaction is nearly universal, unless it was someone who had actually lived in Houston and then it was the polar opposite: “Houston? You will love it!”

Well, we all went down there a couple of months ago and all I can say is that it is not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be (how is that for a ringing endorsement?).

At least I will be able to buy wine in a supermarket again.

My sister-in-law also sent us this "wine glass."

My sister-in-law also sent us this “wine glass.”

 

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About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Philadelphia with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Family, PLCB, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

92 Responses to A Big Change Coming…

  1. Terry says:

    Hey, not Huston, come to God’s wine country, Seattle

    Like

  2. Kristy says:

    That is a big move! Congrats and good luck!

    Like

  3. I take it you gave at least some thought to Lancaster, here in the north of England, before settling on Houston? It’s a bit wet and chilly, but the cycling’s good!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My sister lives in Houston and I’ve loved visiting her there! Traffic is miserable, but East Coast traffic is pretty horrific too. Lots of great food and wine (I think it has the most restaurants per capita of any US city). Do you know to which area you are going to move?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fortunately, we both work in the city (and I usually ride my bike to work), so we are not exposed to the traffic on the East Coast that much, but when we have to get on I-95, ugh. I have heard that Houston is really bad, but hopefully we can find a similar “sweet spot” between work locale, kid’s school, and home.

      Like

  5. Austin is relatively close and the riding seems good there! Good place to get a way for the weekend when you need to get out of Houston.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It really does pay to look at a map once in a while! Until we started considering this potential move, I always thought that Austin was much closer to Dallas!

      Like

      • SAHMmelier says:

        Well, I am happy to have you in TX. When I moved here in 95, it was supposed to be for 2 months. Although I have spent little to no time in Houston, I do love the food, friendly nature, and no snow! If you need recs, I know some people there. Will you be right in the city or in a suburb?
        And I can hook you up with some bike riding, wine drinking friends here in the Hill Country!

        Liked by 1 person

      • It is easy to forget how close some of the cities actually are despite Texas being so big… not like PA, where Philly and Pittsburgh might as well be in different states… I had to look at a map too to make sure Austin was close!

        Liked by 1 person

      • We think we are going to be in the Western suburbs, so trips to Austin and the Hill Country should be frequent. Would be great to meet up with some riders out your way!

        Like

      • Yes RBV, Pittsburgh might as well be on another planet (and some of us in Philly think it is).

        Like

  6. ChgoJohn says:

    I’m sue your family will thrive in Houston. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fear not! If the PLCB has been a joyous punching bag for you over the years, Jeff, wait until you reach TX and become familiar with some of the bizarro liquor laws that exist there. Plenty there to keep you occupied! Our loss, here on the East Coast, is Houston’s gain. Are your sons fans of any of the Philadelphia sports teams? If so, they might always take those first loves with them, no matter where they live?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Jane! I am certainly going to miss my forrays up and down the I-95 corridor! Philly teams are so pathetically bad across the board right now (the Phillies had the worst record in baseball, but they have the highest winning percentage of any Philly sports team)., that I would not blame them if they opted for a blank slate!

      Like

  8. Fiona says:

    Son-from-another-mother lived in Houston for a while. Last time I saw him, he’d resolved to move to Johannesburg. Make of that what you will!

    Anyhow, all the best with the big pack and the move. I know what it’s like having done it just four years ago (and it feels like yesterday!)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Cliff says:

    I used to live about 150 miles NNE of Houston and we spent a fair amount of time driving down to Houston (and Galveston). You’ll love the winter there but summer can be excruciatingly hot and humid. You’ll notice a serious down trend in your red wine consumption.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jonas says:

    As someone who shares most of you passions and works in Mt. Laurel, I wish you luck. I hope you get to visit Nomad Pizza in Philly before you leave. Some friends own it and i do the wine buying for them. I’ve enjoyed your posts. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I can’t believe you’re leaving Philly and we never met up! I’ll be in town in December and I’m trying to come up once a month again, if you’re ever cool enough to meet up with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Beth says:

    I can feel your bittersweet melancholy all the way here in Napa. It will be a big move. You will be able to receive wine shipments, but not from late April through early October, or they might cook. Ha ha. You can also change airline loyalty to United and fly nonstop most places. As to the doctoral dissertation, ugh. Worst 2+ years of my life. I feel you there, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I tell my husband all the time I want to move to Chicago but if it actually happened I know I would feel a bit lost. Texas has its good points and bad points. It would be great to live so close to NY and DC, at least you will be close to Austin, which is by far the greatest city in TX. You will have a much greater access to wine but I think you will still find frustrations with the TABC interstate wine shipping regulations. Just remember as a Texan you have to adopt an attitude that we chose to stay with the other 49 states because they need us so much but we can leave at any moment and be fully self-supporting! https://youtu.be/KQoXnz3h_FE

    Liked by 2 people

    • From Texas to Chicago?!? You mean just going up there for the summers, right? As for the TABC, I doubt there is anything that they can throw at me that will not be a welcomed change from where I am now: Technically, it is illegal to ship ANY wine to PA.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. mistermuse says:

    I’m glad you enjoy writing, because this post shows (not for the first time) that you don’t need wine to write well (well, maybe it helps, but I assume you wrote this stone cold sober). Anyway, I wish you a happy move to Houston, and though you may miss railing on the PLCB, I’m sure there is no shortage of other things to rail against in Texas – their politicians alone will probably have you drowning your sorrows on a regular basis.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Mary says:

    Good luck with the move! Just think about all the warm weather you get to look forward to! Throw away all snow coats and boots and buy yourself some flip flops and sunglasses 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Although I will miss big snow storms and snow days, those are only enjoyable in the moment. After the snow stops falling and the office opens back up, it is just cold and messy. Will gladly leave it behind.

      Like

  16. Dame Wine says:

    At least you don’t have to go through winter anymore 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Sean Munger says:

    Wow, that is a big change! Best of luck to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Be sure to meet Jeremy Parzen.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. wineismylife says:

    Welcome to Texas! I’ll make a point of getting together once you get here. Lots of great wine lovers for you to meet. Cycling is very popular as well. Houston has an excellent food and art scene for you to enjoy.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. We’ll miss hanging out with you in Philly. I can’t say with confidence we’ll ever come to Houston…but who knows….

    Liked by 1 person

  21. BerLinda says:

    Best of luck! And I’m sure you’ll find plenty to rant about there as well 😉 Although I do miss Latvian for that very reason sometimes haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. robinskone says:

    Houston! wow. I lived there many years ago and two things stand out: It is GREEN, and it is flat. Big change from Southern California where I lived. You’ll be moving at the very worst time with high temps and high humidity, but after that it will only get better. It’s an exciting city, but also #1 in the country for red-light runners, so be very alert on the roads!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Best of luck on the move. It is an exciting time. I survived a year in Brighton TN (outside Memphis) I old have much preferred Houston!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. barnraised says:

    Good luck! Enjoy the rest of your time in Philly…

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Yeehah! Good luck with the move my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. shez says:

    I know it’s a big change, but Houston does have a lot to offer. Plus, you’ll be within driving distance to one of the largest AVAs in the country (Texas Hill Country AVA), which is also favorite destination for bicyclists!! Am I biased because I grew up there? Perhaps, but it is still an amazing place 🙂

    Good luck to you & the fam!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much! Once we started looking into the possibility, I did something crazy and pulled out a map. Before that genius move, I had no idea how close Houston was to the Hill Country! We will likely live in the Western ‘burbs, so it will even be closer-close enough for a day-trip bike ride I think!

      Like

  27. Looking back on our time in hot and humid Hong Kong, we moved there when it was summer and it was the best thing to help with acclimatization, plus the move will provide plenty of material for writing 😊 I’m excited for you and look forward to reading all about it – best of luck 🍀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much! I grew up in the Midwest (Detroit) and have lived on the East Coast most of my life, but I know the humidity down there is at another level. I am most worried about my wife–she does not “do” humidity well at all! Hopefully she will acclimate quickly like you did!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. dwdirwin says:

    I’m sure you wouldn’t believe it if I told you that a few of my family members wouldn’t mind a move to Texas 😉 Well, maybe not Houston-ha! And not living in Dallas, you don’t have to be subjected to all of the Cowgirls hoopla- Texans are a perfectly acceptable team to root for (in fact, that’s Derek and my oldest’s favorite team).

    Liked by 1 person

  29. foxress says:

    ‘That’s right, you’re not from Texas, but Texas wants you, anyway.’ I still miss living in the Philly area, and we were only there 6 years, okay it was south Jersey. But I miss it. The west does not have the lush green of the east. But I’m sure once you’re in Texas, your stories will get even bigger! I look forward to that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much! We have been here for a while and love it too! We live right downtown and I am sure that is the part I am going to miss the most. That and not having a lawn–it seems inevitable that we will now have a lawn to maintain!

      Liked by 1 person

  30. linnetmoss says:

    Looking forward to hearing about wine culture in Houston! And yes, it’s going to be hot… but no more shoveling snow 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Kat says:

    Best wishes to you on your move! I can’t stand heat and humidity. But I have friends there who love living in Texas. San Antonio was beautiful with tons to do. Wine is everywhere and will always unite us all no matter where we are. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I am sure that you will enjoy being a Texan, of course they may not know what a Buckeye is there. I do hope you invest in a big wine vault, or you can just ship all of your excess wines to Michigan, there are several Bloggers that can have fun with that idea. Do they make a 10 Gallon cycle helmet? You will have to post a new picture of you in a Stetson. All the best on the move.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I have family in Houston and I lived there growing up. I think you will LOVE visiting Austin after you settle in Houston! (Actually San Antonio is pretty cool too.) Best of luck with the move, Jeff.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Chuck says:

    Welcome to Texas! We moved here last summer. I am in the San Antonio area, we’ll have to get together and have a bottle when you get here. My to do list for the spring is to check out the wineries around the Area. Be sure you ready for football, the Friday Night Lights thing is real here. Oh, and warn you kids, not only do they do the Pledge pf Allegiance in school, but also the Texas Pledge. that kinda freaked my boys out a little.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. lolabees says:

    Wow, congrats! I used to live in Dallas– my be a tiny bit of an adjustment for you, but I’m confident you will find great things about Houston! Great restaurant scene!

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Shelley says:

    A new adventure. Fantastic.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Manu Stanley says:

    That’s a big change. Hope this stay brings help you make your daily life better, and that your blogging routine improves. Have a nice stay in Texas. All the very best to you and family 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  38. merrildsmith says:

    Good luck with your move. I’m just across the river now.
    My husband has relatives who have lived in Houston for many years. They love it there. I can’t say it would be my top choice, or even in the top 10 :), but I wish you well!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. NK says:

    I have a friend who moved to Texas and LOVES it. If I remember correctly she was a little nervous about it but her sons have lived there for a while so she was going to see them and her grandkids so it just made sense. She is an absolute trip – I should introduce you two on FaceBook so you have someone who knows the area.

    Liked by 1 person

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