Living in Wisconsin this day comes each year and I’m always patiently waiting for it.. the first sight of snowflakes. Now I’m sure there’s a pretty even split between residents here that love the snow and those who dread this day. I’m part of the crazy half of that group that loves loves loves it .. probably almost too much. Look, I understand that there are plenty of reasons to dislike the snow (primarily that it’s really really cold outside and it causes people to drive like jackasses) but there are so many reasons to go cuckoo for the snow!
1. It is a great excuse for pretty much everything. Late for work? Blame the snow. Don’t feel like going somewhere? Say your car is stuck. Want to sleep in? Say the snowstorm knocked out your power.
2. Being a great excuse it also provides for SNOW DAYS! Being an adult with one of those things called a job or whatever provides for many less snow days than when I was in school, however, if enough people can’t make it into the office or if you “don’t feel safe” you can always work from the comfort of your cozy bed! SCORE!
3. Winter sports are pretty much the greatest thing ever. Who has ever gone sledding and not had a good time? Okay.. probably lots of people.. but it made for a good story right?! If you don’t have a good story, I’ll tell you one to cheer you up if you’re a snow hater.
One year, my dad decided he was going to try out snowboarding (hilarious in itself, right?) If you don’t know my dad personally, let me tell you, he’s not the smallest dude ever. As we stood at the top of the hill in Humboldt Park, he was ready to go, stuffed our little white poodle dog, Beau (RIP) in his jacket and set off down the hill. So this park has the best hills in the area for sledding, so kids like to build stuff like jumps to catch some air and more than likely break your back.. So I’m sure you can see where this is going.. My dad was headed straight for the jump and had no time to change his course now. Next thing I know, the dog bails from his jacket, my dad is airborne and things are not looking good. Thankfully, the only thing my dad was going home with that day was a bruised ego and probably a sore body.. but SEE! That’s a great sledding story!
Also, winter = hockey season! (don’t even get me started on how great that is)
4. Experiencing 4 seasons is some really cool shit. Not everyone in the world gets to witness four very distinct changes throughout the year.. I mean, sun + more sun + more and more and more sun sounds pretty wonderful.. but how does anyone ever get anything done!? If it’s nice outside all day, everyday.. then which days do you look forward to? My favorite are the days that you see green grass again after the snow melts, or when the sun is shining in the sky without a cloud in sight for the first time in a month. What about when the leaves start to fall? There is something so special about that. The same thing goes for the first time you see snowflakes this season.. just remember, not everyone gets the pleasure of that.
So pretty much everybody I’ve ever met takes some sort of pride in where they are from. Unless they are from Cudahy, then I discount their opinion immediately. I digress. There are nostalgic qualities about everyone’s hometown that take you back to that place in an instant. Whether it’s seeing a kid fall off of their bike and remembering that time you told your dad not to let go and he did, resulting in a tumble through a thorn-bush or seeing high schoolers smoking cigarettes like gangbusters behind a 7/11 and thinking about how you used to be those kids, badasses (obviously). As you get older and these funny things just become passing moments in time that bring a smile to your face, you grow up and sometimes realize life isn’t as cool as it was back then.. unless you’re me.
After college, and 4 years of living in a weird, uptight community better known as Wauke$ha, I decided to move back to my hometown. I was really nervous at first, thinking I would feel like a kid again and instead of just having those fleeting moments, I would feel like I was right back in that place and regret not doing bigger things in my life.. and all I have to say now is, that was stupid.
Having grown up in Bay View, I never would have guessed that one day, it would be the trendy place to live. Knowing your neighbors, having polite conversations with strangers and hanging out at all the local shops and restaurants are all things that I thought happened in everyone’s neighborhoods. After being gone for 4 years and moving back (let’s be honest, I never REALLY left), I realized why this town is so special. It’s the people – a community that can barely be matched by any other.
So to keep in true Nickie fashion, here is a list of why my hometown is better than yours:
1. On any given night of the week, there is live band playing somewhere within 5 blocks of your house. Whether it be alternative, rockabilly, funk or soul bands — there is always some to go see.
2. New, local restaurants open all the time. Now, I know everyone loooooves Applebee’s but seriously, try somewhere local — it will change your life. Whether it’s brunch at The Palomino, appetizers at Odd Duck, a pulled pork sandwich from Honeypie or homemade chips and bleu cheese from LuLu’s, if you just try it, I swear you’ll never want to eat at a chain restaurant again.
3. All summer long you have something to do on Tuesday nights and Friday nights.
Chill on the Hill is the best, because you can pack up a picnic and go hang out in the park for a few hours, pet some stranger’s dogs, drink beer – it’s all around awesome.
Fish Fry & A Flick is obviously cool as fuck — mostly because they show adult movies. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Lion King, but I would much rather see Zoolander, Pulp Fiction and my all time favorite Dark Side of Oz (if you don’t know what that means, google it. immediately. like yesterday.)
4. There are various murals and mostly importantly, Pabst Blue Ribbon murals scattered about the neighborhood. I really don’t need to say much about this one, except who doesn’t want to see pink elephants drunk on the side of a building.
5. Our community takes every chance it can to hold festivals, block parties and other various awesome get-togethers. Bay View Bash, Sausage Fest, The Water Frolic Parade (not the actual water frolics, fuck that) and many more. The best part about each of these, is that they do it in true, snarky, jackass style.
6. Well, my family is from here – so that automatically makes it awesome. If you follow my blog, you either already think I’m cool or probably resent me, but real life.. you’re still reading it so you definitely secretly love me. And if you think I’m funny (I can have dreams too you know), you’ve never met my family. You know how everyone says that, well.. I really mean it. They are some of the most down-to-earth awesome people you’ll ever come across and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.. orrrrr it’d have to be something comparable to a pink, sparkly t-rex wearing a bowtie laying in a field of money trees.
It’s like my town is the smartass, underdog who was always cool but just needed a little love and now it’s a growing community with some really rad, game-changer type of people living here. I can’t wait to see what happens next.