Nevada’s a Trapezoid But We Aren’t Square

It’s been an exciting few days. Aside from missing out on scoring an awesome piece of art – yes, I’m still fixated on the dogs playing poker tapestry! – plenty of groovy stuff has happened. The biggest piece of news is that my wonderful girlfriend is moving in with me.

That’s right. Tara and I are shacking up!!!

I’m such a romantic, huh? But truly, this is fantastic. We met in person just over a year ago, and as I was driving away from our lunch date that drizzly March afternoon, I never would have dreamed that she and I would be in an amazing relationship six months later, and starting a life together not long after that. She and I have talked about this, and it seriously boggles both of our minds. I spent a portion of this past weekend skimming through old Facebook status updates from 2009 (Timeline makes this very easy to do), and couldn’t help but smile every time there was a comment from Tara. Which was often. I love that our friendship dates back so long – it makes for a wonderful story. And also solidifies my belief that we were meant to be.

Also, there was a very interesting comment I made about “suddenly becoming a Peyton Manning fan.” As a Broncos fan, it’s strange how this has come to fruition. The past is a funny thing.

Nevada is shaped like a trapezoid. Anybody know the circumference of Vegas?!

Tara’s original plan was to find a job and then move out here, but the reality of the situation is, long-distance job hunting is even more challenging than short-distance job hunting. The fact that she wasn’t living here was a disadvantage; even though she rocked the interview for a job she was perfectly suited for a few weeks ago, the hiring manager told her straight up that not being here was a strike against her. Suddenly, it looked like she might not be able to make it out here for a long time, which would never do because we’re both so damn impatient. And then, she came up with a brilliant plan that will enable her to move out here right away and search for a job. She’s much less pickier than I am, and I’m confident it won’t take her long to find something right up her alley. Yesterday she gave three weeks’ notice to her employer, and she’ll be moving in on April 14th!

Tara, however, isn’t used to living in a large metropolitan area. There are big differences between her state and mine. For starters, Nevada is a trapezoid and Washington’s more of a rectangle. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In the interest of easing my girlfriend’s transition to life in “the city” (which is how her friends and family refer to this place – or anyplace with more than four stoplights, actually), I came up with a list that not only points out the differences between Nevada and Washington, but also provides a few handy tips to blending in with the locals and embracing the Pacific Northwest lifestyle.

Nevada v. Washington, or How To Survive in “The City”

  1. There are no video poker machines in the corner laundromat. Or the convenience store, the carwash, McDonald’s, etc. I’ve spent a lot of time in Nevada the past six months and still can’t get used to the novelty of seeing gambling machines wherever there’s a spare electrical outlet.
  2. People don’t have “jockey boxes” here, they’ve got “glove compartments.” I didn’t know what Tara was talking about the first time she mentioned a jockey box. I assumed it was a holding pen for people who race horses for a living, not the opening on the passenger side of a car’s dashboard where people store, oh you know, gloves and things. I don’t care how short he is, there’s no way you could fit a jockey in there!
  3. A “crick” is something you get in your neck, not a fast-flowing body of water. You will see plenty of CREEKS when we are hiking, dear. If we do happen to come across a crick, I’ll massage it out for you.
  4. People lock their doors when they leave the house here. I wish it could be like Ely. I was amazed that Tara would leave the house without locking the front door. This happened time and time again, whether we were leaving for ten minutes or fourteen hours. I always worried about my “stuff” disappearing, yet it never did. Almost makes up for the weird “jockey box” and “crick” talk.
  5. We freak out over snow. I know you think our two-inch snowstorms are “cute,” but you know who doesn’t? The mayor. He absolutely panics. So do most other people. If there’s so much as a threat of a few flakes in the forecast, people flock to the grocery store to stock up on essentials like salmon and hazelnuts. Oh, and we can’t drive in it, either.
  6. Rain, on the other hand? THAT we’re used to! So used to that, we don’t bother with fancy contraptions like umbrellas. Don’t buy one if you want to blend in with the locals. Or buy one, but use it as a hiking stick. Or to poke all the annoying Californians invading our slice of paradise.
  7. We take recycling very seriously. Sorry for freaking out over the fact that your dad didn’t have any recycling bins in his house. I felt like I’d committed a crime, throwing aluminum cans in the trash like that. We have bins for paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum. We even have bins for recycling our old bins.
  8. Washington is as blue as blue can be. Politically speaking, that is – I certainly don’t mean the skySure, there are pockets of conservatism out there – but that’s all east of the Cascades, where the population is roughly 65. We’re the state that just legalized gay marriage and will be voting on legalizing marijuana for recreational use in the fall. We haven’t had a Republican governor since 1985!
  9. The Mob doesn’t give a damn about Washington. We do have a disproportionately large number of serial killers, however. People like Ted Bundy, Ken Bianchi and Gary Ridgway. Even the DC Sniper used to live here. Instead of burying bodies in the desert, our killers choose the forest. Which, when you think about it, is simply another form of recycling! (See # 7).
  10. There’s actually stuff to do here all the time – and you don’t have to drive 4 hours to do it. We both love music, and you’ve been busy penciling in your calendar with all the live shows you want to see. We’re going to be going to a lot of great concerts! Not to mention restaurants, art galleries, farmer’s markets, wineries, festivals, trips to the coast, etc. I promise we’ll never be bored!

 And I didn’t even mention Voodoo Doughnut…


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

34 thoughts on “Nevada’s a Trapezoid But We Aren’t Square

  1. I’ve been anxiously waiting all morning for this post, and you definitely did not disappoint! Thankfully, there was only one other person in the office to hear me guffaw, snort, and giggle.

    Reading this makes me that much more excited to finally get up there. Wait…is that even possible? I already feel like I’m practically bursting! This summer is going to be positively amazing**!

    **So long as the walls of your townhouse remain free of tapestries showing dogs playing poker (yeah, i saw your response to carol’s comment about your birthday coming up). Just sayin’.


    1. Fall and winter won’t be too shabby, either!

      I forgot to warn you that our police blotter does not include mentions of people tripping over the sidewalk or unraked leaves piling up in the yard. You’ll have to adjust to a lack of that information, babe.


  2. GET READY, BOY. Have had a dozen of these so Ima pro. 1. They come in and throw away all your perfectly just fine assortment of “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” margarine tubs for food storage and you will have to spend two week’s salary on this Tupperware stuff. 2. They make you remove all the meticulously applied aluminum foil from the windows and you have to spend a month’s salary on blinds, drapes and curtains. 3. They expect you to have sheets on the mattress and there are all kinds of linen assessories I bet even rich people never saw. 4. You have to separate your laundry into 27 separate piles. On this I did see the wisdom of 3 piles: whites, colors, and permapress slacks and shirts, but 27? 4. They will “organize” all your paper work and bills and such into files, cabinets and drawers and you will never be able to find anything without their help and what do you do if they are off visiting relatives for a week? 5 .Oh, and relatives. You will met “lend me $50” Bob, always drunk Uncle Ned and looney Aunt Harriet. The list goes on but I’ll sign off. I don’t want to ruin the movie for you.


  3. This is the best news ever! I am so, so happy for you all. I know how it feels to still be in love going on 6 years. You are going to have amazing life together–minus the dog art, that is.
    Hugs to both of you,


    1. You’re the inspiration, Kathy. Or one of them, anyway. Even if you DON’T like the dog art! (And you OWN a dog, even. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t find it adorable if she suddenly learned to play poker. Or serve wine to a bunch of male dogs playing poker).


  4. Dude, I hate to burst your blue state bubble but you live in the WA 3rd Congressional District, and the WA 17th Legislative District, represented by, ahem, Republicans, (well except for Tim Probst, Position 1 of the 17th.) Not all the red enclaves are east of the Cascades. But that’s a detail.

    WELCOME Tara! I know you’ll find employment here soon and soon you’ll be going without an umbrella, panicking at the thought of a commute in the snow, and eating geoduck like the rest of us!


  5. Luckily, David was the only one to hear me laugh and snort. You do know how to make a person do that, and very well I might add!!

    I think the traffic will be one of Tara’s concerns too. Just let her know that rush hour traffic isn’t so bad since it goes so slow. Until you get used to the amount of traffic that is.

    Love the countdown you have posted!


    1. I have to admit, I was working in Camas for years and got spoiled by having NO traffic to contend with. I might not be so lucky the next time around, depending where I end up. We’ll see! Like you said, at least it moves slow.

      That countdown makes me very happy.


  6. EXCITED!! That’s so great that she will be moving in with you in just a few weeks! I know how giddy that has to make you feel…just from personal experience recently. There will be some great posts that will come out of it! Best of luck!!


  7. I have been following this saga for a long time. My burning question is, why don’t you move to Navada? A job in hand… And all that. You can write from there. Unless of course because of Rusty and Audrey. That is a reason I understand. At any rate, I am delighted for you both. But miss that depressed edge being single gave your writing. However, it’s not about me! Well, it should be…but it’s not. Congratulations to both of you! For my sake I hope the honeymoon period is short so Marks mood slips and his funny yet cranky posts come black. Muaaaaaahhhh!


    1. Interesting comment. I could *almost* see myself living in Nevada, after getting a feel for the lay of the land, so to speak. There are several reasons why that isn’t happening though.

      Part of it IS my kids. I share custody 50/50 with their mom, so neither of us can just up and leave without disrupting the flow and making major changes to the divorce agreement, as tempting as that may be. We have to do what is right for the kids, and either leaving – or uprooting them – isn’t in the cards.

      Also, Tara wants to leave Ely. Moving to the Pacific Northwest has been her goal for years. I remember reading her blog way back in 2006 and seeing her talk about living here. There are so many advantages: it’s beautiful and clean and friendly. She does not like having to drive four hours just to go shopping or eat in a good restaurant. There’s a vibrant music scene here and a lot more to DO than in Ely. Hiking, camping, fishing, and cultural activities abound. She is sick of below zero temperatures and snowfall that is measured in feet instead of inches (usually, though this past winter was the exception). And she’s got family here. Her mom, her brother, and her about-to-be-born nephew, Anthony. Finally, there’s the small-town mentality. Ely is a nice place – clean, charming, and friendly – but I have experienced many times the drawbacks of being in a place where everybody knows everybody else’s business. There can be an ugly undercurrent running through even the most seemingly innocent conversations. There’s a pervasive gossip that can be pretty unnerving, too. The anonymity of a large metropolitan area definitely has its advantages.

      If circumstances were different, sure – I would move there, for no other reason than the love of a woman who makes me incredibly happy. But fortunately, I don’t have to, because she wants to leave there just as badly as she wants to move here. Even before we were a couple, and if there’s ever any doubt of that, I need only turn to six year old blog posts and read the yearning in her words.

      So, honestly, this is the ideal situation for us both.


    2. Oh, and also, she’s fed up with her job. It’s stressful and demanding and she is having to put up with a lot of BS, which is wearing on her. Ironically, I told her I could see myself working there, lol. But she is ready for a change.

      Funny how you long for my depressed-yet-funny take on life. I am too damn happy to slip into that black pit of despair again! But I’ll try my best to rail against the injustices of the world with a smile on my face.


  8. YAY! This is fantastic news! Welcome, Tara! 🙂

    I love the PNW, its so purdy. Hoping to be able to get out there with my boy at some point.


      1. I know, but I have to get a job first and save some monies. Then we can talk vacation. Heh.

        But its on the list and it actually may count as an ‘active’ vacation spot as opposed to my ‘non-active’ vacation spots (somewhere I can sit by the pool or beach and read). Drives Shawn batshit sometimes. Heh.



    When I read your post through my reader, I was doing the ‘happy dance’ for you two. OMG……..I am sooooooooooo excited to hear about the news of Tara moving there!!!!! And don’t worry, girl, I have a wonderful feeling you’re going to get a job immediately!

    Mark, your list of ten things cracked me the hell up!

    #9. People like Ted Bundy, Ken Bianchi and Gary Ridgway. Even the DC Sniper used to live here. Instead of burying bodies in the desert, our killers choose the forest. Which, when you think about it, is simply another form of recycling! ”

    Bwhahahahhahahahahahaha! HILARIOUS, MAN!!

    I HUGE congrats to both of you! I am BEYOND happy for you!



    1. I suppose they’re recycling in the Nevada desert too, Ron. Unless aliens beam the bodies up to the Mother Ship first.

      Thanks for your kind words! You’re a gentleman and a scholar…and an all-around nice guy, to boot.


  10. Although I’m relatively new to your blog I am very aware of how important Tara is to you so this is indeed good news. Good luck to both of you. It should make interesting blog topics as you relate the idiosyncracies of learning to live with each other. Yippee!


    1. I’m counting on some idiosyncracies, just so I’ll have something fun to blog about! Can’t wait for the whole Tara-puts-the-toilet-paper-roll-on-backwards post and other soon-to-be classics.


  11. First: congrats. I’m super-duper happy for you both (and for this bitter, jaded chick, that kind of emotion doesn’t happen often — so feel special, dammit).

    Second: I have a bone to pick.

    Yes, Nevada is a trapezoid. A VERY, VERY LARGE TRAPEZOID. In terms of total Area, Nevada covers 110,567 square miles, making it the 7th largest of the 50 states. Washington, on the other hand, encompasses 71,303 square miles — making it the 18th biggest state in the USA.

    So why oh WHY do you make such startling generalizations about my state? I’m offended on its GIANT behalf.

    Nah, just kidding. But really, your comparison should be Ely versus your town. Because people tripping over a sidewalk is not big news in Reno. I recycle, lock my door, have no mob connections (damn the luck, considering I have a short list of peeps I’d consider “offing”) and have never seen a crick or a jockey box.

    Though I am unbelievably good at Double Double Bonus Bonus Super Mega video poker.

    So there.



    1. First off, I didn’t realize that Nevada is actually bigger than WA. You learn something new every day!

      Second, it pretty much was comparing Ely to Vancouver – but Ely isn’t shaped like a trapezoid, so for matters of convenience I just generalized the whole thing. Heh. I know there aren’t mobsters in Reno. (Or even Vegas anymore, for that matter. At least not like there were in the 70s). But stereotypes are fun!

      And video poker is the only thing I can ever seem to WIN at.


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