Saturday, June 12, 2021

Houston and humidity: we have a problem

| June 6, 2021 12:00 AM

It was just past midnight on May 21 when I stepped out of George Bush Intercontinental Airport into that gigantic steam room they call Houston.

The heat and humidity hit us like a suffocating blanket. I had left 47-degree weather behind; my daughter Heather had come from cold, rainy Juneau, Alaska. We were there to embark on a mother-and-daughter reunion, to visit my daughter Deanna and her husband and my 5-year-old granddaughter who moved to Sugar Land, just outside of Houston, last fall.

It was my first trip to Texas, and I’ll admit I knew precious little about the Lone Star state.

I knew they had just captured a tiger that had been roaming at large in Houston for nearly a week. I knew Deanna and her family had been without power for days and without water for a week in February when Texas suffered a catastrophic power crisis due to winter storms. I knew my son-in-law had to go to urgent care after removing what turned out to be some kind of poisonous vines from the trees in their yard, and I knew fire ants in their neighborhood were prone to attack. Other than that, Texas was a wide open slate for me.

The first couple of days were hot and rainy, but we managed a trip to the delightful Houston Zoo without getting drenched until the very end as we hit the gift shop. Then the skies opened up and I’ve never seen such heavy rain.

The weather cleared for our three-day excursion to the coast, where we packed in a number of tourist activities, including a dolphin-viewing boat tour and beach day in Port Aransas and a day at the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, where a highlight was feeding the stingrays and getting up close to frolicking flamingos.

Our vacation rental was in Rockport, another lovely seaside community. The only downside were the mosquitoes that congregated any time there wasn’t an ocean breeze, and I’m here to proclaim Minnesota mosquitoes have nothing on Texas skeeters when it comes to size. Isn’t there a saying about everything being bigger in Texas?

Quite frankly, I wasn’t prepared to really like Texas, but I left with a favorable impression of this vast state. Sure, the heat and humidity I could do without, but the people were friendly and courteous everywhere we went. The subdivision where my daughter and son-in-law live is a nicely kept neighborhood. All the houses are brick, and there’s a playground across the street for my granddaughter. There are also 10 pools and waterparks in their subdivision to help weather the hot summer months. The Montessori school where Deanna is assistant director is brand new and fabulous.

As Heather and I stood on the curb at the close of our 10-day trip, waiting for an Uber to pick us up at 5 a.m. to take us to the airport, it was already 75 degrees and 84% humidity. The moon was out and the stars were shining, even with the distant glow of the Houston skyline, and I thought to myself, they’re going to be OK here — at least until hurricane season.

News editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or