Monday, May 28, 2012

A New Place For Our Stuff...

When sitting in a rocking chair on a hardwood floor, one must make faces. It is the law.

My apartment is virtually empty of my stuff now. Still remaining is a small pile of dirty laundry, some cleaning supplies, and a few miscellaneous items destined for the dumpster or recycling bin. We're still working on emptying Jeanine's place, but hopefully that will be accomplished by the end of the day. The end of the month is upon us.

At the house, things are magically settling into place while the girls, unconcerned with the piles of boxes, play video games.

Dexter the cat arrived howling, and spent the better part of a day with his tail all poofed up. He's better now, and is making the house his own.

More to follow...

Friday, May 11, 2012


Boxes pile up both here and there, and at the moment we're waiting for the tent to come down. The fumigators put it up on Wednesday, and apparently neither Jeanine nor I are trusting, because we both drove by at different times to check to make sure that the job had actually been done. It had, but they didn't give us one of those colorfully striped clown tents. Instead, we got a black one. If you're going to tent a house, you should try to make it look like a clown house. I'm not sure why. It just seems like the right thing to do. The world needs more clowns or, at the very least, places that look like they could be clown residences.

Yesterday, since we couldn't move anything, we went for a walk at Hidden Villa. It's Horned Lizard season, but we didn't see any. We saw fewer Whiptails than last year too, although we did see a few, like the one pictured above. Early in the hike, Jeanine spotted a Jerusalem Cricket scuttling across the trail. That's a strange thing to see in the middle of the day. I wonder what disturbed it enough to inspire this atypical diurnal activity. There were fewer ticks along the trail than last time, although we did find a few of them patiently waiting on some trail-side plants. Later, I found one attached to my chest near one of my nipples. Sneaky little bastard. Its meal was cut short.

Currently listening to: The Iditarod "the Ghost, the Elf, the Cat and the Angel"

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

And So It Begins In Earnest

For me, the act of moving is like going on vacation. It doesn't seem to have any weight or reality until the hour is nigh and the routine of living is shuttled off onto a new track, or to put it another way, until the suitcase (in my case, usually a hastily stuffed backpack) or first box is full of my stuff. It's a sad commentary on my tendency to hoard that some of my belongings only get handled when I'm moving them from one residence to another, but that's a whole other subject. I'm working on it. Really.

I stripped a bookcase of its stories today, and filled a number of boxes with books. I came across one book (Swine Lake, by James Marshall) illustrated by Maurice Sendak, and I plan on sitting down later today and reading it in memory of his passing, the news of which greeted me when I woke up this morning. Lets all hold a wild rumpus in his honor.

The new house is scheduled to be tented tomorrow, ensuring that the dry wood termites discontinue their gnawing. I'm not a big fan of using poison gas on insects, but I think I'd be even less a fan of having the house collapse on top of us at some indeterminate point in the future.

Still to be scheduled is the chimney work, and some plumbing repairs. Right now, if there was an earthquake, the chimney would probably fall on the neighbor's house.

Currently listening to: Accept "I'm A Rebel"

Sunday, May 06, 2012

First Photos

The empty house awaits our clutter. Hopefully it will wear the extra pounds well. Jeanine is better at getting rid of things than I am, but I've chucked a few things myself. We're going to have to start a list of things that we need to buy though, so the next month will see a frenzy of jettisoning and acquiring. We're especially lacking in the yard maintenance equipment department, since the postage stamp-sized patios attached to our current residences can't be graced with the word "yard". A new bed will also have to be purchased.

Here then are a couple of photos. Over that last couple of months spent viewing hundreds of online photos of houses for sale, I've been amused to see the various tricks of the trade - photos stretched to make the house look more expansive, low angled shots to make the house look more mansion-like, and other similar bits of trickery. I can't now recall what the "advertisement" photos of our house looked like. I learned to more or less ignore those photos anyway.

Currently listening to: Bowline "s/t"

More Than A Month Has Passed...

My last post was on April Fool's Day, and this one falls on the day after Cinco De Mayo, which was also the evening of the so-called "Supermoon", a moon which my 2012 moon guide (courtesy of the wonderful Nebula Girl, who mails them out for free at the beginning of each year) calls Big Leaf Moon. It was noticeably closer than the average full moon, even though I missed the moment when it first peeked above the East Bay hills.

In addition to all of the home buying activity, this period of silence has been full of activity. Perhaps most importantly, my brother Greg, Willow, and I finally got off of our isolationist butts and visited relatives. This meant traveling to Cape Cod to see my mom's sister and her son, Peter, and then on to Minnesota to see my dad's sister and her family. I had reconnected with my mom's sister, Marilyn, and my cousin Peter, when Jeanine and I were in Boston for a balloon convention in February, but Greg and I hadn't seen our relatives on our dad's side of the family in decades. Willow had never met any of them. I'll not recount the entire week here, because it won't be that interesting to the casual reader, but the trip was definitely a success. Our Aunt Marilyn even got us into the Edward Gorey house before it was open for the season, and while we were on Cape Cod, we visited our friends Matthias and Carla, who live in a pleasingly rustic house right near the beach (although everywhere on Cape Cod is right near the beach). The trip was well documented.

After coming back, I hopped in the car with Jeanine and we headed for Big Sur, where we took in a Godspeed You! Black Emperor show and camped under the redwoods. That week, Sophie's class was at camp, and since the kids' school always attends our second site, I switched sites and worked days. We wrapped up the week with a second Godspeed show, and the next morning, Greg and I flew to Seattle to see the newest Bela Tarr film, The Turin Horse. Perhaps this is how my second childhood has chosen to manifest itself - plane flights to see films. This also meant that we were in Seattle on Record Store Day, so we bought lots of music while we were there. I came back with quite a variety of sounds, from bird songs and a double CD/book collection of old 78 recordings, to Ennio Morricone doing bossa nova and neoclassical sounds that used a previous Bela Tarr film as inspiration. As for the film we had gone to see, it was everything we expected it to be, although at least one audience member must have been expecting something different, because she walked out and didn't come back.

I've started another walking challenge as well. Somebody who is even nerdier than me has figured out that Frodo and Sam had to walk 1779 miles to walk to Mordor. Since I started the challenge, I've walked a mere 11 miles. Only 1768 more to go.

I did a reptile/bug party yesterday, and in preparation for the party, Jeanine and I went on a short bug hunt Friday, which netted me a little California Forest Scorpion and a Jerusalem Cricket, not to mention a Garter Snake (I found two under a board, but only caught one). In addition to the two Garter Snakes, we saw eight Rattlesnakes. After the party, when I went to release the Garter Snake, I discovered that the board under which I found it still had two Garter Snakes under it. Nature hates imbalance, I guess.

Here's Rattlesnake number eight. He was still there the next day.

As for the house, after lots of last-minute craziness involving the lenders, yesterday we finally got the keys. I went over in the afternoon, and when I arrived, our realtor was sweeping the floors (talk about a full-service realtor!), and the sellers were bundling the last of their possessions (and their cats) into the car. They were leaving for Oregon. They left behind a few things for us, including the patio furniture and some yard tools. Later, Jeanine and I converged on the house and thoughtfully wandered through it. Jeanine brought out her tape measure and did a few calculations, and I hauled a few things in from my van. We're having the house tented for termites on Wednesday, so we won't be moving a lot of things over there until after that's done. We have the whole month to be out of our current residences, so there isn't too much of a rush.

So now we're homeowners. I guess I'm a grown-up now. I've lived in my studio apartment for nearly three and a half years now, and while there are some things I like about my apartment, I'm ready to step into a larger space again. I'm ready for our new yard, with its towering avocado tree, garden, citrus trees, artichoke plants, and expansive lawn. There is a compost area and a worm bin too.

Currently listening to: Natural Snow Buildings "Shadow Kingdom"