Sunday, June 6, 2010

There's No Place Like (A New) Home

Hello, Everybody. It's good to be back, even though I have I have to admit I'm not entirely of sound mind or body yet. I had no conception of how much stuff, much of it junk, a person can collect over a twenty year period in the same place. The picture I chose is a show of Tehachapi Mountain wildflowers.

Normally, all the hillsides around here are full of wild flowers, but the natural drought this year, combined with the far worse drought created by the politicians in Sacramento and Washington DC, has left most of the hillsides brown, including a large portion of my property.

The trip down was a great deal easier than the packing. I began boxing things up nearly four weeks before moving day. But I made the mistake that apparently most self-movers make their first time. Now I know why you should hire professional packers in preparation for a move. I must have lost half of my valuable packing time getting sidetracked looking at things that had been buried in nooks and crannies for ten or fifteen years. Old pictures are the biggest danger. Were my grandkids ever that young? Were my kids ever that young? Was I ever that young?

Then there's the agonizing decision-making. Is this good stuff, or should I be trashing it? Then, in lawyerlike fashion, I started creating hierarchies of what was important enough to go into which box. More time wasted. Worse, about eight or nine years ago, my landlord, Ming the Merciless, decided he needed the apartment house basement storage area for himself. Of course, he blamed it on the Fire Department inspectors, but it meant lugging everything up four flights of stairs and putting it in the far more limited storage room behind the kitchen in the apartment. I had packed the entire room, floor to ceiling, with things I might simply have discarded eventually when they were in the basement next to the trash receptacles.

It became so full that it was depressing to look at it, so I had simply closed the door, and only went in there twice a year to get out and put away the Christmas decorations which I had cleverly stored right behind the storage room door. But I couldn't see to the far side of the storage room at all, so I didn't know that the landlord had replaced all the windows and frames in the apartment, but saved money by not replacing the one in the storage room. Over the years, the frame had dry-rotted, and it left a space between the window and the frame. Many rainstorms combined with wind had opened the crack even more, so when I finally got to the back of the storeroom what I had was mostly boxes and boxes of trash.

Undaunted, I moved on. For most of the rest of the packing, I kept discovering how many magazines and newspapers a guy can store in amazingly out-of-the-way places when there was an interesting article in the publications. Most of the articles are not so interesting in retrospect, but they seemed important enough to save at the time. And then, of course, there are those electronics items that I was always gong to get around to having fixed, but never actually did. The prize was the 27 inch Zenith TV, although I think the real reason I kept it was it had become much heavier and bulkier than I remembered it being when I bought it new.

Finally, moving day arrived. I did hire professional movers just for that portion of the move. I have a lot of large, heavy, clumsy furniture, and there was no way we were going to be able to get it all downstairs on our own in a day. Fourth-floor walkups with narrow, winding stairs do not lend themselves well to easy moves. It took me as long as twenty years to collect much of the furniture, and now there was only one day to move it. It took a five man crew two and a half hours to move everything that I had taken a month to pack and decades to collect.

My son and I drove the moving van, while may daughter-in-law drove the backup vehicle for them to return in to Berkeley when the move was done. We stayed overnight in Bakersfield so that on Sunday morning, the whole family could arrive at the property at the same time to unload. On the whole trip down, once past the outlying towns like Tracy, we saw signs all along the way expressing the anger of the locals for politicians and government which create a dustbowl out of the most fertile land in the world. Most frequently seen signs: "Government-Caused Drought." "Get rid of Pelosi." And most accurately, "Food grows where water flows."

I said I wanted isolation, and I got it--in spades. The last paved road ends about eight miles from my property. Then you take the big dirt road, which meets a smaller dirt road on the right, and then about a half-mile to my property, which has two dirt roads up to the house. This city boy is in a delightful state of shock. Tomorrow, I'll tell you all a little about the area, and the people I've met so far. Hint: I haven't met a single homeless person with his hand out, nor a mugger causing me to make the hard choice between my money and my life.

I must admit that I have apparently suffered a mild form of internet deficiency syndrome. I was already going into withdrawal on Tuesday when the satellite dish was supposed to be installed. But my daughter had warned me in advance that things here are done at a different pace and in a different manner from what I've been used to in downtown San Francisco. The installers were supposed to arrive between 1 PM and 3 PM Tuesday. When they had not shown up by 4:30, I called the provider. Turns out, the installers know better than to come onto someone's property unless they've made personal contract first.

Since the only phone number they had for me was my now useless cell phone, they gave up for the day when they went back to the closest land line and found the number "disconnected." Shortly after that time, I called the satellite customer service line demanding to know where the bloody installers were. After the rep got me calmed down, I realized that it was at least partially my fault for not having given them my local land line number. But all's well that ends well, and I am now CONNECTED again.

Important Side Note: I want to thank all my well-wishers. Your thoughts and prayers must have worked, because I just couldn't be happier than I am in my new digs. Today, I actually saw a couple of human beings about a half mile away on the property next door whacking weeds. That's about as many people as I wanted to see in any given week. LOL

20 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

Moving stinks. I never want to do it again, but I probably will several more times in my life. Oh well.

Welcome back. I'm glad you made it past the guard towers at the gates of San Fran!

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: What guard towers? They had a celebration on Market Street to announce that one-third of the conservatives in San Francisco were leaving town for good. LOL

StanH said...

Cool Lawhawk! “Green Acres is the place for me, farm livin is the life for me…”

Primer said...

Congratulations on the new dig's Lawhawk. It must be kind of a shock moving from Planet San Fransisco to Planet Earth?
Sounds like a great place though. You've got to love anywhere that has no cell service!
What you described sounds beautiful........now just remember to let all of us know when your ready to adopt.... :-)

LawHawkSF said...

Stan: I blew my cover when I told one of the neighbors that there are moo-moos on the lawn.

BevfromNYC said...

From LawHawkSF to LawHawkRFD in a country minute! Congratulations!

LawHawkSF said...

Primer: It is quite a culture-shock. I've been considering shipping a homeless person down from The City to give me a sense of order. Maybe a couple of muggers, too.

Primer said...

Now that's funny Lawhawk...."Maybe a couple of muggers, too"...

But do you really think Miss Pelosi will come?

LawHawkSF said...

Bev: Thanks a million. You just gave me my new name. LawHawkRFD it is (assuming I can figure out how to change it on Blogger).

LawHawkSF said...

Primer: Pelosi was the head of the Grand Exit Committee. She, along with the Seven Dwarfs on the Board of Stupidvisors led the Market Street parade as I faded into blessed(?) memory.

BevfromNYC said...

My pleasure, LawHawkRFD! Let me know if you need anything else named.

Hey, you could start a new trend in country living! You could put a hermitage on your country estate and install a homeless hermit to live there like they do in England.

Oh, by the way, you've become one of those dreaded "City Folk".

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: I struggled for a month trying to come up with something. The moment I saw that, I knew we had a winner.

As for the homeless hermit, I guess I'd have to import one from England. The San Francisco breed is unfamiliar with things like toilets and wash basins.

BevfromNYC said...

You changed your name!!! Shouldn't we have some kind of official ceremony or swearing in or something?

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: Most people just swear at me. I'll try to think of something official. Maybe Andrew can help. I've also been considering changing my assistant's name from Kelly to Opie.

patti said...

i am *so* jealous. congrats.

AndrewPrice said...

Nice LawhawkRFD! LOL!

LawHawkRFD said...

Patti: Thanks for the jealousy. I even envy myself. LOL I'm working on getting a straw hat, going barefoot, and carrying a fishing pole. I might as well do this right.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Bev gets credit for my new moniker. I still have to come up with a name for the replacement for the SF Diary, though.

Individualist said...

LawhawkRFD,

I hear that the most important thing is to learn to do the whistle.

Welcome Back

LawHawkRFD said...

Individualist: Thanks, and I'm glad to be back. I could never do the whistle right. Then one day, I chipped a tooth, and I could suddenly do the whole theme. Unfortunately, I had to whistle out of the side of my mouth, so it looked a little weird. Then I got the tooth fixed, and I'm whistleless again.

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