Monday, August 07, 2006


Going Full Circle

In the spring of 1992, I was laid off from a very good job in San Diego. After floundering about for a few months, I got what I thought was a reasonably good job in Huntington Beach. 'Twas a killer commute, that 90 mile-each-way drive, so Debbie and I resolved to move north.

Eliminating some details, we ended up buying a house in Sherman Oaks--about 50 miles north of Huntington Beach. Very nearly the worst fifty mile commute in the known solar system.

However, I loved Sherman Oaks! Our house was about two blocks from Ventura Boulevard, a major boulevard lined with dozens of hip restaurants, coffee shops, little theaters, cute shops and chain stores. It's a delightful area, great for walking, close to many cool San Fernando Valley hot spots.

In fact, it's even close to the Universal, Warner Bros and Disney studios and, more importantly, it's not far from the venerable Pickwick Ice Center!

Well, the fun ended on January 17, 1994 with the Northridge Quake. Now, the quake didn't do really serious damage to our house, but it fairly devastated the neighborhood. The opposite side of our street has several small 3-story apartment buildings, many of which were destroyed. Most of the single-occupant homes weren't seriously damaged. Part of our house was shifted slightly on its foundation. There was some stucco damage. A wooden property line fence fell over and worst of all, our water heater fell over--in spite of its restraints--and I had to shut off the gas.

A number of people were injured on our street, but none killed that I know about. I had to rescue an elderly lady from a third floor apartment, who couldn't get out because the stairs were damaged. It turned out that, though the stairs looked deadly, after a bit of empirical testing (I jumped up-and-down on 'em), they turned out to be better than they looked. I had to carry the lady out of her apartment, because she was a knick-knack collector. She had dozens of glass and crystal and ceramic items on and in glass cases. All of it lay in bits and shards on the floor and she couldn't even get to her shoes.

Well, we got down to the street before the next aftershock, and she was fine except for a few minor cuts, which which were handled by another neighbor who had medical experience.

We found out later that it would be days before we could get the water heater and the gas lines repaired and possibly weeks before the gas company could inspect it. They had to inspect everything for many miles around.

So since I was working in Huntington Beach, and our insurance paid for our displacement costs, we took an apartment here in Santa Ana, where we remain to this day.

After several difficult weeks of repair work, in which we also had some unrelated work done at the same time, we placed the house on the rental market. We were able to get rent about double what we've been paying here in the OC (for an apartment). This is why we've stayed. Well, Orange County has its fine points, too.

Our current tenant gave us notice she was moving a few days ago.

We've decided that the time was right to move back.

My writing might get a bit sporadic soon, as we get into the serious throes of packing and moving. Right now, we're involved in making the place habitable for our own fine selves. Paint, new carpets, a few repairs, etc.

The commute will still be bad, but I now work somewhat closer to Sherman Oaks than I used to. I think it's gonna be fun!

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

2 comments:

The Wine Commonsewer said...

Way cool.

Good luck with your move. I got a bad back you know. And I'm out of town that weekend.

Ol' BC said...

Well, Colonel, I would rather have a dead fish in my mouth than move again. Good luck with yours. Sounds like a good place to bunk out.