Monday, September 04, 2006

Settling In

I never mowed lawns as a youth in my neighborhood; I was a newsie. 'Twas many years before I learned the joy of mowing. I've lived in apartments most of my life, and generally, my life has been lived more outside home than in it.

I did buy a house in Costa Mesa many years ago, but I was young, a biker and had spending money. I spent most of my non-working time riding up and down the length of California, and going to libertarian meetings, such as the many-years-defunct Libertarian Alternative, where a couple of dozen or so libertarians got together monthly to plot, plan and execute getting libertarian ideas into print and on the air.

The Libertarian Alternative was the brainchild of Charlie Barr, who moderated the proceedings and kept the group of very disparate individuals, who had only the then-somewhat-nebulous notion of libertarianism in common, on mission. Herding cats, as it were. No easy task, but Charlie handled it well. I hear he's escaped the Stalag and is now living in Las Vegas. Libertarian Alternative has been turned by party member Mark Selzer, into a publicity seeking arm of the California Libertarian Party. He produces a tv series for public access tv in several markets.

Back to the message, I spent a lot of my time in the kind of pastimes that kept me away from home , and regarded home as "a box in which to keep my stuff" (thanks for the line, George).

Debbie and I bought this house in 1993. We moved in, at the time, with Debbie's mom Maxine, having decided that this was a good place to live in the LA area. 'Twas more Debbie's decision than mine, but I soon decided it was a good one, for reasons I mentioned here.

We left in 1994, because of the quake, while awaiting repairs to the place. We decided we also liked Orange County (and, I was working there at the time) so we stayed and placed this house on the rental market. It worked out well.

A few weeks ago, when our not-so-conscientious property manager told us that our tenant was bailing, we made the decision to move back. Because of the evil tax code, it seems we're required to occupy the place for two years (to legally change the property from an income property back into a private residence) to avoid the theft of a goodly portion of the proceeds from the eventual sale of the house, by the despicable drones of the feral government.

So, we're here. Death, where is thy sting? (thanks, Bill).

In spite of the oppressive heat of this part of the year, I'm enjoying being here. I'd partially forgotten the charms, and the negatives. The streets are more crowded than OC, they seem narrower and buildings in commercial areas are smaller and closer together. Parking lots are smaller, when they exist at all. The parking enforcement cops (meter maids) are neither lovely, nor compassionate.

Yet, in many ways, the Valley has many of the positives of New York City. Wonderful restaurants, including some near-New York quality delis. Little theaters. Funky shops along Ventura Boulevard. I could, at the risk of boring y'all to tears, go on.

I've been helping Debbie tear out the atrocious landscaping left (against the rules laid out in the lease) by our most recent tenant. Debbie's been finding stuff in boxes and setting up the kitchen and the bathrooms, etc, and I've been unpacking my books and VHS/DVD collection, and setting up my library/office.

Back when we originally bought the place, I acquired a reel mower, being more familiar with that kind than any other, and not desiring to deal with temperamental power mowers. Besides, being a poster child for the government's unreasonably intrusive, futile and stupid anti-obesity campaign, I can use the exercise.

I mowed the lawn several times with the mower, back in those days, and found it agreeable, and so I decided that I'd continue the method, now that we're back.

What better day to get out there and mow the lawn with a reel push mower than Labor Day! I got out there at about 8AM (to beat the heat) and got the job done in a little over an hour, including a short break to give a few peanuts to neighborhood tree squirrels.

It's good to be back!


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

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