04 March 2007

Houston, Commotion Base Here; The Sand Birds Have Landed

Sand birds, you ask? It's like snow birds, who leave places that have snow for warmer climes that don't in the winter, except it's people who leave places that have sand, like the SoCal High Desert (the Mojave), for warmer climes that also have sand, like the SoCal Low Desert (the Sonoran). In other words, my husband, Neil the collie, and me, who summer in Lancaster and winter in Palm Desert.

OK, our two houses are less than 150 miles apart by road and it's only about a 2.5 hour drive when CalTrans isn't working on the roads and it's not a holiday weekend, so it's not exactly a major migration, but I'm here to tell you it's not as easy as loading the dog into the car and driving off. We've got STUFF. George Carlin has explained the problem of stuff very eloquently, and very funnily, so I'll just say that whoever said that our belongings own us, instead of us owning them was right.

Even Neil the collie has stuff, like food and water dishes, beds, kibble, coat rakes, slicker brushes, treats, and pills. In addition, he needs an open area on the floor of the van, about the size of his bed, with everything around it secured so that he won't be buried in an avalanche of books, clothes, laptops, yarn, and everything else we brought with us if we have to stop suddenly.

Anyway, we made the trip on Friday, with the van filled with the most important stuff. On Saturday our friends Don and Pat came down with a small chest freezer and some more boxes. I had to promise Pat that I wouldn't bring any of the books in the boxes back north to Lancaster before she'd agree to bring them down here. She thinks, quite rightly, that I have too many books and that I should get rid of the ones I won't read again. However, I have trouble doing that, perhaps fearing subconsciously that the entire English printed word will vanish overnight and I suddenly won't have anything to read except what I already own.

I did manage to divest myself of about a cubic yard of books during the summer before last, mostly paperbacks. I only did it because I was giving the books to the Friends of the Lancaster Library and not throwing them away. The Friends support our library by selling donated books, so I was able to convince myself that I wasn't discarding these books, but sending them to new readers and helping the Friends raise money. Since my mother was the treasurer of the Friends and very active, the latter was important to me.

Incidentally, the Friends are naming their bookstore after my mother, as a memorial. She would have been both embarrassed and pleased, had she known. She didn't think she was all that special, but she'd have been glad to have her hard work recognized. I'm just plain pleased, because I think she was that special.

We're only going to be down here for about three months, before it gets too warm for us. I'm sure glad we came down, though. I love this house and I love the warmth. Not that this has been the warmest winter, although last summer was one of the hottest on record. It was hot in Lancaster, too, and our air conditioner there gave up the ghost during the hottest week. Naturally.

Anyway, now that I've digressed once, let me do it again and explain about the chest freezer. This is one of those ordinary but seemingly complicated stories about how life works. The freezer had belonged to a friend of Pat's, who was an Los Angeles County deputy sheriff. She moved away because her husband had been transferred and she didn't want to pay to move the freezer, so she gave it to Pat. My mother had a large upright freezer that I would have liked to bring down here after her death, but I felt that moving something that large was going to take more arranging than I had time and energy to do. My mom also, naturally, had a refrigerator that I had to deal with. It's fairly new, having been bought by her homeowner's insurance after the wiring in her kitchen decided to immolate itself, the dishwasher, and the fridge. Pat's refrigerator had been giving her problems, so my refrigerator problem kind of solved itself. I also offered her the upright freezer. She, in turn, offered me the small chest freezer and its transportation south. As a result, we're both really happy. I got a small chest freezer down here and I don't have to deal with my mom's fridge and upright freezer. Pat replaces her older fridge with a more efficient one and gets a big freezer that she'll really use. Life is good.

So, getting back to the move and the stuff, I'd managed to separate my knitting project, the Alien Illusion scarf, and its instructions. I'd put the yarn and needles into a beautiful bag our niece made me for Christmas and put the instructions somewhere else. The problem was, as you can guess, that I couldn't remember where. It had been sort of at the last moment, as I was scurrying around gathering up the final odds and ends, like the copy of Ed Rasimus's second book, Palace Cobra: A Fighter Pilot in the Vietnam Air War, that had just arrived from Zooba.com. Ed is an e-friend of mine from rec.aviation.military who flew F-105s and F-4s in Southeast Asia and it's a really good book. So was his first.

So I've been mildly frustrated by not having the pattern graph and not being able to knit, which I find very relaxing. However, mentioning the freezer here reminded me that I wanted to move some food from the self-defrosting freezer in my side-by-side fridge to the non-self-defrosting chest freezer in the garage, to maintain its quality. The defrost cycle is kind of hard on frozen food after a while. So after I did that I decided to bring a few things in from the van since I was out there anyway. My eye lit on Ed's book and what did I find underneath it but a large envelope with, among other things, my scarf pattern graphs. Who said that blogging wasn't productive?

This is long enough, so I'll write tomorrow about how the actual freeze affected our landscaping. Not to make this a cliffhanger, in case I don't, there was a lot of damage but everything seems to have survived, although a lot of it was damaged. We do have some lemons and tangerines on the respective trees, which I wasn't sure we would.

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