Sunday, January 14, 2018

Living In A Construction Zone

Furniture out, workers' tools in
My mom's house isn't big - about 1200 square feet, three bedrooms, one full bathroom and one with a sink and toilet.  But when my parent's bought it back in 1956, they did a great job with the location.  Since my mom died in 2015, we've spent a fair amount of time cleaning things out, giving things away, selling a few things, donating lots.  It seemed like however much we pulled out, the closets didn't seem to get emptier.  Then there were drawers and cabinets and, drum roll, the garage.

I'm not complaining.  My mom knew where things were and she always had something to use for whatever situation, whether it was gift to take when visiting someone, a bag to hold something in, the old waffle iron, and on and on.  She didn't want us moving things around because then she wouldn't be able to find them.  She did say, repeatedly, "When I'm gone, you can do what you want."

So the last two and half years, our trips here were focused on cleaning things out.  People have been telling us to to rent it out while we're not here - most of the time - and so we are required to get it
more up-to-date - like getting rid of the popcorn ceiling and painting pretty much everything.  There's now a dishwasher and dryer after all these years of washing by hand and hanging the laundry out to dry in the sun.  We've go a new deck in the backyard - which was getting bedraggled because of various droughts.  The gardener keeps things from getting overgrown, but not from dying.  So what long ago used to be a lawn in the back had become a patch of dirt.  The deck takes away that eyesore and adds an outdoor room.  All this has happened in the last two weeks and we've been living in the middle of it.

When we head out this week, the carpet will come off the living room floor and the old hardwood floors will be sanded and polished.

That means we've been getting everything into the garage so the floors will be cleared.  We still have a little table in the kitchen (no hardwood there so that's ok) and an air mattress bed that we can move out ourselves before we leave.  Bathrooms have been in and out of service as they get various upgrades - new grout, paint, and fixtures.  One bathroom got a whole new vanity.

I'm still finding things I didn't know were here.  An old cream and sugar set was wrapped in old
newspaper.  Not sure why they had the Chicago Sun Times from June 6, 1989 - two days after the Tiananmen massacre.

I couldn't remember Li Peng being shot back then and when I googled Li Peng assassination most everything - including bios of Li Peng - omit mention of an assassination attempt.  There was one book - Confessions: An Innocent Life in Communist China -  I found where a Chinese student talks about his participation in Tiananmen protests and he writes,
"After we had hung up our poster, we heard news that Deng Xiaoping had suddenly died and that Premier Li Peng had been wounded in an assassination attempt.  That afternoon firecrackers were popping all over campus to celebrate Deng's death.  But we soon discovered that these "news reports" were baseless rumors.  In fact students from Jaotong University had not been run over by tanks, Deng Xiaoping was alive and well, and Li Peng had not been wounded."
Publishing unsubstantiated rumors, as this headline shows, isn't new.  But neither is attempting to fool the public with false stories.  Yellow journalism was taught in the American history classes I took in high school.  But there's a new sophistication in the creation and spreading of the new brand of fake news we see today.

We try to drive as little as possible - J walks and I ride the bike all I can.  But if you need to go far or fast or carry a lot, you need to take the car and traffic can be frustrating.  Public transit is ok for a few destinations, like the airport.

Some of my old bedroom furniture was snapped up by a young man with a square beard and tight jeans who was excited about picking up 'mid-century' stuff for a token price.  I was happy it was going to an appreciative home.  Various people have been leaning on me to get rid of, or do, this and that.  I think they are mostly right, but I don't want a generic house in the end so I'm holding my ground on some things.  And listening to reason on others.

And we are in LA, where the weather has gone from nice to rainy to very nice.  And we've eaten lots of good food.  As we were coming home from house-related errands we stopped on a block of Venice that had a Brazilian cafe, a Caribbean place, a Thai place, and a Himalyan place.  We ate at Tara's in part because of the garden like setting on a busy street.
Domo Plate at Tara's

And yesterday when it got into the eighties (F) even at the beach, we decided we needed a break.  J walked and I biked the two miles to Venice Beach.

After playing in the surf with my granddaughter when she was here in December, I was seriously thinking about catching some waves.  I watched the few would-be body surfers not catch anything and I remembered our bathtub was out of commission while the resurfacing dried.  But I did go into the water part way and it felt great to have the surf rushing between my legs.  The water didn't feel terribly cold (about 60˚F).

There's still work to do when we're gone - the floors, and when that messy job is over, new blinds will be put into most of the windows.  We're headed to see our Seattle granddaughter before touching base again in Anchorage and then more Seattle time before coming back here to see what we still have left to do.

... was out getting garbage and recycling into our cans and two neighbors' cans.  Neighbors up the hill have moved into their house about a year after we moved into this one.  The neighbors to the south moved in much more recently and became very good friends with my mom.  And the LA sanitation department picks up bulky items like carpet and sinks if you call a day ahead - and they were open Sunday to take my call.

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